Best. Metafilter Thread. Ever. A simple theory is mentioned, and then it keeps getting expanding, over and over, in the comments. They’re all worth reading, but I’ve reproduced the most amazing bits here.
My favorite thought-piece about Ferris Bueller is the “Fight Club” theory, in which Ferris Bueller, the person, is just a figment of Cameron’s imagination, like Tyler Durden, and Sloane is the girl Cameron secretly loves.
One day while he’s lying sick in bed, Cameron lets “Ferris” steal his father’s car and take the day off, and as Cameron wanders around the city, all of his interactions with Ferris and Sloane, and all the impossible hijinks, are all just played out in his head. This is part of the reason why the “three” characters can see so much of Chicago in less than one day — Cameron is alone, just imagining it all.
Then the base theory gets expanded:
Yeah, that makes the most sense. Ferris’s family is in reality Cameron’s family. He thinks he’s sick and alone, but the Ferris persona convinces him to go out and be Ferris. Everyone knows him as Ferris; he’s the only one who thinks of himself as the pitiful Cameron. He does actually sneak out, his sister does hate him for breaking free from the rules, Rooney does want to catch him and punish him. Nobody seems to care or even think about Cameron’s absence. Sloan is the only one that sees both of his personalities.
A reply to critics pointing out moments where Ferris interacts with other people:
I’m pretty sure we’ve entered the realm of Lynchian dream logic, and attempts to perfectly explain it are missing the point.
And further details on the Cameron/Sloane relationship:
I stumbled on the notion when I realized that Cameron and Sloane seem to inhabit a different universe than Cameron and Ferris, or Ferris and Sloane. It’s those two who are shyly and sweetly stumbling into a relationship, and “Ferris” is the thing between them. During the parade scene, for example, Ferris vanishes, leaving the two to have an understated and genuine conversation. Then Ferris erupts from a crowd of girls on a parade float, screaming out what Cameron cannot. He is the sausage king of Chicago, Cameron’s frustrated adolescent libido made manifest in the form of a short dude with a vest.
And the frosting on the cake is this brilliant summary of the Terminator movies, including a jab at the upcoming fourth movie.
The Terminator is Death. It can’t be defeated, only postponed.
In the first movie, the Terminator comes to kill Sarah Connor before she can reproduce- the only way for a part of her to avoid Death. The Terminator is defeated only after Sarah Connor is impregnated.
In Terminator 2, Death returns for Sarah Connor’s offspring, despite her best efforts to protect him. John must accept his own mortality by sacrificing his own protection from Death, bringing John into adulthood.
In Terminator 3, John Connor teams up with a potential mate, but realizes that he cannot defeat Death, and embraces it instead. It’s the least popular movie because it rejects the wish-fulfillment endings of the first two and embraces the reality that the future is set: everyone will die eventually.
In Terminator: Salvation, McG has Batman fight Transformers.