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Tapeheads is a 1988 comedy directed by Bill Fishman.

Two fired security guards (John Cusack and Tim Robbins) accidentally become big shots in the music industry after forming their own production company.

The movie also stars Mary Crosby, Clu Gulager, Doug Mc Clure, Katy Boyer, Jessica Walter, Lee Arenberg, and Sam Moore.

It was released on October 21, 1988.


Tropes for the film:

  • Accidental Art: Ivan and Josh run an unsuccessful music video company. When a Death Metal band that they taped is crushed by a piece of falling satellite, they're asked for a copy of the unpremiered video. Being low on funds, they put it on a video that previously held a videotaped funeral, accidentally copying only the audio. Fortunately, the song just happened to fit the funeral visuals as well, and it is lauded as a masterful work of art, even winning an award.
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  • The Cameo: The movie is rife with musician cameos with "Weird Al" Yankovic as himself, Ted Nugent as an unnamed rock star, and Dead Kennedys' Jello Biafra as an FBI agent.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Jello Biafra's cameo as an FBI agent arresting the main characters on obscenity charges is a Casting Gag referencing a famous obscenity trial involving the artwork to his band Dead Kennedys' album Frankenchrist. Then he gets the line "Remember what we did to Jello Biafra?".
  • Creative Closing Credits: The entire end credits sequence is a Call-Back to the first video the main characters did (a commercial for Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles) with Roscoe rapping about what happened to the boys, and how his chain has grown, among other things.
  • Justice by Other Legal Means: Ivan and Josh get revenge on a Sleazy Politician by broadcasting a Home Porn Movie of him on live TV, which gets them arrested by the FBI. They're acquitted of the crime, but go to jail anyway for outstanding traffic warrants.
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  • Punny Name: Senator Norman Mart's wife is named Kay... making her Kay Mart.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: The duo's office space is protected by a video of a security guard firing at anyone who trips the system, as shown when Norman Mart's men bust in, and they fire back, not realizing it's only a video. The video guard even scoffs at them when they run out of bullets, and puts down his gun and salutes just as Ivan and Josh (who had been out) walk in. A couple scenes later, a limbo band shows up, and the guard on tape is seen dancing along to the music.
  • Vanity License Plate: Ivan has "MEFURST" — the joke being that he wanted "MEFIRST" but it wasn't available.

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