6 Insane Fan Theories That Make Great Movies Better: Update
Cinephiles love reading way too much into a films, and 99 percent of the stuff they come up with is bullshit ("what if Haley Joel Osment was also a ghost?") but other times, they turn out to be right (yes, Harrison Ford really was a replicant in Blade Runner).
Well here are some oddball, yet strangely plausible, alternate fan theories that in many cases actually improve the movie quite a bit.
We found this old gem about movie fan theories while we were digging around for things to write off on our tax report, and not only did it make us laugh, it reminded us of our upcoming web series: Adventures in Jedi School -- a show that builds on and plays with the rules of the Star Wars universe. A show that finally dares to ask the question: "What about the dumb people in the Star Wars universe?"
Be sure to watch its debut tomorrow and, in the meantime, hold yourself over with this Cracked Classic and its sequel, both of which feature Star Wars and, if you don't mind us saying, have aged as gracefully as a fine wine, a good whiskey, or certain types of delivery pizza (trust us).
"James Bond" Is Not a Man, But a Code Name
When the 007 franchise launched in 1962, Sean Connery was 32 when he received his license to kill. That was almost 50-years ago, and James Bond has aged like a fine Beaujolais spiked with antifreeze. How is the same 30-something special agent who fought the Cold War-era Russians now taking on post-9/11 terrorism?
There has been a theory among fans that there is no one single James Bond, but that "James Bond" is a codename passed on from one agent to the next as each retires (just as the titles of M and Q pinball from agent to agent). The theory explains the agelessness of Bond--note that Daniel Craig's Bond became 11 years younger whereas Judi Dench's M aged by four years.
This also explains how James Bond's personality changes dramatically from actor to actor. For example, in one film you have Timothy Dalton's Bond burning a man alive (around the 9:00 mark). Pop in another DVD and you see Roger Moore's Bond is doddering around in a clown costume.
The more you look into it, the more it makes sense. George Lazenby's Bond had his wife murdered in the last film he appeared in, so fans could assume that his 007 retired out of grief. Timothy Dalton's Bond went rogue and was kicked out of MI6. Pierce Brosnan's final outing ended with Bond being abandoned by British intelligence. Next movie, there's a new Bond in the tuxedo and the old one is presumably on a beach somewhere collecting a government pension.
Hell, even the guy who directed Die Another Day believed this theory. Wait, that was the Bond movie with the invisible car, right? Fuck that guy.
Why Does it Make the Film Better?
We like the realism that this theory gives the Bond franchise, particularly since 007 movies have the propensity to fly off the rails every few years (see: Moonraker, Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist, that invisible fucking car).
On the downside, it throws a real monkey wrench in Cracked's patent pending "James Bond Immortality Diet," in which we advise you to hydrate solely with Gordon's and Lillet and to bed at least three secretaries daily.
"C'mon toots. I'm only doing you for my blood pressure."
Zion Is Part Of The Matrix
Do you remember The Matrix: Revolutions? No? It was, like, the final film in the trilogy? Still no? Hey, we haven't watched it since 2003 either. Wait, you don't even remember it coming out? Dear reader, we think you might have a case of PTSD: Post-Trilogy Stress Disorder. Don't worry; you're not alone in your suffering--it affects Star Wars fans too.
Would it reaffirm your faith in the Wachowski brothers, dear Matrix fan, if we told you the mindfuck from the first movie was just one mindfuck inside one huge matryoshka doll of mindfucks?
In Revolutions, Neo's powers from the Matrix have seemingly transferred into the material world. For instance, he can "see" (despite having charbroiled his eyeballs) and also manifests the power to blow up machines with his mind. This has been a pet peeve with fans who note that this makes absolutely zero sense in the context of the Matrix universe.
But one theory posits that Neo's sudden, convenient-to-the-plot superpowers were possible since he never left the Matrix at all.
These fans figure "Zion" and the whole world Morpheus and the other "free" humans lived in was a separate Matrix unto itself, a second layer of the computer program to let some people think they had escaped. Thus it makes perfect sense that Neo would have magical powers in what he thought was the "physical" world.
Why does it make the film better?
The theory keeps the sci-fi film sci-fi and not heavy-handed messianic fantasy. Neo's new powers are never explained in Revolutions (hand-waved away by The Oracle in one sentence) and therefore seem like a cheap cop-out tacked on simply to end the damn movie. This explanation also prevents the now-tarnished Wachowskis from looking like a bunch of lazy jack-offs who are still cruising on the first Matrix film.
"From the team who brought you Speed Racer and Ninja Assassin!"
The theory gives a somewhat credible explanation instead of a deus ex machina plot device. Interestingly enough, deus ex machina literally means "god from the machine." Double whoa, brah.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off Was All in Cameron's Head
This beloved 1986 John Hughes teen comedy tells the story of three good friends playing hooky; the affable and impossibly popular Ferris Bueller, the chronically depressed Cameron and Ferris's girlfriend, the stone-cold Sloane. Together, they embark upon the most exciting non-sex-and-booze-and-pot filled day a bunch of attractive American teens could ever wish for.
Cameron creates Ferris in his mind. Ferris is the total opposite of Cameron: he's fun, spontaneous and has a loving family and foxy girlfriend. At the beginning of the film, the imaginary Ferris convinces a bed-ridden Cameron to "borrow" his dad's Ferrari 250 GT California and cruise all over Chicago. Given Cameron's crushing social incompetence, it's likely that Sloane is fictional too and represents a girl that he has a crush on.
This theory explains the more fantastic elements of the film. For example, the whole city of Chicago rallies around the "sick" Ferris. This represents Cameron's miserable home life and how he yearns for friends and family who give a shit. Or, perhaps Bueller is a guy Cameron knows but isn't friends with, and his fantasy is based on what he imagines life to be like for the "popular" kids at school--everything is easy and the world revolves around them.
Or maybe it's a secret metaphor for how Cameron wants to grow up to be Inspector Gadget.
"Gotta get home before my parents do!"
When Cameron accidentally trashes his father's Ferrari at the film's climax, he realizes that he needs to stick up to his father and take responsibility for his own life. At this point he "disposes" of Ferris and Sloane. Both of his fictional friends receive happy endings: Sloane is left pondering marrying Ferris, whereas Ferris safely returns home, where he can break the fourth wall for eternity.
Why does it make the film better?
It transforms Ferris Bueller into a Brat Pack version of Fight Club. Remember when Ferris keeps pestering Cameron to pick him up? Let's watch that scene again...
Holy shit. That kid is fucked up. He needs a friend. A friend who is everything he is not, a friend who can liberate him from all of his self-imposed limitations. Somewhere, there's probably a rejected script for a sequel where "Bueller" convinces Cameron to climb up a clock tower with a rifle.
The Little Brother Dies In Radio Flyer
In this 1992 film, Elijah Wood and that kid from Jurassic Park play two young brothers who live in fear of their abusive stepfather. The non-hobbit son concocts a plan to escape on his Radio Flyer wagon. At the end of the film, he and his wagon careen off a cliff, only to fly up, up, and away from his crappy life.
There are a couple theories floating around here. One is that the younger brother is a mental fiction created by Elijah Wood's narrator to cope with the abuse--it's notable that no one except the narrator's family interacts with the younger brother. Another theory (which even Roger Ebert suggested) is that the younger brother plummets to his death or is beaten to death by his stepfather.
Furthermore, the narrator's final lines ("Now do you understand what I mean about history being in the mind of the teller? [...]'Cause that's how I remember it.") lend further credence to all of these totally depressing scenarios.
You're a goddamned liar, Tom Hanks!
Why does it make the film better?
Radio Flyer was panned for its saccharine and frankly retarded ending, and the fan theories give the film a more poignant twist. However, we at Cracked find both of these endings wholly unsatisfactory and instead choose to believe that the kid was shanghaied away by Falcor.
Fact: Every movie should end like this.
A Shitload Of Films End In The Heroes' Heads
Quick quiz: What do Minority Report, Taxi Driver, Total Recall and Observe and Report have in common? If you said "that hooker with three boobs," we dig your style, but no dice.
Give up? The final act of all of these movies takes place entirely in the protagonists' minds.
Minority Report and Total Recall are based on the works of Phillip K. Dick, a sci-fi author notorious for exploring human perceptions of reality. In Total Recall, the entire point of the film is that you're not quite sure where the simulation Arnold purchased ends and begins (and a major plot point involves the bad guys trying to rescue him from the simulation, or claiming they were). So it's plausible, and even likely, that the ending (or even the entire damn movie) occurred in the brainwashed Arnold Schwarzenegger's mind.
Less obvious is the shiny, happy ending of the neo-noir Minority Report, with the three rescued psychics living out their lives in an idyllic cabin right out of a Thomas Kinkade painting. It feels so out-of-place that it could very well be a delusion of Tom Cruise's Xenu-infested skull. Remember, Cruise's character was briefly imprisoned in that futuristic iJail where the prisoners' brains remained free to dream. It's possible that the "escape" and heroism was all part of the fantasy that keeps the prisoners from escaping (just like the "Zion is also the Matrix" theory).
On a similar note, critics have interpreted the weirdly cheerful ending of Taxi Driver as the dying thoughts of Travis Bickle. Hell, even Scorsese admits that the film's overly happy ending is a cipher. This same theory applies to Taxi Driver homage Observe and Report: After Seth Rogen stops taking his medication, his schlubby bipolar mall cop saves the day and gets the girl through a series of grossly improbable events (including Rogen beating a dozen policemen and shooting a guy with no consequences).
Paul Blart ends this way too.
Why Do They Make These Films Better?
The final scenes of each seem to clash with the movies' overall message. These fan theories reaffirm the films' darker themes while offering the audience twists of Shyamalanian proportions.
These theories also give us hope for other films too. For example, we have our own theory that The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull occurs entirely in Indiana Jones's mind--he hallucinates the whole goddamn mess while slowly dying from radiation poisoning in a lead-lined fridge.
We actually hope that Indy is dead. Just so this never happened.
Chewbacca and R2-D2 Are Secret Rebel Agents
When George Lucas introduced his magnum opus, Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, he tried to shoehorn in perhaps every damn character from the original series, the obese Rancor keeper from Return of the Jedi notwithstanding.
Third Year Consecutive Tatooine Spring Break Wet T-Shirt Contest Champion.
By plopping beloved characters as R2-D2 into the thick of previous events, many fans realized that Lucas had created Chrysler-sized plot holes. For example, R2-D2 and C-3PO basically witnessed Anakin's transformation into Darth Vader, but this fact is never mentioned in the original trilogy. Neither is the fact that Yoda and Chewbacca knew each other (seen fighting alongside one another in Episode III), making it a spectacular coincidence that Luke and Obi-Wan just happened to run into him when looking for a ride off Tatooine in Episode IV.
Lucas tried to cover the "why in Episode IV does C-3PO seem ignorant of everything he saw in the prequels" plot hole by having Bail Organa wipe his memory. But one incredibly detailed theory suggests that someone in the Star Wars universe realized that rebooting the droids was a godawful idea. After all, R2-D2 and C-3PO had just witnessed the rise of the Galactic Empire firsthand. Why the hell would the Rebels delete this precious intel?
According to this theory, R2-D2 must have convinced Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi to spare him a memory wipe, whereas C-3PO was not so lucky. During the 20 or so years between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, the two robots travel undercover; Threepio suspects that he and R2 are affiliated with the Rebels, but unbeknownst to the golden dandypants, R2 has been in communication with the Rebel Alliance the whole time.
He also never tells Threepio that he's really a tiny man in a can.
In RoTS, Chewie is good friends with Yoda and a high-ranking warrior during the defense of Kashyyyk. Why would a second-in-command of the Wookiee army suddenly slum it with Han Solo, a smuggling lowlife? Because Yoda--who's holed up on his toilet planet--needed Chewie to be his eyes and ears.
The theory further states that Chewbacca convinces Han to work with Jabba the Hutt; this way Chewie can frequently visit Tatooine and keep tabs on Luke Skywalker. We further presume Chewie's other unofficial title was "Incest Cop," and he shoved Han into the mix whenever Luke and Leia capered off to play "Hide The Womp Rat."
Why does it make the film better?
The theory bestows the series' sidekicks with a much greater narrative dignity. It also makes Chewbacca's cameo in Revenge of the Sith something more than a totally crass reason to introduce the "Kashyyyk Resistance Fighter Chewbacca" action figure.
"Medals? Oh, yeah, no thanks. We're good."
The theory adds some fascinating subtext to the original films, and also makes the prequels, well, worth watching. Most importantly, if this theory was true, George Lucas would get some serious critical cred. And Lord knows, he could use it.
Pic offered without comment.
Also offered without comment: this link to the trailer for Cracked's new Star Wars mini-series.
Do you have something funny to say about a random topic? You could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow. Go here and find out how to create a Topic Page.
For great movies that shouldn't have been tampered with, check out 5 Awesome Movies Ruined By Last-Minute Changes. Or allow Swaim to show you some directors that skipped their History classes in school, in 11 Movies Saved by Historical Inaccuracy.
And stop by our Top Picks (Updated 1.8.2010) to see how boobs make the Internet more awesome.