Follow TV Tropes

Following

Film / Drillbit Taylor

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/drillbit_taylor_poster.jpg
He's better than nothing.
Advertisement:

Drillbit Taylor is a 2008 film starring Owen Wilson as a Drillbit Taylor, a man hired by three high school students (Wade, Ryan and Emmit) to protect them against the school bullies Filkins and Ronnie.

Notable as John Hughes' last screen work, with Hughes receiving co-story credit under his "Edmond Dantes" pseudonym. Apparently it was an old Hughes idea that a studio picked up.


This film contains examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: After the Holdback Technique backfires and Wade earns a punch in the face, Drillbit calls Ryan Randy.
  • Actor Allusion Wade calls Ryan "brother" in the exact same tone as Josh Nichols would call Drake in Drake & Josh. Wade later does the same thing to Filkins.
  • Adults Are Useless: Utterly. Drillbit averts this at the end.
  • All There in the Manual: Wade and Ryan's surnames are not revealed in the film itself, but are revealed elsewhere to be Drennan and Anderson, respectively.
  • Amusing Injuries: A few of them.
      Advertisement:
    • A screaming Emmit running straight into a tree and knocking himself out.
    • Wade getting punched in the back by Ryan, along with the scream that follows.
    • Wade kicking Ryan in the balls.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Happened to a student offscreen in the past, whose arm Filkins cut off with his samurai sword, demonstrating how dangerous and psychotic Filkins is, if his attempting to run down Wade, Ryan and Emmit with his car is any indication.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Chuck and Nick, Wade's twin stepbrothers. Near the beginning, he even calls them freaks.
  • Badass Grandpa: The old man whose garage Wade, Ryan and Emmit hide from Filkins and Ronnie in. He unknowingly scares Filkins and Ronnie away by threatening to get his shotgun, also scaring Wade, Ryan and Emmit away when he opens the garage door.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Drillbit did this. He lost his pinky.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Wade and Ryan. Wade challenged Filkins to the fight after being humiliated one too many times and after Filkins insulted his crush, Brooke, even willing to kick the crap out of Filkins then and there due to his anger at that moment. Emmit as well, as when he shows up at the fight, he attempts to break Filkins's leg.
      Advertisement:
    • Drillbit too, as he kicks Don's ass when Drillbit returns the stolen goods to Wade's house, and delivers a swift Curb-Stomp Battle to Filkins during the fight.
  • Big Bad: Terry Filkins.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Subverted twice in the climax, then double-subverted. Emmit shows up at the fight when it moves on to Filkins's lawn and attempts to break Filkins's leg, but is punched by Ronnie and taken out. Then Drillbit shows up, but refuses to fight Filkins due to how he Wouldn't Hurt a Child, until it's revealed Filkins is eighteen, and therefore no longer a minor. Drillbit abruptly wipes the floor with him.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Ryan, not wanting to his any regrets before the fight with Filkins, does this to a blonde girl at the party. It earns him a smack in the face.
  • Big "NO!": Drillbit, after a cop car unexpectedly crushes his severed finger.
  • Big Word Shout: During the boys' Get Out! to Drillbit, Wade loses it and yells "LEAVE!" at him.
  • Black and Grey Morality: The heroes are either essentially unaligned (three kids trying not to be bullied) or morally complex (a con artist who decides to do something good for once). The villain, however, is pretty unambiguously a bad guy.
  • Blatant Lies: Wade telling Brooke he's Asian when she asks what he's doing in the Asian Heritage club (he only joined so he could be close to her).
  • Bookends: On their first day of school, Wade and Ryan coincidentally end up wearing the same shirt, much to their horror and embarrassment. It's also the first day they get targeted by Filkins. When they go to fight Filkins at the end, they turn up at his house wearing the same shirts. So does Emmit, when he shows up too.
  • Brick Joke: The bodyguard interviewee who works at Raging Waters is later seen in a prison cell at the end, in the cell next to Drillbit's.
  • The Brute: Filkins. He attempts to run Wade, Ryan and Emmit down with his car and in the past, he cut off a kid's arm with a samurai sword.
  • Bully Brutality: The bullies are actively trying to kill the protagonists.
  • Butt-Monkey: Wade, Ryan and Emmit, mainly due to how much they are targeted by Filkins and Ronnie. Wade is possibly the biggest one of the three, due to how it seems everyone except his mother, Ryan, Emmit, Brooke and Drillbit dislikes him. They try to defy this by hiring Drillbit to protect them, and after a while it starts to work.
  • Camping a Crapper: Filkins ambushes Wade, Ryan and Emmit in the bathroom. He does it to Emmit a second time later.
  • Cassandra Truth: The kids can't convince the principal or parents that Filkins's a bully.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Filkins's samurai sword. It comes back at the end when Filkins attempts to murder Wade, Ryan and Emmit with it. In front of the police.
    • Some of the things from Wade's house that end up stolen such as his mother's silver platter and Jim's watch.
    • Drillbit showering on the beach. Ronnie sees him while his mother is driving him to school and Drillbit's cover as a teacher is blown when Ronnie tells Filkins this.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Mrs Lampanelli. She's a random woman who goes Drillbit some change at the start of the film, and is later revealed to be Ronnie's mother who indirectly reveals to him that Drillbit is a bum, and Ronnie relays this to Filkins..
    • The guitarist Don and Drillbit point out in an early scene is later hired by Drillbit to serenade Lisa while he's on a date with her.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: Ryan is seen rapping in the shower early on, then it comes back when he attempts to rap with Filkins later. Ryan ends up humiliating him and earning Wade a black eye. Oops.
  • Chekhov's Skill: When trying to coach the boys on how to fight, Ryan does a bear hug on Drillbit that causes him to stop breathing. Ryan performs the same move on Ronnie at the fight.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Wade's Get Out! moment to Drillbit: "LEAVE!" You can tell he's really angry. Of course he is, nearly everything in his house has been stolen.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Drillbit. Justified, as he was a soldier. Due to how he Wouldn't Hurt a Child, he refuses to fight Filkins until it's revealed Filkins isn't a minor, and promptly kicks his ass. He then catches Filkins's samurai sword with his bare hand after Filkins furiously attempts to murder Wade, Ryan and Emmit with it by throwing it at them. The sword cut Drillbit's pinky finger off.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Filkins punching Wade in the face when the Holdback Technique backfires.
    • Subverted at the start of the fight. Wade and Ryan take Filkins down in a few seconds, but he gets up again, and now he's mad. Cue Oh, Crap!.
    • Drillbit delivers one to Filkins at the end after learning he isn't a minor.
  • Curse Cut Short: When Jim bursts in on Wade in the opening scene, Ryan is heard on the phone saying, "You're in high school now, don't take his—" before Jim ends the call and tells Wade to go to sleep.
  • Dark Is Evil: Filkins is the main antagonist and drives a black Dodge Charger, as seen when he attempts to run Wade, Ryan and Emmit down with it.
  • Disappeared Dad: Both Wade's father and Ryan's. Wade mentions his father once near the beginning when talking to Chuck and Nick about Jim ("He's not my dad, he's your dad"). Ryan speaks to his father on the phone at the beginning and we hear his voice, but we don't see him.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: After Wade, Ryan and Emmit report Filkins to Doppler, Filkins attempts to run them down with his car.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Filkins dares Wade, Ryan and Emmit to do this when he announces he will beat them up at his house that night, after Wade stands up to him. Not surprisingly, they do.
  • The Dragon: Ronnie is this to Filkins. That is, until his Heel–Face Turn after Filkins is sent back to Hong Kong.
  • Especially Zoidberg:
    Drillbit Taylor: You'd be surprised; anything can be turned into a weapon of mayhem or destruction.
    Emmit: Even a puppy?
    Drillbit Taylor: Especially a puppy.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Filkins's parents live in Hong Kong. At the end, he is deported to Hong Kong to be with them for breaking underage drinking laws and attempting murder.
  • Evil Laugh: Filkins laughs hysterically at one point while chasing Wade, Ryan and Emmit in his car.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Drillbit Taylor, until the end.
  • False Friend: Don. He steals Drillbit's quarter when he isn't looking, insults him, encourages him to steal from Wade, Ryan and Emmit, infiltrates the school to pose as a teacher and gets paid easily (even if he just does it the once), breaks into Wade's house and finally attempts to sell off everything stolen from Wade's house. Luckily, Drillbit delivers a case of Laser-Guided Karma to him.
    • Filkins himself to Ronnie, as Ronnie had been bullied by Filkins as well and made a Heel–Face Turn after Filkins was deported to Hong Kong.
  • Fat and Skinny: Ryan is the Fat to Wade's Skinny (the opening scene even has them calling each other fat and skinny). Wade and Emmit's Skinny, too, once Emmit more or less joins them.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Filkins puts on this air when he's around adults so as to avoid punishment for bullying Wade, Ryan and Emmit and other students he bullied in the past.
  • Fingore: Thanks to a Barehanded Blade Block, Drillbit loses the pinky off his left hand. After the finger drops off, he drops the sword and screams in pain.
  • First Kiss: Wade and Brooke after the fight.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Drillbit says shortly before he first arrives at Wade's house that anything can be turned into a weapon of mayhem or destruction. A few ImprovisedWeapons are used in the fight at the end to prove this.
    • Drillbit reveals that the reason everyone calls him Drillbit is because he punctured his pinky with one when he was in high school. At the end of the fight, he loses his pinky when he pulls a Barehanded Blade Block.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Filkins is this to Ronnie, as we find out at the end, that Ronnie had been bullied by Filkins as well and only sided with him so he wouldn't be a victim.
  • Get Out!: Wade, Ryan and Emmit give one to Drillbit after learning he was just going to steal their money, and after Wade's house has been burgled, coupled with a Big Word Shout by Wade.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Wade, Ryan and Emmit escape from the old man's garage, he yells after them, "And stay out, you gang bangers!"
  • Groin Attack: Wade gives one to Ryan when they're practising fighting in the garden.
    • Wade gives one to Filkins as the first attack at the start of the fight at his house.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Ronnie, after Filkins was deported.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Wade and Ryan's method for learning to fight involves playing video games(specifically, Tekken) and watching Fight Club.
  • Improvised Weapon: Drillbit says anything can be turned into a weapon of mayhem or destruction. See quote above at Especially Zoidberg.
    • A couple of these are used during the fight. Filkins uses an unopened drinks can and a table light to attack Ryan and Wade. Ryan whacks Filkins with an Xbox.
  • Jerkass: A few of them.
    • Filkins and Ronnie are the most obvious examples, being the main antagonists though Ronnie performs a Heel–Face Turn at the end.
    • Jim, who puts down Wade a few times and reveals to Wade he was a bully in his youth after finding out Wade got a black eye from Filkins, showing No Sympathy for Wade's black eye.
    • Don steals Drillbit's quarter for no reason and denies doing it, urges Drillbit to steal from Wade, Ryan and Emmit despite them needing his protection, smashes a window in Drillbit's house while robbing it and is all-round a bad friend to Drillbit.
    • Chuck and Nick, Wade's stepbrothers, who also come hand-in-hand with a helping of Annoying Younger Sibling.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Drillbit. At first, he was only agreeing to the bodyguard job for the money so he could get to Canada, but he does start to care about Wade, Ryan and Emmit and at the end he joins the fight and is able to Curb Stomp Filkins.
    • Ryan. He initially couldn't stand Emmit and put him down a few times, and even called his own father a piece of shit behind his back (possibly just to please his mom), but he's a good friend to Wade and warms up to Emmit by the end. It's possible that Emmit showing up to the fight after all and getting Filkins in a leg lock earned him Ryan's respect at last. A Pet the Dog moment after the fight confirms this.
  • Jock Dad, Nerd Son: Even though he's a step-father, Wade's father confesses to be a bully when he was younger. And Wade is your every-day nerd.
  • Karma Houdini: Ronnie. Unlike Filkins, he doesn't receive any comeuppance for his bullying, though Filkins is no longer with him.
    • Other than Don and Drillbit, who get arrested later, the other bums get away scot-free with robbing Wade's house.
  • Kick the Dog: Pretty much everything Filkins does to Wade, Ryan and Emmit. See Poke the Poodle for minor examples.
    • Don stealing Drillbit's quarter and blaming him for not "keeping better track of his finances".
    • Don shouting into the crowd in one scene at Drillbit walks away from him, "That guy's a fraud! He's a bum in a Mister Rogers sweater!"
    • Don smashing the front window of Wade's house while robbing it.
  • Kids Are Cruel / Teens Are Monsters: The teens who hired Drillbit are constantly menaced by two bullies, one of whom is completely psychopathic. Not only do they perform the normal bully tactics, but at one point the bullies chase the protagonists with a car, apparently in an attempt to murder them for trying to report their behavior. What makes this even worse is that most of this is done in plain sight of the rest of the kids in school and they do absolutely nothing about it, at least until the protagonists finally grow some backbone and kick some bully ass.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Drillbit at first, considering he only wanted to take the bodyguard job for the money so he could get to Canada.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Drillbit comes off as one, spouting things and passing them off as coming from one source when they in fact come from another, as others point out a few times. He does show skill when fighting despite the fact he Wouldn't Hurt a Child, but knowledge is not his strong point as he likes to think.
    • Don as well, as when he poses as a teacher at the school, he believes that Fidel Castro was behind the Kennedy assassination, because Castro supposedly knew he was never "going to get any action with Marilyn Monroe". The students don't buy it.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Wade, Ryan and eventually Emmit give Filkins what's coming to him. So does Drillbit, when he turns up and learns Filkins is not a minor. Cue a very satisfying Curb-Stomp Battle.
    • Don also gets a dose of this when Drillbit kicks him in the face, slams a van door on his fingers and he ends up getting arrested for burgling Wade's house and for his Jerkass tendecies towards others. The aforementioned injuries happened to him while Drillbit was attempting to return the stolen goods.
  • Last-Name Basis: Filkins is always referred to by his surname. Only Doppler calls him by his first name, which is Terry.
  • Let Me at Him!: The Holdback Technique. It backfires since it just makes them a perfect target for a punch to the face.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Sort of, twice, in the form of the line "What have I just done?" First of all by Ryan after humiliating Filkins in the rap battle. The Let Me at Him! above follows pretty quickly., then later by Wade after challenging Filkins to the fight.
    • Played straight with Drillbit after his friends burgle Wade's house. Needless to say, the boys are furious.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Drillbit, as he showers at a beach shower, in the nude, in full view of the cars on the highway.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted. Wade, Ryan and Emmit are ambushed by Filkins while they are using the bathroom, and in Emmit's case, he's sitting on the toilet the first time.
  • No Sympathy: Jim after Wade reveals he got a black eye from Filkins. Jim reveals in his youth he was a bully himself and feels that if the kid he bullied saw him today, he'd thank him for it.
    • At least two of the bodyguard interviewees, one of whom says: "Back in my day, if a child got beat up, it was called childhood."
  • No, You: During the fight, Filkins tells others to back off, saying, "I want to fight both these bitches". Cue Emmit's arrival and him yelling "You're the bitch!".
  • No, You Go First: Drillbit almost confesses the truth about himself to Lisa, but before he does, she starts going on about how she usually dates absolute losers, and is so happy to be with a nice doctor.
  • Oh, Crap!: Wade and Ryan on the first day of school when they see they are each wearing the same shirt.
    • Wade and Ryan on the second day of school when they see Emmit wearing the same shirt they wore the day before.
    • Emmit while sitting in the toilet when Filkins kicks the cubicle door open.
    • Ryan actually says "Oh, Crap!" when he, Wade and Ryan leave school (after reporting Filkins to Doppler) and see Filkins and Ronnie in Filkins's Dodge waiting for them. Cue a lot of running.
    • Wade, Ryan and Emmit when the old man whose garage they are hiding in comes across them and warns them to get off his property before he gets his shotgun. Filkins and Ronnie, who are outside the garage, get one too, thinking the old man is talking to them.
    • Wade, Ryan and Emmit on Drillbit's first day as a substitute teacher when they see Filkins in the hallway. Luckily, Drillbit gets to them in time to save them.
    • Ryan at the fight during this line: "He will never bother us again! And he's getting up! And I'm in big trouble!"
    • Drillbit after the fight when the police show up. "Crap on a shit sandwich!", indeed.
  • Only in It for the Money: Drillbit initially, as he wants the money so he can get to Canada, until he starts warming up to Wade, Ryan and Emmit and starts trying to protect them properly.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Drillbit. It's obvious it's not his real name, but everyone calls him Drillbit. His real name is Bob, and he got the name Drillbit when he was in high school and punctured his pinky finger with a drillbit.
  • Out of the Frying Pan: While being chased by Filkins in his car, Wade, Ryan and Emmit escape into an old man's garage, only to find the old man threatening them with a shotgun if they don't get out in three seconds. Luckily, it scares Filkins and Ronnie away, allowing Wade, Ryan and Emmit to escape both situations.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Arguably, Ryan's rap-off to Filkins that results in Ryan getting carried away and humiliating him.
    • When Drillbit poses as a substitute teacher, he goes out of his way to do this to Filkins and Ronnie.
    • And of course, when Filkins finally receives his Laser-Guided Karma.
  • Pet the Dog: Drillbit protecting Wade, Ryan and Emmit from Filkins and Ronnie, of course.
    • After winning $500 on a scratch-off ticket in 7-Eleven, Drillbit offers to buy candy for a kid behind him in the line.
    • Ryan warms up to Emmit after the fight, saying to him, "You, my friend, are one crazy son of a bitch, you know that?", and then inviting him for a snack.
  • Poke the Poodle: Filkins and Ronnie. They're bullies and make sure everyone knows it, whether it be from causing you to piss your pants, crushing your camera underfoot, ruining your laptop by pouring soda on it, tying you to a chair and sending it down a corridor, to attempting to run you down with a car. Yes, really. Somewhat subverted with the samurai sword when Filkins attempts to murder Wade, Ryan and Emmit with it.
  • Police are Useless: Averted. It seems like they may be due to how almost all of the other adults are useless, but they show up at the end of the fight and take Filkins down immediately, as well as taking in Drillbit due to his part in the robbing of Wade's house.
  • Potty Failure: Played with When Filkins ambushes Wade, Ryan and Emmit in the bathroom, they are then seen walking down the corridor with wet crotches, implying this trope. To add insult to injury, a boy can be heard saying, "He pissed himself. What a loser!"
  • Protagonist Title
  • Rage Breaking Point: Arguably, Filkins completely ruining Wade's attempt to ask Brooke out and then insulting her in front of Wade was this for Wade. He challenged Filkins to the fight against him a few scenes later, and due to his anger at that moment was even willing to kick the crap out of Filkins right then and there. After everything that had happened to him over the course of the film, who could blame him?
  • Reality Ensues: Wade, Ryan and Emmit get fed up of being bullied and opt to do something about it.
  • Red Is Heroic: The mainly red and black shirt Wade and Ryan accidentally end up wearing on the first day of school, and that Emmit wears on the second. They all wear those shirts at the end when they turn up at Filkins's house to fight him.
  • Rule of Three: Wade, Ryan and Drillbit are all seen taking showers at the start of the film.
  • School Bullying Is Harmless: This gets averted. Considering Filkins's bullying can extend to attempting to run you down with his car or even attempting to kill you with a samurai sword, it's most definitely not harmless, and in fact very dangerous.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Emmit during an Oh, Crap! moment when Filkins kicks open a cubicle door while he's sitting on the toilet.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Filkins and Ronnie chase Wade, Ryan and Emmit into an old man's garage, but when the old man appears and yells at them to get off his property, all five get an Oh, Crap! and run for it. Filkins and Ronnie get away first thanks to Filkins's car, Wade, Ryan and Emmit see the coast is clear seconds later and also bolt.
    • Subverted. Drillbit almost pulls one of these after the fight when a police car appears, but returns in time to perform a Barehanded Blade Block on Filkins's samurai sword.
  • Shout-Out: When the bully attacks Drillbit, he gets punched in the ear and complains about it, similar to Tyler Durden in Fight Club. The boys even watch that scene later in the movie, though the exact line isn't shown. They also watch part of The Untouchables when Drillbit teaches them about the Holdback Technique.
  • The Sociopath: Filkins. Subverted with Ronnie, who, as we find out, had apparently also been bullied by Filkins and does a Heel–Face Turn at the end.
  • The Southpaw: Ryan turns out to be one, as when he writes the letter to his mother at the end, he writes it left-handed.
  • Sue Donym: While posing as a substitute teacher, Drillbit introduces himself as Dr. Illbit.
  • Tempting Fate: Ryan says during a class presentation showing gonorrhoea that they only show those things to scare students and claims not to be bothered by it. He and everyone else in the room reacts with horror at what gets shown next, though the audience doesn't see it.
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: Played with, as most of the bodyguard interviewees are decent, but they all leave when they hear how low the pay is.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: One of Filkins's early lines to Wade and Ryan during a Two Men, One Dress moment: "If one of you dies, both of you dies. 'Cause you're Siamese queers, bitches!"
    • Ryan returns the favour to Filkins during their rap-off, which he ends with: "You don't like my words, Mr. King of the school? Well, guess what. You can suck on my family jewels, bitch!" Unfortunately, he realises the magnitude of what he just did and it earns Wade a black eye after the Holdback Technique backfires.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Filkins expresses disbelief that Wade and Ryan actually turned up at his house to fight him, and calls them dumb for doing so. It presses a Berserk Button in Ryan's case.
  • Tranquil Fury: Ryan has a moment of this before the fight starts when Filkins calls him and Wade dumb for showing up.
    Ryan: I hate when he calls me that!
  • Two Men, One Dress: An enforced version.
  • Urine Trouble: Human version, when Filkins and Ronnie jump Wade and Ryan while the latter two are using the urinals and they end up peeing on each other by accident.
  • Villain Ball: Filkins finally got caught only because he attempted to murder the protagonists with a samurai sword right in front of the police.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Drillbit Taylor. He refused to fight off Filkins, believing he's only 16-17, until he finds out that he's really 18 (that would technically mean that he's not emancipated, but is actually a legal adult. He spares Ronnie, however, after finding out that he's only 17.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Drillbit says that the total cost of a one-way ticket to Canada ($287), a good winter jacket ($80) and a bribe for the Mounties ($50) comes to $387 and is the figure he wants from the boys so they will have him as their bodyguard. It doesn't come to that figure. The actual figure is $417.
    • Then again, Drillbit could just be that bad at math. He does get a few other things wrong in the film, so getting the maths wrong isn't uncharacteristic of him.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Ryan's "You gotta be shitting me, come on!" line when he sees on the first day of school he and Wade are both wearing the same shirt.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report