Release Date: June 19, 1987
Director: Fred Schepisi
Starring: Steve Martin, Daryl Hannah, Shelley Duvall, Rick Rossovich, Fred Willard, Michael J. Pollard.
Tag Lines: “Roxanne dreamed of a handsome, intelligent, romantic man. C.D. Bales is two out of three… but looks aren’t everything!”
Relevance: I know that I didn’t see ‘Roxanne’ in theaters but it was definitely high on my family’s radar when it was released for VHS rental sometime perhaps late 1987 or early 1988. Steve Martin was a popular guy in our household growing up. Not only was he the “wild and crazy guy” in some of my favorite movies in the late 1970’s and 1980’s, my friends all thought that my father looked like him. Actually, my friends were split. Half of them thought he looked like Steve Martin and the other half thought he looked like Leslie Nielsen. My dad accepted both as a complement.
Being a romantic comedy that starred “my dad,” the movie was a definite must see for my mom. For those of you following this blog, you are already well aware of Chrissy’s (my mom) love for the romantic comedy. She loved to laugh and had one of the best infectious laughs of anyone on the planet. She also most certainly loved her happy endings to her movies. If there was ever an unhappy ending, we would hear about it. Every time we started to watch a movie, our fingers were crossed that the girl would get the guy and all of the characters would be smiling at its end.
We more than lucked out when it came to ‘Roxanne.’ It was one of those movies that made my mom smile and roar with laughter throughout its entirety. And most importantly, she got the happy ending she was counting on. The film has so much heart and sweetness it won my mom over almost instantly. To a sixteen year old boy, “heart” and “sweetness” weren’t exactly my favorite things in a movie. However, thanks especially to Steve Martin’s performance, it made me laugh hysterically. With so many silly moments and gags throughout, it made my young self forget I was watching something romantic unfold.
I have always hated my nose. Its big and bulbous and ever since I was a child I always said I was going to get a nose job as soon as I could. My mom, like any good mom, would say that she loved my nose just the way it is. I didn’t buy it. I was determined one day I would have a pretty, petite, slender nose and she would say, “Phew. Thank goodness that hideous thing is gone.” Until that time, the movie gave me numerous responses to all those that made fun of my current nose. I came from the school of self-deprecating humor. If you make fun of yourself, others won’t think it is as funny and will leave you alone. It works most of the time. So after watching this movie you would hear me say, “It’s not the size of the nose that matters, it’s what’s inside that counts!” along with many other glorious quotes via Steve Martin.
Like so many films from the 1980’s, ‘Roxanne’ was one of those “HBO” movies for my family as well. Meaning, every time the movie played, one of us was sure to be watching it. I saw it countless times as a child and its memories have lasted a lifetime. I never did get that nose job and I still have all those witty comebacks stored in my memory for when they are needed.
Today’s Thoughts: I have not seen ‘Roxanne’ in probably twenty years or so. I do not own it on DVD. If I did, I definitely would have watched it numerous more times because I do love it so. It’s a feel good, smile, laugh and forget about life for awhile kind of film. So, me and my original nose were very excited to be sitting down today to watch it once again.
Steve Martin has excelled in many movies, but this performance has to be one of my favorites. He is so charming, lovable and funny in the role. As writer of the screenplay, he definitely wrote to his strengths as an actor, and the outcome is flawless. The rest of the cast is superb as well. Daryl Hannah was as beautiful as ever as the titular character and was easily able to keep up with Mr. Martin’s comedic genius. They made a lovely pair on screen. Rick Rossovich, Shelley Duvall and the rest of the ensemble were just as great. It was so nice seeing Fred Willard again and equally as sad as he just recently passed away. I forgot that he was a part of this film, so it was a very pleasant surprise. He was one of the best.
It goes without saying that ‘Roxanne’ is one of my favorite comedies and one of my favorite Steve Martin films of all time. He has already appeared on this list of my most influential movies of all time once before (see 238. Parenthood) and still has three more to go. He will always be a “wild and crazy guy” to me but in this film he is also a lot of heart. And nose.
Awards: Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, Steve Martin (nomination), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor, Steve Martin (winner), National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor, Steve Martin (winner), Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, Steve Martin (winner).
Ways to Watch: Vudu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, DVD Availability.