Film / Dick

"You suck, Dick!"

A 1999 comedy film, directed by Andrew Fleming and starring Kirsten Dunst, Michelle Williams, and Dan Hedeya, about a pair of teenage girls bringing about the fall of President Richard Nixon (yes, that's who the title refers to; get your mind out of the gutter).

Betsy (Dunst) and Arlene (Williams) are kind-hearted but not overly bright best friends who, while sneaking out late at night to mail an entry to a "meet Bobby Sherman" contest, inadvertently cause the Watergate break-in to be discovered. Later, on a school trip to the White House, they are recognized and spirited away to be interrogated, which indirectly results in them meeting President Nixon (Hedaya) face to face. Nixon, recognizing their lack of interest in politics of any kind along with their great interest in petting his dog Checkers, buys their silence by naming them the "official White House dog walkers", meaning that they are present for all the major moments of Nixon's presidency.

But their naive loyalty is shattered when they discover evidence that Nixon is mean to his dog (oh, and of his large-scale criminal activities and corruption) and vow to bring him down. And so, with the help of the title of Betty's brother's favourite porn movie and the bungling Woodward (Will Ferrell) and Bernstein (Bruce McCulloch) of the Washington Post, Deep Throat is born...

Provides examples of:

  • '70s Hair: Carl Bernstein sports a luxurious pompadour, spoofing Dustin Hoffman's look in All the President's Men.
  • Accidental Public Confession: The girls confront Nixon "with what they know". Panicked, Nixon launches into a furious rant denouncing "the radical muckraking bastards at the Washington Post", inadvertently confessing in the process. After a stunned pause, the girls reveal that they were just taking about his abuse to Checkers.
    Nixon:... What dog?
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: It's the fact that Nixon is mean to his dog that gets the girls really outraged.
  • Artistic License History: By the time of Watergate, Checkers was long dead and Nixon had different dogs, but of course, Checkers is the one most associated with him.
    • There is a short line where John Dean asks Nixon if he should be calling the dog King Timahoe by now, implying Nixon just calls all his dogs Checkers.
  • Been There, Shaped History: In addition to accidentally exposing the entire Watergate scandal Betsy and Arlene teach Nixon the V Sign, and the Hello Dolly cookies they bring in get Leonid Brezhnev high and get help the Moscow Summit peace talks run smoothly.
  • Butt-Monkey: Henry Kissinger gets no respect from anyone.
  • Celebrity Crush: Arlene is originally infatuated with Bobby Sherman...
    • ...before settling on Dick.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Parodied; in front of Nixon and his Cabinet, Arlene blurts out a rather naive anti-war statement ("War is not healthy for children and other living things.") This leads to a stunned silence, and then a lot of bickering about Vietnam ("If you want to complain about Vietnam, talk to Johnson!").
  • Covert Pervert: It's hinted that Bernstein is one of these.
  • Dance Party Ending: After the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue announces that Betsy and Arlene went on to open a successful roller disco, the credits roll over the two skating around an elaborately lit replica of the Oval Office.
  • A Dick in Name: Nixon wants to be called "Dick" at times for the sake of (false) friendship. Obviously, more than one time this is used as an (unknown to the girls) double-entendre insult (see the quote at the top).
  • Dirty Old Man: Averted. Nixon's horrified at the implication of a teenager crushing on him, though he's more disturbed at the thought of the press finding out about it.
  • The Ditz: Neither Betsy nor Arlene are the sharpest of nails initially, but they gradually become more savvy.
  • Double Entendre: The filmmakers get a lot of mileage out of Nixon's preferred nickname.
  • Flag Bikini: The girls make bikini tops out of a flag.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Because Woodward and Bernstein are too embarrassed to admit they brought down the White House with the help of two teenage dog walkers.
  • Hippie Teacher: Arlene's teacher.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Kissinger is portrayed as the affable, ignored Only Sane Man of the Nixon Administration. In real life, he is considered by many to be a war criminal, and that's all that will be said.
  • Historical In-Joke:
    • The movie was made before W. Mark Felt admitted he was the true identity of 'Deep Throat'.
    • Additionally, the marijuana-laced cookies the girls give Nixon help the talks with Leonid Brezhnev go smoothly, leading to the end of the Vietnam War; the eighteen minute gap in Nixon's tapes is because Arlene confessed her love for him on it and he erased the confession; and the two give Nixon the idea to do the V Sign.
  • Intentionally Awkward Title
  • Intoxication Ensues: Betsy and Arlene bake the President cookies, using their brother's secret recipe; however, they aren't aware this includes marijuana...
    • The guards seemed to like em too:
      White House Guards: Got the cookies?
      Betsy and Arlene: (nodding enthusiastically) Uh huh.
      White House Guards: YEAH!!
  • Intrepid Reporter: Parodied — Woodward and Bernstein are portrayed as clowns with overdeveloped egos.
  • Kick the Dog: A literal use of this trope, with Nixon mistreating his own dog.
  • Large Ham: Nixon when he's pissed.
    Nixon: You don't mess with the big boys!
  • Mysterious Informant: Parodied; "Deep Throat" is definitely not what Woodward and Bernstein were expecting. Their keeping the girls' identity secret is because it's too embarrassing.
  • Only Sane Man: Kissinger, for the Nixon administration.
  • Power Is Sexy: Arlene falls hard for Nixon (to the point where the entire "18 1/2 gap" was taken up by her message of love to him). Naturally, it doesn't last after they find out Nixon's true nature.
  • Precious Puppies: Nixon's dog Checkers is oh so this to the girls. Not exactly so to Nixon.
  • Seven Minute Lull: "You can't let Dick control your life!"
  • Shout-Out: To All the President's Men and various other movies about Watergate and Nixon.
  • Smitten Teenage Girl: Arlene becomes infatuated with Nixon.