20 years ago, a little comedy called Orange County hit theaters featuring star-on-the-rise Jack Black, who had recently gained widespread notoriety for his performances in High Fidelity (2000) and Shallow Hal (2001), and Colin Hanks, son of Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks. The film was a modest success, earning $43.3 million against an $18 million budget, and has a decent enough following all these years later.
Yet, we’re still not talking about this Jake Kasdan production as much as we should. Orange County is actually a great comedy that deserves mentioning amongst the better genre entries of the early 2000s. Endlessly quotable and actually quite endearing, this minuscule flick offers up so many great scenes it’s hard to truly land on a favorite.
As such, here is a list of our favorite moments from Orange County in no particular order. (Hint: most involve Jack Black.)
Our Favorite Scenes from Orange County
Why Do You Have to Go to College?
Orange County boasts an incredible cast that also includes Catherine O’Hara, John Lithgow, Harold Ramis, Lily Tomlin, and Leslie Mann, among many others. O’Hara is great as Shaun’s mother, who wants her son to stay at home forever. In an early scene, O’Hara’s Cindy verbally spars with her son and at one point asks, “Why do you have to go to college?” Prompting Shaun to scream, “Because that’s what you do after high school!” Hanks mostly plays the straight man in Orange County, but this is one of his funnier moments.
The Greatest Vacuum Scene Ever Filmed
Early on, Shaun’s dreams of attending Stanford go up in flames when his attempts to appease a Stanford board member (played by the late Gary Marshall) fall apart as a result of his insane family (“Shaun, have you seen my piss?”). Not helping matters is his stoner brother, Lance (Black), who is currently enjoying the benefits of his, ah, medication by vacuuming like no one has ever vacuumed before.
Following the mishap with the board member, Shaun falls lifelessly into a pool. Lance, ever the good brother, though still in his underwear, leaps in to rescue him — after carefully removing his socks first. The way Black wiggles his feet has always killed me.
Talk to the Hand
Hoping to amend the situation, Shaun, Lance, and Ashley head to Stanford to talk to the Admissions Director (played the late Harold Ramis), leading to, in my humble opinion, one of Jack Black’s all-time best dialogue deliveries:
Late in the film, Lance meets and ends up smoking weed with a receptionist (Jane Adams), the results of which leave a college Admissions Building in flames. Lance must relay what happened to a firefighter played by Ben Stiller and it leads to this gem of a scene.
Following his flight from the cops, Lance bumps into Shaun and pleads with him to flee to Mexico in order to avoid jail. Naturally, Shaun can’t leave Ashley behind leading to a “fast escape” over a guard rail that results in, well, some pretty great Jack Black physical humor.
There are plenty of more humorous moments sprinkled throughout the film (“If anyone needs us, we’ll be out in the van picking each other’s butts… Naked!” “Yeah, what?”), but really the best thing you can do is experience the flick for yourself if you haven’t already. It’s certainly worth a watch for Jack Black alone, but also offers a glimpse at early 2000s cinema — a time that doesn’t feel that long ago, but was actually really long ago.
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