160. Bachelor Party

Movie: Bachelor Party

Release Date: June 29, 1984

Director: Neal Israel

Starring: Tom Hanks, Adrian Zmed, William Tepper, Tawny Kitaen.

Tag Lines: “He will get married in the morning… if he makes it through the night!”

“Shocking, Shameless, Sinful, Wicked. And the party hasn’t even started.”

“A man’s tradition every woman should know about.”

Relevance: As I have mentioned before, my parents were pretty liberal when it came to what movies or television shows we were allowed to watch. By the time I hit thirteen, I pretty much had free range of my own viewing pleasure. In 1984, I went to see ‘Splash’ with Tom Hanks in the theater (see 167. Splash). His next movie to be released that summer was ‘Bachelor Party.’ Unfortunately it was rated “R” and the movie theaters were not as liberal as my parents were, so I knew I would have to wait. My entire family were fans of Mr. Hanks, so when it played on HBO, it became one of our favorite movies to watch over and over again.

The movie was silly, obnoxious, zany, sophomoric and ridiculous, all things a thirteen year old boy holds near and dear to his heart. I am not exactly sure when I saw it for the first time, I may actually have been fourteen, but it didn’t matter. The movie made me, my sister, my dad and even my mom laugh out loud. My mom loved comedies, but usually the “stupid” comedies were not something she would watch. I am not sure what it was about ‘Bachelor Party,’ it could have been Mr. Hanks, but she loved the movie. Sure, once in awhile she would say, “That’s so stupid,” but she would be laughing hysterically when she said it.

Sex, drugs, nudity, dead donkeys, the movie had it all. I recorded the movie from HBO on a blank VHS tape and my family often watched it when we wanted or needed to laugh. It was one of those movies that would make my dad laugh so hard he would start to tear up and cry. I could still picture my mom sitting in “her” spot on the couch smoking a cigarette laughing at the silliness on the screen. I loved watching the movie with my family as it seemed to bring so much joy to our house. Not that my house wasn’t already joyful as I had a pretty decent childhood, it just embellished it.

‘Bachelor Party’ is Tom Hanks’ eighth 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, 186. Toy Story and 167. Splash). He is by far my favorite actor and was quite loved by my family as well. As you can tell from the movies that appear on this list already, he is a very versatile actor. He can be serious, dramatic and heartbreaking, but boy, can he be goofy and funny. ‘Bachelor Party’ may just be his silliest film added to the list but there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Today’s Thoughts: “Gentlemen…start your boners.”

I have ‘Bachelor Party’ on DVD and have owned it for years but to be honest I probably haven’t watched it since I purchased it. Not that I don’t love it, I just have a lot of movies. So today, alone in my living room, I was excited to be entertained by Tom Hanks et al in this 1980’s sex comedy.

It is funny to me that what was deemed “R” in 1984, would probably only be “PG-13” in 2020. I remember this film being more salacious than what it actually is. Or perhaps I have just become more accustomed and numb to sex and nudity in film. Don’t get me wrong, there are naked women, a few naked male butts and a lot of jokes about sex, but it just seemed tamer than I remember. Even the “Nick the Dick” scene was a lot less graphic than I recall. Nonetheless, I still laughed. The humor is totally sophomoric and juvenile, but I myself am sophomoric and juvenile. I don’t think I laughed out loud at the movie as much as I once did, but I certainly wore a smile throughout.

The cast is outrageous as you would want them to be in a film like this. Adrian Zmed, William Tepper, Tawny Kitaen and Wendie Jo Sperber are all over-the-top and perfect at it. Watching Tom Hanks in one of his earlier roles is quite interesting. He plays the “goofball” perfectly, but there are hints, even in this film, of his depth as an actor. He gives a few looks and glances in the film that made me realize that he is in a different league than most other people he shared the screen with. I also noticed his juggling. During a cooking scene he juggled some meatballs. In a scene in ‘Splash,’ also released in 1984, he juggled some fruit. I wonder if that was a 1984-only Tom Hanks thing to do. I am going to have to watch his other films now more closely to see if he worked in that talent.

‘Bachelor Party’ definitely has that 1980’s screwball comedy feel to it like ‘Police Academy,’ but its silliness and its star power make it a better movie than it probably was intended to be. There are some great gags and jokes that are still funny thirty-six years later. I highly recommend the film if you need a laugh, and quite frankly who doesn’t these days.

Ways to Watch: Hulu, Sling TV, Starz, Amazon Prime, DVD Availability.

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