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.
"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."|
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.|
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.