A to Z Challenge – Big

Big - Poster.jpgBig

1988

Directed by Penny Marshall

Quick Synopsis… A 12-year-old yearns to be a grown-up, and when he makes that wish at a fortunetelling machine, he awakes the next morning as a 30-year-old man. He lands a job at a toy company, but despite his success, he finds himself pining for all he left behind.

  • What kid hasn’t, at some point, wished to be a grown-up?
  • Not sure that’s what young Josh Baskin is actually trying to do here.
  • We meet Josh while he’s playing a game on his PC.
  • Anyone know what that game is? I’ve always wanted to know. Maybe it doesn’t really exist. But it looked like it might be fun.
  • Josh spends a lot of time with his best friend, Billy.
  • They play stickball, they collect baseball cards, and Josh has a thing for Cynthia Benson.
  • I mean really, how did a geek like Freddie Benson get a sister like her?
  • Cynthia, BTW, is quintessentially 80s. Ponytail to the side, denim jacket with all kinds crazy designs…
  • Billy lives next door and, late at night, he and Josh communicate via walkie-talkie.
  • I think it would have been cool to have a friend like that in my neighborhood growing up. There really weren’t a lot of kids my age on my block.
  • Josh and his family go to the fair and he gets some time alone so he can bump into Cynthia Benson in line for some thrill ride.
  • Unfortunately, she’s there with Darren. He drives.
  • And then Josh isn’t tall enough to ride the ride.
  • Dude, you’re better off. Those fairs that pop up for a few days… I just don’t trust the rides. I’m thinking you missed a Final Destination kind of situation.
  • Josh sullenly walks off and comes across the super creepy Zoltar Speaks.
  • Theoretically, you drop in a quarter, make a wish, and if you manage to get the quarter to land inside Zoltar’s mouth, your wish comes true.
  • What’s great is, the machine works even if it’s not plugged in.
  • “I wish I were big.” You know, so he can ride the thrill rides.
  • The next morning, he wakes up in Tom Hanks’ body.
  • I think Josh got more than he bargained for with that wish.
  • Panicking, Josh hops on his bike and heads back to the fair in hopes of finding Zoltar to see if he can reverse the wish. But they’ve packed up and are completely gone.
  • Returning home, he gets run out of his own house when his mother mistakes him for a creeper who has abducted her son.
  • He turns to his best friend for help, who also just sees him as a creeper at first. But he’s able to prove it by singing through their signature song (?) with him.
  • Anyone else tend to sing along with that one whenever he gets started with it?
  • Billy helps Josh escape into Manhattan where he rents a crappy room in a crappy hotel.
  • This is where I believe the movie connects to the Buffyverse. The hotel manager yells at someone named Angel to get out of the bathroom. Click here to read my full theory on this.
  • Billy heads back home, leaving Josh to fend for himself during his first night in the city.
  • Gunshots outside, a guy screaming at someone on the phone in the hallway in Spanish.
  • I’d be scared, too. Even as an adult.
  • Can’t imagine what it would be like for a 12-year-old.
  • It should be noted that Tom Hanks received his first Best Actor nomination for his role in Big and it is well deserved.
  • Billy comes back the next day and they search all over for Zoltar, with no luck. Then they turn to the consumer affairs department in the city government.
  • With luck, they could find out exactly where Zoltar is hiding in six weeks.
  • So Josh does what any adult would do if he was stuck in the city for six weeks. He gets a job.
  • This movie makes it look simple to get a job. Josh and Billy look through the classifieds in the newspaper, he applies to one job because it’s for a toy company, and he’s hired without a valid social security number or previous work history.
  • And that’s why we consider this movie a fantasy.
  • Well, that and the fact that a kid is magically turned into an adult overnight.
  • It’s on the job where Josh meets a love interest (Elizabeth Perkins), a nemesis (John Heard), and the CEO (Robert Loggia).
  • Josh calls home from his work phone. I assume he just wants to hear his mom’s voice.
  • If it’s believed Josh was kidnapped, why don’t the police have their phone tapped? Why aren’t they tracing this call to MacMillan Toys?
  • Josh gets his first paycheck totaling $187.
  • Uh… I know it’s 1988… but even when you account for inflation, how is $187 considered a living wage? Even if he gets paid weekly, I just don’t see how he can make it.
  • Especially when they blow most of the money on pork rinds and silly string.
  • Oh, and Josh still has enough to go shopping at FAO Schwartz.
  • It’s at this ginormous toy store where he runs into MacMillan again.
  • In the most famous scene from this movie, they play a duet on the giant floor piano and Josh becomes vice president of product development.
  • I imagine he’s making more than $187 a week now.
  • Paul, the nemesis, is furious. Susan, the love interest, is quietly impressed.
  • Question: Did Big give Hasbro the idea for Transformers’ Dinobots? Or were they already around?
  • The loft that Josh moves into once he’s making six figures? I always wanted that place.
  • Still do…
  • Another question: Does anyone back home wonder where Billy keeps disappearing to when he goes into the city to hang out with Josh?
  • At the company party, Paul gets very drunk. So Susan goes home with Josh instead.
  • She thinks it’s a hook-up… But that’s not what a 12-year-old thinks about.
  • He thinks it’s a sleepover. Which is exactly what it turns into.
  • The racquetball scene is pretty classic, too. Josh calls Paul out on a rule he’s broken and Paul turns out to be the immature one.
  • That’s it for Susan. She breaks it off with Paul and starts dating Josh.
  • On Josh’s birthday, he has an early dinner with Billy, but then goes on his first real date with Susan.
  • They go to a fair! And Zoltar is there!
  • But Josh doesn’t see Zoltar. He’s only got eyes for Susan.
  • It’s heavily implied that Josh and Susan do some very grown-up things at the end of their date.
  • We’re given further evidence when Josh shows up at work in a suit and starts drinking black coffee.
  • Not that I have any real experience in the matter, but I’m not sure that having sex for the first time would suddenly make me like coffee. I don’t think that’s how it works.
  • While Josh is taking his new life more seriously, Billy gets the results of the Zoltar search in the mail.
  • Isn’t it great that we could just Google Zoltar these days and find out where the machine is in seconds?
  • Susan has clearly fallen in love with Josh. She’s gonna be super disappointed when she finds out he’s just a kid.
  • Billy surprises Josh at work with the envelope from consumer services.
  • Josh is kind of a jerk to him. They kind of have a fight. Billy drops the only F-bomb in the movie.
  • The fight spurs Josh to remember all he’s missing at home. He gets nostalgic. And then he tries to tell Susan the truth.
  • She just doesn’t get it.
  • But when Josh walks out of an important meeting to find Zoltar and Susan follows him, she begins to understand.
  • She’s been sleeping with a 13-year-old.
  • I mean, in her defense, he does look 30. And when she kisses him good-bye after dropping him off at home, she kisses his forehead, even though he’s going in for the real thing.
  • Susan misses Josh’s transformation as he walks toward his house. He’s Tom Hanks one second, she looks away briefly, and when she looks back, he’s a kid in an over sized suit.
  • How does Josh explain the suit when he walks through the front door?

So that’s Big. Tomorrow we get to a movie beginning with the letter C. Got any idea what it could be? Let me know your guesses in the comments section!

AtoZ2019B

Click here to check out how other folks are tackling this year’s A to Z Challenge!

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10 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge – Big

  1. Pingback: A to Z Challenge – Reflection | The Confusing Middle

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