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Film / Hot to Trot

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Hot to Trot is a 1988 comedy starring Bobcat Goldthwait, Dabney Coleman, and John Candy as the voice of Don, a talking horse.

Goldthwait plays Fred P. Chaney, whose mother has died and left him a horse, Don, as well as half ownership of a company, his step father Walter Sawyer (Coleman) owning the other half and wanting to buy Fred's share, only for Fred to want to help run the company (having previously been working in the mailroom). Don, the talking horse, is able to give Fred stock market tips, allowing him to become rich.

The movie became rather infamous at the time for being a critically panned Box Office Bomb, and was a troubled production with several re-shoots and re-casts in the span of only a year and a half.

Includes examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: A neighbor becomes instantly attracted to Fred, to his horror. She runs screaming after she sees Don talk.
  • Assumed Win: The race ends in a photo finish and Walter is confident that his horse won, before the photos are shown to determine that Don won.
  • Blended Family Drama: Fred and his step father Walter do not like each other at all, implied to have been the case when Walter was married to Fred's mother. Walter especially hates Fred, calling him an idiot and scheming for him to lose his half of the company ownership.
  • The Bet: When Walter learns that Fred has entered Don in the race, he offers to bet on whether Don will beat his horse. At first wanting to bet money (and asking his assistant if he has change for a 20), Fred proposes they bet their respective horses, then ups the stake so if he wins, he'll get all of Walter's horses.
  • The Cameo: Gilbert Godfried as a dentist.
  • Cassandra Truth: Fred admits to Allison that he gets his stock market tips from his horse, and she doesn't believe that he can talk, and Don refuses to talk when Fred tries to prove it. He eventually does talk in front of her.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Don's brother Lou, who watches The Three Stooges and most of his dialogue is an impression of Curly. Don and Lou's father believes it started after he watched The Godfather ("You know, that scene, with the horses head"). After watching Don win the race, Lou starts talking normally and says "I'm cured!")
  • Delayed Reaction: A few people do this when they first see Don talk. When Allison leaves the office and Don is the parking lot attendant, the two talk but it's not until shortly after she drives off that she stops and realizes she was talking to a horse. Also when Don talks to the dentist, he starts casually telling Don what to do if he has teeth irritation before stopping, apparently not knowing until then that he could talk.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When Fred finds Walter making out with his girlfriend in the stable on the morning of his mother's (and Walter's deceased wife's) funeral, a furious Fred throws a pitch fork his way (though it misses and hits the wall).
    • After Don wins the race, Boyd reveals that he had bet 100 dollars on Don, and Walter promptly fires him, which was not a work related offense. Justified in that Walter is such a greedy jerkass.
  • Down to the Last Play: Don wins the race by his teeth.
  • Driven to Suicide: After spending the day alone, a bored Don gets up on the balcony of the apartment and threatens to jump.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Allison walks in when Boyd is on the phone talking about how they got Fred out of the company and she quits in protest.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Allison is blonde, and she (along with maybe Fred's secretary) is the only employee at the brokerage who treats Fred with kindness (before or after he inherits half the firm and starts making profits).
  • Hong Kong Dub: The horse's lip movements do not match the voice lines at all beyond just opening at roughly the same time, although this makes sense given the many re-recordings from the Troubled Production and the rather cruel way in which the lip movements were forced in the first place.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Walter calls Fred chicken shit when offering to bet on whether his horse will beat Don in the final race, but when Fred calls him the same thing, Walter gets angered and raises the stakes.
  • Idea Bulb: Fred gets one (presented sideways) after seeing how much Don likes the new Oates he brought home and talks about how he would invest his money in the Oates if he had any. Fred ends up buying as much as he can, only for the Oates to make animals sick and the FDA to investigate and freeze all assets, leaving Fred broke.
  • Informed Ability: Don is shown to be an expert at the stock market and helps Fred. However, he only gives Fred tips three times, with coffee being the only hunch to just come to him. The first tip comes from Don overhearing a stock broker talking on the phone about a takeover, and while Don tells Fred he would put his money (if he had it) on the new oats that Fred bought him, the idea to invest seems to come to Fred on his own as opposed to Don having a stock market prediction (which ends up failing as it makes animals ill).
  • In-Universe Marketing: Part of the promotion for the film included newspaper ads with a 1-800 number that would play a pre-recorded message from John Candy in-character as Don telling jokes and talking about the film.
  • Jerkass: Walter Sawyer, especially to Fred. He constantly calls him an idiot, wants to buy his half of the company and offers him just 552 dollars, kicks him out of the house, and actively tries to get Fred in a situation where he'll have to sell his half of the company. He later gets his way when he learns before Fred does that a company he invested everything in is going under, and locks him in the restroom so he can't sell his shares. When he learns that Fred has entered Don in the horse race, he insults the horse while offering to bet money and suggests he bet Don (while insulting Don), and tells Don that after he wins Walter will have Don be dog meat.
  • Last of His Kind: When Don's father is dying, he wants Don to find a mate so there can be more chosen horses, but Don doesn't want to settle down. While his brother Lou can also talk, his father is worried that he won't find a mate, either (as Lou's mother caught him trying to mount a Volvo station wagon).
  • Lying Finger Cross: When Don's dying father asks him to promise he'll find a mate, Don, who really doesn't want to settle down, promises - while having his front legs crossed.
  • Nepotism: Clearly the reason Walter even had Fred working for him in the mail room, having said he wasn't the right image to be a stock broker.
  • Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: Well, nobody calls Walter Sawyer chicken shit. Wanting to bet whether Don will beat Walter's horse, Walter at first just wants to bet 20 dollars, so Fred calls him this to motivate him into betting all of his horses (including his girlfriends prized Satin Doll). Walter had also called Fred chicken shit when he didn't want to bet his own horse, which gets him to agree to the bet, but he doesn't have the same "nobody calls me chicken shit" attitude that Walter does.
  • Posthumous Character: Fred Chainey's mother dies just before the events of the movie.
  • The Precarious Ledge: When Fred gets locked in the restroom and needs to get to his office quickly to sell stock, he ends up going through the window and carefully crossing the ledge of the building.
  • Shout-Out: When Don lists off what species he can speak, he refers to himself as a four-legged Doctor Dolittle.
    • Don's brother Lou is a fan of The Three Stooges and talks like Curly.
    • Don says Lou's favorite actor is the horse head from The Godfather.
  • Reincarnation: Don's father gets reincarnated as a horse fly.
  • Roll in the Hay: Walter and his new girlfriend have sex in secret at a number of places (even though Walter's wife just died), including the horse stable where Don stays at. One of his employees is later seen having an affair there.
  • Running Gag: At the race, whenever somebody learns that Don's name is just Don, people question the name.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Don instantly becomes attracted to Satin Doll, the horse Walter buys for his girlfriend, but not much is known about her, and is an important item at stake when Fred bets Don against all of Walter's horses (as she does not want to lose Satin Doll). As she's among the horses who can't talk to humans, that's understandable, but she doesn't even get subtitles like some animals do, and it is unclear whether she likes Don back.
  • Saw Star Wars 27 Times: Don tells Fred that he and Fred's real father were both fans of Elvis Presley and had seen Blue Hawaii twelve times.
  • The Scrooge: Walter is implied to be this. He offers to buy Fred's half of the company for only 5200 dollars, and after challenging Fred to bet on the race, he suggests Fred bet his horse and when Fred asks what he'll get if he wins, Walter asks somebody if they can break a twenty dollar bill.
  • Take That!: Don gives one to Mister Ed.
    Don: All horses can understand English, but only the chosen ones can speak it.
    Fred: What about Mister Ed?
    Don: Mister Ed? Poo! That's what I think of Mister Ed!
  • Talking Animal: Don, his father, and his brother.
  • This Is My Side: After Fred decides to run his half of the company, he has half of the conference painted white, including the table and carpet. An alarm goes off when Walter walks on that side.
    • Referenced when Fred and Don are homeless and hitchhiking on opposite sides of the road, with the white road line very prominent. Fred even tells Don to stay on his side.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Fred's secretary sees him out the window on the ledge and barely notices the danger of his situation, focusing more on what kind of sandwich he wants, and only opening the window to understand what he's trying to say.
  • Viewers Are Morons: The film opens with the definition of horse.
  • Wild Teen Party: More like a wild animal party. When Don lets a stray dog into the apartment to have some company, more dogs and then other animals (including Misplaced Wildlife) show up and mess up the apartment.