42 Questions I Have After ‘Challengers’

42 Questions I Have After ‘Challengers’MGM

Drop the beat (specifically, this one) and break out your 😈 emojis, because Challengers is finally here. The Luca Guadagnino–directed film stars the great Zendaya, Josh O’Connor, and Mike Faist. In a horny, angry, tennis-themed love triangle, Zendaya plays Tashi Duncan, a tennis prodigy whose career ends after a brutal injury. She later marries Faist’s Art—and serves as his tennis coach. Meanwhile, her ex (and Art’s former best friend!), O’Connor’s Patrick, is a little bit of a bum. But he still has a nasty serve.

Lest you had any doubt, Challengers is entertaining as heck. But I did leave with a few (forty-two, actually) questions. And at least four of them are about the Applebee’s scene.

  1. There’s no sex in this film?! You lied to me, Luca!

  2. Is the Applebee’s scene the most egregious bit of sponcon we’ve ever seen in the history of the moving image?

  3. Seriously, was Challengers funded entirely by product placement?!

  4. Will Patrick’s Tinder date get her own spin-off? Justice for Helen!

  5. If you look closely, Challengers simply inserts Tashi, Art, and Patrick into tennis history. (See: the Andy Roddick poster.) So why doesn’t Tashi just date Roger Federer and leave these losers behind?

  6. Which fashion trend takes off first: the I TOLD YA shirt or Patrick’s nasty plaid shorts?

  7. What’s your favorite penis-shaped food in the movie? (I’m going with churros.)

  8. We see Art and Tashi eat dessert at Applebee’s, but what were their entrées? (I’m ordering the Riblets Platter from the old-school ’Bees menu.)

  9. Did Ben Affleck (and/or one of the DunKings) sanction that truly absurd Dunkin’ sponcon platter?

  10. Who else won their Challengers bingo card with the utterance of the phrase “A racket and a dick”?

  11. What’s your favorite moment in Challengers, and why is it when Art slaps Patrick’s dick?

  12. Did Guadagnino simply pour a bucket of water on Faist and O’Connor between every take?

  13. What was the last sports movie that didn’t deliver exposition by way of a sports commentator on a conveniently nearby television?

  14. Is there sex in the Guadagnino Cut?

  15. Did Timothée Chalamet give Zendaya any notes for her Luca Guadagnino–directed Dance Like No One’s Watching Scene?

  16. Is it just me or does the New Rochelle line judge know he’s in a movie?

  17. Challengers takes place in 2019. Whoever Tashi ends up with, quarantine kills their relationship for good, right?

  18. Where’s Tom Holland’s Purple Heart for his proud-boyfriending of all of this?

  19. Who is Phil?

  20. What is Tiretown?

  21. Why does Phil’s Tiretown sponsor an amateur tennis tournament?

  22. Is the camera-on-the-tennis-ball sequence the greatest shot in a sports film...ever?

  23. Why does Mike Faist look a little bit like John Mulaney in this movie? (Imagine Mulaney in Challengers!)

  24. Who else can’t wait for the inevitable SNL skit where Marcello Hernández serves looks (and tennis balls, I guess) to that incessant EDM beat?

  25. Even...Camel has a sponcon moment?

  26. Why did we need the Stanford interlude, and why does it play out exactly like Saltburn: Coming to America? (But, you know, without the murder.)

  27. Where’s the interview that has Guadagnino saying his biggest inspiration for Challengers is this Harry Potter meme?

  28. At Applebee’s, Tashi clearly ordered the Triple Chocolate Meltdown. What kind of monster goes to Applebee’s and doesn’t have the Sizzlin’ Butter Pecan Blondie?

  29. Is New Rochelle about to usurp the Hamptons as New York City’s favorite weekend trip?

  30. Will Challengers go down as the only movie to ever feature Athletic Greens and Taco Bell sponcon within minutes of each other?

  31. Why was Challengers compelled to remake the Euphoria locker room o’ dicks scene?

  32. Genuinely, who won the match?

  33. Did anyone else leave Challengers feeling horrible for Tashi and Art’s poor kid?

  34. After your screening, did a creepy dude ask what you thought about the movie? Did they rant about how overindulgent it was? Just me? Okay.

  35. Why don’t more tennis players taunt their opponents with the chomping-on-a-banana-but-it’s-really-your-schlong move?

  36. Are Tashi’s parents even somewhat concerned about her decade-spanning threesome?

  37. What does John McEnroe think about Challengers? I’m simply curious.

  38. Is “Friday Afternoons, Op. 7: A New Year Carol” the new “Murder on the Dancefloor”? Nice work, children of the Choir of Downside School!

  39. Can European Challengers star Barry Keoghan, Florence Pugh, and Tom Holland?

  40. What happens in Challengers 2? Do Art, Tashi, and Patrick keep fucking and fighting until they’re 60?

  41. Actually, can we see a Golden Bachelor–esque Challengers where a messy threesome centers on pickleball?

  42. Challengers gives Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood a whole new meaning for Applebee’s, am I right?

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