So I’ve always loved Tom Hanks. I don’t know why. Maybe he reminds me of the comfort of my dad? Maybe it’s the sympathetic and lovable characters he always plays? Maybe it’s his ridiculously quirky Instagram account? (Seriously, check it out. He posts pictures of lost gloves. Regularly.)
So my recent film adventure involves me watching all of his films (thanks, IMDB) starting with his early stuff and ending with whatever the latest movie is. So, I’ll just post some thoughts along the way!
I will start with…
So, for my first real content post this going to sound really lame, but – I don’t actually have many thoughts on Big. It was really cute, and don’t get me wrong, I definitely enjoyed it. It was a warm-fuzzies kind of film with a great comfort behind it, with envelope-pushing set firmly at ‘inappropriate things your grandma would wink about’.
It definitely goes for the teenage years, exploring what it means to be a kid and how maybe the grass isn’t greener on the adult’s side. For adults, it also aims for a sweet nostaglic reminder of the good old days, and how we don’t have to be quite so ‘adult’ all the time. It serves the multi-audience well. And oh boy, did it make me pine for my childhood!
I can absolutely see why they chose Tom Hanks – just look at that sweet little face in the poster! He looks exactly like a kid in an adult’s body. And he played it well, too – I’ve seen a lot of Tom Hanks characters, but even I fully believed he was this kid. He does it well. I remember reading a Tom Hanks quote somewhere saying that he feels like in his younger days he overacted and felt he was much happier with his acting now. Of course his skills have developed, but I actually didn’t think there was anything wrong with his skill level for Big. He was nuanced, convincing, lovable and persuasive – and that’s all that Big really needed.
Of course, some of the story development of the film left me bemused, and I’m not really sure that was intended. It did seem slightly strange that Josh’s family’s hysteria and terror at losing their 13 year old child was completely glossed over… and, that scene when old Josh bursts through the door and keeps telling his mum that ‘It’s me! Josh!’? Oh dear, that was some cringe. It highlighted the severity and complexity of his predicament, and led to why he had to skip town, but still – would you really believe your mum would recognize you, when even you thought you were someone else in the mirror? Hmm. And, well, whoa – is it just me, or is 13 a very young age to lose your virginity?? And have regular sex? With a 30 year old woman?! How did Josh not feel weird about that? I sure did!! I’m pretty sure as a kid, 30 year old’s were basically my parents’ age, and nope nope nope…
There was some weird stuff, but overall, I had a seriously great time. It was heart-warming, sweet and took me along for a really nice nostalgic ride. Classic Hanks.
Okay so I clearly did have a bit to say about Big… oops… moving on:
TURNER & HOOCH (1989)
I’ve watched this before, and I don’t remember so much gross slobbering. Eww. Don’t get me wrong, I like dogs, but I also like cleanliness. I really feel Tom Hanks’ pain here.
Now that that’s out of the way, to the film – the thing that struck me most about this film was it’s unique characterisation and humour! Tom Hanks’ character Turner was surprisingly and refreshingly different – he had this ‘clean freak procedure obsessed nerd’ thing going on, but then he didn’t have the standard low confidence and social awkwardness that always seems to come with that. Quite the reverse – he had such BANTER with his cop mates, and he had the status for most of the time (probably has something to do with being a cop). But not just that – he had genuine FRIENDS! That never happens with the ‘clean freak procedure obsessed nerd’. He delivered his comedy with such a deadpan and serious demeanor, I almost did a double take (with the remote, not the head, obviously). The character and humour were refreshing and well executed, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Perhaps the biggest drawback of the writing was the lack of depth. I feel like there could have been so much more to the film, and it wouldn’t have taken much. All the relationships seemed too easy, too developed and too quickly won. Turner’s personality was presented as ‘just the way it is’, there was no highly emotional past event or personal goal tied to it, so when he started getting messy with Hooch it was merely accepted, instead of actually appreciated. Don’t get me wrong, the scene where he chases Hooch around was cute as f#$%, but it did feel like Turner unrealistically flicked the off switch on his ‘clean procedure nerd man’ gene. And the veterinarian love interest? Well. “Nah look I like you but we can’t be together because you’ll hate me forever for my cleanliness. I’ll be over at 8 tomorrow.”. Do you see what I mean by too easily won? They just ‘got together’ – there was no battle, there was no bringing together of the two people, there was no closeness-gaining or deep-soul-revealing. It just happened, and it feels superficial because of it, and therefore doesn’t feel real or that it will ever last (maybe this is my personal cynicism of romantic relationships talking, but I still stand by it).
Because of the above points, Turner’s emotional journey didn’t seem organic or realistic, just slightly forced. Look, it wasn’t awful – you can still very much enjoy it (of course you can, there’s a puppy in it!!), but it did leave a bit to be desired. There wasn’t much rising of stakes and feeling of heat for the audience either, the plot just kind of plodded along and happened quite nicely.
But look – to wrap up, it’s actually a nice, unique cop story. There’s a dog, there’s a cop, and he’s not what you’d expect. There were some good performances (impressed by the pupper) and some memorable moments. Like Big, nothing ground-breaking – lovely, enjoyable, funny, easy non-provocative/offensive fare; and thoroughly enjoyable (I wonder if I’ll ever NOT say this about a Tom Hanks film?).
This was longer than expected.
P.S. My cat just walked over my keyboard. Just so you all understand what I have to put up with whenever I write.