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Trivia / Wet Hot American Summer

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  • Acting for Two: Played with at the talent show. When Michael Showalter dodders onstage as elderly emcee Alan Shemper, we assume this is just Coop playing a role to deliver some standup comedy. But later on, while Shemper is still onstage, Coop himself walks in.
  • All-Star Cast: With some help from Retroactive Recognition. Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, Ken Marino, Joe Lo Trugilo, Samm Levine, Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler and Elizabeth Banks all appear in the movie.
  • Dawson Casting: Parodied. The 16-year-old camp counselors are all played by actors in their late 20s and early 30s.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in the series. It's supposed to be a prequel and despite a 14-year time gap, it has the same cast the movie did. While most of the cast aged incredibly well, it's still hilariously obvious that the "teens" are all bearing down on middle age.
    • Though subverted when First Day of Camp revealed Lindsey really is an adult.
      • But played straight within First Day of Camp itself, as 24-year-old Lindsey was played by 41-year-old Elizabeth Banks. However, this does retroactively mean she wasn't Dawson cast in the movie.
  • Production Posse: Several cast members of The State reunited for this movie. David Wain directed and co-wrote and cameoed, Michael Showalter co-wrote and starred as Coop, and Michael Ian Black, Ken Marino and Joe Lo Trugilo also star, and Kerri Kenney also cameos.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Nearly all of the camp counselors, actually, who were mainly unknown actors prior to doing the film. Much of the cast went on to become super famous, including (but not limited to) Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, and Elizabeth Banks, and frequent viewers of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon will recognize A.D. Miles as that show's head writer. Bradley Cooper is Oscar-nominated Hollywood royalty nowadays, to the point that a lot of people were surprised he actually came back for the prequel (though they did have to film all of his scenes in one day to work around his schedule).
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  • Screwed by the Network: Despite sell-out screenings at Sundance, the film struggled with finding a distributor. It wasn't until months later when USA Films offered them the insultingly low fee of $100,000 and no ownership rights. Caught in a choice between taking the deal or rejecting it and wasting money on making a very expensive home movie, they went with the deal mostly because it was the lesser of two evils. The film was unceremoniously dumped in about 30 theaters, and there are stories about the New York premiere being in the smallest auditorium of the theater. Thankfully, it became Vindicated by History.
  • Troubled Production: The film, being an independent production, had a tight shooting schedule of 28 days, but had to deal with it raining almost every day, a big problem for a film that mostly takes place outside. In some interior scenes, you can see both rain pouring outside the window and some cast members' breath. They had to film as much as they could outside before it started raining again.
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  • Vindicated by History/Vindicated by Video: Played in under 30 theaters, made a box office of less than $300,000, and met with savage critical reception (seriously, do not look up Roger Ebert's review), but has since become a cult classic and even earned a prequel and a sequel miniseries courtesy of Netflix, which received highly positive reviews.

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