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In this edition of 2 Movies 1 Moment, we look at the classic SNL-inspired Wayne’s World from 1992, starring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey as it goes up against the 2005 Steve Carell comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin. What do these two films have in common, aside from being widely-considered classics of the genre? Believe it or not, a bicycle crash. While bikes have had lots of screen time in the movies, and a few good crashes as well (we’re looking at you Premium Rush and Breaking Away), we’re settling on these two movie moments and letting you choose which is the better. Let’s compare.
THE FILM: Two local cable access show hosts Wayne (Myers) and Garth (Carvey) are discovered by a network executive (Rob Lowe) who wants to give the boys lots of cash in exchange for exploiting the show. Also, there’s a hot singer (Tia Carrere) who Wayne falls for (shwing!) a win for Best Picture. Not.
THE BIKE ACCIDENT MOMENT: So Wayne is a popular guy, laid back and cool, even if he rather directionless. He’s recently just broken up with Stacey (Lara Flynn Boyle) … well, if two months ago was recently, though she’s not quite got that figured out yet. To celebrate, she gives Wayne a gun rack, though he has no gun, which would necessitate the need for “a” gun rack. She’s pretty clueless. Even when Wayne shows interest in another girl, she doesn’t get. If he’s not careful, she warns, he’s going to lose her.
One day while riding her pink bike, wearing a neck brace from where she fell through a skylight trying to get Wayne’s attention earlier, she sees Wayne and Garth playing some street hockey and tries to catch their eye.
Naturally, the accident-prone Stacy, not watching where she is going, pedals straight into the front fender of a parked car, sending herself hurling over the hood and over to the other side. Ouch. Such a sweet ride, too. The car that it is.
WHY IT MATTERS: Stacey is one of the film’s more interesting characters, one that might seem unnecessary after her first scene, but her recurring and escalating issues make her much more significant, a reminder for Wayne of the traps he had settled into prior to his success, but more than that, her misguided actions are a kind of warning. Much like Stacey, Wayne is easily lured into the money and fame of his new gig and if he’s not careful could end up crashing if he’s not looking where he’s going, something that is actually being discussed by Wayne and Garth as Stacy flips over the car hood. Her crash is the visual metaphor for Wayne, his show, and his relationships if he isn’t careful. It’s a smart little moment, but how does it hold up against …
THE FILM: As the title gives away, Andy (Carell) is a grown man who has never had sex and once his new friends at his job find out, they take it to task to help him find a woman and experience firsthand what, well, the big deal is (it’s better than bags of sand). A sharp, intelligent comedy, it was Carell’s first starring role and made him an international star.
THE BIKE ACCIDENT MOMENT: While the boys do their best to get Andy some action, he’s got his eye on a woman named Trish (Catherine Keener) who came into the electronic store where he works. She’s a single mom with two kids, including a rebellious teen girl. There’s some obvious sparks between them, and it leads to a touching and funny relationship that takes just about the entire movie for Andy to confess why he seems unwilling to sleep with her. Fortunately, she’s a patient lady.
As things progress and both strong feelings and tensions grow, Andy isn’t sure he ready to “perform” per se, the pressure to do it almost unbearable, but as the weeks pass, a situation causes a rift. Frustrated and misunderstood, he takes to the street on his pedal bike and catches up to Trish at an intersection and accidentally T-bones her car, sending himself hurling over the hood and smashing through a truck-mounted billboard, which itself is an ad for well, getting sex.
WHY IT MATTERS: Without spoiling the ending, the importance of the accident, while very funny and surprisingly touching, is also, like Stacey above, metaphorical as Andy literally crashes into the women he loves (let alone the sexualized image on the truck), forced to tell her exactly what he feels for her. The best part is how well it binds these characters in an act that initially seems like it might seem straight out of nowhere, but in fact makes complete sense and gives the film a perfect moment of vulnerability and intimacy. So which is better?