A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California

Lizards In Movies

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Lizards in Movies
Snakes in Movies
Amphibians in Movies
Turtles in Movies
Alligators and Crocodiles in Movies
Horned Lizards in Movies
Gila Monsters in Movies
Iguanas in Movies

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The Freshman (1990)
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
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The movie opens with a close shot of a large egg on which we see the title of the film. As the credits roll, the camera pulls back and we see the egg crack and a monitor lizard emerge. A large monitor lizard plays a huge part in this movie. It seems to get as much screen time as Marlon Brando, certainly more than any other lizard in a feature film that I know of. I'm not sure what species it it, but it's supposed to be an endangered Kamodo Dragon that was smuggled into New Jersey to be served at a restaurant "Gormet Club" where every 3 - 6 months they serve a dinner for a minimum of $200,000 per plate, because the menu consists entirely of endangered species. (Talk about the extravagances of the 1%...) They figure the dragon will go for $350,000 a plate, served off the bone in a cream basil sauce, for a total of 60 servings totalling $20,000,000. That has to be the most expensive lizard ever.

Matthew Broderick moves to New Jersey to go to film school at New York University when he is immediately robbed. He finds the robber and he takes him to notorious mobster Carmine Sabatini, played by Marlon Brando. Brando hires Broderick to go to a warehouse to pick up the Kamodo Dragon. In a long comic sequence, Broderick and another guy take the lizard on a leas and put it into the car and put a seat belt on it. When they stop at a gas station it gets loose, runs through a parking lot, rides up a glass elevator and ends up in a shopping a mall, terrifying the shoppers, riding a treadmill and finally swimming in a children's pool before the two guys capture it smuggle it out of the mall and finally deliver it to the Gourmet Club. After a lot of drama involving Federal agents who are trying to catch Brando by using Broderick, we see the lizard again as the chefs of the restaurant wheel it alive around the restaurant so the diners can see what they'll be eating before it is slaughtered and cooked. I'm happy to say that never happens, but I won't spoil the rest. A real live monitor lizard (or maybe more than one) is used in the movie, and congratulations go to the animal wranglers because it couldn't have been easy dealing with such a large feisty animal.

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