It’s been 10 years since Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly teamed up with Adam McKay to give us Talladega Nights, the best movie about NASCAR since Days of Thunder (which, oddly enough, John C. Reilly was also in).
While the Ballad of Ricky Bobby may have focused on Ricky’s (Will Ferrell) racetrack glory and his inevitable downfall, we can’t discount the other half of the shake and back duo. Ricky owed much of his success to Cal’s (John C. Reilly) sidekick skills. Yes, Cal did falter as a wingman and steal Bobby’s wife, but it all worked out in the end with Ricky getting an all new “red-hot smokin'” wife. Friendship triumphs over all.
Feel free to turn to these Cal Naughton Jr. quotes next time you find yourself answering the call to be somebody’s backup.
“We go together like cocaine and waffles.”
Being the ultimate wingman is about doing your best to be the perfect compliment to your partner. According to Cal, you should aim to be the Chinese food to their chocolate pudding, the ladies to their peanut butter, or cocaine to their waffles. So, Cal’s examples aren’t even close to being remotely good combinations — no biggie. The guy makes up for it with so much unbridled enthusiasm that his terrible pairings are easy to overlook.
“Don’t you stick that knife in your leg.”
A trusty wingman will always look out for your best interest. In Cal’s case, that means delivering some harsh truth to Ricky Bobby by telling him that his paralysis is all in his head. Of course, Ricky foolishly ignores the tough love and proceeds to plunge a knife into his leg, but at least Cal tried. Keep this Cal gem in mind next time your friend’s about to make a very grave mistake. Even if they ignore you at the time, they’ll likely thank you later — like I’m assuming Ricky Bobby did once the bleeding stopped.
“Don’t you say it, Ricky. These colors don’t run.”
A good wingman will back you up in a time of distress and remind you who you are and what kind of pancakes you eat — the American kind! Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen) may have had Ricky in a tight spot while putting pressure on him to cry uncle — or in his case, declare his love of crepes — but Cal was there to remind him not to back down. Then again, a trusty wingman also possesses the insight to realize when a compromise is in order and that there’s really nothing wrong with declaring a love for crepes. They are just delicious, thin pancakes after all.
“I like to picture Jesus in a tuxedo T-shirt because it says I want to be formal, but I’m here to party.”
While Cal’s version of Jesus as the kind of guy who parties in a tuxedo T-shirt and fronts an angelic Lynyrd Skynyrd is over-the-top, to say the least, but it’s a prime example of Cal’s loyalty. Ricky Bobby’s prayer to the baby Jesus rubs Carley Bobby (Leslie Bibb) the wrong way, but rather than sit back and watch Ricky’s creativity be stifled, Cal steps in with his own warped interpretation. Let this be a lesson to all the Cals out there: don’t hesitate to support your own Ricky’s creativity, no matter how ridiculous it might seem.
“‘Cause I like to party.”
There’s no ignoring the fact that as solid as Cal is at backing up his buddy for much of the movie, he did totally sell Ricky down the river when he shacked up with his wife. That drawback aside, Cal deserves a little credit for always putting out a positive party vibe. His want to have the TV volume and stereo on at the same time might not make any sense, but that doesn’t matter. He’s all about the party, and it’s hard to argue against an answer like this. Should your best bud call your actions into question, pull this ace out of your pocket. They’ll know exactly what you mean.
“Please don’t let the invisible fire burn my friend!”
Everyone thinks that Ricky Bobby has lost it when he begins shouting for Tom Cruise to work his witchcraft and put out a non-existent fire. It doesn’t matter that Ricky is delusional and in the process of making a fool out of himself in front of a racetrack full of his admirers; Cal swoops in to rescue mode without hesitation to help Ricky extinguish the imaginary flames. If you find your partner in crime engulfed in their own imaginary inferno, it’s your duty as a wingman to come to their aid. Hopefully, before they strip down to their whitey tighties.
“You gotta cross over the anger bridge and come back to the friendship shore.”
Nobody said that being a kickass wingman was always going to be easy, and Cal only made it more difficult for himself when he moved into Ricky’s mansion and started wearing his Speedos. He slowly begins to realize, though, that eating a plate of all-you-can-eat nachos at Bennigan’s is a lot more enjoyable with a friend than it is solo. There may be times when your friendship is tested, but eventually somebody has to make the first move to cross that anger bridge.