Bill Hader’s Eighth Grade Movie Date Was Literally a ‘Simpsons’ Joke

Bill Hader’s Eighth Grade Movie Date Was Literally a ‘Simpsons’ Joke

Is there something about junior high that turns the very idea of a super-weird Coen Brothers movie into some kind of ultra-desirable forbidden fruit? If you’re young Bill Hader — or Milhouse Van Houten — the answer is yes.

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In a recent New Yorker interview, Hader reminisced about an early date he had when he was 13 years old. The girl Hader was hanging with wanted to see the Steve Martin comedy Father of the Bride, but he refused. “No,” he insisted. “We’re going to go see Barton Fink. ”

Barton Fink was a Coen Brothers fever dream, a nasty psychological thriller starring John Turturro as a tortured screenwriter in 1940s Hollywood. A big winner at that year’s Cannes Film Festival, it’s full of murder and fire, about as pitch-black as the Coens get. Ethan himself described Barton Fink as “a pretty savage film.” In other words, it wasn’t exactly Martin Short flitting about the flower arrangements in Father of the Bride.

The reaction of young Hader’s date: “What the fuck is this?” 

But wanting to see Barton Fink was completely in character for adolescent Hader. This was a kid who’d pull multiple cases off video store shelves and fall asleep reading the synopses on the backs of the boxes. One poor video clerk had to wake up the kid to tell him, “Hey, man, you got to put all these back.”

Hader seems like the only tween in the world who would have wanted to see Barton Fink, which is kind of the point of an early Simpsons joke. Sure, it’s every 11-year-old’s dream to sneak into an R-rated movie. But leave it to Milhouse to pick the very worst one. 

Sucks to be Bart and miss the fun. Or so it seemed — in reality, not having to suffer through Barton Fink was the best gift Homer could have given him. 

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