89. Jumpin’ Jack Flash


Movie: Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Release Date: October 10, 1986

Director: Penny Marshall

Starring: Whoopi Goldberg, Stephen Collins, Carol Kane, Annie Potts, Jon Lovitz, Phil Hartman.

Tag Lines: “A man called Jack has got her Jumpin’ and the world may never be the same!”

“An Adventure In Comedy.”

“A Dangerously Funny Movie.”

Relevance: By the time 1986 rolled around, I was already a huge fan of Whoopi Goldberg. Thanks to her “Live on Broadway” show that aired quite a but on HBO as well as ‘The Color Purple,’ a movie that will be showing up on this blog later this year, she was a well-known name in my household. So when I started seeing trailers for ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ and hearing “I’m a little black woman in a big silver box,” I knew it was a movie that I needed to see in theaters. And that is exactly what happened.

‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ was released in theaters in October 1986. Although it was not well received by critics, it did become a moderate box office success. I was one of those Americans that added to its financial profit. I went to see it on its opening weekend with a friend of mine. I found the film to be really funny and very entertaining. I couldn’t understand why the critics were so harsh on the film, because I found it to be the perfect popcorn flick. For one hundred minutes, you smiled and forgot about life. Who can ask for anything more?

When the movie aired on HBO, I encouraged my mother to watch it with me. It didn’t take much convincing as she was just as much a fan of Whoopi as I was. We watched it together and laughed a lot. My mother absolutely loved the film and giggled and guffawed throughout. I could still hear her outburst during the Diana Ross lip sync scene, her favorite one if she had to pick one. She was also a sucker for s love story, and as flimsy as the romance was in ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash,’ my mother loved the loving happy Hollywood ending. We recorded the movie on a blank VHS and I would find my mom watching it every so often, each time laughing and enjoying it as it was brand new. She eventually bought the VHS for her movie collection and it became one of her favorite movies of all time.

‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ was not a movie that received huge accolades nor was it a movie that solidified Whoopi Goldberg as a huge megastar. For me and my mom though, it was one of our favorites and one that we would talk about quite a bit. Each time we did, we just smiled and laughed. I had remained a Whoopi Goldberg fan throughout her entire career and although she eventually won Oscar gold, I will always envision her being dragged away in a telephone booth down the streets of New York. And every time that I do, a big smile appears across my face.

Today’s Thoughts: “Dog’s barking, can’t fly without umbrella.”

I probably have not watched ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ in at least ten years or so. I was very eager to sit back today and revisit the movie that caused many, many laughs back in the 1980’s. Before I started watching it, that image of Whoopi in the telephone booth popped in my head and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.

And those laughs continued as I watched the movie today. It definitely has a 1980’s feel to it, but Penny Marshall knew how to direct a comedy, and Whoopi Goldberg knew how to perform in one. Ms. Goldberg is really funny in the movie and has so many great lines in the film. Some of them I completely forgot about and burst out laughing when they exited her mouth. The woman knows how to deliver a line.

The supporting cast in the film is a who’s who of funny from the 1980’s. Carol Kane, Jon Lovitz, Phil Hartman, Annie Potts and Garry Marshall all have wonderful roles or cameos that again add so much glee to the film. The story is definitely a bit silly and cliche, but there are so many funny slapstick gags and moments, the laughter is the movie’s real gift.

‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ will probably be remembered more as a song by The Rolling Stones than a film by Penny Marshall, except by me. I encourage anyone that has not seen this rare gem from 1986 to check it out. If for nothing, you will laugh. You will also see one of Hollywood’s biggest talents in an early role that proved she was a force to be reckoned with.

Ways to Watch: Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, DVD Availability.


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