Tommy Boy pulls heart strings 27 years after its release

Review by NinaMcMullen

Movie poster art from Original Film Art.

Okay, okay, I get it. Who cares about a movie that came out in 1995? I will admit…this review is slightly self-indulgent. However, I really hope you will go watch this movie and if you can, ask your parents to join.

So let me start from the beginning: Chris Farley was a comedian of the 90’s who got his start on Saturday Night Live in its prime. He was given his own movies like “Beverly Hills Ninja” and “Black Sheep.” He even made a cameo in “Wayne’s World 2.” He passed away in 1997 at the age of

The most notable of these offshoot movies was his ‘95 hearfelt comedy, “Tommy Boy.” Starring alongside his long time best friend and SNL writing partner, David Spade, Farley leads the way in creating the lovable, lost and slightly aloof Tommy Callahan. After graduating college (for substantially longer than the average four years), he tries to follow in his dad’s (“Big Tom” Callahan) footsteps and take over the family automobile parts company. Spade, who plays Richard, the very type-A long time friend of Tommy, offers a laugh-out-loud juxtaposition to Tommy.

After the sudden death of “Big Tom,” Tommy tries to keep the company alive, get the girl, and make it through the hair-pulling journey of door-to-door sales with Richard. The roots of this movie are heart
wrenching as you see a lost college grad struggle to come to terms with his dad’s death. But on top of those foundations is a fun and light hearted environment, not to mention jokes that will leave your sides hurting. Farley just illuminates the screen and brings a presence that’s uniquely him.

Of all the silliness Spade and Farley bring, it’s the last scene that really sets in the emotionality of this film. [SPOILER WARNING! But, I mean, you had 27 years to see it, so that’s on you.] As his sailboat stands firmly in place, Tommy talks to his crush, Michelle, about memories of his dad and opens up for the first time. A gust of wind that can only be presumed to have been sent by “Big Tom” himself gives the sailboat enough push to make it all the way back to Michelle’s house.

Although Farley didn’t live long enough to see his acting career fully realized, he has made content that has been passed down between generations. And for that, I thank him. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you Chris Farley. Thank you for all the laughs and we all miss you.

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