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Film / Deal of the Century

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Deal of the Century is a 1983 American comedy directed by William Friedkin that has a couple of arms dealers (Chevy Chase and Gregory Hines) going to South America to sell weapons to a South American dictator.

The film also stars Sigourney Weaver, Vince Edwards, Wallace Shawn, Richard Libertini, Richard Herd, and Graham Jarvis.

It was released on November 4, 1983.

Tropes for the film:

  • Arms Dealer: The titular "deal" is them rebuilding by themselves a lemon of an Attack Drone in order to swindle a few million dollars in the black market.
  • Arms Fair: The plot revolves around several. The first one is where the Peacemaker is introduced and fails spectacularly. The second one reveals the upgrades the Peacemaker went through as it gets into a dangerous dogfight with Ray.
  • Berserk Button/Beware of the Nice Ones: Ray tries to be pacifistic towards an entitled man and his side-piece in a parking lot, who crashed into his car as he pulled out. Ray tries to be non-confrontational and reasonable, but unfortunately, the driver of the other car is spoiling for a fight. After the other guy kicks Ray's car a few times, Ray tries to reason with him, but the other driver pulls out a switchblade, and starts making threats as he pops a tire on Ray's car, then piles on the hatred with a tire iron, smashing the windows. Between the hatred of the man smashing his car's windshield and the spiteful bitchiness of his girlfriend hurling insults, Ray walks up to his battered car, and pulls out the flamethrower that was resting on his Bible, and both see it run scared.
    • Just seeing him get pissed as he tries to maintain a level of Tranquil Fury despite it all is all too understandable.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Guns dealer Eddie Muntz is repeatedly shot through the foot during the early half of the film, necessitating a need for a walking cane wherever he goes. When Eddie has to stop Stryker from using the fighter drone to kill his best friend Ray, he's able to reach the drone's Shut Down button with his cane, giving Ray the chance to shoot down the drone.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Stryker. He's obsessed with outpacing the rival arms manufacturers, even as his company is unable to install working air conditioners in their workplaces.
  • Disastrous Demonstration: When an early-generation UAV dubbed the Peacemaker is launched at a military aircraft demonstration, it malfunctions and destroys the expo. The design is justifiably scrapped when these technical difficulties are found to have resulted from the drone not being water-resistant. Corrupt executive Stryker, however, quietly restarts the program and ensures the UAV goes through serious upgrades for a future air show...
    General: This is a great day for the Air Force, Senator!
    Senator: (about ready to run for his life) Why is that, General?
    General: Because the navy ordered twenty of those disasters.
  • Expy: The Luckup defense corporation, a parodic name echoing real-life manufacturers like Lockheed and Northrup (companies that do get name-dropped as competitors).
    • It also rhymes with "Fuck-up," given the problems the company has with marketing itself and providing quality arms equipment.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: Ray is hassled by a Jerkass, as he takes a flamethrower out of his trunk and adds the flames painted on the side of the man's muscle car.
  • Heel–Faith Turn: Ray develops guilt over his work as an arms dealer, which drives him to give up his job and join a Baptist church (complete with an actual baptism in a swimming pool). When we next see him, Ray has snuck onto another military aircraft show and hijacks a working fighter plane, making demands for all the attending generals and Third World dictators to hold hands and pray for peace.
  • Hot Paint Job: A car's "flame job" is a point of pride for the owner. In an argument with Ray Kasternak (Hines) the latter takes a flamethrower out of the trunk of his car and gives the former's car a literal flame job, torching it.
    Ray: I'm gonna give ya a lil' touchup! A lil' touchup! Just a lil' touchup for ya!
  • Mugging the Monster: In one early scene Eddie is mugged by a pair of robbers, and he hands them his wallet… then pulls out a machine gun from his car's boot while they are standing there pulling out the cash and orders them at gunpoint to hand it back, their own money and their guns, and run like hell.
  • Technology Marches On: In the early 1980s, a pilot-less drone fighter (UAV) would be considered science fiction. By the 2010s as drone technology improved, drone warfare took over much of the fighting during the War on Terror.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Luckup executive Stryker uses Ray's attempt to hijack an arms show to demonstrate the Peacemaker drone, which has gone through an upgrade and fights Ray to a stalemate. When Eddie tries to save his friend Ray by talking Stryker out of giving the kill order, Stryker has a meltdown, revealing to Eddie just how dangerous the arms race has gotten.