Film: Dennis the Menace

In 1993, Dennis the Menace was made into a live-action film written and co-produced by John Hughes, directed by Nick Castle, and released by Warner Bros. . It starred various actors ranging from Walter Matthau, Lea Thompson, Christopher Lloyd, and Joan Plowright.

The movie provides examples of:

  • Amusing Injuries: Much of what Dennis (inadvertently) puts Mr. Wilson through and later Switchblade Sam when the latter abducts Dennis near the end.
  • Aside Glance: It looks like Dennis is staring at us while playing dead so he won't be in Margaret's house.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...
    George: I think the little rat put mouthwash in my nasal spray and toilet cleanser in my mouthwash.
    Martha: Oh, why would he do something like that?
    George: [gives her a sarcastic smirk] Must you ask?
  • Asshole Victim: Althought not fatally, Switchblade Sam and Alice's coworker in the post credit scene.
  • Ax-Crazy: Switchblade Sam.
  • Balloon Belly: Happens to Switchblade Sam after Dennis forces him to eat an entire pot of baked beans.
  • Big "Shut Up!": Switchblade Sam yells this to Dennis in an attempt to silence his incessant pestering. It doesn't work.
  • Butt Monkey: Mr. Wilson. Also, Switchblade Sam once he meets Dennis. The same with Alice's coworker when she does in the end.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Switchblade Slam. Just look at him! He steals an apple out of a child's hand, robs houses and such, and tramples flowers. And all this is done to the tune of a strange piece of theme music which practically serves as a warning that he is about to show up.
    MikeJ: We get it! This character isn't very nice!
  • Canon Foreigner: Gunther.
  • Character Title
  • Death Glare: "Don't embarrass me."
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: Switchblade Sam's stealing of Margaret's doll. Afterward, Margaret claims the doll was a priceless antique, but 1) Sam didn't know it at the time, and 2) Margaret's claim isn't credible, as no one would give a five-year-old a priceless antique as a toy (unless she asked for it, which is likely).
  • Dramatic Thunder
    Dennis: I bet I know what it is.
    George: I doubt that.
    Dennis: I bet it's your address.
    *Booom* (George freezes in shock)
  • Fantastic Slur: "Cheek-pinchers!"
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Dennis talked to Mrs. Wilson about the time his parents "wrestled".
    • While Dennis and Margaret are arguing over the merits of men over women and vice-versa, they start to debate on how babies are made. This ends when Joey starts laughing evilly, saying: "You want to know how?"
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: George says "G.D." a lot.
  • Groin Attack: Averted, as a canoe fell from the ceiling of Mr. Wilson's attic, barely missed his groin.
  • Human Shield: The stated reason behind the thief's kidnapping of Dennis.
    Dennis: What does a hostage have to do?
    Switchblade Sam: Nothing.
    Dennis: Then how come you need one?
    Switchblade Sam: Incase the cops show up!
    Dennis: 'Do i get to use a gun?
    Switchblade Sam: No, you get to stand in front of me incase the cops use a gun.
  • I Am Big Boned:
    Martha: Weren't you a fat boy?
    George: I was husky.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: After vacuuming paint and sawchips from his garage floor, Dennis reverses the fan and blows the contents into Mr. Wilson's barbecue. Later, when eating his steak, Wilson says "it tastes like paint... and wood".
  • Jerk Ass:
    • George Wilson, for the most part. But mostly because he is just a cynical old man, even partly because he is the one constantly taking the blows and being the butt of Dennis' blunders, and he has an obsession with a reward involving his garden, which hijacks some of his concerns for others.
    • A woman employee at Alice Mitchell's work who has several cameos because of how conceited of remarks she makes. She finally gets something she deserves at the end.
    • Then there is Switchblade Sam, not only because he is the cat burglar, but even because he has the heart to go around trampling on flowers that are in his path and swiping fruit out of the hand of a kid.
  • Kick the Dog:
    George: [after Dennis yells out to him and a whole group of people that he's been robbed, therefore scuttling the whole event and making George and the rest of the group miss the most important moment of the process of his flower blossoming. For the time being in reaction to that, George makes the assumption that Dennis cried wolf on purpose to scuttle that very important event, and therefore finally loses his patience towards him and puts all the blame for that on him] You're a pest. A menace. A spoiled, selfish little boy and I have no use for you. You took something from me that I could never get back. Something that means more to me than you ever will. Do you understand? I don't wanna see you. I don't wanna know you. Now, get out of my way!
    • Although he does end up regretting it momentarily, and – upon learning that Dennis has run away and may be in the company of said burglar – even joins in the search.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Towards a bitchy coworker of Alice Mitchell. She forces the latter into going on a business trip in her stead, despite the fact that Alice has a kid to watch over, on the basis that she "[has] a life." The movie ends with said kid, Dennis, getting her stuck in a copier machine.
  • Leitmotif: Whenever you start to hear an electric guitar lick, know that Switchblade Sam is about to turn that corner the camera is slowly tightening on.
  • Life's Work Ruined: The flower that took 40 years to grow and flowers for a few seconds... and no one sees the whole process because of Dennis yelling at just the right moment.
    George: Forty years down the drain!
  • Montage: "Don't Hang Up"
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Mr. Wilson is guilt-stricken when he learns that Dennis ran away because of his tirade, that he was indeed trying to warn him of a burglary (that happened to take place at the same time as the long-awaited flower bloom) and his safety might be in danger because Switchblade Sam — a man with a lengthy criminal history — is at large.
  • Not-So-Innocent Whistle: Dennis when he accidentally spilled some mothballs, on which George accidentally slipped.
  • Oh, Crap: At least three times, from Dennis.
    • When the large blob of paint is about to fall on Mr. Wilson.
    Dennis: Uh-OH!
    • When he broke Mr. Wilson's dentures.
    • And when he learns Sam is a thief and that he was the one who robbed Mr. Wilson.
    Dennis: This is Mr. Wilson's gold. How come you got it?
    Sam: I stole it!
    Dennis: You're a robber!?
    Sam: I'm a thief!
    Dennis: Uh-oh!
  • The Password Is Always Swordfish: Switchblade Sam apparently figured out George's combination is his address.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Following the Summer Floraganza event at Mr. Wilson's house, Wilson gives an unbelievably cruel and horrifyingly vicious one (one might argue bordering on sadism) after Dennis tries (unsuccessfully) to warn Wilson that his home was being burglarized ... causing Wilson to miss the entire life cycle — its bloom and death last less than 15 seconds — of a rare species of flower that he had nurtured for 40 years. Wilson, thinking Dennis is trying to pester him about nothing in particular, delivers the tirade, seen under Tranquil Fury.
  • Sarcasm Mode
    Dennis: You know, Mr. Wilson, you wonder why I'm not crying? If I'm not gonna be around my mom and dad, the only other person I wanna be around is you.
    George: I can't tell you how deeply moved I am.
    • [a couple of quotes when Martha and George get in bed one night and engage in a personal discussion]
    Martha: [just before getting into bed] George, are you sleeping?
    George: I was until you started yacking.
    Martha: I would have been a good mother.
    George: And I would have made a swell fireman. [turns to his side]
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Dennis, when his hair is sucked into the leaf blower.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Both Mr. Wilson and one of Dennis' friends use their address as their combination for their safe and bike, respectively. Even Switchblade Sam figured it out.
  • Title Drop: Sort of.
    George: I can't stand that kid! He's a menace!
  • Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth
  • Tranquil Fury: Mr. Wilson brings the white-hot rage in the film's climax. Also doubles as a Title Drop.
    Mr. Wilson: "You're a pest. A menace. A selfish, spoiled little boy and I've no use for you. You took something from me that I can never get back, something that means more to me than you ever will. You understand?" (Dennis, trying to comprehend what he was told, nods.) "I don't want to see you, I don't want to know you. Get out of my way." (Dennis begs for forgiveness and begins to cry, but Wilson ignores him as he yells at his guests to go home.)
  • Unperson: What Mr. Wilson regards Dennis as he makes his cruel, scathing remarks following the flower bloom scene.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Switchblade Sam: What a guilt-wrought Mr. Wilson fears will happen once he realizes Dennis is missing and that Switchblade Sam — a suspect in a string of burglaries — is at large.
    • Mr. Wilson himself, but these are through his words. At the time of his cruel tirade, he doesn't care that Dennis is just 6 years old or what long-term psychological effects said speech will have ... he blames him solely for missing the bloom of a rare flower that was his life's work.

Alternative Title(s):

Dennis The Menace Strikes Again