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The 12 Best Hot Rod Moments Ranked

Paramount didn't make any money off "Hot Rod," the 2007 comedy starring Andy Samberg. With a budget of $25 million and a worldwide box-office return of $14.3 million, it was a theatrical disappointment that has since earned its place in popular culture.

"Hot Rod" was the first-ever movie role for Samberg, who at the time was two seasons deep into his seven-year run as a cast member on "Saturday Night Live," where he popularized digital shorts like "Lazy Sunday" and "D*** In A Box" alongside "SNL" writers Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. The trio of comedians have known each other since their youths and are collectively called "The Lonely Island." At the time, "Hot Rod" was the highest-profile project they'd been part of not including "SNL."

In the movie, Samberg plays Rod Kimble, a 20-something who lives with his brother, mom, and stepdad, the latter of which needs a heart transplant. To raise money for the operation, Rod performs stunts around town, but his positivity frequently outweighs his accuracy. The laughs come as quickly as the blunders, but it's Rod's sincerity that wins over the town and the audience.

There's a lot to love about "Hot Rod." Looking back, it clearly has the feel and quirks of a Lonely Island production — a style that would come into its own in later years with such projects as 2016's "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping" and 2022's "Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers." Here are some of those "Hot Rod" moments that shine in all their non sequitur glory, ranked.

12. Rod jumps the pool

Rod is excited to impress his childhood crush Denise (Isla Fisher) by jumping over the neighborhood pool on his moped. Rod's buddy Rico (Danny McBride) even built a custom ramp on either side of the pool for Rod to ride off of and land on his way down. This isn't Rod's first rodeo, and at this point in the film we've already seen him fail to land a number of smaller jumps. It's clear that while he certainly lacks no confidence or charisma, what his team could use is someone who understands the math behind how fast Rod needs to be riding the moped, how much distance away from the ramp he needs to build momentum, and the height the ramp needs to be in relation to the length of the pool.

Sadly for Rod, but hilarious for those of us in the audience, Rod doesn't come anywhere close to making the jump. When he rides the moped off the ramp, it immediately falls into the water, failing to achieve even the tiniest bit of airtime. Still, it's enough to show Denise that Rod is serious about his craft in the face of adversity, and she soon joins his team, inspired by his outlook on life.

11. Denise dumps Jonathan

Denise is in a relationship with Jonathan (Will Arnett) for most of the movie. Jonathan is egocentric and hopelessly lacking in self-awareness. He constantly dismisses Denise's thoughts and jumps on any opportunity to shame Rod, making fun of his stunts and manipulating Denise's involvement with Rod's team. Jonathan is a d-bag with a capital D, and everyone knows it but him.

Toward the end of the film when Denise expresses interest in going to see Rod's big jump, Jonathan verbally degrades Rod yet again. For Denise, this is the last straw. She dumps Jonathan, leaving him parked in his convertible and screaming after her as she walks away. Comically conveying Jonathan's desperation on the verge of hysteria, Arnett wails for her to come back in a spectacular fashion that entails shouting the word "babe" in different lengths in rapid succession at least 16 times, interspersed with the words "no" and "wait." If you're watching this scene, apologies to any housemates in another room wondering what in the world you're watching as they overhear this madness.

10. The tragic monologue

Rod grows up believing his father was an epic stuntman who died tragically in a stunt gone wrong. He later learns that this was not the case at all, and his dad actually passed away in a pie-eating contest. But while he still believes in the myth of his daredevil dad, Rod takes a moment at dinner with Denise to be vulnerable and share the story of his father's death.

On paper, this scenario reads as sweet, if not just plain sad. A guy taking a big step by revealing an awful moment from his family's past to his crush would be a mournful moment in a film that took itself seriously. Director Akiva Schaffer plays up the parodic nature of the scene by filming it as if it belonged in a drama rather than a comedy, with Andy Samberg delivering his monologue without a hint of irony as the camera slowly zooms in on his face. "Blood was everywhere," Rod explains. "His teeth were ground down to a powder and the front of his face exploded out the back of his skull. He died instantly ... the next day." The audience feels like they should be crying, but since it's "Hot Rod," they're laughing instead.

9. My name is Rod and I like to party

When Denise joins Rod's crew, Rod asks the gang to introduce themselves by sharing their name and something about their personal lives. Rod starts: "My name is Rod and I like to party." Next up is Dave (Bill Hader), who declares, "Hi, my name is Dave and I like to party." Rod corrects him, thinking maybe Dave misunderstood the exercise. "No, Dave. I just said that I party, so maybe do something different from me," Rod replies. Dave just messes up even more, saying, "My name is Dave and I am the stuntman."

Visibly frustrated by this point, Rod moves on to Rico, but he's no better than Dave. "Hello," says Rico. "I'm Rico and I like to party." From there, the scene spirals with some wonderful banter from screenwriter Pam Brady in what amounts to a back-and-forth exchange among the characters akin to the classic "Who's on first?" comedy bit, in which two people talk in circles with plays on words as they try to figure out who's on first base in a baseball game. Here in the "Hot Rod" equivalent, the timing of each beat is accentuated by a quick change in camera angle to whichever character is speaking. Combined with the sincere performances of the actors, the scene makes for a master class in character writing and comedic timing. It concludes with Rod simply introducing everyone to Denise himself, explaining what their job on the team is.

8. Richardson dancing with posters

In "Hot Rod," Chester Tam plays Richardson, a superfan of Rod's stunts who will do anything to join Rod's team. While the crew keeps Richardson at a distance and never admits him onto the team, they do enlist his help to put up flyers all over town advertising the screening of a movie about Rod made by Rod's brother, Kevin (Jorma Taccone).

Despite Richardson's enthusiasm for supporting Rod, he's not very good at publicizing the event. During a montage set to the tune of "The Real Bass" by Brooklyn Bounce, the audience sees Richardson in various spots around town throwing the posters into the air with glee and dancing as the paper falls like rain around him. Does he grab some attention? Absolutely. Does he effectively advertise Rod's screening? The jury's out on that, but there ends up being quite a substantial attendance for the movie, so maybe his methods are more effective than they seem.

7. The riot

The day of Rod's big jump arrives, and the stakes have never been higher. This is the day Rod will find out if all his hard work is enough to raise the money needed for his stepdad's operation. Knowing the weight of the moment, he walks to the stunt location with Kevin, Dave, and Rico by his side. The squad struts through the streets of the town in slow-motion in a scene epically padded by "You're the Voice" by John Farnham.

However, what begins as apparently non-diegetic music soon reveals itself as audible by the characters, as bystanders begin mouthing the words to the song while they watch Rod and his friends walk by. Citizens of the town seemingly on their way to watch the stunt slowly start to follow Rod and co., and the crowd gradually increases to a worrisome size.

Things soon go awry when the mob abruptly begins rioting upon the downtown storefronts, smashing windows and flipping cars. Fires break out, people run everywhere screaming, and all the while "You're the Voice" not only continues to play, but the song is joined by a bagpipe orchestra parading through the street playing the same tune. None of it makes sense, but then again, neither does most of this amazing movie. Rod and his crew make it out of the riot safely, confused as to what just happened. Whatever it was, they shake it off and make their way to Rod's stunt.

6. Happy birthday, Timmy

Rod's stepfather, Frank (Ian McShane) needs a heart transplant, but his insurance won't cover the expenses. With the family otherwise unable to afford the operation, Rod sets out to raise money for Frank's transplant by performing stunts around town.

Rod's stunt gigs have a wide-ranging demographic, to say the least. A paycheck is a paycheck, it seems, and no venue or audience is beneath Rod's dignity in the name of saving his stepfather's life. With Rod's team having something of a well-earned reputation for mayhem, these public appearances seldom go according to plan.

One such occasion occurs when Rod sets himself on fire at a child's birthday party. While he succeeds in engulfing his entire body in fire and his flame-resistant suit does its job to keep him safe, in the process he runs around the birthday boy's backyard and destroys everything. Kids scream and run around, undoubtedly traumatized for life.

5. Skateboarding down the hill

As practice for his daredevil feats, Rod rides a skateboard down a long, inclined road. Before taking off, he tells his team that his safeword in the event of an emergency will be "whiskey." Inevitably, Rod begins screaming the word immediately after getting started, but by then it's too late. There's nothing his friends can do except watch him careen down the street at a speed much faster than anticipated, not in control of anything.

Rather than slowly coming to a gradual stop, Rod's skateboard makes contact with the curb and catapults him into a neighbor's trailer, smashing its windows. The owner of the trailer comes outside and rightfully demands to know what's just happened, but Rico arrives to Rod's aid and the situation escalates even further. Rico proceeds to punch the trailer owner in the face, whack him repeatedly with a traffic cone, dump the entire contents of a trash can on top of him, and steal his hat. "This is my hat now! This is totally my hat," proclaims Rico.

4. Too legit to quit

After learning that his late father wasn't a daredevil stuntman as he had previously believed, Rod gives up on stunts himself. When approached by Denise and asked why he's quitting, Rod explains with hand motions made famous by MC Hammer's 1991 music video for the song "2 Legit 2 Quit."

Rod begins, "I used to be legit. In fact, I was too legit." This is where the hand gestures begin, with "too" accompanied by holding up two fingers and "legit" by forming his pointer finger and thumb in the shape of the letter "L." He continues, "I was too legit to quit." At "quit," Rod positions his hand horizontally and pretends to slice the air. "But now," he finishes, "I'm not legit. I'm un-legit." He forms his hand in the shape of the letter "U." "And for that reason, I must quit."

As with many moments in "Hot Rod," Andy Samberg's delivery of this dialogue is as sincere as anything, with Rod genuinely disillusioned with his dream and Isla Fisher's Denise authentically heartbroken. It plays as comedy rather than drama as the audience is once again reminded not to take the story too seriously.

3. Cool beans

Rod and his brother Kevin fight after Kevin's movie of Rod doing stunts unintentionally makes Rod the laughingstock of the town. Rod is furious. When things settle down, Rod apologizes, and the brothers talk it out. Kevin concludes the conversation by asking, "Cool beans?" Seemingly, this term appears to be specific to their inter-sibling vernacular and serves as a substitute for "We good?" or "Is everything ok now?" Rod replies, "Cool beans."

If you were to pause the film at this moment and ask a viewer to predict what happens next, literally no one would have the correct answer. In a moment that resonates like a Lonely Island music video brought to life on the big screen, the normal no-frills dialogue scene becomes a remixed cut of the conversation with a beat padding it. Rod and Kevin are shown saying "Cool beans" with a number of different inflections and crazy voices, their two-word dialogue forming a song of sorts. Then, as if nothing ever happened, the beat stops and the conversation continues as normal. Cool beans.

2. Rod falls down the mountain

When Rod finds out his stepfather needs a heart transplant, he becomes distraught and needs to go to his "quiet place" in the middle of the woods to calm himself down. Wildly dancing among the trees to the song "Never" by Moving Pictures, Rod starts doing flips and a number of impressive gymnastics movements before it all just goes wrong.

Stumbling over some brush, Rod falls down what is apparently a very steep, very long mountainside. Actually, we should clarify; the phrase "falls down" fails to adequately describe what happens here. For a whopping 45 uninterrupted seconds, Rod tumbles down the mountain, screaming and flailing all the way as his body repeatedly and helplessly tumbles into bushes and tree stumps that do nothing to obstruct or slow his descent. It's one of the all-time great "What am I watching?" moments of goofy 2000s comedies that embodies the film's mission of subverting expectations and traditional film conventions for the sake of a laugh.

1. The big jump

The big moment the entire movie has been leading up to — Rod's epic jump over the school buses — has everything, including an ever-important exclusive broadcast on AM radio. Chris Parnell plays local DJ Barry Pasternak with the same oblivious gusto he brings to Leo Spaceman on "30 Rock" as he describes for listeners the play-by-play of Rod's big day.

The sequence has everything that makes "Hot Rod" its own brand of a movie. Before launching, Rod summons the "souls of the animal kingdom" — the eagle, the fox, the bottlenose dolphin, the octopus, and the housecat — all of whom appear as thought bubbles above Rod's head and give him strength by transmitting lightning to his body.

As foolproof as that strategy may seem, Rod still comes short of clearing the school buses, crashing on the ground. For a moment, it seems like he might be dead. Inside his subconscious mind, Rod imagines a mascot-like anthropomorphic grilled cheese and taco fighting each other. Obviously, the taco wins.

When Rod comes to, the gathered crowd rejoices and phone lines ring nonstop as donations come rolling in for Rod's stepdad's operation. They reach the $50,000 goal ("for Frank's conveniently priced surgery," DJ Pasternak celebrates), and none other than Ebenezer Scrooge joins in the jubilation. The quintessential crank from Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" pokes his head out of a school bus with a full plate of food in his hands and cheers, "A cooked goose for everyone!" If Ebenezer means "a cooked goose" as a metaphor for laughter, then we couldn't agree more.