CPD Classics: Big (1988) Review

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A note before I start the review:

Since starting this blog, I’ve only reviewed movies I’ve just recently watched instead of attempting to review old favorites of mine. This felt too difficult for me as I’m not always great with words & feel like I won’t do these movies justice. I’ll attempt to do very SHORT reviews (probably on Fridays) where I talk briefly about what I like about some of my favorite films or films I think deserve a bit more recognition than they get (be warned: there will probably be a lot of 80’s movies because of my age). In most cases, I won’t be re-watching them as I know them so well. I’m starting with Big as I did re-watch that recently.

Big (1988)

Directed by Penny Marshall

Starring:
Tom Hanks
David Moscow
Elizabeth Perkins
Robert Loggia
John Heard
Jared Rushton
Jon Lovitz
Mercedes Ruehl

Running time: 104 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
12-year-old Josh Baskin makes a wish to be “big” on an old carnival fortune telling machine after he’s embarrassed in front of a girl he likes when he’s told he’s too short for a ride. To his surprise, he wakes up the next morning as a 30-year-old man.

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Why It’s A CPD Classic:

I was in my early teens when this came out & remember going to it in a group with several relatives as it was such a hugely successful family film at the time. I feel like there are very few “family” films like Big these days. Nowadays it would star an Adam Sandler-type instead of someone like Tom Hanks and the humor would be so dumbed down and immature that only the youngest members in the audience would enjoy it while they’d throw in an occasional “dirty” joke to try to entertain the bored adults. The family would walk away from the film (after it’s predictably sentimental ending) with maybe the kids thinking it was okay but the adults just glad that they got to rest for a couple hours while their kids were entertained.

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Big appeals to everyone between the ages of 8 and 108. I liked it as a (moody) early teen, my mom liked it, my aunt liked it, my grandma liked it. Everyone liked it in 1988, right? It was a nicer time. The film is wholesome without being annoyingly so (I mean, there’s even some PG boobies-in-bra action). Tom Hanks is on top form as a 12-year-old stuck in the body of a 30-year-old and I can’t imagine anyone else nailing that role the way he did. He’s brilliant and totally believable. We don’t get a bunch of stupid high jinks – we get a young boy who at first is very scared then slowly starts to do his best to adjust to his new life as an adult. We never forget that he’s 12, though, even as we see him mature after getting his first job and “girl”friend – Hanks plays the role perfectly from start to finish. And how loveable was he as we watched this “big kid” playing with toys & spending his paychecks on all the stupid things a 12-year-old boy would and getting the pretty but uptight female co-worker to loosen up & jump on his trampoline?? And then there’s the big piano scene! You have to love Hanks & Robert Loggia dancing on the big piano and playing Heart & Soul. If you don’t love that, I want to hear from you in the comments below! That scene is an all-time classic.

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Big is a heartwarming coming-of-age comedy with a character who behaves in a very realistic way to an unrealistic situation. We never forget that we’re watching a 12-year-old boy and the movie doesn’t treat the audience like idiots. It appeals to all ages by telling a simple story in a simple way and having a lot of heart and soul. That’s why it’s a CPD Classic.

My Rating: 8/10

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The Warriors (1979) Review

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The Warriors (1979)

Directed by Walter Hill

Based on The Warriors by Sol Yurick

Starring: Michael Beck, James Remar, Dorsey Wright, Brian Tyler, David Harris, Tom McKitterick, Thomas G Waites, Terry Michos, Marcelino Sánchez, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, Roger Hill, David Patrick Kelly, Lynne Thigpen, Ginny Ortiz, Mercedes Ruehl, John Snyder, Edward Sewer, Joel Weiss, Paul Greco, Apache Ramos

Running time: 93 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Cyrus, leader of the biggest gang in New York City (The Gramercy Riffs), calls together representatives from all the gangs in the city in order to call a truce and take over the city together. When Cyrus is shot & killed at the meeting, a gang from Coney Island called The Warriors is falsely accused. The Warriors must then fight their way through the city back to their home turf with every gang now after them for revenge over the death of Cyrus.

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My Opinion:

What’s with all these boy movies I’ve been watching lately? And I’ve just watched Hobo With A Shotgun. I really need a girly movie fix.

Anyway! My good friend Eric of The IPC recently dragged out an old review of his for one of his favorite movies EVER, The Warriors (his review is HERE). I’m old, like Eric, but had never seen it for some reason. So he (and Mr Mojo’s Work) went a bit mental & forced me to watch it Clockwork-Orange-style. But Eric isn’t really one to talk as he’s never even seen This Is Spinal Tap.

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I wasn’t sure about this as Eric likes a lot of dodgy horror movies that frighten me but I’m glad I decided to give it a chance. The Warriors is actually pretty damn great. If I didn’t like it, I promise I wouldn’t lie & would (nicely) say that I didn’t. But I did like it. I’ll also be honest & say there was one picture in his review that convinced me to give it a go:

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THAT is awesome. It made me think of the droogs in A Clockwork Orange. As I watched The Warriors, I annoyed everyone with tweets about it. This is what I said & it really does give you a good idea of what this movie is like:

This is like Beat Street crossed with Michael Jackson’s Beat It crossed with West Side Story crossed with Vanishing Point crossed with A Clockwork Orange crossed with Adventures In Babysitting! (I’ll add Xanadu to that now too, which the guy playing new Warriors leader Swan was also in. Crossed with The Bad News Bears. And especially The Lord Of The Rings). And, apparently, the story in the novel & movie is actually loosely based on some famous Greek story written by one of the students of Socrates! (I shit you not. Anabasis by Xenophon. Thanks, Wikipedia! Read about it – it’s really interesting!)

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I knew of The Warriors & knew what the poster looked like & everything but didn’t know much about it. I know it’s a cult classic but am actually surprised it’s not even more well known than it is. I think it deserves its “cult classic” status – it’s actually quite iconic (Especially the very beginning of the film when all the different gangs are gathered together & they all have their own unique look. GREAT opening – the best bit of the entire movie). It’s also a simple story yet, at the same time, a rather epic “journey through enemy territory” story (remember – it’s an ancient Greek tale). I’m not being too kind to it – I honestly think it deserves more credit than it probably gets.

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The Warriors is much better than I was expecting but it’s still not perfect. While I think it really does have moments of greatness, it does have weak moments as well. The beginning is fantastic as are some of the later run-ins with various gangs. But I think the film kind of peters out at the end, which was a little disappointing after such a great start. It just kind of seemed like an abrupt ending after the “long & difficult journey through the night”. However, I liked the sharp contrast between the ending & the rest of the film (night/day & very different surroundings). I suppose it was symbolic or something. Of… Whatever. I don’t know. It’s Greek! I also loved the final Joe Walsh song – I haven’t heard that in over 20 years!

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This is one of those films that I actually wish was longer. I’d love to have seen more gangs from the opening scene make an appearance later in the film. A run-in with these guys would have been great! (Hi-Hats, I looked it up):

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At least we get a battle with those cool ass baseball dudes (Baseball Furies) and a gang dressed like Dexy’s Midnight Runners with a leader on roller skates (Punks). We even have some girls! (The Lizzies). There are others but these are the ones I thought were the coolest. And, of course, we can’t forget our heroes – The Warriors.

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Then of course there’s the biggest & scariest gang, The Riffs, who are rather pissed off over the murder of their leader. Most the gangs in this actually come across as quite wussy but I would NOT want to piss these guys off:

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Finally we have the main rival gang, The Rogues, who are responsible for the death of Cyrus & the ones who framed The Warriors (that’s not a spoiler, you know that at the start). The main bad guy is a bit Spicoli in Fast Times At Ridgemont High with a really annoying voice. And he’s a total wuss:

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Summary:

The Warriors is worthy of its status as a cult classic. It has some very iconic moments and the deceptively simple storyline of a journey through enemy territory (it’s an Ancient Greek tale!). I’m glad I finally got around to watching it 34 years after its release.

My Rating: 9/10

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