Film: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby aka: Talladega Nights
Shake and bake!
The story of a man who could only count to #1.
A 2006 comedy parodying the world of NASCAR, starring Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Sacha Baron Cohen among others, directed by Adam McKay. It is a Judd Apatow production, and considered by many to be the spiritual successor to Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy, which was also an Apatow production directed by McKay.Ricky Bobby (Ferrell) is a dull yet charismatic NASCAR superstar who lives by the motto of his missing father Reese Bobby (Gary Cole): "If you're not first, you're last." Helping him always secure the number one spot on the track is friend and fellow driver Cal Naughton, Jr. (Reilly). A few years after his initial rise to stardom, Bobby has a wealth of endorsements, is married to a babe named Carley (Leslie Bibb), and together they raise their two boys, Walker and Texas Ranger Bobby.However, the good life Bobby has made for himself is put in danger when French Formula One racer Jean Girard (Cohen) makes a jump to NASCAR. After a humiliating loss puts Girard at the top of the NASCAR world, Bobby loses everything: his reputation, his endorsements, and even his wife (to Cal!). However, with the unorthodox training methods of Reese, and the support of his mother Lucy (Jane Lynch) and his assistant-turned-lover Susan (Amy Adams), Ricky motivates himself to return to the NASCAR scene in order to restore his reputation.
Anachronism Stew: At the final Talladega race, when the pace car pulls off on the last restart, Ricky Bobby's and Jean Girard's cars are side-by-side, a la a double-file restart. However, when the movie was filmed, this would not be how they would line up for a restart: in 2005, double-file restarts (or "Shootout-style restarts" as they were also called) were only used in the non-points Sprint Cup races - the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona and the All-Star Race at Charlotte. In points-paying races, the field lined up for restarts with two lines of cars - lead lap cars on the outside line, and lap-down cars on the inside line; on restarts with less than ten laps to go, all of the cars restarted single file whether or not on the lead lap. Double-file restarts were only implemented in points races starting at the 2009 Pocono 500.
In a reverse case, we see Ricky Bobby and Cal Naughton Jr. communicating with each other over their radios. After the Car of Tomorrow came out, it was possible to see a "two car tandem" where two cars would hook up nose-to-tail at restrictor plate tracks and be able to go much faster than the pack, which led to somewhat more competitive racing at Talladega and to a lesser extent at Daytona. In 2012, NASCAR took away the ability for drivers to directly communicate with each other in an effort to restore regular pack racing to plate tracks.
Anarchy Is Chaos: Ricky's children appear to have this view, despite admitting to not knowing what the term means.
Anti-Villain: Jean Girard. He’s more reasonable and honorable than most of the protagonists.
Artistic License: The Texas Motor Speedway race is signed as the Dickies 500 (which is now the AAA Texas 500), but there are a few glaring inaccuracies to any NASCAR fan: one, the race ends in the day time, when both Texas races (spring and fall) end under the lights (the spring one is a Saturday night race), which is more true of the fall event (which used to be the Dickies 500) because it is in November. Also, the NASCAR on FOX crew is shown commentating for the race, when at the time of filming, it would have been the NASCAR on NBC team (or, from 2007 to 2014, the NASCAR on ESPN/ABC team) who would be covering the race.
As Himself: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is seen near the beginning asking Ricky for his autograph to drive home how popular Ricky is at the start of the movie. Which causes some Fridge Logic, given the amount of popularity Junior's had since 2003.
As well as fellow driver Jamie McMurray, who learns the hard way what Ricky Bobby picked up on sale at Target (the bird).
McMurray later used Ricky's Dennit car number, #26, at Roush Fenway Racing from 2006 to the end of 2009. The number today is unused, but was most recently used in a one-time entry by Michael Waltrip at the 2013 Daytona 500 (where the #26 was actually in tribute to the victims of the Newtown shootings). McMurray's sponsor in the movie, Target, now sponsors the #42 of his teammate Juan Pablo Montoya (and replacement teammate Kyle Larson).
Cal Naughton, Jr.'s number, #47, is currently the number used on the JTG Daugherty Racing Toyota driven by Bobby Labonte, and in the future by A.J. Allmendinger. It was previously used by Marcos Ambrose.
FOX commentator Mike Joy, and color analysts Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip appear during the race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
NBC team Bill Weber, Wally Dallenbach, and Benny Parsons (died 2007) are the commentators at Ricky's comeback race at Talladega. Their presence establishes that the race is the 2005 UAW-Ford 500, of which some of the racing footage was comprised from.
Jean Girard introduces Ricky Bobby to Elvis Costello and Mos Def.
As You Know: Reese and Ricky review the origins of stock car racing.
Bratty Half-Pints: Ricky's sons stop acting like "retarded gang-bangers" after Ricky's mother gets after them, though at the beginning you'll probably be surprised that their parents don't punish them for mouthing off to other family members. Especially once Cal incites them.
Charlotte Track Doubling: Scenes at the Texas Motor Speedway event were actually filmed at the identical cookie cutter track of Charlotte Motor Speedway
Cluster F-Bomb: Done by a random black guy on a bus to Ricky, who really regrets opening his mouth to the guy
Dark Horse Victory: Both Ricky and Girard are disqualified for having gotten out of their cars, so the trophy goes to Cal, who was in third place when the big crash took out everyone on the grid except for Ricky and Girard.
Defeat Means Respect: Girard is seeking out someone good enough to defeat him. He embraces Ricky Bobby at the end.
Defictionalization/Hilarious in Hindsight: Kurt Busch raced Ricky's "ME" car in the 2012 Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, which is on display at Charlotte Motor speedway. Busch's Axe Crazy tendencies and his release from the Roger Penske Racing powerhouse at the end of the 2011 season, and subsequent efforts to rebuild his reputation through a year with Phoenix Racing and then a season in the Denver-based Furniture Row Racing before being signed on to Tony Stewart's team in 2014, is almost like Ricky Bobby's departure from the Dennitt Racing powerhouse.
Dramatic Drop: A bar patron drops his beer the second that Jean Girard introduced everyone to his husband.
Dueling Movies (or a really funny double feature): With Pixar's Cars, which also features a cocky race car "driver" who's brought down a few notches by a long-lost master in pursuit of a green-colored rival (the only difference being that Girard is probably a lot better behaved than Chick Hicks).
Eagleland: The red-blooded American Ricky Bobby vs. cultured gay French driver Jean Girard.
Fair Weather Mentor: Inverted. Ricky's father refuses to stay around when things are going well, and usually ends up intentionally screwing it up.
Reese: Well, it looks like everything is just about perfect now. Making me a little...twitchy.
Fanservice: Carley Bobby. She even takes her shirt off to flash Ricky!
She does it twice at the end to Ricky, prompting two guys to faint and the rest to get out their cellphones. Miraculously, Ricky turns her down, and Susan flashes her boobs at Carley. Carley is impressed.
Note that in real life, if the drivers did not make it back to the finish line, scoring loops and television replays would be used to determine the order of finish. In the 2009 Aaron's 499 at Talladega, after Carl Edwards was turned into the catch fencing by race winner Brad Keselowski, his car came to a rest in the middle of the track 100 feet from the finish line, and Edwards jogged the last distance to the finish line. He was not penalized for climbing out of his car, but as the car had not crossed the finish line to be scored as completing the final lap, Edwards was scored as the first driver one lap down.
High Concept: Was literally pitched by McKay and company by simply writing on a chalkboard: "Will Ferrell as a NASCAR driver."
Hilarious Outtakes: A number of them during the credits, most of which consist of the actors going above and beyond many of the already funny scenes to purposefully corpse their fellow actors.
One example is that the outtakes show some of Cal and Ricky's commercials that were ultimately cut from the film - like an advertisement for funeral homes or a public message about packs of stray dogs that are roaming through major cities.
Implausible Deniability: Ricky thinks he's unable to walk. Earlier in the movie before the knife scene he gets out of the wheelchair he's in to block a basketball.
Kick the Dog: Poor Chip is on the receiving end of this during the dinner scene, from hearing about his war medals being thrown off the side of a bridge to his grandchildren attacking him and threatening bodily harm on him.
Ricky and Cal are certainly no better by encouraging the little punks, topped off with Ricky claiming that his sons are better than Chip has ever been in his life.
Ricky: All you ever did with your life is make a hot daughter. That's it! That is IT!
Lady Drunk: Dennit's wife is very much a straight version. This causes some pretty embarrassing situations for her husband when they are in their private viewing boxes at the races.
Taken to the extreme when the dramatic wrecking of Ricky Bobby and Jean Girard is interrupted by an Applebee's commercial. This is an in-joke reference to how many criticized the original NASCAR on NBC coverage for their excessive commercial breaks during green flag runs, which also often missed restarts.
Perhaps even more extreme when Ricky thanks baby Jesus for certain products during dinner blessing due to contractual obligations.
Mike Joy: Ricky Bobby, who never met a sponsor he wouldn't push, has a huge Fig Newtons sticker on his windshield! Darrell Waltrip: I think NASCAR'll black-flag him for that! Mike Joy: He sold the windshield! Ricky Bobby: This sticker is dangerous and inconvenient, but I do love Fig Newtons.
Quote Mine: Parodied; see this page's image, above. If you can't make it out, it says "Best movie ever made." —Ricky Bobby. This is a line Ricky says in the movie itself, and he's actually talking about Highlander.
Reality Is Unrealistic: When the Big One hits during the final race, as the result of Cal Naughton, Jr.'s teammate hooking Naughton into the wall for helping Ricky Boby overtake Jean Girard, every single car in the pack piles in and only two cars (Ricky and Girard) are left running and on the lead lap. In the Sprint Cup Series, there have been Talladega races where a big crash occurred and there were still a lot of cars that finished on the lead lap. However, big crashes that reduced the number of cars in contention significantly have happened in the Cup and Busch races at Talladega:
In 2002, for example, in the Busch race, a 30 car crash occurred on lap 15. Three cars finished on the lead lap.
In the Aaron's 499 Winston Cup event of the same weekend, 20 cars finished on the lead lap after a 24 car wreck happened on lap 164.
In 2005, in the spring Cup race, 13 cars finished on the lead lap as a result of a 25 car crash around lap 133 and a six car crash on lap 186.
Second Place Is for Losers: "If you ain't first, you're last." Ricky Bobby bases his entire life on this one phrase his father told him, and earnestly believes it to the point that he can't deal with the idea of someone being better than him. He has a nervous breakdown when he wrecks in his first race against Jean Girard and needs training just to know how to go fast again.
Subverted later on in the movie when Ricky's Dad says "I was HIGH when I said that! That doesn't make any sense at all. You can be second, third, fourth... hell, you can even be fifth."
Seinfeldian Conversation: One breaks out every single time someone tries to say grace. "I like to think of Jesus as a mischievous badger."
Shout-Out: The plot very loosely imitates the 1990 Tom Cruise racing movie Days of Thunder. Ricky Bobby is like Cole Trickle; Jean Girard is a combination of Rowdy Burns and Russ Wheeler, etc. By coincidence, John C. Reilly appears in both movies (as Cole's car chief in Days of Thunder, here as Cal Naughton, Jr.).
Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Amy Adams was left out of all advertising in favor of Leslie Bibb for some odd reason (especially since Adams actually has something to do with the plot).
Probably because her career up until that point mostly consisted of secondary roles. Enchanted, which would make her a star, didn't come out for almost another year.
However, the trope could be subverted: Leslie Bibb is far from a star herself. They very easily could have focused on the likeable Love Interest instead or used both beautiful women. The real reason is probably that Amy Adams is considered more classically beautiful while Leslie Bibb is more sexy/hot and more appropriate for NASCAR based advertising.
The answer you're looking for is screen time: Bibb's character is prominent through the first two-thirds of the film, while Adams' character doesn't impact the story until the last half hour.
Adams did have a memorable line in the commercials and in the movie: "Ricky Bobby is not a thinker! Ricky Bobby is a driver!"
Spoiled Brat: Walker and Texas Ranger, until Granny whips them into shape.
Throwing Off the Disability: Ricky Bobby thought that he had become paralyzed despite the doctors telling him that he's fine and that his mind is making him think he's paralyzed. It took a knife to the leg to make him realize he's okay. The broken arm is another example of this. For the record, after making Girard break his arm, Ricky would not in real life be able to get behind the wheel of his racecar so quickly - he'd have to be medically cleared to race by NASCAR (although it is a wonder why Ricky didn't consider just getting a specially designed cast that would still make it possible for him to grip the steering wheel; Martin Truex, Jr. broke his wrist in a crash at Bristol and still scored a few top-five and top-ten finishes in the races that followed in spite of a cast on his right wrist).
Training from Hell: Ricky's dad, Reese, helped Ricky Bobby regain his confidence by making him drive with a full grown cougar in the back of the car. And making him drive while blindfolded. And making him go on a police chase.
Reese: You've got to drive with the fear.
Ricky: THERE'S A COUGAR IN THE CAR!
Reese: Yeah. That's the fear.
What an Idiot: In-Universe, this is NBC commentator Bill Weber's reaction to John Hannafin's interviews of "celebrities" in the grandstands:
Bill Weber: Now let's go to John Hannafin, who's in the stands with a country music legend.
[Cuts to Hannafin in the stands]
John Hannafin: Thank you, Sean. I'm here with one of the greatest country music stars of all-time, Kenny Rogers. Kenny, what do you think of the race so far?
Kenny Rogers:[who, as you probably can see, is obviously not Kenny Rogers] It's great. They're going really fast.
Bill Weber: John, that's not Kenny Rogers.
John Hannafin:[not hearing Weber] In the song "The Gambler", you sang "You gotta know when to walk away and know when to run." Should Ricky Bobby have stayed away from racing?
"Kenny Rogers": Mr. Bobby's very competitive. If he wants to race, he should race.
John Hannafin: Well, this is John Hannafin with Kenny Rogers. And now back to you, Bill.
Bill Weber: Well, that, of course, was not Kenny Rogers.
Benny Parsons: Not even close!
And later, Hannafin is shown interviewing a black man he mistakes for NBA legend Larry Byrd - who was white:
Bill Weber: Come on, John! Pay attention!
Benny Parsons: I'm honestly concerned he might have had a stroke.
Worthy Opponent: Jean Girard is looking for one and believes he’s found one in Ricky Bobby.