Ferris Bueller's Day Off/WMG

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Ed Rooney is actually a CIA agent.

Back in the day, in England and Russia, occasionally government agents would pose as teachers at schools to keep an eye out for students who seemed to have a natural talent for cloak-and-dagger stuff. After graduation or during college, said student would usually be approached with a job offer (Or So I Heard).

That's why Ed Rooney is such a hardass: He knows that the more he enforces rules, the more students like Ferris will rebel. As a result of his rulemeistering, Ferris is a vehicular expert/computer whiz/electrician.

  • A creative theory, but the parts where Rooney sadistically mutters to himself about how he's going to ruin Ferris' life so hard doesn't fit in very well.

The Bueller Club Theory

Cameron is hallucinating Ferris' existence. He is driving his father's car and wrecking havoc throughout the city with the girl he's fond of, all the while being chased by imaginary cartoonish authority figures.

  • This can be supported amusingly well. Doesn't it seem a little convenient that on the day Ferris just happens to decide to skip school, Cameron just happens also to be at home sick? Ferris doesn't even question it - he's not even in a hurry to ring Cameron's house in case Cameron leaves for school. Why? Because the 'phone call' is Cameron's internal monologue. Why is it that we never see Cameron's parents? Answer: we do, they're just referred to as 'Ferris'' parents. 'Ferris':Cameron = Tyler Durden:Jack, and the climax of the movie is Cameron's adoption of some of Ferris' traits, while also re-asserting his primacy and dismissing Ferris, who was only ever a coping mechanism and is no longer needed - "It is possible to stop Mr Ferris Bueller, you know."
  • Doesn't this support the belief that Ferris is a Thirty-Sue Pileup? As listed on the main page, he's a Canon Sue, a Black Hole Sue, and it's not very hard to consider him a God Mode Sue.

Is Sloane real or just in Cameron's mind? This idea was looked into in depth over here

  • Another theory is that Ferris and Sloane are real kids that attend the school, that Cameron wishes he knew, and the entire scenario is something he day-dreamed while being sick the day of the plot.

The Bueller Club Theory is correct

...but Cameron is a hypochondriac, homeless orphan who goes to the same school as Ferris and Sloane, but thinks he is sick all the time. One day he sees the Ferrari and on an impulse steals it, prompting the day of joyriding we see in the movie. He does crash the car, and his resolution at the end to own up to it is really his resolution to own up to stealing the car and get help from social workers. The entire movie is his fantasy.

Everyone exists and the events more-or-less happened, BUT...

Bueller is an Unreliable Narrator and the events that show up onscreen are his version, greatly exagerrated in the retelling. They never had the entire city of Chicago paying attention to them, just a few people; they put a bad scratch in Cameron's dad's four-door Chevy Celebrity rather than wrecking a nonexistent vintage Ferrari, and so on.

The 'Bueller Club' theory is correct...but Ferris is the one hallucinating

Related to the above WMG: Ferris is actually hallucinating or dreaming about a day where he can crash the Von Steuben Day parade—which happens in the fall—on the same day as a real baseball game that happened in June 1985.

Not to mention:

  • Constant Breaking the Fourth Wall.
  • Hacking into the school computers to change his tardies.
  • Wiring his intercom to a tape recorder, and using other Homemade Inventions to aid him.
  • Making his principal look like an ass.
  • Getting EVERYONE in Shermer to adore him.
  • One-upping his twin sister.
  • The day culminating with him taking a dip in the pool with his attractive girlfriend, and his best friend finally standing up to his father.
  • Getting out of sticky situations in the nick of time.

Bottom line: it's a teenage escapist fantasy that never happened. Who knows: maybe he actually was sick, and he dreamed the entire thing, meaning the entirety of FBDO was seen Through the Eyes of Madness...

Ferris Bueller is the Anti Christ.

He was either Switched At Birth or deliberately adopted by his parents at the behest of a cult. As he entered adolescence, he charmed the entire student body at high school (note Grace's observation that they all consider him "one righteous dude"). Note his pet Rottweiler - a clear Hell Hound - and his ability to sow the seeds of gentle anarchy in his peers - Cameron is inspired to tell off his dad, Jeanie starts off resenting her brother's godlike influence but ultimately ends up helping him. Ed Rooney was recruited to stop him, due to his position as principal of said high school. Ferris sees the danger Rooney poses to him, but prefers to toy with him a bit - note how badly fate (and the Buellers' dog) bites Rooney in the end.

Ferris Bueller's Chicago is also the Gotham City of Batman Begins.

And Ferris—a brilliant, manipulative, amoral trickster—grows up to become the Riddler. Or possibly even the Joker.

  • Ferris is definitely a young prototype of the Joker from The Dark Knight. They both have no rules and in spite of being rather unlikable (Ferris being a manipulative, ungrateful bastard and Joker a clearly violent and insane psychopath), have an inexplicable talent for being charismatic and getting people to follow their orders. (For the rest of this theory, see the relevant page.
    • This actually makes a lot of sense. Ferris' girlfriend Sloane was Harley Quinn in Birds of Prey.

Ferris Bueller is an AU of Fight Club

Similar to the first one, Cameron is the MC, and Ferris is the equivalent of Tyler Durden.

Ferris Bueller got busted

His parents or someone else, watching the 6:00 news or reading the newspaper, saw Ferris catching the baseball or singing on the parade float. Ferris' little day off ends up torpedoing his reputation and costing him the countless things his parents spoiled him with.

Ferris Bueller goes to the same school as The Breakfast Club.

Some of the school hallway scenes for FBDO were filmed at the same time as those for The Breakfast Club, and both movies are set in the fictional suburb of Shermer, Illinois. Not to mention the fact that both movies were written and directed by John Hughes. It's not that much of a stretch to think that the two films share a universe.[1]

Cameron is suicidal.

While Cameron wants to die, he doesn't have the courage to commit suicide, and doesn't want to leave knowing people won't miss him. That's why he fakes a drowning attempt at the pool earlier in the film, to see if Ferris would get genuinely upset. Cameron is unusually happy when his dad's Ferrari crashes through the garage, because in his twisted mind, he believes his Dad will literally kill him. As such, Cameron will finally be off of this planet he hates so much, and Ferris will feel extreme survivor's guilt, and perhaps finally learn that actions have consequences. Again, this is using Cameron's twisted suicidal logic.

  • Alternately, to fit in with the Character Development that Cameron gets, Cameron is convinced to live after his dad's Ferrari crashes, and to improve his quality of life. This means finally Calling the Old Man Out, and Cameron finally found the strength to do that.

Everything happens on June 5, 1985

The movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" was released on June 11, 1986. The ballgame then must have been filmed either real early in the 1986 season or sometime during 1985. Looking at game logs from those seasons, we see that there was no game in 1986 in which Lee Smith (#46) faced the Braves at Wrigley Field. There were four such games in '85, though Smith left the Braves hitless in one of those. Of the remaining three games, it isn't hard to find the game we're looking for.

(I stole this from http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Bueller-For-which-Cubs-game-did-Ferris-play-hoo?urn=mlb-318065)

  • Wait, that means Ferris was like... what, 10 days from graduation? And yet the economics class is talking about the Laffer Curve. Something that is taught in the first, what, month of an economics class.
    • They could be reviewing the material before the Final Exam.

Ferris Bueller grew up to be Jim McAllister from Election.

After people finally caught on to what a Manipulative Bastard Ferris really was, he changed his name and fled. After earning his teaching degree, he started his life anew, thinking he had gotten away scot-free. But karma caught up with Ferris, and he's finally having to pay for all the sins of his youth.

The Universe loves Ferris

From his birth, all of existence has coddled Ferris. There's still free will for other people, which is why he doesn't have a car, but for the most part he gets what he wants, when he wants it. This is why everything works out for him so improbably, and why he's such a Jerkass: He's been given what he wants since birth, and never really missed anything: He got what he wanted, when he wanted it. He didn't have a car, sure, but when he really wanted one? He got a vintage Ferrari.

Ferris was either whacked or hired by Abe Frohman

Frohman's "Sausage King of Chicago" reputation is his cover/money laundering scheme to hide the fact that he's a high-level mobster. (A mobster? In Chicago? Impossible!) Either he's humiliated by Ferris and has him eliminated (possibly with Rooney's help), or he's impressed by Ferris' inventive thinking and brings him into the organization.

Ferris is not the bad guy or an illusion or the Anti-Christ or any of those things he is just tired of two things: the same routine every day and the suffering of his best friend.

Nuff said.

  1. Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, and Pretty in Pink might also fit in for various reasons, though the jury's definitely still out.