Saturday, July 23, 2011

785. BIG (1988)

Running Time: 104 minutes
Directed By: Penny Marshall
Written By: Gary Ross, Anne Spielberg
Main Cast: Tom Hanks, David Moscow, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia, John Heard

ON MY JOURNEY I MET A MAN NAMED HANKS

Well thanks to my own inability to get "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" back in the mail, thus getting another Spielberg flick here for the weekend, I'm left with only "Raiders of the Lost Ark" until Monday. I figured I'd save that one for later on today and go ahead and watch a film that was, instead, co-written by Spielberg's sister - "Big".

13-year old Joshua Baskin (Moscow) is your typical kid. He enjoys video games, he buys baseball cards and he's starting to become interested in girls. However, Josh isn't content with being a kid and that becomes very evident when he is denied access to a carnival ride for not being tall enough. Wandering through the carnival, Josh comes across a wish making machine called Zoltar and wishes that he was big. When he wakes up the next morning, he finds that he's transformed into a 30-year old man (Hanks). When his mother sees him, she assumes that he is the abductor of her son and Josh has no alternative but to flee to nearby New York City. With the help of his friend Billy (Jared Rushton), Josh finds residence in a cheap motel and eventually lands a job as a computer programmer at MacMillan Toy Company. It is there that he meets Susan (Perkins), whom he comes to strike up a love interest with (pretty creepy considering the fact that Josh is really 13 and she's 30). Josh also meets Mr. MacMillan (Loggia), whom he befriends during a Saturday outing at FAO Schwarz and ultimately climbs the ladder at MacMillan Toys.

This isn't the first time I'd seen "Big" and actually it had been a permanent fixture of my DVD shelf, prior to today's viewing. Upon today's viewing though, I realized that "Big" wasn't all that I had it cracked up to be at my younger age. As far as comedies go, it's a great one and Tom Hanks is fantastic as a 13-year old boy. He gets all the mannerisms down pat, including the way he sits down (keeping his fists balled in his lap and his legs close together). But besides Hanks' performance, this is really your typical 80s comedy, where believability was stretched to it's breaking point. This is the type of comedy that, in the 80s, was hugely successful, yet today it wouldn't be. Just look at a fairly recent example of the Jennifer Garner film "13 Going on 30", which didn't do that well (if memory serves me correctly) and today is barely remembered. Nowadays comedies have to be extra raunchy to get ahead and that also gave "Big" a breath of fresh air factor, because for the most part it was wholesome and a really enjoyable time. I'm not sure I'd label it with a "must see" sticker, but it was enjoyable none the less.

No matter how many times I see it though, one thing is always going to stay the same - I'm never going to be able to help but smile during the big piano scene. I just can't help but crack a smile when Hanks and Loggia tip-toe around on those over sized keys and if anything about "Big" is "must see" then it's that scene. The bottom line on "Big" is this: If you saw it when you were younger, then you grew up loving it and it's you're probably always going to have a soft spot for it. If you've never seen it and you see it now, it's probably something that would be written off as more 80s silliness. But Hanks delivers and for me, makes it, at least, an enjoyable affair.

RATING: 6.5/10 Whether you see it, saw it or don't see it you should, at least, track down that piano scene on YouTube or something, because it's a super fun scene.

MOVIES WATCHED: 304
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 697

July 23, 2011 1:07pm

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