101. The Money Pit

Movie: The Money Pit

Release Date: March 26, 1986

Director: Richard Benjamin

Starring: Tom Hanks, Shelley Long, Alexander Gudunov, Maureen Stapleton.

Tag Lines: “For everyone who’s ever been deeply in love or deeply in debt.”

Relevance: On March 26, 1986, I turned fifteen. It was your typical birthday celebration. I went to school and then had pizza and a Carvel ice cream cake, including the “1” and “5” candles, with the family. I really wasn’t your go out and party kind of a person at that age. I also enjoyed spending time with my mom, dad, sister and grandparents and of course getting presents. I didn’t have any friends over my house that day because the next day I was headed to the movies with a small group of them. The movie we were going to see, ‘The Money Pit.’

I was already a huge Tom Hanks film by that time, eventually becoming my favorite actor ever. In fact, ‘The Money Pit’ is Tom Hanks’ tenth 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, 167. Splash, 160. Bachelor Party and 145. Big). That is the most of any other actor. There was no way I was going to miss seeing him in a silly comedy with Shelly Long, whom I loved from “Cheers,” on the big screen.

You can definitely say that my first full day as a fifteen year old kid was filled with laughter. The movie was absolutely ridiculous and I loved every minute of that ridiculousness. Tom Hanks and Shelly Long were the perfect pair on screen and their slapstick hijinks were non-stop and hysterical, causing numerous laugh out loud moments in the theater. There were just too many scenes in the film to pick a favorite, but Mr. Hanks’ laugh after the bath tub crashed through the floor had to have been one of the best and greatest on screen laughs ever put on film. It was priceless. I actually left the theater in tears from laughing so much, something that doesn’t happen often.

‘The Money Pit’ remained one of my favorite movies that year and I rented it from Blockbuster as soon as it became available, even though I already saw it. That is something else that doesn’t happen very often. I just had to make sure that the rest of my family saw the romantic comedy that made me laugh so much. They loved the movie as much as me and when it aired on HBO, it was a movie that seemed to be on our television at all times. It always made us laugh, no matter the mood we were in. The film was not well received by critics and only had moderate success in the box office, but for us it was comedy gold.

Today’s Thoughts: “Here lies Walter Fielding. He bought a house, and it killed him.”

‘The Money Pit’ is a movie I have watched over and over again since it was first released in 1986. Every time I watch it, I laugh uncontrollably. I can’t help it. Funny is funny. And this movie is funny. I was super excited to laugh again today when I watched it as part of this project.

Tom Hanks may not be remembered for this film as much as his Oscar caliber performances, but he is absolutely brilliant in it. His physical comedy is spot on and simply makes me giggle. His slow disappearance into the hole in the floor or the destruction of the scaffolding scene are really superbly done. And of course, there is that laugh. That. Laugh. I still stand by it and say that it is the greatest laugh ever recorded on film. It is brilliant, as is the rest of the film. Silly? Yes. But funny, funny, funny.

‘The Money Pit’ is a film that should be put on loop this year to put us all at ease. I mean if 2020 were a house, it would probably be Tom Hanks and Shelley Long’s from this film. Regardless, if you want and need a laugh, check out this comedy from the 1980’s. Trust me, it’s worth it.

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

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