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‘Tommy Boy’ and Self-Worth

Mid-to-late 90’s movies should be required viewing for today’s self-doubting male. While I don’t think films like “Wild Wild West” or “The Faculty” offer much in terms of confidence-building concepts (or plot and acting ability, for that matter), there are a few that offer sound advice for dudes looking to gain a little confidence.

Fat guy in a little coat

A few weeks ago I expounded the awesome, self-empowering film that is ”Fight Club”. This week I’d like to bring up another inspiring 90s flick. Whereas “Fight Club” stars a ripped badass, this movie stars….a suit-ripping fatass – Chris Farley to be exact. This week I’d like to discuss the virtues of the 1995 comedy “Tommy Boy.”

Okay, okay. I know what you’re thinking: “Tommy Boy? What can I learn from a movie in which the lead actor utters the line “Tommy likey. Tommy want wingy”? If you’ve ever doubted yourself or have dealt with naysayers, “Tommy Boy” will show you there’s no reason to give in or give up.

If you spent the mid-90s doing more important stuff than watch road movies starring ex-“Saturday Night Live” cast members, you’re probably wondering what the hell “Tommy Boy” is all about. Here’s a super-short plot recap:

• Tommy Callahan’s dad owns an auto parts company
• Tommy’s dad dies
• Tommy, who has never sold a thing in his life, must sell 500,000 brake pads to save the company
• Tommy breaks stuff and freaks out a bunch

Tommy is a slacker by reputation. Everyone from his coworkers to his right hand man, Richard (played by David Spade) doubts him. Tommy, who has never accomplished anything of significance, doubts whether or not he will be able to save Callahan Auto.

Failing to make a single sale, Tommy loses all hope. After convincing a restaurant waitress to serve him after the kitchen has been closed, however, Tommy realizes that he has the power to sell. He gains his confidence and goes on to sell all 500,000 brake pads and save the day. At the end of the film, Tommy is introduced as the new leader of Callahan Auto.

Like Tommy, we all doubt ourselves now and then. We question whether or not we’ll actually achieve our goals. People put us down and we start to wonder if they’re right. But like Tommy, we too can succeed if we just have a little confidence and tell the naysayers to F off.

Even if you’re a complete and utter failure, spending your days tipping cows and throwing stuff off the bridge, you too can turn your life around by simply believing in yourself. You might not be a comic genius like Chris Farley, but you can figure out how to work things out your own way.

It’s been over 17 years since “Tommy Boy” appeared in theaters, but its central idea still rings true: If you have confidence, you can achieve your wildest dreams. Oh, and if you’re a fat guy, it’s funny to wear your friend’s suit jacket.

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About John Brhel John Brhel is a freelance writer from upstate New York that enjoys picking apart life's idiosyncrasies and listening to Huey Lewis & the News.

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