As many of you know, for the last 15 months, I’ve been the Classics Host at Rave Buckland Hills. Did I ever tell you how I got this gig? Well on Thursday 10/4/12, I went there to watch the special 50th Anniversary screening of the great David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia starring Peter O’Toole. And I saw that they had, at that time, Monday Rave Cinema Classics. I said to myself, ‘Gosh, I sure would love to introduce these great classic films they have here one day.’. Anyway, after the movie, I went into the Game Room & saw this neat old school game & decided to play it. “It was called a Zoltar Machine! It had this bobbing head that looked just like a devil and if you got a quarter in the devil’s mouth you could make a wish and I did! So I made a wish to be the Classics Host here! Zoltar spit out this here card that reads, ‘Your Wish Is Granted’. So that’s what I’m trying to tell you! I changed into a movie host, but I’m really just” “a retired businessman living on a fixed income!”
Anyway, today’s Classic Movie Blog is of Penny Marshall’s Big starring a then 31 year old Tom Hanks as 13 year old Josh Baskin after he gets big. David Moscow plays the pre-big Josh. Big Josh lands a sweet job as a toy designer for MacMillan Toys, run by the loveable ‘Mac’ MacMillan (Robert Loggia), based on the then CEO of FAO Schwartz, Peter Harris. There, Josh meets & falls for a sexy Yuppie, Susan (Elizabeth Perkins), while his Mom (Oscar Winner, Mercedes Ruehl) worries sick over what’s happened to him. Josh’s best friend, Billy, characterized wonderfully by Jared Rushton, is always there to support him.
Big was nominated for 2 Oscars in 1989 at the 61st Academy Awards: Original Screenplay for The Hunger Games Director, Gary Ross, his 1st of 4, and Steven Spielberg’s sister Anne’s only nomination; and Hanks for Best Actor – his 1st of 5 Oscar nominations that includes 2 wins. Big was the first movie ever by a female director to gross over $100MM at the box office.
Big was released in 1988. Though 1939 is generally accepted as the greatest year in film, a strong argument could be made for ’88. Its list of more than 25 fantastic motion pictures is mind-blowing. Included in it’s Oscar Winners: Rain Man took 4 (Picture, Director, Actor & Original Screenplay); Best Actress went to Jody Foster for The Accused; A Fish Called Wanda (Kevin Kline, Supporting Actor); The Accidental Tourist (Geena Davis, Supporting Actress); Dangerous Liaisons; Mississippi Burning, starring the great Gene Hackman; Bird, stars Forest Whitaker as jazz great, Charlie Parker; Who Framed Roger Rabbit; Beetlejuice; Working Girl; and The Milagro Beanfield War. Others nominated but not taking home the prize: Stand and Deliver; A Cry in the Dark, starring Meryl Streep; Gorillas in the Mist – The Story of Dian Fossey, starring Sigourney Weaver; Jeff Bridges played Tucker – The Man and His Dream; Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, starring Willem Dafoe; Bull Durham; Eddie Murphy was Coming to America; The Bear; and Die Hard. Overlooked: The Abyss; Hackman again in BAT 21; Oliver Stone’s Talk Radio; Young Guns and many more. So if you see me at the Podium at Rave Buckland Hills and I’m blathering on & on about how great a year 2013 was in film, just remind me of how many incredible motion pictures were released a quarter century earlier. I’ve embedded the trailer for Big below. Once you watch it, you’ll remember what it was like to be big 25 years ago, and add Tom Hanks & company in Penny Marshall’s genre-defying delight the film to your Netflix queue. 4 Stars!