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YMMV: Trading Places

  • Best Known for the Fanservice: We can thank Scream (1996) for helping this be remembered as the film where Jamie Lee Curtis flashes her breasts on screen for the first time.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Winthorpe saying "It's kill or be killed" and "Nothing you've seen in your life can prepare you for the unbridled carnage you're about to witness" as he and Billy enter the World Trade Center for the climax.
  • Genius Bonus: The music theme of Trading Places is the Overture to The Marriage of Figaro. The Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart opera is about a servant who outwits his master. Also, the movie's title has a double meaning. It not only refers to the main plot in which two men are forced to switch lives, but also to the climax, which plays out at the New York Mercantile Exchange: a trading place.
    • The climax itself falls in this category. Very few movies stage an ending at a stock exchange, and the plan executed by Winthorpe and Valentine is brilliantly simple in light of the public finance principles behind it. Even a child or someone with no knowledge of stocks at all would be able to understand "how can the price be going down?" means the villains are losing their money.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Often re-aired in Italy during the Christmas Holidays because of its - although vague - Christmas theme... despite the Precision F Strike and Fan Service tropes listed in the main page.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Winthorpe in the latter part of the film. He gets better.
  • Magnificent Bastard: The Duke Brothers, until they get beat at their own game.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Turn those machines back on! TURN THOSE MACHINES BACK ON!"
  • Moral Event Horizon: While the Dukes had slowly gained their way up into this territory already, the Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults scene depicts them not only gloating about switching the lives of two men (and thus destroying the life of one) over a bet for one dollar, but also deciding to leave both men homeless and worse off than before (they have no interest in rescuing Winthorpe from the gutter and intend to get rid of Valentine, adding a racial slur just for a final touch). From this point their immensely satisfying downfall starts to take place.
  • Older Than They Think: The premise of Trading Places, where two wealthy businessmen bet over whether heredity or environment makes a gentleman, and proving it by taking a bum off the street and making him sophisticated, was previously tackled in The Three Stooges short "Hoi Polloi".
    • And funnily enough, nature rather than nurture wins out in that one.
    • Older than THAT, even. The story bears strong similarities to the Book of Job (God and the Devil make a bet about whether Job will stay faithful when God ruins his life in every conceivable way), right down to them just doing it because they were bored. Job is probably the inspiration for all stories of this type, come to think of it.
    • The method by which the Dukes get theirs is pretty similar to what happens to Danglars in The Count of Monte Cristo.
  • The Plot Writes Real Life: In 2010, the "Eddie Murphy Rule" was proposed to prevent commodities traders from using nonpublic information, such as the Department of Agriculture crop report depicted in the film, to corner the market in the same way as shown in the movie.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Giancarlo Esposito played Valentine's young cellmate. He was leaning against the prison bars and moved out of the way just before the Dukes bailed Billy Ray out.
  • Values Dissonance: Dan Aykroyd in blackface is Played for Laughs for how ridiculous the disguise is, but they still probably couldn't get away with it today.
  • Values Resonance: The themes of how wealth, or the lack of it, affect the character of people, and of course the cautionary tale of people (attempting) to ruin lives to turn a profit probably make the movie a bit more poignant in the wake of the Recession. Also Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped.
  • Vindicated by Cable: The movie was a box office hit, but might have faded into obscurity, if not for constant replaying on cable around Christmas-time, even though the movie is not inherently a "Christmas movie."


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