[Hanksgiving] Big (1988)

Director: Penny Marshall

Cast: Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia, John Heard

Screenplay: Gary Ross, Anne Spielberg

104 mins. Rated PG.

  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Tom Hanks)
  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

 

Happy Hanksgiving to all, and a glorious Hanksgiving especially to you. What’s Hanksgiving you ask? Well, it’s the tradition of celebrating America’s favorite actor and performer on the last Thursday of November. That’s right, Tom Hanks (Cast Away, Toy Story 4) No one else was using the day, so why not right? This Hanksgiving, let’s talk Big. It’s weird, so let’s jump right in.

Josh is a young man in desperate need of a confidence boost. He likes a girl, and he’s working up the strength to go talk to her, but he finds that he’s just not big enough to make an impression. So when he comes across an old carnival fortune teller machine called Zoltar, he wishes he were big…and the wish comes true. Josh wakes up the next morning with a thirty-year old body, having magically grown bigger overnight. His mother doesn’t recognize or believe him, and the only person he can go to is buddy Billy, who helps set him up with a job working for the MacMillan Toy Company and living in low cost lodging in New York City until they can figure out how to make him normal again. Soon enough, Josh’s childlike knowledge of toys rockets him up the MacMillan Toy Company ladder, attracting the eyes of the beautiful but joyless Susan (Elizabeth Perkins, Sharp Objects, Ghostbusters: Answer the Call) and angering the competitive and cruel Paul (John Heard, The Guardian, Home Alone), but is Josh ever going to get things back to normal, and if he can’t, how long can he keep the charade up?

We’ll start with the big things here. Tom Hanks plays adult Josh, and damn, he is phenomenal as a child living in a grown man’s body. He just gets it so perfectly, and Big is a tremendous showcase for Hanks’s comedic stylings. We all know Hanks now for his serious roles but we forget that he started as a comic actor in things like Bosom Buddies and Bachelor Party. We forget that Tom Hanks can literally do anything. For this film, I’ve read that scenes were performed by David Moscow, who plays younger Josh, first, and them mimicked by Hanks. It’s a brilliant idea that adds layers to a performance and it’s pretty damn easy to pull off.

The supporting cast is fine, from Perkins to Heard, and I should give special recognition to Robert Loggia (Independence Day, Scarface) as Mr. MacMillan, the head of the toy company that employs Josh. The way he connects with Josh on a personal level and sees him like a son is something truly special. We always look at Robert Loggia as a cranky old serious actor but he’s got some nice comedic timing, and it’s on display here.

Now, let’s cover the most batshit element of this movie: the script. Written by Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg, Big’s screenplay is very good but it’s the kind of screenplay that I’m flat-out surprised that it ever got made. I know there were several filmmakers attached to this film over time until Penny Marshall (Awakenings, A League of Their Own) came onboard, and there were several actors poised to play Josh, but the fact that this movie happened is a shock all its own. There’s some very controversial stuff happening in this movie, particularly with the conflict/connection between adult Josh and Susan. I like the risks that the film takes in pursuing the true character choices that would be made, but these are script choices that would never happen today. Who would’ve thought that a movie like Big could actually made some risqué choices?

Big is a fabulous movie that maybe runs a little long near the end of its third act, but it’s fascinatingly put together with a star-making performance from Tom Hanks as he continued to dominate the field as a performer. It’s a not-always-comfortable but very funny look at the absurd situation seen through the guise of relatable and likable characters. This is one that I was very happy to revisit, and I would recommend the same for you. Happy Hanksgiving, and Thanks T. Hanks.

 

4.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

Dexter Fletcher to Shed Light on a Henchman with Renfield

I’m a big fan of Dexter Fletcher right now. Not only did he direct the recent Rocketman, he also came aboard to complete production on Bohemian Rhapsody after Bryan Singer was let go partway through shooting. Further back, he directed the criminally underrated and underseen Eddie the Eagle, a hugely entertaining biopic.

Now, according to Variety, Fletcher has been attached to helm Renfield, a film based on Dracula’s henchman from the novels and seen in many various forms across adaptations. In the 1931 Dracula, Renfield was an amalgam of the Renfield from the novel, a lunatic who is in allegiance with the vampire, and elements of the Jonathan Harker character from the novel. In Francis Ford Coppola’s version, Renfield retained much of the insanity and imprisonment that the character was originally intended to serve, so it will be interesting to see which version of Renfield we’ll be getting in Fletcher’s version. The Walking Dead‘s Robert Kirkman pitched the story and Rick & Morty‘s Ryan Ridley penned the flick.

I really like this idea, but I’m curious about Universal’s plan for these monster films. It certainly seems as though they abandoned any thought of the Dark Universe after the poor reception of The Mummy, an interesting notion because it was not the Dark Universe that made The Mummy bad; it was The Mummy not being very good that did it.

Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man, which is coming in the next few months, was previously discussed as a new low-budget entry point into a new Dark Universe, but since he was hired on, that hasn’t been mentioned since, so will Dexter Fletcher’s film be at all connected to that film or James Wan’s potential Frankenstein film, or even Paul Feig’s Dark Army monster film? I don’t need the answers right now, but it is becoming curiouser and curiouser.

There’s also the question of Dexter Fletcher’s involvement in Sherlock Holmes 3 and what’s the plan with that film? Will it come first or is Fletcher stepping away? This report raising lots of questions and very few answers.

So what do you think? Is Dexter Fletcher the right man for Renfield, and do you think he’s still attached to Sherlock Holmes 3? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Fargo and Legion Creator to Helm Next Star Trek Film

I love Fargo. Not just the town, and not just because I lived there for some time. I love the film Fargo, and I really love the anthology series based on that film created by Noah Hawley. Now, Variety is reporting that Noah Hawley has been tapped to both write and direct the next installment of the Star Trek film franchise. Lots of questions abound here, so let’s dive in.

The report also reads that, as always, the details are scarce, but it does seem that this will be the next film in the new timeline created in 2009’s Star Trek as opposed to another reboot or standalone story. It seems that it will follow the Enterprise and its crew again, leading us down a path to see Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto return.

So this leads to some interesting questions because the road to Star Trek 4 has been a long and windy one. First off, we have to assume that this will bear no resemblance to the original idea of bringing back Chris Hemsworth as Kirk’s father and doing a time-travel story. That was the original idea until negotiations broke down with both Pine and Hemsworth.

Also, what has become of Quentin Tarantino’s Star Trek film? It was believed that it would feature the new cast from the 2009 film as well, and it would be rated R. It was said that his story was really liked over at Paramount, so what became of it? Is it still happening? Is it related to the Noah Hawley film? Probably not, but the question is worth asking.

Lastly, I have to ask where this came from? Did Hawley go to Paramount, or the other way around. The only reason I ask is that Hawley is known for his television work, but he did have his directorial debut this year with Lucy in the Sky, a critically-panned and commercially-underwhelming film that seemingly disappeared. I have to wonder if it’s the safe bet to put Hawley in charge of this film until he proves he can handle the 2-hour format that a film requires. Like it or not, but film is a different medium than television, and they require different skill sets.

I will say this. I haven’t seen Lucy in the Sky, but I have seen Fargo, and I can vouch for Hawley on that respect. I also love that Paramount is moving forward with Star Trek on the big screen. If they can control the budget a bit, I think they can do something really special with Hawley, and I’m excited that they are taking some risks.

So what do you think? Is this a good move for Paramount and the Star Trek franchise? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Lord of the Rings Renewed for Season 2

Good news for Lord of the Rings on Amazon! The series has been renewed for Season 2 already. This is interesting considering that the first season of the show is in pre-production and the show doesn’t even have a full cast.

So how do we take all of this? That’s a great question because in some ways this is non-news. Let’s pull it back. The show was given a two-season commitment from Amazon upon the ordering of the first season, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that two seasons were guaranteed. There’s a lot of ways that these things can fall apart, but most of the time, it’s very likely that we would have seen two seasons of the show.

As stated, the show has done some casting, and there are screenplays that are ready for production, so if anything, this shows a small vote of confidence on the part of Amazon. That, or they want to nail down schedules for the complex shooting required of the cast and crew and this is the best way to guarantee ease of scheduling. There are other factors, but these feel like the most likely ones.

But hey, good news all around. I just want the series to honor the films that came before it, and it seems to be a cool idea to take the story all the way back to the Second Age, somewhere we have not spent much time out of the prologues for the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

So what do you think? Are you excited for the Amazon series The Lord of the Rings? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

I Can’t Believe We’re Still Talking About the Snyder Cut

In today’s edition of “Things I’d Rather Not Continue Talking About,” more DCEU actors are coming forth asking to #ReleasetheSnyderCut two whole years after Justice League released.

To clarify, yes, I would’ve liked to see Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League instead of the bare-bones recut of the film we ended up getting. All that out of the way, it’s the same reason we didn’t see a director’s cut of Avengers: Age of Ultron when that was rumored.

But now, with Damon Lindelof teasing to his Instagram followers that he probably hadn’t seen it, but if he had, he would support releasing it. Calm down, Lindelof.

Along with that news comes tweets of support from Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck even, someone who hasn’t spoken much of his time in the DCEU, so this is gaining steam.

Okay, let’s be a realist on this one. There are two potential problems with releasing the Snyder Cut of the film at this stage. First of all, it’s been two years, and in that time, the studio has rearranged their plans for the DCEU in order to keep the franchise alive and successful into the future. Since Justice League‘s release, we’ve had Aquaman. We’ve had Shazam! We will soon have Birds of Prey and Wonder Woman 1984. Not to mention films like The Suicide Squad, The Batman, and Black Adam in the works. These films have all relied on what was created as far as mythology goes in the Justice League film. We’ve heard rumors of things like an appearance from Martian Manhunter who’s been hiding in plain sight for several movies and a completely different take on the ending, and all that stuff would change canon.

That’s right. Canon.

Canon is incredibly important to a franchise and cinematic universe. Building a canon can make or break a universe, and by releasing the Snyder Cut, you are ripping up the canon, something that WB should absolutely not do.

The other reason is simpler. Money.

That’s right. Money. More important than Canon to the studio. Why would WB release the Snyder Cut, knowing they would have to spend millions to even complete the damn movie. We know that a version of the Snyder Cut exists, but it wouldn’t have any CGI or effects completed in the film. That’s not how filmmaking works. They don’t finish the CG without at least having something edited together first. The Snyder Cut would be an absolute mess, and releasing it like that would be unacceptable and rather foolish. So they’d have to finish the movie, while doesn’t seem feasible. Who’s going to front the bill to complete post-production on a film that will not make enough money back to support the extra work. Is this a charity?

So there you have it. I don’t believe all this squabbling over a Snyder Cut is worth it, and I wish we’d all just move on. If we, as fans of the DCEU keep looking to the past, we’ll miss what’s possible in the future. So stop it.

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Ocean Master Patrick Wilson Returning for Aquaman 2

Patrick Wilson is a straight-up gem, and he was someone who just really understood the type of movie he was in with last year’s Aquaman. Wilson played Arthur’s half-brother Orm, the Ocean Master.

THR spoke with Wilson recently where he seemingly confirmed that will be returning for the sequel, which is also to be directed by the first film’s director, James Wan. Wan and Wilson have partnered on a number of releases in the past decade, so jot down Aquaman 2 as the next one.

You will never hear my complain about more Patrick Wilson and James Wan. I loved what they did with Insidious and The Conjuring, and for all of its flaws, I really had fun with Aquaman. It isn’t a great film by any stretch, and it’s silly and dumb and, at times, nonsensical, but it would be tough to talk to anyone who didn’t at least find it fun, and part of that was Patrick Wilson playing Orm as a mixture between Max von Sydow in Flash Gordon and Frank Langella in Masters of the Universe. He knows the cheese, and he embraces it well. Plus, he’s just got that undeniably-watchable quality to him.

So what do you think? Should Orm return for Aquaman 2 or should this story be moving onward without him? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Spike Lee Chooses Hip-Hop Romeo & Juliet For Next Project

As you are probably all aware, I love BlacKkKlansman from 2018. It’s my favorite movie of last year, and while I’m not a diehard fan of Spike Lee, I cannot deny how fascinating and skilled he is as a filmmaker. So for his next project, I was a little befuddled to learn that he is adapting Prince of Cats, a graphic novel by Ron Wimberly that is a 1980s Hip-Hop version of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.

You know the general story, and Wimberly’s graphic novel source seems interesting, but I don’t see why Spike Lee would want this project immediately following his incredible Best Picture nominee. Personally, I feel like the story of Romeo & Juliet has been told time and time again to varying degrees of success. It’s been done to death. R&J isn’t even all that great compared to his other work.

So this all boils down to Spike Lee having some sort of interesting take on this, but he better create something truly interesting because he’ll be competing with another take on R&J with Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story coming pretty soon as well.

So what do you think? Is this a good next project for Spike Lee or is this project as doomed as its star-crossed lovers? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Beverly Hills Cop 4 Heading to Netflix!

Netflix seems to be enjoying their relationship with Eddie Murphy. Their recent collaboration with him on Dolemite Is My Name has been quite beneficial, and it may end up with a few Academy Award nominations as well.

Now, Variety is reporting that Paramount has licensed Beverly Hills Cop 4 to Netflix. Right now, IP is gold, and this is a big win for Netflix. While the first two Beverly Hills Cop films were solid releases, the third film did not perform to expectations, and with the 25 years since that release, there is concern that the long-awaited fourth film may not be able to attract a big theater-going audience, whereas the home viewing experience should result in more clicks and views.

Netflix seems to be pushing for IP, and not just BHC4. They seem to be going all-in on Eddie Murphy. Their partnership with Adam Sandler has done quite well for them, and this all looks like a solid move for the streaming giant as they try to acquire enough IP to fight studios that have been around for decades.

So what do you think? Is this a smart move for Netflix? Is this a smart move for Paramount? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Uncharted in Talks to Add Mark Wahlberg

Uncharted may actually be happening. After numerous stops and starts, the video game adaptation starring Tom Holland and directed by Travis Knight is starting to gain steam. Now, it seems that the film may be adding Mark Wahlberg to the cast. It’s interesting because Mark Wahlberg is the kind of guy that I would have expected to play Nathan Drake, the lead, but with Tom Holland in that role, so I didn’t know who Wahlberg would play.

Variety’s report states that Wahlberg’s character would be Victor “Sully” Sullivan, an American treasure hunter and mentor to Holland’s Drake.

Having not played the Uncharted games, this seems like an interesting move here with Wahlberg as an Obi-Wan Kenobi to Drake’s Luke Skywalker. I could see the styles of Holland and Wahlberg mixing really well onscreen, so I’m all for it.

Then there’s the question of how much Wahlberg would actually be in the film. There’s still so many factors at play here, but it seems that Sony wants to move the needle pretty fast on this one and continue the great working relationship with Holland, who will also play Peter Parker in a third solo Spider-Man film with the MCU/Sony deal.

As soon as it seemed that Travis Knight was actually set to direct and not depart as so many before had, I became very excited for this whole project, and while the possible addition of Wahlberg doesn’t skyrocket my excitement, it does slightly raise it.

So what do you think? Have you played Uncharted, and is Wahlberg the right choice to play Sully? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

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