Tommy Boy's VHS Release Put It On Par With The Godfather And Indiana Jones

"Tommy Boy" was the strongest entry into a genre of film that's sadly extinct, a genre which I like to describe as "Let Chris Farley Go Wild for 90 Minutes." The 1995 film from director Peter Segal is a charming low-brow comedy about a loveable idiot learning to be a responsible adult following the death of his father, who owns his hometown's auto parts plant. It's a film that relies almost entirely on the lightning in a bottle talent of Chris Farley, not to mention the underrated straight-man performance by David Spade, and they turn what could have been a mediocre comedy into a thoroughly entertaining romp that still brings about endless laughs today.

Opening at number one in the box office, "Tommy Boy" found success in theaters, but it didn't become truly beloved until years later. According to Deadline, which looked back on the movie for its 25th anniversary, by the time the film was 10 years old, it reached a surprising level of success with audiences. Peter Segal recalled:

"It wasn't until the 10th anniversary, when Paramount sent crews all over the country to interview the cast, made a bobblehead doll. I asked, 'Why now,' and they said "Tommy Boy' is a top 10 seller on video for us.' I said, 'For this year?' They said, 'No, for the all time history of Paramount Home Video.' I said, 'You mean 'The Godfather' and 'Raiders of the Lost Ark,' that top 10?' They said, 'Yep.' VHS, you could have people discover the movie. It was never even released internationally. I know people in England who like it. I don't know how they got it. Paramount felt nobody knew Dave and Chris, so let's just make it a domestic release."

'There was a sweetness to him, and there was real talent in his acting chops

It makes sense that the movie would have such consistent and lasting popularity. For one, it's a fun and accessible comedy that, despite its PG-13 rating, barely has anything in it that's too inappropriate for kids. It's also a surprisingly sweet movie, something Segal did intentionally, according to a 2020 FanSided interview.

"But I saw something in Chris that I thought was something beyond what he had been displaying on 'SNL' as Matt Foley. There was a sweetness to him, and there was real talent in his acting chops. I thought, okay, I definitely want to appeal to his base and have a couple of scenes where he'll scream and fall through a table and give you the Farley you know and love, but I thought there is an opportunity here to show another dimension to him. And I think maybe that's why that sweetness that resonates with audiences."

Additionally, you have to imagine any media with Chris Farley in it grew in demand following his tragic death in 1997. His career was on the path to being legendary, and it was tragically cut short, so the few feature films he did manage to make are a lot of what we have to remember the legendary performer who we still remember fondly to this day.

"Tommy Boy" doesn't seem like it belongs on a list in company with movies like "The Godfather," but it's clearly become a comedy staple for audiences. It's a movie anchored by both the on-screen and off-screen friendship of Farley and Spade (despite their big behind-the-scenes fight over Rob Lowe), and sometimes you just want to watch a nice movie about some buddies being wacky. And "Tommy Boy" is just that.