Stick those characters in a van and have them drive hundreds of miles to a child beauty pageant, and a heart-warming comedy-drama about the importance of family is the last thing you'd expect to happen (the first one, of course, being a trip to the hospital after everyone gets their stories straight about how they've all busted their lips at the same time). And since we're already on the topic of dysfunctional families: Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Did you know that Arnold Schwarzenegger hates "losers," going as far as to say that he despises them in a speech he gave to a bunch of high school kids? Even if you didn't, it's hardly surprising. Schwarzenegger's entire career has been built around competitions (elections, movie auditions, steroid-eating contests, etc.), slowly turning him into the sort of person who, I'm guessing, would never want to be friends with the success-challenged heroes of Little Miss Sunshine. Actually, scratch that. I know that Schwarzenegger wouldn't want to be friends with them, because according to the film's screenwriter, Michael Arndt, Little Miss Sunshine and its cast of character were written specifically to spite the aging, loser-hating bodybuilder.
Apparently, when Arndt had first read about Schwarzenegger's speech, he found it so horribly misguided that he had to go and punch a keyboard out of frustration. Then, when he looked up, he noticed that he'd accidentally written down the basic outline of a story about losers the audience would root for.
Universal Pictures, Fox Searchlight Pictures
And who could rock a headband 10 times better than Arnie.