Film roles with TV Tropes: Down and Out in Beverly Hills
August 13, 2018
A trope is a storytelling device or convention, a shortcut for describing situations the storyteller can reasonably assume the audience will recognize. Tropes are the means by which a story is told by anyone who has a story to tell. We collect them, for the fun involved.
Tropes are not the same thing as cliches. They may be brand new but seem trite and hackneyed; they may be thousands of years old but seem fresh and new. They are not bad, they are not good; tropes are tools that the creator of a work of art uses to express their ideas to the audience. It’s pretty much impossible to create a story without tropes.
Film roles with TV Tropes pages:
It tells the story of Jerry Baskin (Nolte), a homeless man who befriends the wealthy-but-stressed-out Dave Whiteman (Dreyfuss) and his equally stressed-out family after trying to drown himself in their pool.
This film contains examples of:
- Adopted to the House: The Whitemans invite Jerry to stay with them while he gets his head together.
- Ambiguously Gay: It’s not entirely clear if Dave’s son Max is gay or just going through an androgynous phase. (He does, however, stare a little too long at Jerry’s naked body while he’s toweling off.)
- Comically Missing the Point: At one point, Dave yells, “Call 911! Call 911!”, while running with his own phone in his hand.
- Driven to Suicide: In the beginning of the film, Jerry tries to drown himself in the Whitemans’ pool.
- The ’80s: Not as obvious as most films of the era, though Max’s andro get-up just screams “80’s glam rock”, and Barbara is rocking the ’80s Hair.
- Ethnic Menial Labor: The Whitemans have a Latina maid named Carmen. Dave has been carrying on an affair with her for several years.
- Le Film Artistique: The only way Max can communicate with his parents, it seems.
- Foreign Remake: Of Jean Renoir‘s 1932 French comedy Boudou Saved from Drowning.
- Gainax Ending: It seems like a Happy Ending, but David takes a moment to pause and wonder if it’s such a bright idea to let Jerry back into the fold before heading in.
- Ironic Echo: At the start of the movie, Dave saves Jerry from downing in his swimming pool. At the end of the movie, Dave tries to drown Jerry in his swimming pool.
- Kavorka Man: Jerry eventually beds every female in Dave’s household.
- It Came from Beverly Hills: It’s in the title.
- Papa Wolf: Dave tries to drown Jerry after he slept with his daughter.
- Pretty in Mink: In the film posters, Barbara is wearing a full length fox fur coat over her shoulders.
- Reality Ensues: Played with. Jerry admits he’s been playing a part for the Whitemans, asking, “What did you want to hear? Realpain? Real sorrow?”
- The Remake: The film is an American remake of the French farce Boudu Saved From Drowning.