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Film: Billy Madison

"...Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."
The Principal

Billy Madison is a 1995 Comedy film starring Adam Sandler as a rich slacker who must go back to school, starting with first grade, all the way through high school, in order to inherit his father's company. He falls in love with Veronica Vaughn (Bridgette Wilson), his beautiful 3rd grade teacher, along the way. Hilarity Ensues.


Tropes include:

  • Accidental Pervert: Billy purposefully initiates such an experience with his teacher Veronica, blaming the accident on a bumpy bus ride in the hope that she'll think it's this. Of course, he's just being a regular pervert.
    • Well, he originally wasn't going to do it, but then the kid double-dog dared him...
  • Abhorrent Admirer:
    • The overweight homosexual principal has a crush on Billy.
    • So does Juanita, the Madisons' maid.
    • And Billy himself is initially this from Veronica's perspective.
  • Adult Child: Up until he gets to high school, Billy fits in almost perfectly with the small children around him.
  • Alliterative Name: Veronica Vaughn, the first of Adam's "V-name" girlfriends.
  • Annoying Laugh: Eric's "weasel laugh."
  • Answer Cut: Veronica: "Who would steal 30 bags of lunches?", cut to Chris Farley and Billy's friends eating them while laughing maniacally.
  • Author Appeal: Adam Sandler is a huge Professional Wrestling fan in Real Life.
  • Back to School: The basic premise. Hell, he even sings a little song about it.
    Billy: Back to school, back to school, to prove to dad that I'm not a fool! I've got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don't get in a fight.
  • Big "Shut Up!": Ahahahahahaha—SHUT UP!!!!!
    • Eric to Mr. Madison for when he wouldn't give him the company and was allowing Billy to complete high school.
  • Brick Joke: During the bus ride to the farm, the bus driver throws a banana peel out the window and onto the highway. Much later in the film, a car driven by the Jerk Ass O'Doyle family veers off course after going over the peel and plunges over a cliff.
    • "Hey, kids, it's me! I bet you thought that I was dead! But when I fell over I just broke my leg and got a hemorrhage in my head!"
    • "Man, I'm glad I called that guy."
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Billy has shades of this. He comes up with the movie-defining plot off the top of his head in a matter of seconds. His father is impressed by the thoroughness and the fact that Billy actually set up a significant challenge for himself, influencing his decision to go through with it.
  • Catch Phrase: "O'Doyle rules!"
  • Character Development: On the way, Billy grows more mature, apologizing for his bad behavior and genuinely cleaning up his act.
  • Character Filibuster: Subverted and parodied. Billy is required to give one of these describing how a work of literature reflects the changes the Industrial Revolution had on the modern novel as part of the climactic general knowledge quiz. He elects to compare the Industrial Revolution to a children's story called "The Puppy Who Lost His Way," and the scene cuts to the ending of the seemingly inspirational and well-informed monologue he gives on the subject. Then Billy turns to the headmaster to find out how he did, and the response is the quote at the top of the page.
    • The song Billy sings after Veronica beats the shit out of him is probably a straighter example.
  • Character Title
  • Character Witness: Billy apologized to an old classmate he used to bully in school. That same former classmate comes back at the end of the film to save Billy from the villain.
  • Chekhov's Gun: "The Puppy Who Lost His Way".
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Aforementioned classmate, who had become a real gunman in the meantime. He's seen crossing Billy off of a hit list after they make peace.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Billy most of the time, but practically every character in the movie during the bizarre Big Lipped Alligator Moment where they're all singing or dancing. ("Do you have any more gum, more gum, more gum, more gum, more gum, more gum?")
    • Do you have any more gum?
    • Billy's first grade teacher indulges in some rather odd habits when her class is outside playing dodgeball.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: This being an Adam Sandler picture, there's heaps and heaps of it. Billy sees a clown on stilts topple over and laughs his head off, even though the actor in the clown makeup has cut open his lip and broken his leg. He later reacts with hilarity when his arch-nemesis, Eric, is burning to death (but it's an Imagine Spot, so he gets better). A story about a professional wrestler killing an opponent by sitting on his head is played for laughs, as is a secretary being violently knocked into a coma. But the best (er, worst) example has to concern the O'Doyles, a family of stereotypically Irish-American louts (milky skin, freckles, ginger hair, you know the drill...) whose sole function in the movie is to act like a Jerk Ass to Billy at various plot points. Billy ultimately gets his revenge when a car carrying the entire O'Doyle family skids wildly after zipping over a banana peel on the highway and plunges over a cliff; every single O'Doyle is killed.
  • Cool Old Guy: Carl.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Veronica, although she's stern rather than genuinely mean.
  • Disco Dan: When Billy shows up for his first day of high school, he arrives in a 1979 Pontiac Trans Am, blaring "The Stroke" by Billy Squier loudly over the radio and wearing a denim jacket with a REO Speedwagon t-shirt. Since this movie was released in the mid-90s when alternative rock and hip-hop were the dominant genres of music, Billy's attempt to look cool backfires big time.
  • Disney Death: The clown at Billy's party, who comes back to life just to take part in a musical number.
  • Epic Fail: The moderator of the Academic Decathlon suggests that Billy has made the audience dumber for giving a blatantly incorrect answer. Billy even does a Lampshade Hanging, pointing out that the moderator's reaction was a bit excessive.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: There's a giant penguin who is a nemesis of Billy's. According to the director, it's a drunken hallucination.
  • Fan Disservice: We're suckered into thinking we're going to see Veronica Vaughn strip herself to the waist, but instead the one performing the striptease is the disgustingly fat male bus driver. Played by Chris Farley. Ick.
  • Genre Savvy: Carl warns Billy that Eric may be up to something because of Eric's sinister Evil Laugh.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Lampshaded in the musical scene:
    "Veronica, I thank you/for beating the shit out of me!"
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: "He just called the shit 'poop'!"
  • Ha Ha Ha No: "Ahahahahahaha shut up!"
  • Having a Gay Old Time: In-universe: Veronica has to teach her class with a short story called "My Sister Fanny," and just lets them all giggle a bit and get it out of their system first. Billy doesn't get it, but then it turns out the story is on page 69 of their book.
  • Heel Realization: Getting bullied when he enters the high school prompts Billy to realize his own bullying tendencies when he was a kid. It prompts him to call an old classmate he used to pick on and apologize... which prompts the old classmate to drop him from his 'kill' list. And save his life at the end.
    Billy: Boy, I'm glad I called that guy.
  • Hippie Teacher: Miss Lippy, the 1st grade teacher.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: Carl, who ends up becoming the head of Madison Hotels due to his helping Billy.
  • Hot Teacher: Veronica Vaughn.
  • Hypocritical Humor: "NO YELLING ON THE BUS!"
  • I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Billy's tutor's way of motivating him.
  • Idle Rich: Billy towards the beginning.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Part of the main plot.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Billy and the kids from Veronica's class.
    • Billy is also friends with one of his father's executives, Carl, who is one of the few people who actually believes in Billy.
  • Jerkass: Eric, but also Billy, especially in the beginning of the film.
    • And the entire O'Doyle clan.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Eric is a Corrupt Corporate Executive and sleazy Jerk Ass who merely wants to run Madison Hotels. However, he is right when he points out that the company's fifty-thousand employees are not likely to have jobs for very long if the president makes his drunkard son (who only graduated because his father bribed his teachers) president of the company. Note, though, that before Billy strikes a deal to graduate legitimately, this actually does temporarily convince Billy's father to hand the reins over to Eric. It's also noteworthy that, after some Character Development, Billy himself concludes that he's not cut out for the management of a large company and turns it over to Carl, who is both competent and not a Jerkass.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Billy develops into this.
    • He had very minor shades of it from the start. When he learns that his father bribed his teachers to pass him, he seems both upset that he didn't honestly earn his grades and that his father would do such a thing.
    • He also objects to putting Eric in charge of the company because he knows Eric is immoral and callous (or, as he puts it, "He is a bad man!"). He doesn't seem particularly upset that his father's not passing the company to him until he learns it would go to Eric instead.
  • Karma Houdini: The incident where Billy grabs Veronica's breast. For an adult man, that's sexual assault and she could have easily reported him to the police. Of course, he requires a double-dare before he'll go through with it but he still got away with it.
    • Eric counts too. Despite after trying to shoot Billy and then getting shot in the buttock by the one guy that Billy apologized to him for bullying him when he was a kid, he doesn't ever get arrested and only ends up in crutches. But likely was fired.
  • Lame Comeback: After the searing criticism of Billy's analysis in the page quote, Billy comes back with...
    ...Okay, a simple "wrong" would've been just fine, but ok.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The entire O'Doyle family. They drive off a cliff, chanting their Catch Phrase all the while.
    • Billy himself is a positive example: he apologizes to a guy he bullied in high school and this directly saves his life because that guy comes back at the end of the movie to save him.
  • Last Minute Hookup: Virtually all the characters at the end of the movie. All-but Lampshaded in the case of Chris Farley's character, who hooks up with the Penguin from Billy's drunken hallucinations.
  • Large Ham: Adam Sandler doesn't merely chew scenery; he eats this movie alive.
  • Man Child: Billy Madison, of course.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Veronica. Especially when she tackles Billy in the fountain in a white shirt.
    • Lampshaded when she sings the line "Don't I have a nice rack?" during the musical number.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The Revolting Blob, anyone?
  • Pair the Spares: Taken to its logical extreme at the end of the movie (including the penguin).
  • Paste Eater: Billy eats the paste of glue in his first-grade class.
  • Product Placement: Done very blatantly early on with Triscuits featuring in the first conversation between Carl and Eric; it's worth noting that Bradley Whitford seems less than enthusiastic about having to plug the "delicious Triscuit crackers".
    • Billy sure loves his Snack Pack. He would trade his remaining banana for a kid's remaining Snack Pack.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Billy is on the receiving end of a legendary one after giving an stupid answer during the academic decathalon at the end.
    Principal: Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
    Billy: Okay, a simple "wrong" would have been fine.
  • Retired Badass: If we may describe it as badass, the principal (formerly known as The Revolting Blob).
  • Rule of Funny
  • Running Gag: See Catch Phrase.
  • Sadist Teacher: Averted, rather surprisingly.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: How Billy's Dad got him to pass at first, which Mr. Madison came to regret. Later, Eric blackmailed a principal into claiming Billy invoked the trope as well.
  • Shaggy Frog Story: Billy's comparison of the Industrial Revolution to "The Puppy Who Lost His Way" is suggested to be one. The page quote is the Principal's response to the screed.
  • Shout-Out: After arranging the academic decathlon, Billy hugs Eric and tells him "I knew it was you... (kisses him) you broke my heart."
  • Stacy's Mom: The mom of one of Billy's 1st grade classmates. Billy was interested in her until he saw her wipe her son's nose and wipe herself with the same tissue.
  • Stern Teacher: Veronica, at least to Billy.
  • Shirtless Scene: Parodied by Chris Farley.
  • Shot in the Ass: Eric.
  • Stupidest Thing I've Ever Heard: Provides the page quote, also seen above.
  • Take Our Word for It: Billy's terrible answer.
  • Those Two Guys: Billy's two friends, Jack and Frank.
  • Toilet Humour: Of course.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Eric handles the final challenge very well... until he gets a surprise question about business ethics sprung on him, at which point it takes about five seconds of flustered, stuttering incoherence for him to produce a gun and start screaming.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Billy spends most of the episode trying to gain his father's approval.



The Big GreenFilms of the 1990sThe Brady Bunch

alternative title(s): Billy Madison
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