For today’s installment of 73 Sports Movies in 73 Days, we’re going with the 1988 horse racing/stock market comedy Hot to Trot, which starred Bobcat Goldthwait as Fred Chaney, a bumbling loser who inherits half of the stock brokerage owned by his dick of a stepfather, Walter Sawyer, played by one of the 80s’ greatest movie villain actors – Dabney Coleman.
In fact, Fred’s mother left him half of the brokerage and one horse when she passed away, and that horse just so happened to become the best friend that Fred ever had. That’s because that horse could talk and he sounded just like John Candy. But instead of just explaining this movie’s incredibly strange plot to you, I thought we’d take a look back into the meeting between the Warner Bros. executive who greenlit Hot to Trot and its writer.
First, two quick, fun facts about Hot to Trot:
1) Hot to Trot’s director Michael Dinner is one of the executive producers of FX’s hit drama Justified, and he has directed five episodes, as well as the pilot of Sons of Anarchy.
2) The film’s script is attributed to four writers, but the story and script were ultimately the brainchild of Hugo Gilbert and, wait for it… Stephen Neigher. While he wrote for a variety of TV series, the only film ever written by Stephen Neigher was about a talking horse. This seems very important to me in determining where the idea came from.
That said, here’s how I imagine this brainstorming session going down.
INT. WARNER BROS. OFFICES – DAY
TV writer Stephen Neigher enters Assistant Vice President of Project Development Chet Chesterton’s office.
Chet: “All right, whatever your name is, I’m a busy man and don’t have all day. You’ve got an idea? Spit it out!”
Stephen: “Okay, well sir, it’s a movie about a horse.”
Chet: (emptying some white powder on to his desk) “I’ve got a million stories about horses. Some of them involve human women. They’re gross, but I’ve got ‘em. Why the f*ck do I want your horse?”
Stephen: “Because my horse is no ordinary horse…”
Chet: (snorts a foot-long line of cocaine) “OH F*CK YES!!! Now, your horse – does he fly? Is he a robot horse? Does he breathe under water?”
Stephen: “No sir, he talks.”
Chet: (snorts another long line of cocaine) “GOD THAT’S THE SH*T RIGHT THERE!!! A talking horse? Like Mr. Ed! I like it, an old premise with a modern twist. What else?”
Stephen: “And everyone thinks he’s worthless, because nobody knows he talks, but then this guy Fred inherits him and they become friends.”
Chet: (pulls a large Ziploc bag of cocaine out of his desk, empties it on the desk) “I got the perfect young comic to play Fred. Name’s Bobcat. Did coke with him last week and he helped me bury a whore in the desert. Great kid. And for the bad guy, we’ll get Dabney Coleman. I’ve got him locked up on a 30-picture dickhead villain deal.”
Stephen: “So Fred gets half of his stepdad’s company and they hate each other, but Fred and Don…”
Chet: (pulls his face out of the pile of cocaine) “Who the f*ck is Don?”
Stephen: “Oh, he’s the horse. That’s his name – Don.”
Chet: (wipes the blood away from his nose and eyes) “DON?!?! That’s f*cking amazing! It’s so simple, nobody would ever think about naming a horse Don!”
Stephen: “That’s right. So Don starts tipping Fred off to stocks that he overhears people talking about around the stable, because everyone goes to the stable to have affairs, for some reason.”
Chet: (suddenly shirtless with clothespins on his nipples) “Not me. Know where I go? The dressing rooms at Macy’s. I put a glory hole in the last one and visit it three times a week.”
Stephen: “That’s great. Sawyer makes a couple bad offers to Fred for his half of the company, so Fred decides to become a partner, and Don immediately overhears a tip about a big takeover and calls it into Fred. That ends up being Fred’s big score and it makes him an instant player.”
Chet: (scooping two handfuls of cocaine into his mouth) “That’s what America wants these days – instant wealth! This is the perfect 80s story!”
Stephen: “And then Don moves into Fred’s new penthouse…”
Chet: (spits out a cloud of cocaine) “THEY’RE ROOMMATES! A f*cking horse living with a man! That’s brilliant!”
Stephen: “Sure, and Don’s a wise guy and likes to have a good time, which leads to crazy parties with other talking animals.”
Chet: (snaps out of his daze) “That’s the most beautiful movie scene I’ve ever imagined. I mean, where the hell do the animals come from? WHO CARES! They’re f*cking party animals!”
Stephen: “But Sawyer and his crony will do anything to ruin Fred now, including screwing him over when he tells everyone to invest in some oats that Don loves. Oats are something that people buy stocks for, right?”
Chet: (mixes two tablespoons of cocaine into a coffee mug filled with cocaine) “Of course. People buy stocks for everything. While you were talking, I just bought 1,000 shares of you. I own you now. Come here and suck my d*ck. I’m kidding. But not really. But seriously. So Sawyer ruins Fred?”
Stephen: “Uh… yes. They trick him into investing all of his money into some bad oats and he gets trapped somewhere…”
Chet: (rubbing vapor rub on his chest) “How about a bathroom? I got locked in a bathroom once and had to climb out on to the ledge of a skyscraper. But it turns out it didn’t happen and I was naked in a sandbox at a playground.”
Stephen: “So like, Fred’s broke now, and he doesn’t want to talk to Don anymore. But Fred’s girlfriend, who works for Sawyer, finds out what Sawyer did and takes Don to find Fred and tell him.”
Chet: (applying war paint to face and arms) “There’s a girl? Is she hot? Of course she is. But not too hot, because those girls are trouble. It’s like women think they have rights all of a sudden. Used to be I could offer some young broad a leading role for a quicky in the hot tub and now they want ‘contracts’ and ‘money’, too.”
Stephen: “Okay. Well, Sawyer has this champion racehorse that he’s gonna run in the El Segundo Stakes and he’s a sure thing. But Fred bets Sawyer that Don will win after Fred calls him a chicken.”
Chet: (with garden hoses sticking out of each nostril and leading to two whiskey barrels filled with cocaine) “He should call him a chicken sh*t! Someone called me a chicken sh*t once and I stabbed him in the throat. Nobody calls me a chicken sh*t. Turns out that guy was the president of MGM. That’s how I got hired here.”
Stephen: “Sawyer accepts the challenge – if Sawyer’s horse wins, Fred loses Don. But if Don wins the race, Fred gets all of Sawyer’s horses, including Satin Doll, who Don has an eye for.”
Chet: (momentarily silent with his eyes rolled back into his head, but snaps out of it) “Horse f*cking? You got some horse f*cking? I like it. French films do that sh*t all the time, let’s steal it.”
Stephen: “No sir, there’s no horse sex. But Don’s not a racehorse, so he’s worried that he can’t win and Sawyer will have him killed. But then his reincarnated father shows up as a horse fly and gives him a pep talk. Oh, and Fred’s going to ride him because he’s bigger than the normal jockey and that would be funny.”
Chet: (rubbing his fingers on his gums) “I never knew my dad. He left us when I was 2 and my mom was a Vegas stripper. Sad sh*t, right? So does Don win the race? This sh*t have a happy ending?”
Stephen: “Yes, so Don uses his wit and mind games to trick the other horses during the race, and he ends up winning the race because of… get this… his giant teeth!”
Chet: (stands up, walks to giant painting of himself as a naked centaur, reveals giant safe, opens it and begins throwing bags of money at Stephen) “THAT’S F*CKING AMAZING!!! THIS IS THE GREATEST IDEA EVER!!!”
Stephen: “In the end, Fred wins and gets the horses and the girl, and he even pays for Don to get his giant teeth fixed.”
Chet: (staring out the window at the Hollywood hills) “It’s going to be the feel good movie of the year and probably win every Oscar. You can bet on it.”
Chet would die from a massive heart attack one week later.