167. Splash

Movie: Splash

Release Date: March 9. 1984

Director: Ron Howard

Starring: Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, John Candy, Eugene Levy.

Tag Lines: “Two days ago, this girl showed up naked at the Statue of Liberty. For Allen Bauer, it was love at first sight. Now, everyone is chasing her… trying to prove she’s a mermaid. From the first laugh you’ll be hooked.”

“Allen Bauer thought he’d never find the right woman… he was only half wrong!”

“She was the woman of his dreams… she had large dark eyes, a beautiful smile and a great pair of fins.”

Relevance: In 1984, at the age of thirteen, I was already a fan of Tom Hanks. I knew him from one of my favorite television shows from the early 1980’s, “Bosom Buddies.” That show only ran for two years consisting of a mere thirty-seven episodes, but it succeeded in making me and my entire family laugh out loud. The show and Mr. Hanks made a lasting impression on me. So when I saw the trailer for ‘Splash,’ I knew I had to go see Kip/Buffy Wilson fall in love with a fish.

I went to the theater to see the movie with a few friends from grade school, also fans of “Bosom Buddies.” Tom Hanks wasn’t necessarily a leading man at the time. In fact, besides a few other guest spots on television shows like “Happy Days” and “Family Ties,” he was relatively an unknown. Believe it or not, ‘Splash’ was only his second feature film, but thankfully it would help catapult his career in film.

The movie was a huge box office hit becoming the tenth highest grossing film of 1984. It was well received by critics and my friends and I loved every second of it. It was a funny, charming story and we were happy to see Mr. Hanks once again. But I won’t lie, my friends and I, all around the age of thirteen, were very happy to see Daryl Hannah. And when I say “see Daryl Hannah,” I mean see her naked. Don’t judge. We were young. Anyone that has a penis understands. I became a fan of Ms. Hannah’s instantaneously. Although I knew a little bit about both John Candy and Eugene Levy, ‘Splash’ also made me a huge fan of them as well, and they were not naked in the movie.

‘Splash’ was a movie that was watched non-stop once it made its rounds on HBO. It was enjoyed by me many, many times as well as by my family, especially my mom. She was a fan of the actors, but more so a fan of romantic comedies. If a movie made her laugh and had a happy ending, it was deemed a good movie by her. For me, the movie solidified my fandom for Tom Hanks. He became my favorite actor at the time, and has continued his reign for many years to follow. ‘Splash’ is Tom Hanks’ seventh of fourteen films on my list of most influential movies of all time. (For the others, check out 314. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, 275. Apollo 13, 256. The Green Mile, 234. Saving Private Ryan, 224. Joe Versus the Volcano and 186. Toy Story.)

‘Splash’ was a whimsical, often hysterical film. It was a silly and strange story told beautifully by the director and cast. It was also the first time I saw Tom Hanks on the big screen, so it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Today’s Thoughts: “I don’t understand. All my life I’ve been waiting for someone and when I find her, she’s… she’s a fish.”

I probably have not seen ‘Splash’ in its entirety for at least a decade. Surprisingly, I do not own the film, a mistake I must remedy very soon. Thankfully, I was able to stream it today thanks to Disney+. Because it was on that particular streaming service, the “nudity” was edited and blurred when possible. My thirteen year old self would have been pissed. Thankfully these days, no offense to the beautiful Daryl Hannah, I was okay with it. And that’s because the scene with a nude Tom Hanks covering his “junk” with his hands was still in tact. My forty-nine year old self was very pleased.

‘Splash’ is still a wonderful film and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it again today. I laughed out loud by myself many times, It always amazes me that a movie made so long ago, that I have seen hundreds of times is still able to get reactions like that out of me. It is a testament to good writing and film-making. And the cast is superb. Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah and John Candy are all delightful to watch. I have to say though that Eugene Levy was the one that made me smile the most today. He is such a wonderful comedic actor and he is so funny in this movie. The scene in the dentist office when he mistakenly stabs his own leg with Novocaine is so very funny. I watched it twice.

Sadly, ‘Splash’ marks the last film by Ron Howard on my list of most influential movies of all time. He had a total of five. (Be sure to check out the other four here: 350. A Beautiful Mind, 275. Apollo 13, 238. Parenthood and 170. Backdraft.) He is a brilliant director and filmmaker and I look forward to his next projects as they are always entertaining, educational, thought-provoking and fun. Thank you Mr. Howard for your art and for making a “splash” in my life.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Bruce Jay Friedman, Brian Grazer (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (nomination), National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Bruce Jay Friedman (winner), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screenplay, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Bruce Jay Friedman (nomination), Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Bruce Jay Friedman (nomination).

Ways to Watch: YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Disney+, DVD Availability.

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