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A 1994 comedy film starring Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi and Adam Sandler as three band members hoping for a big break head to a radio station to play their demo tape and wind up holding everyone hostage with plastic guns when the head DJ refuses to play them.

While the film bombed at the box office and was received poorly by critics, a lot of people have seen it due to the fact that it was played heavily on Comedy Central during the mid-1990s. The film has since become something of a cult classic among metalheads due to its numerous references to hard rock and heavy metal as well as featuring cameos from a few famous rock musicians (most notably Lemmy).

Tropes used in Airheads include:
  • Air Vent Passageway
  • Angry Black Man: Played straight and subverted. Marcus accuses Rex and Milo of having racist motivations, but has no clue who Rodney King is. It's Pip, of all people, who tells him.
    • No. Completely Missing the Point. When the crowd outside starts to chant "RODNEY KING!" Marcus, seeing that there is no racial component to the incident, remarks "Why are they yelling that?" Pip, mistakenly thinking that Marcus is unaware of Rodney King, responds "He's that guy."
  • Beta Couple: Pip and Suzzi.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Wilson is a pretty calm guy, but there are limits.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't mention pool cleaning gear around the SWAT leader.
    • Don't rip off Officer Wilson's badge. You'll just give him ideas.
    • Rex being called "trash" by station manager Milo is what causes the situation to degenerate from mere trespassing to hostage taking.
  • Cameos:
    • Mike Judge voices his characters Beavis and Butthead though a telephone.
    • Motorhead's Lemmy appears among the crowd, saying "I was editor of the school magazine!" when Chazz was revealed to be an ex-geek.
    • Harold Ramis shows up as a record executive trying to get into the seized radio station. He gets asked the immortal question "Whose side did you take: Van Halen or Roth?" He goes with Van Halen, and the band immediately tags him as a cop... which proves correct when he's seen later wearing a badge and carrying a sidearm.
    • Kurt Loder appears as himself, reporting on the hostage crisis, and also wondering how one pluralizes "The Lone Ranger".
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The giant baby bottle, asked of as part of the crazy demands, is used to subdue armed accountant Doug Beech.
    • Rex likes to fill his squirt guns with tabasco, in case some "Hollywood Boulevard trash" messes with him. This comes up later, when Chazz needs to season a burrito and Milo gets uppity.
    • During their ingress into the building, the guys take advantage of the fact that the steel exterior doors have automatic closers. This bites them in the ass when the front door later automatically closes on one of their fake guns with enough force to crush it.
  • Closet Geek: Chazz was a raging dork back in school. His public admission, followed by the crowd's acceptance, is a touching moment.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Carter, the "surfer dude" as Rex calls him.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Milo and Jimmy Wing.
  • Creator Worship:

Chazz: Who'd win in a wrestling match, Lemmy or God?
Chris Moore: Lemmy.
Rex: (makes a game-show "wrong" noise)
Chris: God!
Rex: Wrong, dickhead. Trick question--Lemmy is God.

  • Critical Dissonance: In-Universe, when Milo puts down Chazz' tastes in bands, asking "If they're so hot, how come they're not tearing up the charts, babe?", to which Rex replies "Because you never play them, babe. You suck.".
  • Dawson Casting: 36-year old Steve Buscemi as a twenty-something heavy metal bassist. Actually works, though, as he ends up looking more authentic than actual twenty-somethings Fraser and Sandler.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Many characters, particularly Ian and Rex.
  • Delivery Guy Infiltration: Chazz tries to sneak into Palatine Records this way in the beginning to try and show his demo tape to the executives. Judging by the reactions of the security guards and a secretary, this isn't the first time he's done this.
  • Die Hard on an X: It's Die Hard, in a radio station, as a comedy! Bonus points for the station being located next to Nakatomi Plaza.
  • Embarrassing Whole Name: Chester Ogilvie, alias "Chazz Darvey".
  • Engineered Public Confession: Chazz is forced by the SWAT leader to reveal to that he was a high school dork. Instead of losing the metal crowd that had gathered, however, his confession spurs people in the crowd to their embarrassing secrets of geekery. By the end, the crowd is even more supportive of the Lone Rangers' hostage-taking.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: Chazz delivers one as Jimmy Wing delivers a speech about how rock stars don't get full sentences, such as how "Vince Neil only got 30 days, and he killed somebody."
  • Genius Ditz: Though routinely slammed as a moron by his friends, Pip is the first person they turn to when they suddenly need an electrical engineer.
  • Hand or Object Underwear: Pip uses his cap when he and Suzzi are caught making out.
  • Heel Face Turn: The aging DJ Ian, played by Joe Mantegna, is at first none too thrilled to being taken hostage. But as he talks with Chazz about rock music, it re-ignites his passion for rock music, he bonds with the band and starts to give them advice on how to proceed. By the time Ian finds out Milo is firing the staff and switching the station to Easy Listening, he's completely in the band's corner.
  • Hostage Situation
  • I Am the Noun: "Do you know what it's like to be on the bill and to play for 15 minutes and the only people there to see you are the other bands and their girlfriends? Don't talk to me about Rock 'n' Roll! I'm out there in the clubs and on the streets and I'm living it! I AM ROCK 'N' ROLL!"
  • Insanity Defense: Invoked by Pip, who suggests they come of a list of bizarre demands to help establish an insanity plea later. The list includes a football helmet full of cottage cheese, naked pictures of Bea Arthur (age unspecified), a sweet guitar and an oversized novelty baby bottle.
  • Metalhead: Too many to count in this movie.
  • Malcolm Xerox: Marcus.
  • My Little Panzer: The toy guns are stated to have been recalled because they looked too realistic, and Rex managed to grab a couple before they got removed from his toy store.
  • My Nayme Is: Suzzi, with two Z's.
  • Oh Crap: During a bit of showboating, Rex gets careless and the barrel of his plastic Uzi gets smashed in a door, in full view of the hostages. His face is priceless.
  • The Nineties
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Rex, the bass player for the Lone Rangers, is based on Rex Brown, the bass player for Pantera: They share a name, they play the same instrument, and they even have similar hairstyles and goatees.
  • Non-Indicative Name: "The Lone Rangers", which gets Lampshaded as they introduce themselves:

Ian: So who are you guys?
Pip: My name's Pip...
Ian: The band. The band name.
Pip: Sorry about that.
Ian: He doesn't wear a helmet, does he?
Chazz: It's right there on the box. Read it.
Ian: (looking at the demo tape's box) The Lone Rangers? That's original. How can you pluralize "The Lone Ranger"?
Chazz: What's wrong with that?
Ian: Well, there's three of you. You're not exactly lone. Shouldn't you be The Three Rangers?

  • The Pornomancer: Pip.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules: In spite of all the effort he went through to get a record contract, when Chazz learns that Jimmy Wing is signing them without hearing their music he promptly wipes his ass with the contract. Later, the entire band gets one after Wing talks Chazz into the contract when they learn that the contract is contingent on lip-syncing in public. They proceed to smash up the place and incite a riot.
  • Sexy Secretary: Implied to be Kayla's day job. Suzzi, however, is a clear example.
  • Shout-Out: The ending where the Lone Rangers rock in jail is just like The Blues Brothers.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Milo.
  • Speaking, Like, Totally Teen:

Milo: All right, I know you guys think I'm a real dick . . . cheese . . . burger, or whatever.


Wilson: "Blonde wearing something tight and black". Great. Grand. Wonderful...

  • Sympathetic Criminal: The main trio.
  • Take That: In one scene Chazz, who is a fan of hard rock and Heavy Metal music, chastises a caller by telling him "I can't believe you like that Seattle bullshit." Airheads was released during the peak of Grunge's popularity.
  • Technology Marches On: Chazz and his band might not have gotten in as much trouble if they had their demo on an iPod or available online. Also, if Kayla had a cell phone, Chazz might have gotten through to her sooner, and might not have needed the LAPD to scour the LA strip to find her.
    • The Lone Rangers could have promoted their music through social media websites, eliminating the need for them to sneak into a radio station.
  • Took a Level in Badass: After a pep talk from Sgt. O'Mally, Wilson goes from meekly taking the verbal abuse of the gathered crowd to ripping the nipple ring off a thug who defaces his badge.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Or rather, the poster, which reveals that the guys get arrested and go to jail.
  • Trust Password: As part of a quiz to determine if a supposed record executive is legit, Chazz asks "Whose side did you take in the Van Halen / Roth split? Van Halen or Roth?", the right answer being Roth. After he incorrectly answers, Chazz gives him one more chance, asking "Who would win a wrestling match: Lemmy or God?", the right answer being "Trick question. Lemmy IS God.".
  • Unfortunate Implications: In-Universe, while playing at their live performance in prison, Rex thrusts his pelvis in the direction of some black prisoners until Pip points it out. Also a Brick Joke, from Pip's conversation with Yvonne about racism.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Tons, like "dicksmoke" and "butt puppet".
  • Unintentional Period Piece: This movie really captures the whole music scene of the 90s.
  • Urine Trouble: A dog pees on a cassette in one scene.