Monday, March 21, 2011

I'll Wreck Your Ferrari, and Your Little Dog Too!

One of the clearest signs that you're getting older is when you're watching a TV show or a movie and you realize that maybe the protagonist isn't such a good guy, or perhaps the villain isn't as bad as the film-makers wanted you to believe.  Your perspective has completely changed.  For example, even in the comic strips, I'm starting to find myself rooting for poor old Mr. Wilson to take a garden hoe upside Dennis the Menace's obnoxious blond head.  And don't even get me started on the little shits in The Family Circus.

Just the other night, I was flipping through the channels and came across the classic '80s film Ferris Bueller's Day Off.  I was in college when this movie was originally released, and at the time I thought Ferris was, in the words of Principal Rooney's annoying secretary, "a righteous dude."  He blew off high school, out-witted the authorities, had a smoking hot girlfriend, and went joy-riding in a 1961 Ferrari GT California.  Ferris Bueller was a demi-god.

But watching the movie twenty-five years later, I couldn't help but notice that he's not a demi-god at all.  If anything, he's a demi-prick.

First of all, he ditches high school which in and of itself isn't a huge deal.  According to his records, he had been absent nine times.  While I'd never call this an exemplary attendance record, nine absences over an entire school year isn't horrible either.  It's certainly no reason for a principal to abandon the school grounds and commit a B and E on the kid's home, but that's an issue for another time.

Ferris's truancy is the least of the problems.  It's his treatment of his "friend" Cameron Frye that I find unacceptable.  First of all, on the Big Ditch Day, Cameron is sick in bed.  Instead of leaving the poor guy alone or, God forbid, taking him a thermos of chicken soup, Ferris nags the hell out Cameron until he agrees to pick Ferris up and do his bidding.  What's Ferris's motivation?

Cameron has a car, and Ferris doesn't.  He's using his sick friend as a personal chauffeur.


But we're just getting started.  According to Ferris, Cameron's "piece of shit" car isn't good enough to take to school to pick up Ferris's girlfriend Sloan, who he managed to get excused by forcing Cameron to call the school, pretend to be Sloan's father, and tell Principal Rooney that a family member had died.  So now Ferris decides that they need to secure a different form of transportation.  The logical solution?  Steal Cameron's father's Ferrari.

Cameron literally begs Ferris not to do this.  He suggests renting a limo, a nice stretch job with a TV and a bar.  But no, Ferris is hell-bent on joy-riding in the Ferrari.  Cameron tries to explain that his father will go absolutely bat-shit (and really, what father WOULDN'T?  I'd go ballistic if my kids pulled something like this and I drive a Chrysler, not a friggin' Ferrari).  Cameron goes on to say that the Ferrari is his father's "love, it is his passion."  Bueller's response?

"It is his fault he didn't lock the garage."

That's right, Ferris, if someone doesn't lock their garage, or maybe their front door, going in and stealing their property is perfectly okay.

Of course Bueller ends up trashing the Ferrari and leaves it to Cameron to take the heat.  I'm hoping to someday see Ferris Bueller II, the story of a lawsuit that costs Ferris hundreds of thousands of dollars and maybe a prison sentence.

Okay, so Ferris Bueller is an example of a movie "hero" who is, upon further examination, a bad guy.  Next, we're going to talk about one of the most notorious movie villains ever, and I think you're going to agree with me in saying that this person has gotten the bummiest of bum raps ever.

I'm speaking of course about the Wicked Witch of the West.

"I don't want any trouble, I'd just like my sister's shoes."
Granted, the image she presents doesn't do her any favors.  Her green complexion, evil-sounding cackle and band of horrifying flying monkeys make it easy to jump to the conclusion that the witch's intentions are less than pure, but let's take a look at her plight as presented in the classic film The Wizard of Oz.  She arrives in Munchkinland to discover that her dear sister has been crushed to death by a flying house.  Clearly, losing one's sibling to such a grisly event would be a traumatic experience for anyone, with the possible exception of Emilio Estevez.

I'm kidding of course.  No one wants Charlie dead.  Banished to the South Pole, maybe, but not dead.

Not only has the Wicked Witch of the West's sister been killed, the friggin' Munchkins are singing a damn song about it.  "Ding, dong, the witch is dead!"  That's just cold.  Okay, maybe the W.W. of the East had made life miserable for the Munchkins (though the movie presents no evidence of this), but couldn't we at least show a bit of compassion and tone down the celebrating? 

And then they present the murderer with all sorts of honors and treat her like a hero.  I realize of course that Dorothy Gale did not intend to land the house on the witch, and maybe the word "murderer" is a little strong.  But I certainly think the Witch family has a decent wrongful death case against Auntie Em and Uncle Henry for failing to secure the home with a reasonably reliable foundation.  We didn't see any other houses zipping through the air, did we?

Which brings us to the case of the ruby slippers.

The Wicked Witch of the West arrives at the scene of her sister's death, and all she wants to do is retrieve a pair of valuable ruby slippers that have been in the Witch family for decades.  Before she gets to them, however, the slippers are magically stolen by Glinda the "Good" Witch who in my opinion is the real villain of this whole story.  Glinda zaps the slippers onto the feet of Dorothy, who is now guilty of receiving stolen property.

If she were evil, she'd have cut Dorothy's feet off.
Frustrated, angry, and still in mourning, W.W. of the West asks Dorothy, very politely given the circumstances, to give her the ruby slippers.  Dorothy, in fact, agrees to turn them over but when the Witch reaches down to take them off Dorothy's feet, it turns out that Glinda has cast a spell on them (the slippers).  The Witch is, at this point, understandably pissed.

For the next couple hours, the Witch follows Dorothy and her friends, again, for no reason other than the retrieval of her family's property.  At one point, she makes another peaceful request in the form of a smoke message in the sky:


As in, "Surrender my family's ruby slippers, so we can all go on our merry way."

Does Dorothy listen?  No she does not.  So now W.W. of the West is left with no choice but to escalate the situation, enlisting the help of her aforementioned band of horrifying flying monkeys.  The Witch eventually loses the battle to a bucket of water (this has to be the most inconvenient weakness of any "villain" in movie history, by the way) and never does get the ruby slippers back.

So now two innocent Witches are dead and the nefarious Glinda and Dorothy live happily ever after, unpunished for their crimes of manslaughter, theft, receipt of stolen property, and homicide.

They probably took the next day off, and drove back to Kansas in a stolen 1961 Ferrari GT California.


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Surfie said...

Love the photo captions. They really sum up your theory quite nicely. :)

laughingmom said...

Hear! Hear! You got it right! Kind of like we thought Tom Cruise was cool (before we knew he was crazy) when he turned his parent's house into a brothel in Risky Business...and that HELPED him get into college. I didn't let my son watch that one before he did his applications.

Suldog said...

I feel the same way about Yogi Bear and Ranger Smith.

Jenn Thorson said...

I have always had this Ferris Bueller problem. What always bothered me was his mom was NICE... really NICE... she cared about him, like, a LOT. She was so concerned he was sick. And he still had no problem making a total fool out of her.

I wanted his parents to deserve being lied to.

Eva Gallant said...

Just call me a rebel (and I'm a former teacher), but I loved Ferris Bueller's Day Off! It was so irreverently funny.

Jeanne said...

Yeah, I always identified with Cameron way more than Ferris.

And I think Elphaba, the WWoftheW in Wicked said it best: "What kind of person steals a dead woman's shoes?"

Quirkyloon said...

"And don't even get me started on the little shits in The Family Circus."

*triple dog dare snort*

I almost peed my pants from laughing at this line!

Another brilliantly funny post! When you comin' back to HBDC? *sly smile*

Gina said...

LOVE your writing! Way to bring it back around at the end.

Helle Kristine Tumbridge said...

Sir, I think you'll find that blonde Dennis is not actually Dennis the Menace at all. Dennis the Menace is a British creation, a very old one. He has black hair. This is outrageous.

I'm Jane said...

Cameron was a puss and WW of the West had horrible fashion sense. They deserved what they got.

J.J. in L.A. said...

Cameron wasn't sick. He was a wussy puss who didn't earn his man balls til the car went into the woods.

And I hated...yes, HATED...The Wizard of Oz/Dorothy. Or maybe it was just Judy Garland, or the monkeys, but I hated that movie.

ReformingGeek said...

Now I'm going around with "Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead" in my head.

Thanks bunches.

I always thought the green looked good on her. Poor thing. She just wanted some shoes.


Also, what do you expect from a punk named Ferris?

notactuallygod said...

I've gone through this transition myself, with more than one Matthew Broderick character. Remember David, from WarGames? Hacked into NORAD and compromised out defense grid -at a time when all-out nuclear war was still a very real possibility.

Maybe if Rutger Hauer has come through on his threats to kill this punk in LadyHawk we'd all be better off.

Brooke Amanda said...

Even though I had a crush on Ferris, I always thought he totally screwed over Cameron. And now that I've read "Wicked" my opinion of the Wicked Witch has changed as well. She is painted as a much more sympathetic character in the book.

Suniverse said...

Well done. That Ferris was a punk. Who wears a vest?

I sometimes hate revisiting things, because I find myself loathing the person I used to love. Case in point? Lorelai Gilmore of the Gilmore Girls. LOVED HER. To pieces. And then? As I rewatched? I wondered why she had to be such a bitch to her mom.

Uncle Skip, said...

I'm fairly certain I went to school with the guy on whom Ferris Bueller is based. Only it wasn't his dad's Ferrari (dad drove an Olds), it was his older sister's Vauxhall. The piece of $#it car was a '46 Ford.
There were other things better left unmentioned because, even though the statute of limitations is up, there are reputations to protect

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