145. Big


Movie: Big

Release Date: June 3, 1988

Director: Penny Marshall

Starring: Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia, John Heard.

Tag Lines: “You’re only young once!”

“Remember…When Buddies Were Buddies, Girls Were a Mystery, And You Couldn’t Wait to Grow Up?”

“Have you ever had a really big secret?”

“A wonderful new comedy.”

“You’re Only Young Once But For Josh It Might Just Last A Lifetime.”

“Yesterday Josh Wanted Everything In Life – Girls…Money…Cars… Today, All His Wildest Dreams Have Come True!”

Relevance: For reasons unbeknownst to me, my family missed ‘Big’ when it was in theaters. It was critically acclaimed and was a huge box office success becoming the ninth highest grossing film of 1988. It also starred Tom Hanks, an actor that was extremely popular in my household and one that has become my favorite actor of all time. This is his ninth appearance out of thirteen on my list of most influential films of all time, the most of any actor. When we finally did see ‘Big’ via rental from Blockbuster, it’s no surprise that it became one of my family’s favorites of all time.

‘Big’ was Penny Marshall’s second film as a director, a woman who I knew very well as Laverne DeFazio from the sitcom “Laverne & Shirley.” Her first film will be making an appearance on this blog later this year. ‘Big’ was definitely, well, big for her and it became the first female directed film to earn over $100 million. It was a sweet, charming and undeniably funny movie with a beautifully nuanced and poignant performance by Mr. Hanks. Everyone in my family enjoyed the story and as soon as it was available to own on VHS, it became a part of our movie collection.

I have watched ‘Big’ over and over and over again throughout the years and it never, ever gets old. I now own it on DVD and it is one that I re-visit often. I think it is so funny and clever and Mr. Hanks really delivers a fine performance, totally deserving of his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. The film has spawned a failed television show and a not-so-popular Broadway musical, which only proves there is no need to try to change, upgrade or improve on perfection.

Today’s Thoughts: “The space goes down, down baby, down, down the roller coaster. Sweet, sweet baby, sweet, sweet, don’t let me go. Shimmy, shimmy, cocoa pop. Shimmy, shimmy, rock. Shimmy, shimmy, cocoa pop. Shimmy, shimmy, rock. I met a girlfriend – a triscuit. She said, a triscuit – a biscuit. Ice cream, soda pop, vanilla on the top. Ooh, Shelly’s out, walking down the street, ten times a week. I read it. I said it. I stole my momma’s credit. I’m cool. I’m hot. Sock me in the stomach three more times.”

I loved ‘Big’ in 1988 and I loved it again in 2020. When a movie that old still makes you smile, laugh and cry even after watching it hundreds of times, that means it is more than good. It’s great. There is nothing more fun than watching Tom Hanks act, and he acts his ass off in this film. There are moments of humor, awkwardness and silliness that he was quite known for in the early 1980’s, but there also scenes where he literally breaks your heart. I can’t speak highly enough about his performance.

The rest of the cast is equally impressive, especially Elizabeth Perkins. She really does a terrific job keeping up with Mr. Hank’s comic genius happening before her. She is so adorable in the trampoline scene and I can’t help but smile the entire time. She also delivers some wonderful moments towards the end that were captured beautifully on screen. There are of course also some fun smaller cameos in the film that make me smile including the always funny Jon Lovitz and the scene stealing Debra Jo Rupp.

Ms. Perkins’ character is poised with a question at the end of the movie, if you were “big” would you want to be a kid again? It got me thinking what would I do if given that choice. My thoughts only lasted two seconds when I came up with my answer of absolutely not. Life was hard enough once through. I’m good where I am at now. If I ever want to feel like a kid again, all I have to do is watch ‘Big.’

Awards: Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Tom Hanks (nomination), Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Gary Ross, Anne Spielberg (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, Tom Hanks (winner), Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (nomination), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor, Tom Hanks (winner), National Board of Review Award for Top Ten Films (winner), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor, Tom Hanks (nomination), Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Gary Ross, Anne Spielberg (nomination).

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


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