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Film / Gus

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Gus is a 1976 live-action comedy film from Walt Disney Productions, starring Edward Asner, Don Knotts, Tim Conway, Tom Bosley, and Gary Grimes.

The film tells the story of Andy Petrovic, a young Yugoslavian boy who discovers that his mule Gus has the astounding ability to kick any kind of ball up to 100 yards when Andy says the Yugoslavian word "Ojigdz". A newspaper article about the phenomenon soon piques the interest of the California Atoms, an inept pro football team looking for a novelty stunt to draw fans.

Last film appearance for Bob Crane, who plays an announcer.

Tropes found in Gus include:

  • Accidental Athlete: Gus would count as a rare animal version of this trope.
  • Alcohol Hic: Happens to Gus after Spinner drugs his water and oats with alcohol. This results in Gus inadvertently causing chaos and failing completely at the game.
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Implied only at the film's end. After Gus seemingly blundered which lead to Andy making the play that wins the Super Bowl for the Atoms and finally being celebrated as the hero, Debbie playfully accuses Gus of faking it for Andy, to which the film ends on Gus winking. The film's paperback novelization even includes Gus internally thinking affirmatively.
  • Animal Athlete Loophole: When Gus goes out into the field to make a field goal, Johnny Unitas reads from a booklet of sport rules that there is no set defintion of a "player", only that a "player" is someone the team chooses to represent them on the field. So a player can be a man, a woman, or even a mule. Played with in that Gus only makes the kick, Andy was hired to catch as a player too and sets up the kick, leading to the climax where Andy scores a touchdown by himself.
  • Artistic License – Sports: The California Atoms and Michigan Mammoths are expies of the Los Angeles Rams and Detroit Lions respectively. The two teams face each other in the Super Bowl towards the climax. However, both of their real life equivalents are in the National Football Conference division, and each Super Bowl is between the Americal Football Conference Champion and the National Football Conference Champion. Unless the California Atoms were based on the then San Deigo Chargers, who are in the AFC division, this team combination for the Super Bowl would be impossible to occur in the NFL, as there isn't a AFC team based in Michigan. This is all ignored for the sake of setting up the showdown between Andy and Rob.
  • As Himself: Johnny Unitas plays a commentator in this film under his own name.
  • Bedsheet Ladder: Andy does this as an attempt to escape from the hospital room that Spinner trapped him in, but it's subverted, as it's actually a ploy to lure Crankcase into the room so that Andy could escape while Crankcase is distracted.
  • Brand X: While set in the NFL, the California Atoms and Michigan Mammoths are the two rival teams instead of the Los Angeles Rams and Detroit Lions.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Johnny Unitas (playing himself), in contrast to his commentating partner, Pepper Allen.
  • Doomed Supermarket Display: Gus knocks down one of these while Spinner and Crankcase chase after him in the supermarket.
  • Epic Fail: At the beginning of the film, everything goes wrong during the Atoms' training practice, ranging from a marching band tripping up while a record player was revealed to be playing the music to a group of inept female cheerleaders (known as the "Atomettes") falling down every time they did their pyramid routine. There's also Andy's attempts to try to play soccer like his brother Stjepan, which results in Andy falling down the well.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Rob Cargill, a former member of the Atoms, switches teams after being replaced by Andy as Debbie's boyfriend, which leads to Rob trying to take Andy and Gus out of the game.
  • Fanservice Extra: The uncredited woman who Crankcase accidentally grabs at the grocery store has a midriff-baring top with a prominent Cleavage Window.
  • Horsing Around: Not actually a horse, but Gus would count as an example of this trope.
  • Large Ham: Bob Crane as Pepper Allen, in contrast to his commentating partner, Johnny Unitas.
  • Left the Background Music On: At first, it appears that the marching band Coach Venner hired was experienced, until the baton twirler drops her baton and trips over the dropped baton, knocking over the band members while the music is still playing, before a bass drum rolls over the record player that the music was playing on.
  • Meaningful Name: Spinner and Crankcase get their names from two parts of an automobile, the former being a type of ornamental hubcap and the latter being a type of internal combustion engine.
  • Mistaken Identity: During the grocery store scene, Spinner and Crankcase are trying to catch Gus. Crankcase, having seen Gus on the aisle next to his, reaches under the bottom of the shelves to grab what he thinks is Gus's hoof... only to find out too late that Gus had moved on, and he's instead grabbed the shoe heel of a woman who's since come down the aisle. Cue the angry husband coming around to confront him.
  • Neck Lift: During the grocery store scene, after Crankcase reaches under a shelf and mistakenly grabs the heel of a woman's shoe, her massive husband comes around, lifts him up by the collar of his shirt (prompting a nervous "Am I in your way?" from Crankcase), then dumps him in a cart and sends it crashing into a container of inflatable rubber balls.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Spinner and Crankcase spend about sixty percent of their screen time being a classic Bumbling Henchman Duo, but they do successfully make Gus and/or Andy miss several games or be in no state to perform at them.
  • Pom-Pom Girl: Most of the Atoms' cheerleaders are approaching middle age, but are athletic (albeit prone to slapstick) and enthusiastic about the team.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Not exactly villainous, but when the Atoms are triumphant in winning the Super Bowl, Pepper becomes so shocked about how wrong his predictions were that he is reduced to just squawking in gibberish, leading to Johnny to take over the rest of the commentary.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Andy appears to be this to his father, who only regards Andy's older brother Stjepan as a true hero, due to the fact that Stjepan is a real soccer pro, which greatly upsets Andy.