It’s Been 25 Years Since ‘Tommy Boy’ was Released


Can you believe that 25 years ago, Tommy Boy, starring the late Chris Farley and David Spade, was released? I was a young man when that movie came out and it was an instant hit…for guys who’ve worked in the auto parts industry anyway. It was not so well received at the time, but since then it has grown into a serious cult classic that even non-car-guys love.

Tommy Boy introduced the world to the comedy of brake safety.

To celebrate the film’s 25th anniversary, Paramount Pictures is releasing a limited edition Blu-ray SteelBook of Tommy Boy, which is available here.

In the movie, Farley plays socially and emotionally inept recent college graduate Tommy Callahan, who is forced to grow up fast when his auto parts brake pad manufacturer father dies of a heart attack to ward off the banks and make big sales to keep the company afloat. Tommy then hits the road with the sarcastic assistant Richard (Spade), leading to a hilarious tale of trouble.

Most critics didn’t like the movie, only praising the comic chemistry between Spade and Farley.  The plot was broadly criticized for wandering and filling in with jokes, but it was a modest hit at the box office, pulling in more than $32 million for a film that cost $20 million to make. Later it became a bigger cult hit with audiences on home video and streaming services in the years after its launch.

Director Peter Segal describes the sentiment about the movie today as “strange” because he has seen it go through several generations of viewers. However, he is still shocked when he meets young folks who haven’t heard of the movie.

Some interesting facts about the film include that the director didn’t have a complete script. Segal said that only about 66 pages were there in the beginning and that the authors of the script produced an almost unworkable piece.

On the 20th anniversary, Quentin Tarantino hosted a special screening at USC along with Segal. But the director noted that Tarantino has a better quality print of the film than he did.

“Quentin had a pristine 35mm print that was beautiful and I thought,’I don’t even have a 35mm print from my own movie!’ But he did, so it was great.”

The city of Sandusky, Ohio said that in August if all goes well with quarantine, they will celebrate Tommy Boy’s 25 anniversary. They plan to have David Spade do a comedy concert, as well as showing the film. But the irony is that they never filmed in Sandusky.

“We never filmed a foot of film in Sandusky, it was all in Toronto,” said Segal about the celebration. To which the people in the city responded: “We don’t care, we don’t care, you put us on the map.”

1995’s cult classic produced quotable lines and laughs for all. As disaster ensues and Tommy initially fails to sell his company’s Callahan Brake Pads, he and Richard clash (and destroy Richard’s prized car, a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere GTX). While the movie has such comedy gold as “Holy Schnikes!”, “fat guy in a little coat,” and “that’s gonna leave a mark,” we will always remember how they also put the auto parts industry and aftermarket on the map. Every parts guy loves this movie.

Chris Farley left behind a string of successful comedies and various Saturday Night Live sketches (especially as Matt Foley) for us to treasure forever. He was taken from us too soon but we’ll always be laughing at the jokes and antics whilst appreciating his legendary memory.