Ferris Bueller Econ 101

Caleb Crain analyzes the "pernicious" ideology of money and class in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:

[T]he Ferrari represents capital. Cameron’s father, a miser, has accumulated it and doesn’t want to let it go. His son expects to drive it someday and resents having to wait. When the son anticipates and takes it for the day, he faces the problem of what to do with something so valuable that he could never replace it. Once the children bring the Ferrari to downtown Chicago, they sensibly park it in a garagethat is, they place the capital in a bank.

But capital doesn’t stay in the bank where it’s deposited. No sooner does a depositor walk out the door than his money, too, leaves the building, in the hands of someone in need of a loan. While Ferris, Cameron, and Ferris’s girlfriend aren’t looking, the Ferrari is driven off for a joyride by the somewhat Hispanic-looking garage attendant and his black coworker, ethnicity here serving as a marker of socioeconomic class, as so often in movies. Why put your capital in a bank, why invest it in business, when the interest you earn is so low? the movie asks. Such an investment is tantamount to loaning your money to the middle and working classes for their mere pleasure. Why not just take it for a joyride yourself? Spend your capital instead of investing it. Why not take all the pleasure you can out of its destruction?

Thus the totaling of a Ferrari comes to be understood as an act of self-expression.