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Western Animation / Beavis and Butt-Head Do America

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The Movie of Beavis and Butt-Head, co-written and directed by series creator Mike Judge. Yvette Kaplan served as animation director.

After the duo wake up and find their TV stolen, they scour Highland in search of a replacement. Their quest results in the pair stumbling onto a murder-for-hire plot, a cross-country trip to Washington, D.C., and the federal government's most wanted list. You know, the usual.

The film was theatrically released on December 20, 1996 to critical and commercial success, grossing $63 million at the United States box office. It held the largest December opening weekend until a year later with Scream 2.


Huh, huh, huh...:

  • Absentee Actor: While the movie strives to include as many characters from the show as it can, Stewart, Todd, and Buzzcut weren't able to make the cut.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: Beavis and Butt-Head manage to get from one end of the continental United States to the other and evade the ATF without ever realizing they were being pursued in the first place!
  • Adaptational Intelligence: Beavis is shown to be the slightly smarter one of the duo in this version, instead of Butt-Head. He is depicted as a Genius Ditz while Butt-Head is mostly useless.
    • When Beavis is freaking out about the TV being stolen, it takes Butt-Head a while to figure it out before saying "Uh, oh yeah." This causes the former to look at the latter in annoyance and disbelief.
    • When they accidentally break the borrowed TV while coming down the school stairs, Butt-Head remarks that it was cool. But Beavis points out that it’s not cool, because their new TV is broken now.
    • When the two are crawling in the desert in exhaustion and dehydration, Beavis comes across a cactus. He somehow knows the fact that water is contained in cacti, something he might have picked up in Science class. Unfortunately for him, this makes him think that it is edible for humans, which causes him to hallucinate.
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    • When trying to escape from Muddy’s car that is speeding along the highway, Butt-Head suggests that they jump for it. Beavis points out that the car is moving too fast, and they would probably be killed if they hit the road in such a condition. Butt-Head calls him a wuss, and PUSHES him onto the freeway!
    • When getting back on the bus a third time after visiting the Capital building, Butt-Head climbs in while oblivious. However, Beavis remembers that they were supposed to meet Muddy’s wife there, which means they just lost another chance at scoring. Butt-Head is still oblivious and tells him to settle down, but Beavis has finally realized at this point how futile their attempts at scoring are and goes insane.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Lots of viewers at the time assumed "Lesbian Seagull" was a joke song recorded for the movie. It actually predates both the movie and the show by quite a while, having been recorded in 1979.
  • Ambiguously Bi: While being interrogated, Dallas was given a cavity search by Agent Hurley, a big-boned woman. When Agent Flemming threatens to give her another, she looks at Hurley, who's staring back, with a smug and said "Ooh, is that a promise?". She either enjoyed it and wouldn't mind another, or is trying to psych him out by portraying herself as Too Kinky to Torture.
  • Animation Bump: Though only a marginal step up, the animation is noticeably more solid and fluid and the backgrounds are richer than even the best episodes of the show, thanks to the movie-sized budget ($12 million) (it was also the first time B&B ever had an art director). Standouts include...
    • The opening dream sequence, which features the title characters drawn from some impressive perspectives, as well as some detailed effects on Beavis' fire breath.
    • The 360° camera turn during the disco scene, one of the film's only uses of 3D CGI.
    • The Art Shift during Beavis's Mushroom Samba, wonderfully animated by Chris Prynoski and the only scene to be colored digitally rather than with cels.
  • Anti-Climax: After the X-5 Unit lands in Butt-Head's hand, everybody starts backing away from him, evidently thinking he's about to try something desperate. Butt-Head, blissfully unaware that everyone sees him as a menace, simply turns and hands it over to Flemming.
    Butt-Head: Uh, here you go.
  • Anti-Villain: Even though ATF Agent Flemming isn't the main villain, he is still considered an antagonist for most of the film, and he's just an agent trying to save his country from a deadly virus.
  • Art Shift: The Mushroom Samba sequence is literally a Rob Zombie music video.
  • Ass Shove: Flemming is obsessed with giving people cavity searches.
  • Auto Erotica: Muddy and Dallas reconcile in this way...and it's also where they wind up getting caught by the government agents.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The opening credits depict Beavis and Butt-Head as stars in a '70s-style Buddy Cop Show opening, complete with a theme song in the mode of Shaft (performed by none other than Isaac Hayes). As one might have guessed, the protagonists spend little of the remainder of the film blowing stuff up, kicking ass, or scoring... though certainly not for lack of trying.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Muddy and Dallas Grimes, even though they are basically working against each other.
  • Big Damn Movie: Double-subverted. The opening scene involves a giant monster fight between the boys that turns out to be All Just a Dream, at which point the boys set out to find their stolen TV... and wind up in the middle of a plot involving a biological superweapon prototype.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": The famous "never gonna score" speech gets interrupted by a cranky bus driver.
    Driver: Hey, buddy! Sit down!
    Beavis: SHUT UP, ASSWIPE!!
  • Bittersweet Ending: The boys don't get any money or recognition for their heroics (since it has to remain top-secret), and fail to score (as usual), but at least they get their TV back.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: On one side, you have Dallas and Muddy, two feuding arms dealers that are trying to secure a deadly biological weapon. On the other is the ATF, led by Agent Flemming, who will do everything they can to prevent said weapon from falling into the wrong hands, even if they have to unlawfully arrest, beat, and cavity-search everyone they suspect of being in the same room as it. And in the middle are Beavis and Butt-Head, who are just as amoral and Lethally Stupid as ever, causing all kinds of destruction wherever they go as they put the whole country in danger without ever having a clue.
  • Black Comedy Rape: The FBI uses "deep and hard" cavity searches multiple times against several people as Enhanced Interrogation Techniques.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: The boys get struck by lightning after posing as priests in a confession booth (and mistaking said booth for a port-a-potty). They don't even notice it.
  • Bowdlerise: After 9/11, TV airings remove the scene where Beavis's Cornholio antics nearly cause a jetliner to crash. Also, instead of assuming the boys to be terrorists, Flemming calls them "masterminds".
  • Bumbling Henchmen Duo: The two burglars who steal the boys' TV and are later revealed to be the hitmen that Muddy originally hired to "do" his wife.
  • Butt-Monkey: Tom Anderson, as usual. Along with Van Driessen, who gets taken down by ATF agents in painful fashion for his connections to Beavis and Butt-Head. And, of course, there's Beavis and Butt-Head themselves. There's also Beavis's father in the few minutes of screentime he has, who is abused and disrespected by Butt-Head's father in a similar manner as their respective sons, but unlike his son is so intimated from the abuse that he never retaliates. Amusingly enough, the term "butt monkey" is actually used near the end, though in a different context, as it's one of the insults the duo give to each other.
  • Buxom Is Better: Unsurprisingly, the woman Butt-Head captures in his kaiju rampage dream has noticeably big breasts.
  • The Cameo: A brief school scene, where Van Driessen sings his famous "Lesbian Seagull", Daria can be seen among the students.note 
  • Character Check: Because of looser censorship standards on the big screen, Beavis gets to say his Abandoned Catchphrase "Fire!" in the movie.
  • Circling Vultures: The boys, lost in the desert, see vultures circling them overhead. Even in this dire situation, the boneheads still take the time to "huh-huh!" when they see a pair of vultures "doing it".
  • Comically Missing the Point: Muddy offers to pay the boys ten grand to "do" his wife, mistaking them for hitmen. Being Beavis and Butt-Head, they have a very different idea of what he means by "do".
  • The Comically Serious: Flemming remains dead serious and professional all throughout, even as he orders for unnecessary cavity searches, gets constantly outsmarted by the two dumbest people in the country, and insists that Prepositions Are Not to End Sentences With. Being voiced by Robert Stack of Unsolved Mysteries fame certainly helps.
  • Continuity Nod: The only reference to their job at Burger World is in the Rob Zombie sequence.
  • Cool Old Lady: Beavis and Butt-Head literally have this opinion of an old woman they befriend on their plane to Vegas (and on the subsequent bus trip across the country) when they think all of her comments apply to a rich sexual history. Bonus points for being voiced by Cloris Leachman.
  • Crashing Dreams: The Dream Intro fades out as Beavis shakes Butt-Head violently.
  • Curse Cut Short:
    Pilot: Get the hell out of the cockpit!
    Butt-Head: Huh huh huh, you said...
    Pilot: NOW!
  • Darker and Edgier: While the film still has comedic beats, the plot eventually becomes more serious than any other regular episode. A criminal confuses Beavis and Butt-Head for a couple of thugs he hired to kill his wife, who ends up using Beavis's pants to hide an extremely dangerous biological weapon, which prompts the ATF to go after the duo. In numerous cases, Beavis and Butt-Head fell into mortal danger. (Hell, the film even featured more blatant sexuality than the entire original series combined.)
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Beavis has one in Anderson's camper. And it's implied BOTH boys have done this in Anderson's camper and tool shed in the past.
  • Defcon Five: Zig-Zagged. When Beavis-as-Cornholio is in the Oval Office, the person at the Defense Control Center gets worried and opts to go from DEFCON V to IV (since they have no idea what's going on). While everyone in the White House is gently evacuated, the people in the Defense Control Center go into a panic with red lights flashing and klaxon going off.
  • Deranged Animation: Beavis' peyote trip. First Butt-Head melts into four miniature demonic versions of himself...and then things just completely go off the rails from there. Beavis turns into a zombie, all kinds of monsters dance around to hellish and macabre backgrounds, and Beavis and Butt-Head turn into assorted monstrous versions of themselves and at one point shake the skin off their skulls. It's so unlike anything else in the series and it Makes Just as Much Sense in Context.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The famous "we're never gonna score" speech.
  • Desperate Object Catch: Near the end, an unstable MacGuffin of Mass Destruction is accidentally sent flying when a soldier tries to seize it, to the horror of authorities. Cue it softly thumping onto Butt-Head's hair and bouncing onto his opened palm. Slo Mo included.
  • Destination Defenestration: Butt-Head gets thrown out a window after he makes a pass at Chelsea Clinton.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: When the boys lurk about the Vegas casino, they only notice the bare-breasted Egyptian statue.
  • Dramatic Irony: Muddy believes Beavis and Butt-Head are assassins he hired to kill his ex-wife, the duo believe that they're going to Las Vegas to score, the U.S. government believes they're terrorists, and the old lady believes they're respectful gentlemen.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Parodied at the beginning of the film. We see Butt-Head's POV going around the room, as if he's trying to find clues to the theft of the TV, and then...
    Butt-Head: Whoa! I think I just figured something out, Beavis.
    Beavis: What?
    Butt-Head: (beat) This sucks!
    Beavis: Yeah, this sucks.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Dallas and Muddy are both working against each other to covertly secure a superweapon prototype. And if you consider Beavis and Butt-Head to be Villain Protagonists, then they are both unknowingly thwarting the two even though they're supposed to be their pawns.
  • Facepalm: Dallas does this and laughs when she realizes the pair aren't actually assassins and are just stupid teenagers trying to "score" with her.
  • Fake Action Prologue: The opening sequence with the Godzilla-style fight between the boys turns out to be a Dream Intro.
  • Fartillery: Butt-Head's father turns around and proceeds to fart into the flames, causing a mushroom cloud.
    Beavis: FIRE!
  • The Fool: Beavis and Butt-Head become the most wanted people in the United States, and constantly evade the nationwide manhunt without ever realizing it.
  • Freak Out:
    • Beavis, when the plane he and Butt-Head are on takes off.
      Beavis: Hey, what's going on? *See plane leave the ground* AHHHHHHHHH!!!! WE'RE GONNA DIE!!! WE'RE GONNA DIE!!!
    • He gets another one when he realizes that their trip to Washington ended without them scoring. His speech ends with:
      Beavis: ...WE'RE NEVER GONNA SCORE! WE'RE NEVER GONNA SCORE!! WE'RE NEVER GONNA SCORE!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!! (Gets tackled by the angry bus driver who was trying to make him sit down and shut up)
  • Gilligan Cut: As Bork explains that the X5 unit has a defective casing that could rupture with a sufficient impact, we cut to Butt-Head kicking Beavis in the ass right where Dallas sewed it in.
  • Grammar Nazi: Agent Flemming.
    Agent Bork: Chief, you know that guy whose camper they were whacking off in?
    Agent Flemming: Bork, you're a federal agent. You represent the United States government. Never end a sentence with a preposition.
    Bork: Oh. Uh... You know that guy in whose camper they... I mean, that guy off in whose camper they were whacking? Flemming: That's better. Yes?
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": A smorgasbord. Seriously, would you expect anything less of the Trope Namers themselves?
  • Hero Antagonist: The ATF led by Agent Flemming and his assistant, Bork.
  • Heroic BSoD: Beavis's "We're Never Gonna Score" rant on the bus after the capitol building.
  • Humble Goal: All the boys want to do is find or replace their missing TV set. And score, when that comes up as an option.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Flemming calls Beavis and Butt-Head a pair of sick individuals for masturbating in Anderson's camper when he himself is disturbingly obsessed with issuing cavity searches on people, whether they're suspects or just witnesses.
    • After having witnessed graphic footage of the bio-weapon being tested on US Army recruits, Flemming expresses alarm that the weapon may fall into the "wrong hands".
  • Idiot Houdini: As usual, nothing too terrible happens to the protagonists for all the trouble they inadvertently cause, and they remain utterly oblivious to most of it to the end.
  • Inherently Funny Words: Bork!
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Flemming bears more than a slight resemblance to his voice actor, Robert Stack.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Beavis and the old lady the boys meet get along quite well even though she's a touch deaf/senile and he thinks her comments about playing the slots in Las Vegas means she Really Gets Around. And yet it somehow manages to be rather sweet.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Frankly, given everything that they end up going through, it's a wonder that the boys came out alive at all.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Flemming is a hardass who has no issue threatening and intimidating people and has little regard for civil liberties. But he's trying to prevent the release of a legitimately horrifying virus that will kill millions if he doesn't get it back. He also sincerely admits he was wrong about them and praises Beavis and Butthead at the end and makes sure that, while their actions will have to remain classified, they get a chance to meet and get thanked by the president.
  • Karma Houdini: The two criminals and would-be hitmen who kicked off the whole plot by stealing the boys' TV get off completely scot-free at the end of the film. Justified in that they weren't really important characters to begin with (they were supposed to be the guys Muddy would hire to "do" Dallas, but he got Beavis and Butt-Head instead). Though one might consider their karma being unable to sell the boys' TV.
    Guy 1: Worthless piece of crap.
    Guy 2: Yeah, really. We gotta start stealing from rich people.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Muddy and Dallas Grimes; in most of the scenes where they appear, the film loses its comedic beats and focuses on the dramatic.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: The boys meet their (possible) biological fathers while lost in the desert. Due to their complete idiocy, none of the four ever realize it.
  • Lethally Stupid: Beavis and Butt-Head cause far more damage in one trip across the country than some terrorists do in a lifetime. It's never out of malice, but just because they're too stupid to fully comprehend the ramifications of, well, pretty much anything they're doing.
  • MacGuffin: The X-5 Unit, a viral bio-weapon that could wipe out five states in five days. And guess which moronic duo end up carrying it without ever realizing it?
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Dallas plans to use the titular duo as an unwitting example, sewing the MacGuffin into Beavis's pants and telling him and Butt-Head to take the bus to Washington D.C., where she intends to meet them.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Muddy says on the phone that he wants Dallas's death to look like an accident.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: While Beavis and Butt-Head never actually destroy the world—which is seriously saying something, considering these two were carrying a dangerous bio-weapon for two-thirds of the film—their Chaotic Stupid nature leads to them inadvertently:
    • Nearly crashing a jetliner.
    • Flooding the area around the Hoover Dam when they unwittingly sabotage the control system.
    • Blacking out all of Las Vegas with the aforementioned Hoover Dam Fiasco.
    • Causing a major traffic accident on the freeway when they do some unplanned body-surfing across the road at 60 MPH.
    • Causing many witnesses who saw them in passing, along with acquaintances like Van Driessen and Tom Anderson, to get subjected to intensive grilling (and cavity searches) by the ATF.
    • Raising a panic in Washington, D.C.
    • Causing repeated misfortunes for Tom Anderson, culminating in his being Mistaken for Terrorist at the end.
      • Just to reiterate...inadvertently. Beavis and Butt-Head had no IDEA that they were DOING any of this, let alone that it was even HAPPENING half the time.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Completely coincidental version. If those two thieves hadn't stolen Beavis and Butt-Head's TV, then the duo wouldn't have stumbled upon Muddy and his bid to murder Dallas and secure the X-5 Unit, which was originally a job the thieves themselves were hired for.
  • Mistaken for Terrorist: Beavis and Butt-Head, due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Mr. Anderson also falls into this situation at the very end.
  • Mushroom Samba: Beavis eats a peyote cactus in an attempt to prevent dehydration, but this results in a nightmare hallucination set to the tune of Rob Zombie's "Ratfinks, Suicide Tanks, and Cannibal Girls".
  • Mythology Gag: The AC/DC song "Gone Shootin'" appears on the film's soundtrack. Judge claims that the riff for the Beavis and Butt-Head theme song is him playing the riff for that song backwards.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations:
    • Muddy hires Beavis and Butt-Head to "do" his wife. He means for them to kill her. They think he wants them to have sex with her.
    • Every conversation Beavis has with the old woman, whose age causes her to slur her words at times. She thinks they're talking about gambling in Vegas. He thinks they're talking about having sex.
      Old Woman: Are you two heading for Las Vegas?
      Beavis: Yeah, we're gonna score.
      Old Woman: Oh. Well I hope to score big there myself. I'm mostly gonna be doing the slots.
      Beavis: Yeah, yeah, I'm hoping to do some sluts too. Yeah, heh. Do they have a lot of sluts in Las Vegas?
      Old Woman: Oh! There's so many slots, you won't know where to begin!
  • Poor Communication Kills: Muddy could have probably avoided a whole lot of confusion (and trouble) if he just said he wanted Beavis and Butt-Head to "kill" his wife, not "do" her.
  • Prepositions Are Not to End Sentences With:
    Bork: Chief! You know that guy whose camper they were whacking off in?
    Flemming: Bork! You are a federal agent. You represent the United States government. Never end a sentence with a preposition!
    Bork: Oh, uh... you know that guy in-whose camper they... I-I mean, that guy off in whose camper they were whacking?
  • Quest for Sex: This ends up being Beavis and Butt-Head's major goal. Thankfully, their success rate is pretty much the same as always in this regard.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • The dim pair walk into the friggin' Mojave Desert. Without a drop of water or any kind of map or compass. Sure enough, they start to succumb to heatstroke.
    • Beavis starts to hallucinate, by way of a White Zombie video. Episodes of hallucination are a distinct symptom of heatstroke and heat exhaustion. Hallucinations are also a byproduct of peyote, which is likely the type of cactus that Beavis eats part of.
  • Riding into the Sunset: The final scene.
  • The Roadie: Their fathers were once roadies for Mötley Crüe.
  • Running Gag:
    • Flemming's obsession with giving everyone cavity searches leads up to an inevitable punchline when Butt-Head says "Did I just score?" after receiving one himself.
    • Four televisions are destroyed in the boys' quest to replace the one that was stolen. Including the one that was stolen. Though they are reunited with it in the end. Aww.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Muddy does what the ATF cannot and manages to track down the boys after they've passed out in the middle of the desert.
  • Skewed Priorities: When offered a chance to make $10K by "doing" Muddy's wife (or so they think), Beavis would still rather watch TV until Muddy shoots out the screen.
  • Shoot the Television: See above.
  • Shown Their Work: In 2006, Judge revealed on the DVD commentary (from "The Edition That Doesn't Suck") an interesting tidbit about the opening fantasy sequence. The sound of Giant Butt-Head reaching through a glass building and grabbing a girl was supposed to be a representation of the crooks breaking into their house in the real world, and stealing their TV, sort of how dreams can be guided by the sound effects happening around you.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Invoked for comedy. Similar to Elmer Bernstein's score for Airplane!, John Frizell's music score sounds more like it belongs in a campy, dead-serious action-drama than it does a Beavis and Butt-Head story.
  • Speech Impediment: The old lady slurs her words slightly, mostly for the gag of Beavis misinterpreting "slots" as "sluts".
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Beavis and Butt-Head get a hold of the intercom at the Capitol Building, asking for "the woman with big boobs" so they can "score". Cut to the House of Representatives going "Huh-huh-huh" just like the duo.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • An unwitting example. After exposition on the X-5 bio-weapon—such as its flawed casing, which could break open and release the virus if hit hard enough—Flemming concludes his marching orders to his men with "Let's just pray that nothing hits that unit." Cut to a tour bus, where Butt-Head is repeatedly kicking Beavis in the seat of his pants—exactly where Dallas hid the X-5 Unit.
    • While driving, Tom Anderson says "What I wouldn't give for five minutes alone with those two little bastards." On cue, Butt-Head, one of the little bastards he was referring to, flies into his windshield and makes him crash into a pileup on the highway.
  • Truth in Television: As the boys are dying of heat exhaustion, one of the buzzards starts pecking at Butt-Head, much to his annoyance. Buzzards will indeed "help you along" if you aren't dying fast enough.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Tom Anderson and his wife are washed away in a flood when the Hoover Dam malfunctions thanks to Beavis and Butt-Head and pancake their truck when the duo cause a pileup, yet each time they are back on the road without a mark to show for it and make it to D.C. in the same timeframe.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Beavis and Butt-Head are manipulated by Dallas into traveling across the country with a biological weapon in tow to keep both Muddy and the government off her back. Emphasis on "unwitting", because the duo never once realize this is going on.
  • The Vamp: Dallas uses her good looks and the boys' obvious lust to smuggle her stolen bioweapon across the country.
  • Villain Protagonist: Considering all the damage that Beavis and Butt-Head unwittingly cause, they could easily fall under this trope.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: The X-5 Unit & its deadly disease which can wipe out 5 states in just 5 days.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Muddy spends about half the film trying to hunt down and kill the boys.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: When Beavis (on a major Cornholio trip) calls the military on the Big Red Phone in the Oval office, the soldier who answers the phone is understandably confused to hear his Commander-In-Chief introducing himself as "Cornholio" and rambling incoherently about his bunghole. About five seconds into this "conversation", said soldier looks directly at the camera with a "You have GOT to be kidding me" look on his face. They still step up to DEFCON 4, though.


Video Example(s):


We're Never Gonna Score

Beavis comes to a painful and undeniable realization about himself and Butt-Head. And it is glorious.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / DespairSpeech

Media sources:

Main / DespairSpeech