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Film / The Strongest Man in the World

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The Strongest Man in the World is a 1975 comedy film released by Walt Disney Productions, and the third and final film in the Dexter Riley trilogy starring Kurt Russell, following 1969's The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes and 1972's Now You See Him, Now You Don't.

Dexter's science class continues to make a huge dent in Medfield College's budget with their experiments. With Dean Higgins' job on the line, he fires Professor Quigley in protest. During the kerfuffle, Dexter's experimental strength serum ends up in Schuyler's vitamin cereal experiment. After eating the cereal the next morning, Dexter discovers the cereal has given him Herculean strength. Upon seeing this, Higgins takes the opportunity to market it in an attempt to get Medfield out of the hole yet again to the company who made the cereal, Crumply Crunch, who decides to challenge their rival, Krinkle Krunch, at a weightlifting contest. Unfortunately, said rival company is in cahoots with recently-released A.J. Arno, who wants to steal the strength serum for themselves.

Tropes found in The Strongest Man in the World:

  • The Alleged Car: Dean Higgins' car is a pristine classic but it's absurdly slow, to the point that in the climax, Dexter powers it up by using his strength formula in order to return to the weight-lifting competition in time. Between the Explosive Overclocking of the formula and Dexter tearing the car apart accidentally with his Super-Strength, the whole thing falls to pieces once it reaches the parking lot.
  • Alliterative Name: Big Bad Kerwood Krinkle.
  • Animated Credits Opening: The opening credits for the film show a montage of a young boy with Herculean strength performing different feats of strength.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Schuyler is captured by Arno and Cookie in an attempt to get him to tell them what he put in his formula, Ah Fong, an accomplice of Arno, uses Chinese techniques to get Schuyler to reveal the ingredients, which are, thymine, calcium pentothenate, niacin, pyrodoxine, pyridoxamine, and a slice of pizza.
  • Balloonacy: Happens to Police Chief Blair when he accidentally runs into a balloon man's balloons while riding on the motorcycle of one of his policemen.
  • Big Eater: Elmer, the student who Dean Higgins reprimands for eating in class.
  • Brick Joke: After (supposedly) getting the ingredients for the strength formula from Schuyler, Mr. Krinkle puts this to the test by karate chopping the table, only to break his hand. This occurs again at the very end of the film.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Henry Fathington, who was a central character in the first two films, does not appear in the film, nor does Dean Higgins' rival, Dean Collingsgood.
  • Cool Old Guy: Harriet's uncle Frederick is the oldest board member and perhaps the most insightful and appreciative.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Kerwood Krinkle, the president of the Krinkle Krunch cereal company.
  • Demoted to Dragon: A.J. Arno, who was previously the Big Bad of the first two films, is now The Dragon to Harry, although in this case, Arno is more of a Dragon-in-Chief.
  • Dropped Glasses: Happens to Dean Higgins for a few seconds when trying to clean his glasses when they get fogged up after he eats some of the strength formula-laced cereal during his demonstration to the board at the Crumply Crunch company.
  • Evil Nephew: Harriet's nephew Harry is The Mole, although Harriet's other nephews are portrayed more positively.
  • Exact Words: After Arno and Cookie are given the assignment to steal the strength formula from the college, Arno tries to assure Cookie by telling him "You do the leading and I'll do the following". He later regrets this decision after he and Cookie attempt to pull of the heist.
  • Fingertip Drug Analysis: Dexter does this after finding the vial containing his strength formula at the science lab, which is needed to win the weight-lifting competition between Medfield and State. He is able to identify it by its distinctive acid taste.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: Harriet Crumply, as a female example of the trope, being an honest cereal merchant. Most of her relatives and board members also apply.
  • Impact Silhouette: Arno and Cookie land on the pavement of the sidewalk after falling off the scaffolding when they try to escape, and when the security guards come to the window, they only see the impressions of the two crooks in the sidewalk.
  • Ironic Name: Brutus, Schuyler's dog, who is actually a cute fuzzy little dog who lacks courage.
  • Lampshade Hanging: When the science class students inform Dean Higgins that something has happened to Dexter, Higgins replies that "something is always happening to Dexter".
  • Malicious Misnaming: Mr. Krinkle calls Dean Higgins "Wiggins" when taunting him about the weight-lifting competition.
  • The Mole: Harry, an employee at the Crumply Crunch company, turns out to be this for the Krinkle Krunch company.
  • Nephewism: The two cereal companies seem to be run by families, with Harriett's board including two nephews, a cousin and an uncle.
  • Not So Above It All: The Dean really lets loose swinging around and showing off the strength effects of the formula for Harriet.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Brutus, Schuyler's dog, becomes one after eating the leftover cereal that Dexter had started out on, which causes him to start chasing after Blossom, the Doberman who had been bullying him.
  • Police Are Useless: The policewoman who Dean Higgins tries calling on the phone to report the kidnapping of Richard Schuyler insists that a boy being kidnapped while out looking for his dog is not unusual.
  • The Precious, Precious Car: Dean Higgins gets a classic car and it's made obvious that he cares for it more than anything. At the climax of the film, Dexter takes it to get back to the campus in a hurry (although he gets to regret it with the car's absurdly low top speed) and then wrecks it when he places some of his super-strength formula in the fuel tank to give it a Nitro Boost.
  • Stock Scream: When Arno and Cookie are trying to escape from the school science lab after being discovered by the security guards and they end up falling off the scaffolding, the infamous Goofy holler can be heard as they're falling.
  • Super Serum: Dexter's formula can make a cow yield an immense amount of milk in a short period of time, give a failing car a super speed boost when used as fuel, and give people super strength.
  • Super-Strength: The title pretty much describes what the formula does to people.
  • Taking You with Me: A corporate example. Upon learning that he's being fired for allegedly mismanaging Medfield's science funds, Dean Higgins proceeds to fire Professor Quigley since his students' experiments are the reason for the financial hemorrhage.
  • The Danza: Some of the characters share the same first names as their respective actors (although characters' last names are never mentioned).
  • Title Drop: "Dexter Riley's the strongest man in the world!"
  • Traitor Shot: As Harriet and her family talk about the possibility of corporate spies, the camera focuses on the face of Harry for a long moment and sure enough he's selling out to Krinkle a scene or two later.
  • Watch the Paint Job: Dean Higgins is highly protective of his car, and he becomes very worried when it gets destroyed after Dexter drives it back to the competition after giving it some of his strength formula to power it up.
  • World's Strongest Man: Dexter inadvertently becomes this after eating Schuyler's cereal, in which Dexter's formula was landed.