Starring: Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, John Heard, Jared Rushton, Robert Loggia, Jon Lovitz, Mercedes Ruehl
Directed By: Penny Marshall
This may come as a shock to you, but I’m going to give this film an A. Not only is it a fucking terrific film, but it is (after all) in my Top 250 of all time (currently), and I’m honestly feeling a need to move it up a few notches after this repeat viewing.
Big was that film that you watched as a kid that your mom went and said “See? Being an adult isn’t so fun after all.” Secretly, you wanted to live the life of Josh Baskin, vowing that if you got the chance, you wouldn’t screw it up by getting all sentimental at the last minute. He had a sweet job, a cool place to live, and a hot girlfriend. What more could a kid ask for? Oh, wait, he lost 20 years of his life… no big deal, right?
Many movies try the “turn back the clock” formula, but only a few of them choose to leap forward in time… without actually leaping forward in time. Instead, just making one protagonist suddenly age overnight, so he gets to experience his future, while everyone else is the same age around him. Pretty cool concept, no? The Oscars sure thought so, as they nominated Tom Hanks for his role. It’s rare to see them nominate a comedy, but Big isn’t really a comedy. It’s a tragedy in many ways, as Josh finds himself lost and alone, alienated from his family. Josh immediately realizes his error, but he can’t take it back. He only finds happiness after he’s accepted that this is now his life, and he has to make the best of it.
Unfortunately, as he grows up, he starts leaving his best friend Billy (Jared Rushton) behind. Billy, fortunately for Josh’s parents, uses this as fuel to find the machine responsible for all this, and get his best friend back before Josh decides he wants to remain an adult forever.
Elizabeth Perkins is great as someone who starts out a cold hearted bitch, but ends up being a big kid again just like Josh. Robert Loggia is fun as a boss who is in touch with the kid inside, and John Heard is always a good bad guy. The unsung hero here is Jared Rushton, who could have turned in an annoying kid performance, but instead brings real life and emotion to Billy. Big is a classic. It’s a film I want to show to my kids, immediately, probably before they are even old enough to understand Josh’s plight. If you haven’t seen it, please do.
FINAL GRADE: A