Saturday, February 06, 2010

Big (1988)

Big is a great 80s film that provides great social commentary on the process of growing up and trading in one’s youth for adult responsibilities. In the movie Tom Hanks is hindered by his size and age so he makes a wish to a mysterious carnival game to be big. Little did he know that the wish would actually come true, and the next morning he woke up as an adult. He ends up running away from home and getting a job as with a toy manufacturing company in order to sustain himself.

Throughout the movie we see the transition of this man with the heart of a boy gradually become a true adult worried about work and deadlines. I think this movie takes an interesting spin on the nature vs. nurture argument because it shows that it is not necessarily being physically older that makes a person who they are but the fact that they are molded into that person by their environment. At the beginning of the movie Tom Hanks’ only concerns are playing baseball, flirting with girls, and being with his best friend, however the pressures of the work place along with the social status quo set forth by his coworkers and others his age gradually change Hanks priorities as well as smother his boyish heart. This is relevant to the time because during the 80s people were becoming much more work oriented and life was becoming more fast paced compared to the peace loving hippie ideals of the 70s. I also believe these ideas still hold true today and that if we let it, life can quickly strip us of our love, passion and youth.

The climax of the movie is when Hanks childhood best friend comes to his office to help Hanks become a child again but is shooed away because Hanks had ‘deadlines’ to meet. His friend responded by saying “I’m your best friend and that used to be important.” Although we often wish we could be older or get to the next step in life, it is important that we take the time to appreciate where we are in life right now because we will never get this time back. We must be careful what we wish for.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

When Harry Met Sally is a classic “hate at first sight” love story. The beginning scene is an old couple talking about how they met and how they have been in love ever since. These small confessionals continue through the movie, punctuating that the film is about love and the various ways people come to recognize it.

Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan have a believable chemistry as a reluctant couple. The film follows the couple through around a dozen years of dislike, friendship, flirting, and finally, true love. Though they begin with a rocky start, the audience understands that they will end up together. After all, Harry (Crystal) from the get go states his belief that men and women can never be friends. Sex will always get in the way. The film definitely does well at providing support for Harry’s theory.

The confessionals of the elderly couples and humorous side stories are what make the movie for me. As much as I try, I can never really forgive Harry for freaking out and leaving after he and Sally finally got together. However, I do appreciate that Harry remains true to his character throughout the film. He is a non-committal man, and though he did get married, its dissolution forced him to return to his way of life at the beginning of the movie.

When Harry Met Sally
is a classic romantic comedy, but it wasn’t one of my favorites. Though the faked orgasm scene and “pecan pie” were amusing, I feel that there are funnier movies that came from the 80’s. I wouldn’t stop anyone from watching it, but I feel that there are better films out there that I could suggest in the romantic comedy genre, with more satisfying romantic and/or comedic elements.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Karate Kid (2010)

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Big is one of those timeless movies that always makes you want to cherish every minute
of what remains of your childhood. And even though any generation can appreciate the film,
it is definitely 80's. There are numerous scenes that feature sights and sounds from the decade.
Whether it is Billy Idol rocking out in the background on MTV, the big hair, or the giant Pepsi
machine in Josh's apartment, the eighties are always present but not always obvious; which is
why I feel the film really captures the time.

Tom Hanks, who won an oscar for his performance, is the perfect actor to play the part. His
priceless antics and boyish looks really make you believe that he is a 13 year-old in a 30 year-old
body. And as we see Josh transform from a child to adult, we can't help but relive our own childhood
and wish that we could go back in time with him. Just by being himself, Josh receives an
amazing promotion,gets the girl, and almost infectiously affects everyone around him in a
good way, (besides Paul..." I don't get it.."). We are reminded that work and life in general
shouldn't always be taken so seriously. That fast food and jumping on a trampoline can be a
recipe for a perfect date. And that there is a 13 year-old version of ourselves in each and every
one of us.

I would recommend this film to anyone because it has it all. A little bit of comedy mixed with a
unique and sensitive perspective on life. We all could use some self reflection some times to
truly remind ourselves what life is all about. I think Big is a great reminder.