Welcome back to Fan Theory Friday, where I scour the internet to find videos about the wildest, wackiest, most-outlandish, and occasionally most-believable fan theories about movies. On tap this week, an oldie but goodie and one of my all-time favorites. It asks a very simple question: what if the entire plot of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was a figment of Cameron’s imagination?
You know Cameron, Ferris’ best friend who starts the day sick in bed and finishes it off with plans to stand up to his domineering father for the first time ever (after wrecking dad’s prized possession, a real cherry sports car). While Ferris is the focus of the film, it’s Cameron who steers it. Without Cameron, Ferris is stuck at home, the former boy must be coaxed into coming out, providing transportation, and helping free Sloane from school, all of which set their exploits in motion. Furthermore, if you think about it, Cameron is really the only of our three main characters who changes over the course of the film. Ferris in the final frames is the same charming gadabout he was at the opening; if anything, his day off has made him more of himself. And Sloane doesn’t change at all, in any regard. But Cameron does. His decision to stand up to his father is bigger than that one act, it is a decision to take ownership over his entire life, to start being the person he wants and not the person others want him to be. We might admire Ferris, but Cameron is the character I’d wager most folks relate to more closely, which makes him – like Anthony Michael Hall in Sixteen Candles — the film’s emotional lead, the place we put our sympathies and affections.
Given that, the idea that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off takes place in a dream or some other imagining of Cameron’s makes a strange sort of sense: he’s conjuring the things he wants but isn’t getting from real life – a cool best friend who respects him instead of uses him; the prettiest, most popular girl in school giving a meek nerd like him the time of day; a bit of out-of-character engagement in a “don’t touch” world; and finally, the self-respect he’s been lacking.
And all this is before you’ve even seen the video, which comes from Shotana Studios and provides ample evidence that just might sway you into considering the theory is real. Either way, though, it’s a fun and oddly insightful way of looking at a beloved character and a classic film about friendship, the many meanings of family, and the peaks and perils of growing up.