/ APRIL 2014
An Entirely Too Literal Examination of the Friendship Between Bill and Ted
Henry and INDIANA JONES: Like Crusading Father, Like Crusading Son
Lord & Miller: The Directing Duo Behind 22 JUMP STREET’s Best Friends
Devin Faraci

Managing Editor
Meredith Borders

Associate Publisher
Henri Mazza

Art Director
Joseph A. Ziemba

Graphic Designers
Stephen Sosa, Zach Short

Copy Editor
George Bragdon

Contributing Writers
Meredith Borders, Mandy Curtis, Devin Faraci, Sara Freeman, Greg MacLennan,
Henri Mazza, Evan Saathoff, Noah Segan

Public Relations Inquiries
Brandy Fons |

All content © 2013 Alamo Drafthouse
We Ride Together, We Die Together: Bad Boys for Life
The Indefnable West And Fields In MY LITTLE CHICKADEE
Brothers Gotta Hug: David Spade And Chris Farley In TOMMY BOY
For the full
cinema schedule go to
June Is
And On TV
Badass Digest Editor in Chief
You can’t always go it alone. Sometimes you need
a buddy at your side to pick you up when you fall
and keep you grounded when you get too full of
yourself. A pal, a sidekick, a partner. A Robin to
your Batman.
This month 22 JUMP STREET reunites partners
Jenko and Schmidt on the big screen, and that
inspired us to examine some of our favorite on-
screen dynamic duos. Well, except for THE
Dynamic Duo. That was maybe a bit too on the
nose for us.
This issue you can read about the special love
shared by Butch and Sundance. You can join an
argument about whether or not E.T. THE EXTRA-
TERRESTRIAL is actually a buddy movie. You
can look back at the unique pairing of Mae West
Or perhaps you want to find out how shit got real
in BAD BOYS II, or go in-depth into the father/
son dynamics of INDIANA JONES AND THE
LAST CRUSADE. You might also visit the Circle
K, because we’re spending some time analyzing
the friendship of Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted
“Theodore” Logan.
Whichever article catches your fancy, don’t keep it
to yourself! Share it with a pal! Take a copy of this
very magazine and send it to a friend who doesn’t
have an Alamo Drafthouse nearby. Or direct them to, where we’ll be discussing
these articles with the best buddies of all, strangers
on the internet. 6
Dir. Michael Bay, 2003, R, 147 min
Tere are the Michael Bay detractors out there, and
then there are the people who know what they are
talking about. BAD BOYS II is what happens when
an amazing '90s director has lost his way, then decides
he needs to find his footing in a major capacity. And
just how does one do that? You recruit the likes of Big
Willie Style and Martin "I Like It When You Call Me
Big Momma" Lawrence and rekindle the magical fire
of the buddy cop movie you once made, but turning
the INSANE DESTRUCTO meter to 11. You will see
every dollar of this film’s budget completely destroyed
on screen; you will see guns blazing, cameras swinging
and lizards exploding. Tis is Michael Bay’s CITIZEN
KANE and it demands your attention.
IF you can find a more exciting event than this, you are
probably signed up to be set on fire before jumping out
of a plane and diving into a pool full of cocaine. And
by all means, if you are doing that, then I understand if
you miss this event, but if your excuse is ANYTHING
ELSE... you are a fool.
We ride together, we die together. Bad boys for life.
(Greg MacLennan)
Dir. Frank Oz, 1988, PG, 110 min
"I've got culture coming out of my ass."
Beaumont sur Mer is a tranquil little town along
the French Mediterranean coast where Michael
Caine's con man Lawrence preys on the kindness
of women to afford himself quite the elaborate
lifestyle. That is until small-time grifter Freddie
(Steve Martin) rolls through the place and forces
Lawrence to share the secrets of his high-class ways.
What follows is an out-con the con back and forth
that's both intelligent and absolutely idiotic at the
same time.
This is vintage Steve Martin at his best, swinging
from one-liners to pratfalls at the drop of a hat
(ZING!) and Michael Caine is like a white British
Will Smith for me. I'd watch this man act in
pretty much anything because he goes down like
a warm comforting glass of milk before bedtime,
and his comedic talents have gone severely
underappreciated over the years. But we can't just
exhibit this magnificent film on the big screen, OH
NO!! We must partake in absolute decadence -- and
that's where Alamo Beverage Director Bill Norris
comes in. He will be designing custom cocktails
for the show themed with the movie. Try one and
have a good time, or bask in the opulent glory
of them all and make a friend drive you home.
SERIOUSLY, trust Bill Norris, this is a man who
has mixed things I hate into concoctions I still
dream of. (Greg MacLennan)
Dir: Steven Spielberg, 1982, PG, 115 min
Tere are a handful of precious, important films that
have undeniably shaped countless childhoods. Steven
Spielberg’s childlike view of an alien encounter is one of
them. E.T. THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL has already
touched the heart of generations of young moviegoers
and it’s just over three decades old.
We all know the story: Elliot, a lonely kid living in
suburban California, whose room is chock full of the
toys he plays with to cope with his lack of actual friends,
comes across a shy alien in his backyard. At first both
are scared, but soon Elliot recognizes the creature’s
gentle nature and befriends him. Quickly the two
develop a strong bond of friendship and Elliot decides
to hide the alien, whom he calls E.T., from his mother.
One of the most imaginative, heartfelt, unpretentious
science fiction films ever made, E.T. makes the
bold choice of telling a direct story in a simple way.
Screenwriter Melissa Mathison uses restraint in her
narrative that gives the film such a direct emotional
impact and Spielberg, who famously decided to shoot
almost every shot at the level of a child, embraces her
gentle approach. And then there’s John Williams’
Inspired by Jenko and Schmidt in 22 JUMP STREET, the Alamo Drafthouse presents a month
of pals, partners, sidekicks and the most dynamic of duos we could fnd in flm. For tickets,
showtimes, formats, and a full list of titles, visit
Screening In June
At The Alamo Drafthouse
beyond classic score and Henry Tomas’ iconic lead
performance. And E.T. himself: brought to life by a
practical combination of ingenuity and technology.
While most sci-fi films since its release have been
bogged down by CGI, E.T. remains a brilliant example
that all the computer wizardry in the world means
nothing if you don’t connect on an emotional level.
E.T. will always live in the hearts of moviegoers, both
young and old, because it makes us care -- and care
deeply. (R.J. LaForce)
Dir. Stephen Herek, 1989, PG, 90 min
History is about to be rewritten by two guys who
can't spell...
Two lobotomized friends kidnap historical luminaries
for the world’s most epic phone booth stuffing!
Bill S. Preston, Esq. (Alex Winter) and Ted “Teodore”
Logan (that other guy) are seniors on the verge
of failing history. Teir only hope is to deliver an
impressive final report on how people from the past
would view the world today. Teir success is also the
only hope for the citizens of the future, who rely on the
music of Bill and Ted’s band Wyld Stallyns to fuel their
idyllic society. Tat’s why Rufus (George Carlin) is sent
back in time to help the guys pass history and keep
the band together. Using Rufus’ phone booth time
machine, the boys assemble a dream team of historical
figures to speak at their presentation.
a masterpiece of ‘80s Hollywood insanity that went on
to spawn one of the most triumphant sequels of all! It’s
gonna be like every wild night from EVERY century
EVER…ALL at ONCE! ZZANG!!! (Zack Carlson &
Greg MacLennan)
Dir. Steven Spielberg, 1989, PG-13, 127 min
Te man with the hat is back. And this time, he's bringing
his dad.
If you learned anything from RAIDERS OF THE
LOST ARK, it's that Nazis are bad dudes, and, after
a pulse-pounding prologue that gives us a compressed
they are right back at it. Tis time, our swastika-
wearing baddies are after the famed cup of Christ, and
it's up to Indy and his dad to save the day.
When Indy's father goes mysteriously missing, a
rich art collector puts our whip-snapping, fedora-
wearing hero on the case. Following in his father's
footsteps, Indy reveals a sinister plot and must save
his father from a Nazi kidnapping while avoiding the
tempestuous allure of an extremely blue-eyed, blond-
haired lady.
Tis movie is pure action-adventure and will have your
heart skipping several beats as Indy and his dad trot the
globe and narrowly avoid death at every turn as they
leap from tanks to planes to impossible battles before
coming face-to-face with one of the most powerful
legends in human history. When it comes to absolute
excitement in a movie theater this summer... please
choose wisely. (Greg MacLennan)
Dir. Edward F. Cline, 1940, Approved, 83 min
In one of the greatest pairings in comedy history, cranky,
drunken misanthrope W.C. Fields meets his match in
the sassy Mae West. Tese two comedic forces collide
in a rampage of Old West hijinks and outrageous
double-entendres. Tis is the sort of timeless pleasure
that exists for one reason only... to make people happy.
Mae West is Flower Belle Lee, a self-reliant woman who
is abducted by the mysterious Masked Bandit during
a stagecoach holdup. After an illicit night spent with
the bandit, Flower Belle is run out of town and sent
to Greasewood City where she can become "married
and respectable." She meets flimflam man Cuthbert
J. Twillie (Fields) on the train and immediately falls
in love with his money. Many elaborate set pieces and
plot twists later, Flower Belle is knee deep in men and
Twillie's on the gallows. "I'd like to see Paris before I
die," he laments. "Philadelphia will do!"
West superbly delivers her sexual burlesque humor full
of double-entendres, swagger and wisecracks; while
Fields masterfully runs through his arsenal of witty ad
libs and drunken scam artist routines. Apart from some
unforgivable racism against Native Americans, this
movie is true fun.
Te script is credited to Mae West and W.C. Fields,
though it almost all comes from West. Despite a
contentious personal relationship, Fields agrees that
West captured his character better than perhaps any
other writer. Te film's at its funniest when the two
leads are set free to do their schtick. "If a thing is worth
having, it's worth cheating for!" (Tommy Swenson)
Dir. David Mirkin, 1997, R, 92 min
REUNION pretty much ruined my own ten year
reunion. Sure, I laughed with old friends, waxed
nostalgic about old times and made fun of the
cheerleaders who've had the same hair since 1997, but
did I make a grand re-entrance in a shiny mini dress
with "Venus" pumping in the background? No. Did
I tell off the A Group, get complimented by a fashion
editor at Vogue and then perform an incredible dance
number with a millionaire to "Time After Time"? NO
I DID NOT. Did I then leave in a helicopter while the
entire high school class waved me good-bye to the beat
of "Heaven Is a Place on Earth"? UM, ONLY IN MY
In addition to teaching me that I really need to
request more '80s music at the next reunion, Romy
and Michele showed me the importance of being
myself. (And also, that it's a really bad idea to pretend
you invented Post-It notes.) To show these fabulous
ladies the appreciation they deserve, Girlie Night is
partnering up with the Action Pack to give you the
full quote-along experience, complete with props like
Gummi Bears (for your diet) and subtitles for all of
your favorite lines. Make sure to wear your shiniest
outfit, and come ready to bust out those interpretive
dancing skills as we cheer on a duo so dynamic, they
managed to take their own yearbook photo together.
(Sarah Pitre)
Dir: Peter Segal, PG-13, 1995, 97 min
It's been almost twenty years since Chris Farley passed
away, and yet I find myself still quoting him on an
almost daily basis. Whether I'm opening my fridge
("You could put a six pack of b... soda in here") or
reaching for a dinner roll ("You're naughty!"), the spirit
of Chris Farley remains alive and well in my vernacular.
Sure, I've seen other comedies since TOMMY BOY
was first released in 1995, but none of them have
managed to oust the words of Tommy Callahan
Jr., adorably idiotic man child, from the top of my
vocabulary. And then there's the deliciously deadpan
wit of David Spade, who plays Richard, Tommy's
coworker and reluctant babysitter. If mockery is a
science, then Richard's jibes at Tommy ("Did I catch a
niner in there? Were you calling from a walkie talkie?")
should have earned him the Nobel Prize. Together,
Spade and Farley made up one of the most hilarious
duos in the history of cinema, and we'll celebrate them
at this special Action Pack screening by quoting along
with all of our favorite lines, i.e. basically the entire
movie. Join us for a night of cow tipping, maniac
dancing and deer that aren't quite dead. And fat guys,
don't forget your little coats! (Sarah Pitre)
Dir: Penelope Spheeris, 1992, PG-13, 94 min
"It's Wayne's World! It's Wayne's World! PARTY TIME!
You'll laugh, you'll cry... you'll hurl. You know the
story -- two slacker friends have a local cable access
show that gets picked up for professional broadcast
and things get awesome.... NOT! Wayne falls for the
majorly babelicious bass-playing Tia Carrere, while the
slimy Rob Lowe tries to steal her away. Meanwhile,
Garth sha-wings his way into the arms of a truly Foxy
Lady, and then there are all sorts of different endings!
At this special Action Pack Quote-Along presentation
of the film, we're going to have Wayne's World hats
available for everyone, plus Red Vines just like the kind
Wayne and Garth eat from in the car, and tiny paper
cups just in case you need to spew! We'll have subtitles
on screen along with the movie so you can quote all of
your favorite lines out loud in time with the film, and
of course we'll also have titles to help you sing-along
to "Bohemian Rhapsody" and all of the other amazing
music in the movie. You'll have so much fun you'll
think you're not worthy, so Party On! (Henri Mazza)
Dir. Peter Hewitt, 1991, PG, 93 min
Once... they made history. Now... they are history.
With the time-space continuum conquered, Bill S.
Preston, Esq. (Alex Winter) and Ted "Teodore" Logan
(Keanu Reeves) will take on death incarnate and even
Satan himself when the evil De Nomolos decides to
travel back in time to erase the most righteous duo in
the history of the world in this rampaging ruckus of
aliens, evil Easter bunnies, good robot usses... and non-
good robot usses!
It’s a radically mangulating excursion through the
myriad impossibilities of 20th Century comedy and
arguably the greatest sequel to any film ever. So get
your excellently huge Martian butts over to the Alamo
and prepare yourself for excellence. BANGARANG!
(Greg MacLennan) 6
Badass Digest Editor in Chief
Yo D,
Am I the only one that doesn't understand how we're
supposed to come up with content for BMD's June
issue that talks about E.T.? Te theme for that issue is
"Dynamic Duos" and there isn't really a duo in that
movie, you know?
I mean, yeah, there's Elliott and E.T., but they don't go
on some rollicking adventure together like Bill and Ted
or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid or the Bosom
Buddies. Tey just kind of hang out and like each
other, until it’s time for E.T. to leave.
I’m thinking this is gonna be tough. Toughts?
Huh. I never thought about Elliott and E.T. as
anything but a duo. Tey're definitely on an adventure
together, even if it's largely E.T.'s adventure. And
Elliott learns and grows along the way, coming to terms
with a lot of the personal stuff that's bothering him as
he learns to say goodbye to his buddy.
Maybe that's what's holding you up -- I don't think a
Dynamic Duo has to be forever. Tis isn't marriage,
and even Batman has gone through a bunch of Robins
in his time. A lot of the best duos -- Martin and Lewis,
Abbott and Costello, Kramer and Kramer -- eventually
go their separate ways. Maybe Butch and Sundance
died together, but John McClane and Zeus Carver bid
each other adieu at the end of DIE HARD WITH A
VENGEANCE. And you would probably accept those
guys as a duo, right?
H: Yeah, it's not about marriage at all. It's about two
people teaming up together to have a mutual adventure.
John McClane and Zeus team up and fight Simon
Gruber together. But I wouldn't think of them as a
duo if Zeus just hid in McClane's closet eating Reese's
Pieces, then got kidnapped by government agents
wielding some high-powered walkie-talkies, then just
got on a spaceship and said, "Laters!"
And it doesn't matter which Robin is hanging out with
Batman, they both work together to fight the Joker.
Yeah, sometimes that means the Joker kills Robin, and
then Batman needs to find a new underage boy to hang
out with, but each one still makes that team a duo.
Actually that's the exact word for it, and what's missing
from Elliott and E.T. -- team. A team is a group of
people working together toward a common goal. Te
Avengers team up to fight Loki. Te Knicks team up
to fight some other group of guys who play basketball.
You can have five friends on a basketball court hanging
out, but if they aren't all united and working together to
move the ball into the same basket they're not a team.
Okay, yes, those guys could be a team that's practicing
together, but then they're still working for a goal
that's just a little further out, so let's not go down that
rabbit hole.
But I think it's that issue of teamwork that I'm hung
up on. To me, a duo is a team of two people.
E.T. and Elliott help each other out, but they're each
there helping the other in separate ways, and working
toward different goals. Elliott helps E.T. phone home,
and E.T. helps Elliott learn about himself and grow up
or something. Tey act as agents of change, and they
have a great relationship, but a dynamic duo? Nah. E.T.
is more of a super-powered pet than anything else.
Toto may come along for Dorothy’s adventure in Oz,
but the two of them aren’t really a dynamic duo.
D: I see where you're coming from, which makes it
doubly sad that you're so wrong.
See, E.T. and Elliott work together more closely than
any of those other duos. No team works as closely
as Elliott and E.T. do. Tey don't just support one
another, they don't just help each other out on their
different journeys -- they actually share a psychic
Birth.Movies.Death. Associate Publisher
connection that puts them so closely together that
when E.T. drinks, Elliott gets drunk. Elliott has his first
kiss because E.T. is watching THE QUIET MAN!
But it's even deeper than that. Te connection is so
strong the two begin to die in tandem. E.T. and Elliott
sicken together, and it isn't until their link is severed
that Elliott can pull through. But Elliott still sticks with
his friend and helps him; throughout the movie E.T.
has been helping Elliott deal with his family problems,
but at the end the ball -- to use that metaphor -- is in
Elliott's court, and he has to get E.T. to the rendezvous
spot so he can go home.
Te best duos aren't working toward some specific
goal or plan, they're there for each other. And that's
what Elliott and E.T. are doing -- supporting one
another. But even better than that, I love that the film
realizes duos can't be forever. Elliott and E.T. need to
be apart to continue their growth (and survival). It's
a touchingly adult view of the way people come into
our lives and touch us before moving on. Tat's the
ultimate goal they were working towards, even if they
didn't know it.
H: Tey're working together toward the common goal
of no longer working together? Your argument makes
no sense on this one, buddy.
And I want to know who these other "best duos" are
who aren't working toward some specific goal or plan,
because I bet they're all just "great friends." Great
friends are great, too, and to be clear I do love me
some E.T.! But a film about a dynamic duo? I'm still
not sure.
Because being there for each other, being connected,
sharing a bond and loving each other in spite of your
differences or the multiple galaxies between your
home worlds... none of those things can make two
beings into a dynamic duo. Tat term was coined by
the narrator on the BATMAN TV show, yeah? I'm
just assuming that's the case, and maybe I'm way
off on that, but if it is then that has to provide some
framework for defining the term and setting it apart
from "buddies."
If you're not working together toward a common
goal you at least need to be two friends whose names
are always said together, because you're almost
interchangeable with each other.
Here are some of the most dynamic duos ever:
Batman and Robin
Bill and Ted
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Bonnie and Clyde
Laverne and Shirley
Telma and Louise
You know something else they all have in common?
OF THEIR MOVIES. Tat doesn't always mean it's a
movie featuring a dynamic duo, but it's a good step in
the right direction.
We're talking about the film E.T.: THE EXTRA-
MAC AND ME got that right, I guess, so that makes
MAC AND ME a real duo, but E.T. and Elliott?
Tey're just co-dependent best friends who hang out a
little bit.
Of course, MAC AND ME is terrible, and E.T. is
wonderful, and I love that it creates a more realistic
type of relationship and everything you had to say
about the way people come into our lives and then we
continue to move on. Tat's everything that's beautiful
and amazing about life and movies and art and the
world. But a dynamic duo? Nope.
D: I came very close to throwing in the towel here. I
almost bowed before your rhetoric. But then I started
thinking about your point on titles. Yeah, many of
the great duos have both their names in the title of
their movie. And then I realized why the characters are
named what they are, why E.T. was chosen as the name
for the little alien:
Elliott is in E.T. E(lliot)T. Tose names weren't accidents
and they reflect that each character is an integral part
of each other. Tat means calling it ELLIOTT & E.T.
would have been incredibly redundant, and separating
the two with an ampersand would have downplayed
what a truly dynamic duo they are.
Also, it's worth noting that at least half of the duos you
mention as superior to E.T. and Elliott led each other
to their deaths (more than half if we're counting my
LAVERNE & SHIRLEY non-canon fanfic), so perhaps
it's time for you to re-examine what you're looking for
in a partnership.
H: Okay, okay, fine. I’ll concede the point that E.T.
and Elliott are a duo. But only if we can use this entire
back and forth as an excuse to get you to post your
LAVERNE & SHIRLEY fanfic on Badass Digest later
this month, because I’ve always wanted to know how
they were going to die. 6
An Entirely Too Literal
Examination of the
Friendship Between
Bill and Ted
Badass Digest News Editor
It's no wonder Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted "Teodore"
Logan make such great pals. Tey have nothing but
openness and enthusiasm for everyone they meet. But
even more than that, they are almost the exact same --
to borrow their terminology -- dude.
We can imagine Wayne and Garth going their separate
ways. Cheech and Chong have personalities that are
distinct enough that solo adventures also do not seem
like much of a stretch. Even Beavis and Butthead have
their own characteristics. But separate Bill from Ted
and their characters lose all definition. Not since Bob
and Doug McKenzie have two parts of a duo depended
so heavily on one another for entertainment value.
But Bob and Doug were brothers. What's Bill and
Ted's story? How does their relationship function? Are
there any particular traits we can attribute more to one
than the other? How does the mysterious and fickle
Missy... I mean Mom fit into all of this? Such queries
provide the aim for this completely superfluous and
boneheaded academic exploration.
In a figurative sense, Bill and Ted appear to share the
same brain. Naturally, it is not possible for two separate
humans to share the same brain organ. But one can be
forgiven for using the phrase here as it seems true in all
but the most physical sense. Bill and Ted do not
dress identically. Tey did not arrive from the same
genetic pool (Or do they? -- foolheaded speculation
to come). And yet they display near identical
personalities including an overabundance of altruism,
underdeveloped learning abilities and shared cultural
priorities. Most famously, they possess a remarkable
ability to intuit each other's thoughts and speak in
unison without apparent preparation. Even more
bizarre, they are capable of emitting harmonious guitar
phrases from their hands merely by wiggling their
fingers at the same time.
Bill and Ted come from different households, raised
by fathers with very different parenting styles. Bill's
dad seems intellectual and easygoing, but also less
interested in Bill's affairs. Ted's dad rules with an
iron-fisted discipline. Tellingly, neither Ted nor Bill
has a mother in his life. Perhaps their similarities
come from having the same mother. Tis conjecture
may sound farfetched, but we do witness their fathers’
swapping Bill and Ted’s former classmate, Missy, from
one film to the next, so the theory does contain some
precedence. Assuming they had the same mother and
noting her absence whether by death or abandonment,
we begin to understand the complexity and emotional
importance of Bill and Ted's unity, especially in the face
of such lacking domestic male role models.
But they were not always together. And some things
do separate them. For instance, Ted has a little
brother, Deacon, whose social life appears quite typical
compared to Ted's. When the duo experience their
own personal Hells in BILL AND TED'S BOGUS
JOURNEY, they share one (military school) but suffer
their next in solitude. Bill flashes back to his scary
grandmother's birthday kiss, while Ted deals with guilt
(manifested in a maniacal Easter Bunny) over stealing
candy from Deacon. Te experiences which shaped
who they are were not shared.
Furthermore, careful viewers will note some distinctions
in Bill and Ted's personalities. In EXCELLENT
ADVENTURE, we find Bill much more cautious in
general than Ted (though Ted does seem to take over this
trait somewhat in BOGUS JOURNEY). EXCELLENT
ADVENTURE also establishes Ted as the duo's expert
when it comes to ladies.
But beyond that, we find very little difference in
the two men. However they grew up, they have no
hesitation living together as adults. And even when it
comes to outside domestic affairs, they appear unified,
as seen when Bill and Ted propose to the Medieval
Babes in privacy yet give almost identical speeches,
both of which end with "Will you marry us?"
Tis extreme unity goes even further than that.
Troughout their adventures and journeys, we see
multiple forms of Bill and Ted -- evil robot form,
good robot form and future form. All display the
same level of equality. Note that when Bill and
Ted meet their future selves in EXCELLENT
ADVENTURE, they become more like quadruplets
than a pair of twins. Interestingly, the series' only
actual set of twins, the extraterrestrial scientist,
Station, can merge its two haves into a greater whole
when necessary. Bill and Ted do not have this power.
Tey instead expand outward, remaking the world
in their image through the power of music, extreme
positivity and strangely large vocabularies.
But I am not certain they are friends. Teir
pathological dependency on one another suggests
something far less voluntary. To see what true
friendship looks like in the Bill and Ted universe,
look no further than the bromance which blossoms
between Billy the Kid and Socrates, two abducted
travelers who could not be more different and yet
manage to find harmony with each other. Perhaps
they represent the first manifestation of the way
that proximity to Bill and Ted's abnormally close
relationship makes friends of us all. 6
Bromance, But A Romance
Badass Digest Contributor
“I fucking love you, man,” he said, pale blue eyes
glistening in the hot Bolivian sun. Butch reached
over and pushed the shaggy blonde bangs from
his partner’s forehead. Te Sundance Kid wistfully
sighed, his grin curling the bottom of his mustache,
and leaned in to finally requite one of cinema’s
greatest romances.
With a dearth of available fan fiction, Tis Author
had to improvise.
Flickering home movies. Fingers tapping keys
with a simple tune, note-by-note. Bucolic family
memories. Wholesome. American. Director George
Roy Hill introduces us to BUTCH CASSIDY AND
THE SUNDANCE KID in a sepia-toned character
study, as if we’re watching an antique, a comfortable
patina. “We seem to be a little short on brotherly
love around here,” says Butch as he sidles up next to
Te Kid in those first few minutes. He’s come to his
partner’s rescue, with a simple statement that reflects
the entire ethos of the flick. While much is made of
the duo’s rapport, their snappy one-liners, William
Goldman’s screenplay, also known as Te Best Script
Ever, Butch and Sundance have a relationship that is
classically familial, a marriage.
Tose romantic, matrimonial values of trust and
honesty are the foundation of the outlaws’ story. We
quickly learn that this relationship is special, personal,
a one-on-one, exclusive deal. Tey don’t even have
faith in their own gang, who also recognize (in their
dimwitted way) that they’re feckless, no competition
for Butch and Te Kid’s partnership. As the two escape
the posse hunting them, it can’t be a coincidence that
they end up on a single horse, the fruition of Conrad
Hall’s consistent and deliberate two-shots in his Oscar-
winning lensing. Tey’re not just a couple -- they’re
an example of surpassing the clichéd codependence
of the Real World and genuinely progressing. Tey’re
moving, escaping, evolving in their little microcosm.
Most importantly, they’re doing it together. Teir
relationship is healthy in that it’s built on mutual
respect and camaraderie, even if it is eventually a little
more than a little self-destructive. Tat’s not their
fault; it’s the damn square world that won’t accept
them robbing banks and shooting people. Tey learn
about one another, their real names, that Te Kid is
from New Jersey, and they are surprised. Tey don’t
just love one another, they’re in love with one another,
maintaining the constant and consistent fascination
and awe that we all want to feel, that even the most
jaded of us know is True Love.
Well, bros, when you are genuinely in love, you’ll go
anywhere with your mate, including a small South
American country at the turn of the last century.
Sure, you’ll take the chick that darns your darn socks,
but y’all are sharing her anyways. Not that she’s truly
holding a candle to your expectations, which your boy
is surely meeting. When Te Kid says, “I'm not picky.
As long as she's smart, pretty, and sweet, and gentle,
and tender, and refined, and lovely, and carefree,” what
he’s really saying is, “Nobody can come close to you,
Butch. Nobody.” When things get a little too heavy
down South, your gal-pal can jam, no hard feelings,
rather unceremoniously. You’ll just continue to kick
it with your man. Sure, the relationship is tragic, but
only because we all want to see it work out. If we
thought these two were just a couple criminals jerking
themselves off, that’d be an entirely different film. It’d
probably be popular, too. To acknowledge that their
relationship is devoid of sex is to marginalize it, but
to use the term “bromance” is also pejorative. To call
Butch and Sundance a “bromance” is to ignore the
truth that some things are more important than sex.
When you find any of those, please let me know. For
better or worse, it’s the physically intimate relationship
with Etta that has the least value and weight of all the
major associations in the film.
As far as buddy movies go, Butch and Te Kid don’t
fall into many of the traps that’ve been set. Tey don’t
hate each other or have diametric opposition, conflicts
depended on by films like 48 HOURS and LETHAL
WEAPON. Tey don’t rail on major social norms,
MOUNTAIN. Unlike other films in the genre,
we never question the health of their relationship,
the positive influence they have on one another or
their mutual support. Tey’d be simply lost without
one another, as opposed to eschewing love for self-
preservation. Spoiler alert: Tat’s why even through
that end hail of bullets, the frame freezes, as if we could
simply not fathom the plucky and ingenious way the
duo is getting out of this one. It’s as if the filmmakers
are telling us that even they’re not cool or talented or
skilled enough to figure out where this awesome couple
goes next. To show their actual demise would be telling
the audience that love itself is dead.
Like most great films, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE
SUNDANCE KID offers an aspirational fantasy
for us. Te audience places themselves in the flick,
in those iconic, handsome roles. Of course, we’d all
like to be that beautiful, that good-bad-but-ain’t-
evil, that lucky. But none of those things could affect
us as profoundly as this kind of bond, this brand
of loyalty and love. Te true attraction we have to
them is their true love. Tat’s the magic, just as it
is in reality. Mixed up in the wit and the adventure
is a relationship that is purely unadulterated and
encouraging. When we quip and quote, when we
pow-pow with our fingers and tip our hats, what we
are truly saying is, “I want a guy like that.” 6
Henry and INDIANA
JONES: Like Crusading
Father, Like Crusading Son
Ask pretty much any psychologist* and they’ll tell you:
Conflict is vital to any good relationship. When you
hear about couples who don’t fight, at least every now
and then, your automatic reaction should be to throw
them a bit of side-eye. Couples who say they don’t fight
are either lying to themselves or aliens. (Although I
suppose they could be both...)
Te power of conflict in relationships doesn’t just
apply to significant others, however; it can also apply
to parents and children. But unlike conflict in, say, a
marriage, fights in familial relationships often stem
from the fact that the parent and child are too similar
for anyone’s good -- especially each other’s.
Take the father-son duo of Henry Walton Jones Sr.
and Henry Walton “Indiana” Jones Jr. As the stars of
Henry and Indy are the ultimate in dysfunctional
relatives, in part because they’re practically the same
But that’s what makes them so freaking fantastic.
When the movie starts, Henry is nothing but a voice
and a diary. He’s not literally on film, but he’s already
a major player. When he finally, physically, shows up
-- 45 minutes into the movie -- it’s like a hole has been
filled. Indy (who is, of course, a commanding presence
in his own right) is suddenly humbled. His immediate
reaction to his father’s hitting him on the head with a
vase after mistaking him for a Nazi is a cowed “Yes, sir.”
In this moment, Indy is a 13-year-old boy again, being
forced to pause and count to twenty… in Greek.
It’s quite apparent, from the initial scenes with Young
Indy at the start of the movie, that Henry’s not the
most attentive of fathers. It can be assumed that he
pretty much always put his studies, particularly his
search for the Holy Grail, before Indy, and he often
treated Indy more like a student than a son. When
Indy comments on Henry’s epic search for the Grail,
Henry calls it a “race against evil”; Indy responds, “Tis
is an obsession, Dad!” But Henry’s obsessive tendencies
have obviously been passed down to his son; the whole
beginning of THE LAST CRUSADE and Indy’s
decades-long quest to bring the Cross of Coronado to a
museum is proof of that.
As the two make their way out of Castle Brunwald, and
the bickering escalates, the similarities between father
and son become more and more apparent, culminating
in the fact that they even have the same taste in
questionable women. (Side note: As I was quite young
the first time I watched this movie, I don’t think I quite
understood the level of ick factor involved in both
Henry and Indy having slept with Elsa Schneider…
but boy, do I ever now.)
Other things they have in common:
• Profession -- Henry is a professor of medieval
literature; Indy is a professor of archeology.
• Hatred of the Nazis -- Naturally.
• Fear of vermin -- Henry’s not a fan of rats; Indy
hates snakes.
• Stubbornness -- Tere are too many examples of
this to point out just one.
• Ingenuity -- Indy’s always finding his way out
of predicaments by the seat of his pants; Henry
squirts ink into a Nazi’s eyes while fighting his way
out of the tank.
• A penchant for hats -- Indy wears a fedora; Henry
prefers a somewhat more old-fashioned trilby.
But above all -- and yeah, it sounds totally schmaltzy,
but bear with me -- they share love. Henry and Indy
might fight, incessantly, but their loyalty runs deep and
true. Who does Henry mail his journal to when he’s
worried that it will fall into the wrong hands? Indy. As
Forever Young Adult Contributor
soon as Indy hears that his father is missing, he sets off
on an adventure that’s sure to be fraught with danger,
but he does so without question.
When Henry thinks Indy has fallen to his death in the
tank battle with the Nazis, Henry is distraught. “Oh
God, I’ve lost him,” he says. “And I’ve never told him
anything.” And when Henry’s shot in the entrance of
the temple, Indy finds the inspiration to risk life and
limb and brave unknown booby traps to bring him a
drink from the Grail. Henry and Indy are two of a kind
and though, on the surface, it seems they can’t stand
being in the same room together for more than a few
minutes, the idea of one existing without the other is
*On second thought, just take my word for it. 6
Lord & Miller:
The Directing Duo Behind
Best Friends
It’s fitting that Phil Lord and Chris Miller are taking
21 JUMP STREET duo Schmidt and Jenko to college
in the sequel (22 JUMP STREET, natch), because
that’s where the directing team first met. As students
at Dartmouth, Lord and Miller found a mutual
understanding in lighting people’s hair on fire.
“We had a mutual friend who said, ‘I know someone
just as crazy as you are,’ and introduced us, and we
became friends,” Miller told Dartbeat, the daily blog
for Dartmouth students. “Te moment we really
became friends was when I lived upstairs from Phil’s
freshman year girlfriend, and I was playing a game
called, ‘Let’s see how close we can get a lighter to
Heather’s hair without her noticing’ while she was
playing Tetris on her computer. I won and her hair
caught on fire, and then Phil was upset because her hair
smelled bad, and so then we became friends.”
Besides lighting Lord’s girlfriend’s hair on fire, Miller
also convinced his friend to take an animation
class with him. Te animated shorts they made at
Dartmouth -- MAN BITES BREAKFAST for Lord
and SLEAZY GOES TO FRANCE for Miller -- made
some small splashes on the festival circuit. Te two
decided that they wanted to get into the entertainment
industry, and that they would support each other
-- but they didn’t intend to be a team. It was Disney
that brought them together by accident. Tey flew
out to LA together to take meetings at the studio and
the person who set up the meeting thought they were
coming in as a team. And so they became one.
Everybody now knows Lord and Miller from their
movie work, but they first got serious attention with
their animated show CLONE HIGH. After a few years
at Disney developing cartoons and writing for sitcoms,
they birthed a show that would define a lot of their
weird, anarchist style. CLONE HIGH is set in a high
school run by a shadowy government organization, and
the students are all clones of famous historical figures.
Te show ran on MTV for a season… until a hunger
strike put an end to it.
See, one of the clones on the show was Gandhi, and
when some people in India found out about how the
teen clone of Gandhi behaved on the show they got
very, very angry. “Tey were very upset that he wore an
earring and ate junk food and went to parties,” Miller
told Grantland in an interview earlier this year. “So
150 politicians and Gandhi’s grandson sat in a hunger
strike at the MTV India offices, right when the head of
Viacom, Tom Freston, was visiting, and he was trapped
in the building. And they basically threatened that they’d
revoke MTV’s broadcasting license in India if they didn’t
take the show off the air. And then the show went off the
air. So I guess not any publicity is good publicity.”
Te next big step in their career came in 2006, when
they pitched Sony a big screen animated adaptation of
the classic kid’s book CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE
OF MEATBALLS. And it was all going well… until
they were fired from the project. Sony brought on new
directors, but after a few months they were also fired.
And in an almost unprecedented move, Sony brought
back Lord and Miller.
“Tis was not a very well managed movie,” Lord
joked at a TED Talk in 2012. But that poor
management paid off, as CLOUDY was an
enormous hit. A decade after graduating, the team
had made it big. And they immediately zigged. Teir
follow-up to the smash-hit children’s film was to be a
foul-mouthed, R-rated adaptation of the 1980s teen
And then that was a hit. Te mainstream now saw
what CLONE HIGH fans had known for years: Lord
and Miller are the real deal, and they have a knack
for taking what should be a bad idea -- a kid’s book
without a good plot! A movie adaptation of a cheesy
TV show! -- and making it terrific. Which is why when
it was announced they would be making a movie based
on LEGO toys nobody batted an eye. With any other
directors THE LEGO MOVIE would be a joke. With
Lord and Miller it ended up being one of the best films
of the year.
Lord summed up their approach in an interview with
Badass Digest: “Our goal is always to do the smart
version of the movie, to be more clever than people
are expecting.”
Tis month they’re trying to be more clever than you’re
expecting with a sequel. In the past our expectations
were easy to subvert because they were low, but with
22 JUMP STREET the hilarious original film sets our
expectations very high. Lord and Miller understand
what’s at the heart of the first movie, though, and
they’re certain to bring it back for the sequel. Talking
to ScreenRant, Chris Miller explained how Jenko and
Schmidt ultimately reflect Lord and Miller:
“[What inspired 21 JUMP STREET was] our own buddy
relationship where we have a professional relationship and
a friendship and there’s conflict but we really care about
each other.” 6
We Ride Together, We Die
Together: Bad Boys for Life
Alamo Drafthouse Film Programmer/Lead Video Editor
Now, this is a story all about how
Teir lives got flipped-turned upside down
And I'd like to take a minute
Just sit still, you
I'll tell you how it all became the best movie, BAD BOYS II
Once upon a time there was a stand-up comedian
named Martin Lawrence. He’d done a couple of
HOUSE PARTY movies and even made it big with his
own TV show, but, when it came to making that big
screen leap, the spotlight had always eluded him. Until
BAD BOYS, Martin Lawrence was just kind of “that
funny guy” from that “thing.”
Enter Will Smith, who had made some big waves
in supporting roles, like SIX DEGREES OF
SEPARATION, and managed to blow up his own
profile with the cultural phenomenon that was THE
FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR. But he, too, had yet
to take his on-screen charisma to that next level.
BAD BOYS was originally intended to star Dana
Carvey and Jon Lovitz. (Let that live inside your
mind for a moment.) But when the script was passed
around to the hands of producers Don Simpson and
Jerry Bruckheimer, who wanted a young, hip video
director by the name of Michael Bay to direct it,
After initial tests proved Lovitz and Carvey were
definitely not the right bad boys for the job, Michael
“Everything Bigger is Better” Bay threw all of that out
the window… of a speeding Porsche... that exploded
into gigantic fireballs. At this point, Lawrence became
attached, namely due to his success with his TV show,
and the producers approached Arsenio Hall to star
alongside him. Once Hall passed, Bay knew he had to
find a leading man. And, the thing about Michael Bay
is, he can make a leading man out of just about anyone
given they have a certain level of character and charisma.
Tink about it; Nicolas Cage and Ben Affleck were
just charming actors with little to no action experience
and, for better or worse, after starring in a Michael Bay
movie they went on to have a good 10 more years in the
genre. Bay had seen star potential in Will Smith, and he
knew he could make him an action hero.
Bay snatched up Lawrence and Smith and set out
to create one of the best action films of the ‘90s.
Bay himself wasn’t a fan of the script and frequently
collaborated with his two leads to improvise scenes and
dialogue. Smith and Lawrence, being of comedic roots,
easily embraced the challenge and managed to channel
all their personalities into the film. Bay even credits the
rise of Smith’s superstardom to one moment on the set
when they were debating his attire for a gun battle. Bay
insisted Smith wear a shirt. Smith insisted he wear it
unbuttoned. And the rest is history…
Bay knew Lawrence and Smith could be stars, but what
he didn’t count on was how undeniable their chemistry
would be once they were on screen together. Sure
BAD BOYS didn’t reinvent the wheel when it came to
storytelling, but it took that same ol’ wheel and spun
it at 200 mph with the help of a cocksure lone cop
and an ever-pessimistic familyman. Tere was magic in
their banter and a playfulness to their action alley-oops
that made us know these two needed each other.
In 1995, the movie was released to mixed reviews. But
after that slow-standing shot spiraled around our heroes
while a glimmer of light danced over their shoulders as
SHIT GOT REAL, two new heroes had arrived, and
its box office success was all but guaranteed.
Where do you go from there, though? Anyone can
rise to the top, but only heroes can rise again. Martin
Lawrence would go on to wear many a fat suit and
say as many fart jokes as he could as he chased Eddie
Murphy down that drain of despair, while Will Smith
fully owned his newfound onscreen persona and went
on to make movies like INDEPENDENCE DAY,
carefully balancing his hero status with his endlessly
likeable charm.
For years, the world was asking why these two dynamic
actors never tapped back into their chemistry that
effortlessly flowed off the screen, and, for years, scripts
were retooled and schedules were desperately trying to
align. Ten, just like Halley's Comet, a miracle came
back around in 2003, and Bay, Smith and Lawrence
were back at it again.
BAD BOYS II, one of the most maligned yet incredible
achievements of action cinema to ever grace the silver
screen, blasted into theatres and set eyeballs ablaze
with its excess. From the opening credits of Michael
Bay’s name appearing alongside a burning cross to an
exploding lizard on the beaches of Cuba, Bay knew
exactly what critics hated about his first film and
what audiences around the globe had always loved:
excessive violence, incredible action sequences and
two hopelessly charismatic leads taking you on the
cinematic journey of a lifetime.
While BAD BOYS II could be debated among film
fans for years, the drawing power of Smith and
Lawrence cannot. Tese men are indelible units to one
of the greatest on-screen duos of all time. BAD BOYS
II more than doubled the gross of the original, and our
two heroes now stand tall amongst the legends of Riggs
and Murtaugh, Cates and Hammond, Starsky and
Hutch, and Tubbs and Crockett.
Tey are Mike and Marcus, and they ride together, and
they’ll die together. Tey’re bad boys for life. 6
The Vulgar Cinema
The Indefnable
West And Fields In
You can’t really define Mae West and W.C. Fields, at
least not in the way you can most old movie stars.
It’s not difficult to explain what makes Cary Grant
appealing. Ditto John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe,
because they were magnetic, timeless figures of their
era. Fields, though he started in and made some
wonderful silent dramas and comedies (SALLY
ROMANCE), wasn’t an adorable, hard-luck jokester
in pre-talkies like Chaplin, or a debonair quipster
like William Powell in sound pictures. West was sexy
like Monroe and Jean Harlow before her, but West’s
cleverness and control over her presentation set her
apart from most other starlets of the time. No, the best
way to learn about Fields and West is to study how the
duo said their lines and moved their bodies.
Mae West was a minimalist. Before she started making
movies, West was in vaudeville and on Broadway. She
wrote, produced and directed much of her own material
for both the stage and screen. Shortly after releasing her
first movie, NIGHT AFTER NIGHT, in 1932, she
became the reigning queen of double-entendres and
naughty humor. Her first two hits, SHE DONE HIM
WRONG and I’M NO ANGEL, made her later films
a huge target for the infamous Hays Censorship Office
and, consequently, also made her the richest woman
in America. Because of censorship, West tried to say as
much (or imply as much) as she could with the fewest
and vaguest words possible. During conversation scenes,
her quick, monotone delivery almost sounds like saucy
Morse code. Small talk is actually small in the Mae West
universe. As curvy as a Coke bottle (rumor has it her
enviable shape inspired the product packaging), West
maneuvered through her movies like a slow-moving
bullet, her skin like a hot iron skillet. She never moves
much, aside from batting those wispy eyelashes and
occasionally sashaying across the screen, but she had
a way of making her short, voluptuous body take up
the entire frame when she did. Cinema was the perfect
showcase for all of West’s talents.
Mr. Fields, on the other hand, could never be
considered minimal on any level. He was a maximalist.
Not unlike the stereotypical drunkard sitting at the
bar, Fields could wax poetic all the live-long day. Part
Popeye, part J. Wellington Wimpy and part 19th
century scallywag, Fields mutters and sputters his lines
like a sour, bleating goat. He’s cinema’s inebriated,
lovable uncle-grandpa. Tough Fields was only
modestly tall (5’9”) and was neither fit nor fat, he
always seems to stick out like a sore thumb in whatever
scene he’s in. Tere’s a certain musicality and grace
to Fields’ mumblings and bumblings that make him
incredibly funny. Like jazz music, his thoughts and
mannerisms (and, hell, even his narrative structures)
seem to stray from one random and amazing bit to
the next. He was a comedian who always lived in the
moment and thrived on absurdity.
Which brings us to MY LITTLE CHICKADEE. In
1940, Universal approached West about starring in a
comedy western in order to capitalize on the success of
1939’s DESTRY RIDES AGAIN with James Stewart
and Marlene Dietrich. She signed on, wrote the
screenplay, and Fields came aboard shortly thereafter.
Te movie is an awkward little oater, but compulsively
watchable. Te strange combination of Fields’ barely
intelligible delivery mixed with Mae West’s striking
precision makes the entire affair feel jagged and surreal.
West stars as Flower Belle Lee, a loose woman of low
morals who falls for a local thief called the Masked
Bandit (Joseph Calleia) after he raids her stagecoach
(zing!). She gets kicked out of town because of her,
you know, loose morals, and marries Fields’ Cuthbert
J. Twillie under the false impression that he could be
her sugar daddy. I want readers to quickly visualize
Fields with the words “Sugar Daddy” over his head.
Tis plot point is almost immediately discarded after
their alleged marriage, a moment in the film which
underscores the inherent meaninglessness of most plot
points, but also makes way for the funny as quickly
as possible. Fields somehow stumbles his way into
becoming the town Sheriff, a title every bit as symbolic
as their sham marriage, while West continues to carry
on with the Masked Bandit behind his and every other
gentlemen callers' backs.
Teir distinct comedic voices pull the movie in every
manner of direction, never settling on a consistent
tone or arc. Tis is not a weakness of the film, but a
strength. Rarely in cinema do we get the opportunity
to witness such strange movie stars commingling in a
way that doesn’t water down their charisma. Instead,
MY LITTLE CHICKADEE preserves what makes
the two stars special and gives us the opportunity to
watch them together. Fields usually worked with either
women who played much older, henpecking female
characters (Cora Witherspoon in THE BANK DICK)
or kind young ladies (Gloria Jean in NEVER GIVE A
SUCKER AN EVEN BREAK). He wasn’t interested
in trying to make his characters look better or more
attractive through romancing a beautiful ingénue. He
was too secure in his comedic manhood for that. West,
on the other hand, was frequently cast alongside very
handsome young men (she even made a star out of
Cary Grant!) because she was a super sexy dame who
was also incredibly confident in all of her abilities.
She was definitely all-woman, and more hilarious
and admirable for it. Tough watching them flirt and
canoodle in MY LITTLE CHICKADEE is almost
like watching a bulldog try to make it with a French
poodle, West and Fields were truly a pair to remember.
So, why don’t you go out and see it sometime? 6
Brothers Gotta Hug:
David Spade And Chris
Badass Digest Managing Editor
Te first moment we see a chubby 12-year-old Tommy
Boy (Chris Farley) slamming into a glass door, we
know this kid’s going to need a friend.
See, Tommy’s all heart (and stomach). He’s brainless,
sure, but more to the point, he’s guileless. He navigates
life with an easy, open nature, and it leaves him
vulnerable to conmen and tricksters, like his new
step-mom Beverly (Bo Derek) and step-brother Paul
(Rob Lowe), who are only joining his family in order
to swindle his dad Big Tom (Brian Dennehy) and waltz
off with his money. Big Tom’s death clears the way for
their scam, leaving only the endlessly trusting Tommy
to stand between Beverly and Paul and their big payoff.
Tommy may be surrounded by people who love him
-- it’s hard not to love the big lug -- but he doesn’t have
a lot of people looking out for him.
Enter Richard (David Spade), who has the opposite
problem. Richard’s got smarts to share, but he’s not
very likeable. A potential customer might put it best
when he says, “You’re a smug, unhappy little man, and
you treat people like they were idiots.” Richard’s great
at looking out for number one, because he has to be --
no one else is going to do it.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Richard and
Tommy make a hell of a team. Together, they make one
perfect salesman: knowhow and charisma, experience
and exuberance. When Big Tom’s business, Callahan
Auto Parts, is on the chopping block and only a nation-
wide sales spree will save the day, neither Tommy
nor Richard could have rescued the company -- and
the entire town relying on its success -- alone. But
as Richard’s poor Belvedere GTX grows increasingly
battered on their cross-country road trip, Tommy and
Richard turn into an incredible sales team… and
somewhere along the road, they become friends.
What works so well about the comedic pairing of
Farley and Spade? Tere’s the obvious odd couple
dynamic: Spade’s biting cynicism paired with Farley’s
senseless sweetness, his fastidiousness matched with
Farley’s chaos and his tiny build next to Farley’s boulder
of a body. But I think the answer is simpler: the two
were friends in real life, and the love they have for each
other colors each scene, giving their exchanges weight
and resonance. Spade discussed TOMMY BOY in an
interview to PLAYBOY, saying, “It's the most proud
I've been of anything, and people want to talk about
it all the time. It hit on all levels. It was basically about
me and Chris being friends.”
One of the most famous gags in TOMMY BOY is
lifted directly from their friendship: that of Chris Farley
wearing Spade’s jacket and singing “Fat guy in a little
coat.” It’s the kind of joke that lasts -- people will quote
this bit until the end of time. It’s a dumb little detail
that sticks because it’s real.
On GOOD DAY LIVE, Spade said of his late friend:
“When we shared an office, he would sit behind me
and he didn't write or read, so he would be bored. He'd
stand behind me and go, 'David, turn around.' I'd go,
'Dude, I'm busy.' He goes, 'Come on.' I'd go, 'If this
is fat guy in a little coat, it's not funny. It's played out.'
He goes, 'It's not. It's a whole different thing I got
going.' Ten he'd have my Levi jacket on and go, 'Fat
guy in a little coat! Don't you give up on it!’”
It’s the sort of pointless, weird interchange shared
only by the very best of friends -- or siblings. It’s what
works between Tommy and Richard, what makes their
relationship feel real and important, even if it’s in one
of the silliest movies of the ‘90s, a decade that was rich
in silly movies.
When Tommy first hears that he has a new step-
brother, he’s thrilled. “I've always dreamed about
having a brother!” Tommy’s been an only child his
whole life and he lost his mother when he was young.
He’s so excited at the prospect of expanding his tiny
family (tiny in number, not in stature), that it doesn’t
occur to him that Paul might be sort of evil… and that
he might despise Tommy.
But the thing is, Tommy does have a brother: in
Richard. As Richard and Tommy fight (like brothers, it
should be noted), Richard says, “You’re not your dad…
I learned everything I know from him. I didn’t have
a father, and he looked out for me. But you! He was
your real dad and you just took it for granted.” Richard
and Tommy share a dad, and they share a consuming
interest in keeping the family business afloat. Tey may
not share DNA, but they’re brothers, all right.
And like brothers, they mock each other and bicker and
compete, but they also see something in each other that
no one else sees. Tommy sees the fun in Richard, the guy
willing to wail along to Te Carpenter’s “Superstar,” tears
running down his face (or to “Eres Tu,” or “It’s the End
of the World” or “Come On, Eileen”). And he knows
Richard -- that smug, unhappy little man who thinks
everyone’s an idiot -- can be a great teacher if he’ll just
give Tommy a shot. “You know what, Richard? You don’t
know me as good as you think you do. I care about stuff.
I’m getting better at this sales thing. Well, I’m not, but I
could if you help me.”
And Richard eventually does give Tommy a shot, seeing
in him what no one else, not Big Tom’s colleagues or
Tommy’s frat bros, or maybe even Big Tom himself, has
ever seen: real talent. When Tommy woos a crotchety
waitress into bringing him chicken wings even though
the kitchen’s closed, we see Richard’s eyes widen. “You
got the wings ‘cause you’re relaxed. You had confidence.
And that’s what it takes to sell. Confidence. Your dad
had that.” When Tommy counters that his dad was
smart and he isn’t, Richard replies, “Very true. But
there’s two types of smarts: book smarts, which waved
bye-bye to you long ago, and there’s street-smarts. Te
ability to read people. And you know how to do that,
just like your dad.”
And just like that, the moment that Richard begins
to believe in Tommy, Tommy becomes the salesman
Richard knows he can be. We’re treated to a montage
of the two making sales, a medley of customers saying
“yes” to mirror the “no” montage from the beginning of
their trip.
By the end of the movie, Richard and Tommy trust
each other completely. Tey rely on one another and
they’re inseparable no longer by force but by choice.
Tey fight Beverly and Paul and imaginary bees and
Ray Zalinsky, Te Auto Parts King who wants to buy
their business (Dan Aykroyd); they save the company
and save the day. Ten Richard tells Tommy,
“When we first started out, I just thought you’d walk
through this like you walked through everything else.
But you didn’t. So your dad would’ve been proud of you.
And you got a friend out of it. Now, I know it doesn’t
matter ‘cause you have so many but, well…I don’t.”
And that’s what makes Tommy and Richard such an
ineffable team, a duo for the ages. Tey’re each precisely
what the other needs: brains for Tommy’s heart, some
levity for Richard’s intellect. But what they both need
more than anything, as they grieve the death of the
man they both loved, is family, and that’s who they
become to each other. 6
Blanton Museum of Art / The University of Texas at Austin / Austin, TX 78712 / 512.471.7324 /
This exhibition is organized by the Blanton Museum of Art, with support from the
Department of Art and Art History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Funding for the exhibition is provided in part by William and Bettye Nowlin.
Left: Moche culture, Peru, 200-800 CE, Stirrup spout bottle of blind figure, ceramic, 8
⁄10 in.
high, photo by Mark Menjivar, courtesy Landmarks, The University of Texas at Austin
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