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10 (More) Outrageous Movie Theories You Didn’t See Coming

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Sometimes fans come up with wild theories to explain gaping plot holes in movies or just to find deeper meanings and themes. While some theories seem far too improbable to believe, others make perfect sense and can actually make a movie more enjoyable to watch. We’ve shared some outrageous movie theories with you in the past; here are 10 more.

1. THE THEORY: HOGWARTS IS JUST HARRY POTTER'S FANTASY

As the theory goes, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) became a victim of child abuse and emotional neglect following the death of his parents. His aunt and uncle force him to live in a small cupboard underneath the stairs and act as if he doesn’t exist. Since Harry is unwanted and abused, he copes with his trauma through elaborate fantasies of magic and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he has lots of friends and is one of the most important people on campus. If you subscribe to this theory, then it explains all the plot holes and “deus ex machina” moments throughout the series.

2. THE THEORY: FERRIS BUELLER AND CAMERON FRYE ARE THE SAME PERSON

This fan theory suggests that Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) doesn’t exist; he’s just part of Cameron Frye’s (Alan Ruck) psyche. The movie introduces Cameron in bed with multiple and mysterious illnesses. Cameron hates his parents and his father is emotionally abusive, so he copes with his reality by having an imaginary friend named Ferris, who is everything that Cameron is not: confident, cool, and charming.

After he embarks on an adventure of watching a Cubs game, eating fine French cuisine, and going to a world-class art museum, Cameron learns to finally confront his demons when he takes responsibility for trashing his father’s car. The theory further suggests that Cameron is the real protagonist of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, as Ferris is merely Cameron’s “Tyler Durden” from Fight Club.

3. THE THEORY: BACK TO THE FUTURE’S DOC BROWN IS SUICIDAL

In Back to the Future, Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) stand right in front of the DeLorean time machine during its first test run. When the speeding car hits 88 miles per hour, it will travel one minute into the future. As the car speeds toward the pair, Marty tries to get out of its way, but Doc pulls him back to watch the DeLorean go into the future. When the car disappears, Doc is surprised that it vanishes.

Throughout the entire Back to the Future trilogy, it’s established that Doc Brown is a failed scientist and the DeLorean time machine is the first thing he’s ever invented that works. There’s a theory that suggests Doc Brown wanted to kill himself after a lifetime of failure and misery. He wanted to commit suicide by way of the invention that consumed his life and drained his family’s fortune. Doc was also on the run after stealing Plutonium from a Libyan terrorist group and he felt that he would be caught soon. Luckily, the time travel experiment worked!

4. THE THEORY: ANDY DUFRESNE IS A MURDEROUS SOCIOPATH

A fan theory suggests that The Shawshank Redemption’s Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is really a cold and remorseless murderer and a master manipulator. Here’s why: Andy is convicted of killing his wife and her lover after he finds out that she’s cheating on him. He gets drunk, buys a gun, and loads it with bullets, only to change his mind at the last minute and not commit the murder. Unfortunately, his wife and her lover were murdered by another person on the same night mere hours after he left the scene. Now that’s a pretty big coincidence!

The police investigation found bullets with his fingerprints on them and the gun was unable to be recovered. Once in prison, he convinces everyone that he’s innocent, even though all the evidence points to his guilt. Andy is obsessed with chess, but it never really plays out as a movie theme, unless it turns out that he was playing everyone—including the audience—as pawns. He only befriends Red (Morgan Freeman) when he needs something from him; he gets friendly with the prison guards to get special treatment for his fellow prisoners; and he helps the warden embezzle money so that he can later escape. He even planted a fake story in Tommy’s (Gil Bellows) mind about “the real killer,” so that he could help him get a new trial. Andy has already established that he’s smarter than everyone at the prison and escapes in the dead of night without anyone having a clue.

Andy Dufresne played everyone for fools, even the viewer, because the whole account of The Shawshank Redemption is from Red’s point of view and the only things he knows about Andy came from Andy directly. In that respect, Red is an unreliable narrator. Red even described Andy as having “a quiet way about him, a walk and a talk that just wasn't normal around here. He strolled, like a man in a park without a care or a worry in the world, like he had on an invisible coat that would shield him from this place.” If this theory holds true, that nonchalance is because Andy is a sociopath.

5. THE THEORY: ALADDIN TAKES PLACE IN A POST-APOCALYPTIC FUTURE

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The proof that Disney’s Aladdin is set in the future comes from the Genie (Robin Williams). During the film, Genie gives Aladdin a makeover and tells him his look is “much too third century,” which implies that the last time he was out of the lamp was sometime between the years from 201 to 300 A.D. In addition, when Genie does get out of the lamp, he remarks that he’s been inside for 10,000 years. This suggest that Aladdin takes places sometime after the year 10,300.

This would explain the movie’s setting and why there are so many modern pop culture references, such as Genie’s celebrity impressions and the appearance of Disneyland memorabilia.

6. THE THEORY: THE ROCK IS REALLY A JAMES BOND MOVIE

In The Rock, Sean Connery plays John Mason, an ex-British secret service agent who is described as a lethal and highly trained killer. He’s detained in the United States after getting caught spying during the 1960s. If the character from The Rock sounds like another British super spy from the ‘60s that was also played by Sean Connery, it’s because John Mason and James Bond are the same character, according to some fans.

The theory goes on to attribute more 007-like qualities to Connery’s character in The Rock, including his winning charm and his sophisticated style after he’s released from prison. He even wears a snazzy new tailored suit and gets a fresh haircut after spending more than 30 years behind bars.

7. THE THEORY: FROZEN'S ELSA AND ANNA ARE NOT SISTERS

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There are a few fan theories that state Frozen and Tangled take place in the same universe. In fact, Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) and Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) make a brief cameo appearance in Frozen during the royal party. Moreover, it was revealed that King Agnarr and Queen Iduna were making a journey to Rapunzel and Flynn’s wedding at the beginning of Frozen when they were lost at sea. But there’s a fan theory out there that takes this idea even further and suggests that Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell) aren’t sisters at all. Instead, Elsa’s real sister is Rapunzel.

Here’s the evidence: They’re both from neighboring kingdoms; Rapunzel is from Corona while Elsa is from Arendelle. They are both similar in age because they’re twins. It’s established Rapunzel is 18 years old at her wedding and Elsa’s coronation takes place three years later on her 21st birthday, so at the time of the royal party, Rapunzel and Elsa are both 21 years old. Lastly, they’re the only two princesses from both Tangled and Frozen (or any of the Disney Princesses) who have magical powers; Rapunzel with her hair and Elsa with her snow and ice powers. In addition, they both have the same power to give and heal life

8. THE THEORY: ALIEN AND FIREFLY TAKE PLACE IN THE SAME UNIVERSE

In the opening scene of Firefly’s pilot episode, Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) gets behind a large cannon to shoot an Alliance spaceship out of the sky during the Battle of Serenity Valley. When he has the ship in his sights, you can plainly see a Weyland-Yutani Corporation logo in the cannon’s display. It suggests that Firefly takes place 200 years after Alien: Resurrection in the same cinematic universe. It’s probably worth noting that Firefly creator Joss Whedon also penned the script for Alien: Resurrection.

9. THE THEORY: BRICK TAMLAND IS A TIME TRAVELER

Steve Carell’s Brick Tamland from the Anchorman movies is really a time traveler moving back and forth in time and space. The biggest clue to this theory comes from the epic battle scene in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. In the middle of the scene, Brick uses a ray gun that he says he got from the future. But before the scene, Brick also subtly references things from the future, such as saying “I ain't afraid of no ghosts” when the movie is set in 1979, which is five years before the release of Ghostbusters in 1984; he can recall his own birth, and plans his own funeral. He knows exactly when he’s going to die in the future because he’s already been there.

It also explains why Brick randomly seems to say nonsensical things, as it’s the only way his brain can deal with his time traveling.  

10. THE THEORY: ANT-MAN IS IN EVERY MOVIE IN THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE

A fan theory appeared on Reddit (albeit in the Sh*tty Fan Theories thread) suggesting that Ant-Man has appeared in every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie just before the release of his own movie in July 2015, but that he was stuck in “Ant” mode and the audience just couldn’t see him. Regardless, he was still in every other Marvel movie helping Iron Man, Captain America, and the rest of the Avengers, just shrunken down.

Ant-Man director Peyton Reed even commented on the theory, telling The Huffington Post, “I love that theory. I think it’s a funny theory. I’m not quite sure that the timeline works out, but I like the idea of it.”

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Shout! Factory
10 Surprising Facts About Mr. Mom
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Shout! Factory

John Hughes penned the script for 1983's Mr. Mom, a comedy about a family man named Jack Butler (Micheal Keaton) who loses his job. To ensure their three kids are taken care of, his wife, Caroline (Teri Garr), goes back to work—leaving Jack to fight off a vacuum cleaner and learn why it's never a good idea to feed chili to a baby.

In 1982, Keaton turned in a star-making role in Ron Howard’s Night Shift, but Mr. Mom marked the first time he headlined a movie, and it launched his career. Hughes had written National Lampoon's Vacation, which—oddly enough—was released in theaters the weekend after Mr. Mom. But Hughes himself was still a relative unknown, as it would be another year before he entered the teen flick phase of his career, which would make him iconic.

In the meantime, Mr. Mom hit home for a lot of viewers, as the economy was on the downturn and more and more women were entering (or reentering) the workforce. But some people think that the movie's ending—which sees the couple revert to traditional gender roles—sidelined the movie's message. Still, on the 35th anniversary of its release, Mr. Mom remains an ahead-of-its-time comedy classic.

1. IT'S BASED ON A TRUE STORY.

Mr. Mom producer Lauren Shuler Donner came across a funny article John Hughes had written for National Lampoon. Based on that, she contacted him and the two became friends. “One day, he was telling me that his wife had gone down to Arizona and he was in charge of the two boys and he didn’t know what he was doing,” Donner told IGN. “It was hilarious! I was on the floor laughing. He said, ‘Do you think this would make a good movie?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, this is really funny.’ So he said, ‘Well, I have about 80 pages in a drawer. Would you look at it?’ So I looked at it and I said, ‘This is great! Let’s do it!’ We kind of developed it ourselves.” In the book Movie Moguls Speak, Donner mentioned how Hughes “had never been to a grocery store, he had never operated a vacuum cleaner. John was so ignorant, that in his ignorance, he was hilarious.”

The players involved with the movie told Donner and Hughes they thought it should be a TV movie. Hughes had a TV deal with Aaron Spelling, who came aboard to executive produce. “Then the players involved were upset because John was writing out of Chicago instead of L.A.,” Donner said in Movie Moguls Speak. “They fired John and brought in a group of TV writers. In the end, John and I were muscled out. It was a good movie, but if you ever read John’s original script for Mr. Mom, it’s far better.”

2. JOHN HUGHES REJECTED THE IDEA OF DIRECTING MR. MOM.

Stan Dragoti ended up directing the film, but only after Hughes turned it down, because he preferred to make his movies in Chicago, not Hollywood. “I don’t like being around the people in the movie business,” Hughes told Roger Ebert. “In Hollywood, you spend all of your time having lunch and making deals. Everybody is trying to shoot you down. I like to get my actors out here where we can make our movies in privacy.” Hughes remained in Chicago and filmed his directorial debut, Sixteen Candles, there.

3. MICHAEL KEATON GOT THE ROLE BECAUSE OF NIGHT SHIFT.

In 1982’s Night Shift, Keaton’s character works at a morgue and starts a prostitution ring with co-worker Henry Winkler. Donner had an agent friend, Laurie Perlman, who represented the not-yet-famous actor. She contacted Donner and pitched Keaton to her. “’Look, I represent this guy who is really funny. Would you meet with him?’" Donner recalled of the conversation. "So I met with him. Usually I don’t like to do this unless we’re casting, but I met with him because she was my friend. And then she said, ‘You have to see this movie Night Shift that he’s in.’ So I went to see Night Shift, and midway through I couldn’t wait to get out of that theater to give Mr. Mom to Michael Keaton. Fortunately, he liked it."

Keaton told Grantland that he turned down one of the main roles in Splash to play Jack Butler. “I just remember at the time thinking I wanted to get away from what I’d just done on Night Shift,” he said. “I thought if I do it again, I might get myself stuck. So then Mr. Mom came along. So I said no [to Splash] so I could set up this framework right away where I could do different things.”

4. THE FILM BROKE NEW GROUND.

Teri Garr, Michael Keaton, Taliesin Jaffe, Frederick Koehler, and Martin Mull in Mr. Mom (1983)
Shout! Factory

In 1983, more women stayed at home than worked, so it was a novelty for a man to be a stay-at-home dad. Today, an estimated 1.4 million men are stay-at-home dads, and 7 million men are their children's primary caregiver. “Mr. Mom became part of the vernacular,” Donner told Newsweek. “Mr. Mom represented a segment of men who were at home dealing with the kids who, up until then, really hadn’t been heard from. That’s what really told me about the power of film, because it spoke for a lot of men. It also helped women, because I think that women sometimes, if you’re a housewife, you’re not really appreciated for what you do. This sort of made women feel better about what they did because they knew that men were understanding it.”

5. TODAY, “MR. MOM” IS CONSIDERED A PEJORATIVE TERM.

More than 30 years after the film’s release, stay-at-home dads feel the term “Mr. Mom” should die. The National At-Home Dad Network launched a campaign to terminate the phrase and instead have people refer to men as “Dad.” In 2014 Lake Superior State University voted to banish “Mr. Mom” from the lexicon.

“At least, the pop-culture image of the inept dad who wouldn’t know a diaper genie from a garbage disposal has begun to fade,” wrote The Wall Street Journal, after declaring “Mr. Mom is dead.”

6. TERI GARR DIDN’T KNOW IT WAS A MESSAGE MOVIE.

The movie redefined gender roles, but when the producers pitched the premise to Garr, they hid the plot reversal. “They just told me it was about a guy who does the work that a woman does, because it’s so easy,” she told The A.V. Club. “And I went, ‘Oh, yeah. Ha ha.’ It’s so easy. All the women I know who stay home and take care of their kids, they go, ‘Oh yeah, this is easy.’ Hmm.”

7. MARTIN MULL IMPROVISED THE “220, 221” LINE.

The quote everyone remembers from the movie comes from Jack, holding a chainsaw, standing next to Ron Richardson (Martin Mull) and discussing what kind of wiring Jack will use in renovating the house: “220, 221, whatever it takes,” Jack says.

“We’re doing the scene and it was okay,” Keaton told Esquire. “And I remember saying to the prop guy, ‘Go find me a chainsaw.’ When he comes back with it, he says, ‘You wanna wear these?’ And he holds up some goggles. I go, ‘Yeah.’ You know, they make me look crazy. And when Martin shows up, I know I should look under control, I’m not sweating it. I’m a dude. So we’re standing there, Martin pulls me aside and says, ‘You know what you ought to say? When I ask about the wiring, you oughta just deadpan: ‘220, 221.’ I died. It was perfect. I may have added ‘whatever it takes.’ But it was his.”

“That was a little ad-lib that we just threw in, but every carpenter or construction person I’ve ever worked with, they’re always quoting that line from Mr. Mom,” Mull told The A.V. Club.

8. MR. MOM OUTGROSSED HUGHES’S OTHER 1983 SUMMER MOVIE—VACATION.

Mr. Mom only opened on 126 screens on July 22, 1983, but managed to gross $947,197 during its opening weekend. Once the film went wide a month later to 1235 screens, it hit number one at the box office and spent five weeks at the top. By the end of its run, the film had grossed just shy of $65 million, making it the ninth highest-grossing film of 1983 (just between Staying Alive and Risky Business). National Lampoon’s Vacation, Hughes’s other film that summer, came out July 29 and ended its theatrical run with $61,399,552 (at its height, it showed on 1248 screens). Vacation finished the year in 11th place.

9. THE MOVIE LED TO HUGHES BEING CALLED “A PURVEYOR OF HORNY SEX COMEDIES.”

During a 1986 interview with Seventeen magazine, Molly Ringwald asked the writer-director why he never showed teen sex in Sixteen Candles or The Breakfast Club. “In Sixteen Candles, I figured it would only be gratuitous to show Samantha and Jake in anything more than a kiss,” he said. “The kiss is the most beautiful moment. I was really amused when someone once called me a ‘purveyor of horny sex comedies.’ He listed The Breakfast Club and Mr. Mom in parentheses. I thought, ‘What kind of sex?’ Yes, in Mr. Mom there’s a baby in a bathtub and you see its bare butt.”

10. MR. MOM WAS MADE INTO A TV MOVIE AFTER ALL.

In the beginning, producers wanted Mr. Mom to be a TV movie, not a feature film. But a year after the film came out in theaters, ABC produced a TV movie called Mr. Mom, with the same characters and premise. Barry Van Dyke played Jack and Rebecca York played Caroline. A People magazine review of the movie stated: “They and their three kids are immediately likable … But it goes downhill from there as the script lobotomizes all its characters. Here’s a textbook case in how TV takes a cute idea—and a script that does have some good lines—and leeches the wit out of it.”

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Ernest Hemingway’s Guide to Life, In 20 Quotes
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Central Press/Getty Images

Though he made his living as a writer, Ernest Hemingway was just as famous for his lust for adventure. Whether he was running with the bulls in Pamplona, fishing for marlin in Bimini, throwing back rum cocktails in Havana, or hanging out with his six-toed cats in Key West, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author never did anything halfway. And he used his adventures as fodder for the unparalleled collection of novels, short stories, and nonfiction books he left behind, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, Death in the Afternoon, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea among them.

On what would be his 119th birthday—he was born in Oak Park, Illinois on July 21, 1899—here are 20 memorable quotes that offer a keen perspective into Hemingway’s way of life.

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF LISTENING

"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen."

ON TRUST

"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them."

ON DECIDING WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT

"I never had to choose a subject—my subject rather chose me."

ON TRAVEL

"Never go on trips with anyone you do not love."


Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. [1], Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INTELLIGENCE AND HAPPINESS

"Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know."

ON TRUTH

"There's no one thing that is true. They're all true."

ON THE DOWNSIDE OF PEOPLE

"The only thing that could spoil a day was people. People were always the limiters of happiness, except for the very few that were as good as spring itself."

ON SUFFERING FOR YOUR ART

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."

ON TAKING ACTION

"Never mistake motion for action."

ON GETTING WORDS OUT

"I wake up in the morning and my mind starts making sentences, and I have to get rid of them fast—talk them or write them down."


Photograph by Mary Hemingway, in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston., Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE BENEFITS OF SLEEP

"I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?"

ON FINDING STRENGTH 

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places."

ON THE TRUE NATURE OF WICKEDNESS

"All things truly wicked start from innocence."

ON WRITING WHAT YOU KNOW

"If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water."

ON THE DEFINITION OF COURAGE

"Courage is grace under pressure."

ON THE PAINFULNESS OF BEING FUNNY

"A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book."


By Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. - JFK Library, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON KEEPING PROMISES

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."

ON GOOD VS. EVIL

"About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after."

ON REACHING FOR THE UNATTAINABLE

"For a true writer, each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed."

ON HAPPY ENDINGS

"There is no lonelier man in death, except the suicide, than that man who has lived many years with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it."

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