Friday, March 13, 2009

Big Trouble

When I was 13, I got grounded for going to see a movie that my parents specifically told me I wasn't allowed to view. Now you would think this movie must be something awful, something so corrupting and evil that my virgin eyes and ears should never, ever be exposed to.

Take a guess at the forbidden movie:

a) 9 1/2 weeks
b) Debbie Does Dallas
c) Texas Chainsaw Massacre
d) Big

The correct answer is D. I'm not even fucking kidding with you about this. Now, I had the type of parents who, like, went to the movies about once every decade. So the one movie they decided to go see in the 1980's was the super popular Tom Hanks' vehicle "Big". I remember my mom talking about the movie the next morning.

"That movie was raunchy. Definitely not appropriate for you kids to see. I mean, there is actually a scene where Tom Hanks' character touches a breast!"

The following weekend, Amy and I went to see a movie with friends. Of course, the movie we wanted to see was sold out. Everybody agreed on the movie we'd see instead: Big. So Amy and I just look at each other with our sister stares that speak volumes. I mean how fucking embarrassing to actually say to your group of friends that you are trying so hard to impress that your whacko mom has forbidden you to see a movie as innocuous as Big? We both just shrugged and bought our tickets.

When my mom found a ticket stub the next morning, let's just say the shit hit the fan. And yes, we were that stupid to not hide the ticket stubs. Fucking morons. I don't know. I was just riddled with guilt and fear. My mom was the queen of freak outs over the most inconsequential things. I mean one time my sister skipped school and when my mom found out about it her screams could be heard round the world. In my house, it just wasn't worth it to break the rules. When I did something wrong, the whole neighborhood basically suffered the sounds of the wrath of Rita. But mostly it was me.**

Today, I was switching through channels and came across the movie Big. I nestled on the couch to watch it. I was just really curious to see if my disobedience was really worth being grounded for two whole fucking weeks. Here's what I discovered: My mom was right. Big is a vile, horrific movie not fit to be viewed by a grown adult, let alone a child at the nascence of her adolescence.

Why? I'll tell you why. The whole premise is revolting on 3 levels. We have a 12 year old boy, a child named Josh who turns into a man overnight. Ok, fine, whatever. I'm suspending disbelief. I know it's a fantasy movie, in the tradition of Freaky Friday. But there are just some feelings I can't suspend. First of all, compassion. Compassion for Josh's poor mother who thinks her son was kidnapped and for the entire length of the movie is in anguish that he is in the hands of a crazy criminal. How exactly is that quaint or funny? While Josh is out having the time of his fucking life, his poor mother is left to deal with not knowing when or if she would ever see her beloved child again. The scene where "adult" Josh is on the phone with his mom and she doesn't know its him but thinks its actually his kidnapper? And then he starts singing "Memories" to her so that she knows that her son is still alive? It breaks my heart. When she starts sobbing hysterically into the phone, I just about lose my mind. Sick, sick, sick.

Secondly, I feel revulsion. Josh is supposed to be a child. A 12 year old child. He might be in a man's body but he is portraying a child. And yet he has a sexual encounter with an adult woman. Again, there is not a single thing quaint or funny about that. What's particularly gross is that Josh is so obviously not a man. His character is naive, gullible, silly, playful. I find myself nauseated at the idea of it. The woman obviously realizes there is something "off" about Josh and yet she continues to send him come hither stares and tries to sleep with him. Then the pen-ultimate moment that had my mom all pearl-clutching and whatnot, when she takes Josh's hand and puts it on her own boob. That's like hand rape. Hand rape and child molestation all in one fell swoop. Revolting.

Thirdly, I feel disgust. Disgust at the shamless plug within the movie for F. A. O. Schwartz. They present the store as a wonderland, a mecca of joy and levity. I went there for the first time about six months ago and it scared the shit out of me. Monstrously sized plush toys staring at me with their $1000 price tags. Creepy eyed dolls, shelf after shelf of blocks, legos, action figures. My daughter picked up a rice crispy treat and begged us to buy it for her. "Sure", we said. And then we went up to the counter and the woman behind it said, "That'll be $8.50." WHAT?!? Yep. That's $8 for a small rice krispy treat on a stick.

You know who the most tragic figure of all is in this movie? Billy. Poor little Billy. He has the best line in the movie when he says to Josh, "I'm 3 months older than you are, PAL." He's so great. And yet, YET, this child makes constant trips to New York City and his parents don't give a shit. How does this happen? How does nobody notice that this child is missing? And why does nobody think it's weird that Josh is walking around creepily watching kids at the end of the movie? Whatever. I'm so over this movie and it's revolting, disgusting, horribleness. Not to mention the fact that the Zoltar machine is the stuff of nightmares.

**My mom has little to no recollection of these incidents. It makes sense to me, actually. She was a zombie under the influence of a brainwashing cult. I have a great relationship with my mother now that she's normal and not under the influence of Jehovah's Witness doctrine.


  1. Oh my god, I love Big. Yes, it's weird. You know what I hate, though? Forrest Gump. Bullshit pile of brainwashing crap, if you ask me.

  2. Rassles - I was definitely entertained by the movie. But then I started to think too much about it and I got mad at myself for enjoying it. Does that make sense? I do that all the time. I analyze stuff to death until there's just nothing left to enjoy. And Forrest Gump? I agree with you. What a craptastic movie. I felt manipulated by it.

  3. mother wouldn't let us watch anything but Disney 'til we were 18. And she's Presbyterian. For the record, in the college football scene, me and my husband were the only people in the theater yelling for the other team to tackle him. Forrest was playing for the University of Alabama. The other team was the University of Tennessee--our school.

  4. I liked Forrest Gump! And let's not forget he was nominated for best actor for BOTH movies . . .

    Co'mon people!!

  5. Isn't it crazy what people do out of fear?

    My mother used to fear that people would think she raised us badly, so would flip out only at the things that people knew about. Like when I pierced my ear when I was 15, she cried and cried, sure that her parents would think her a bad mother.

    Over ... a ... fucking ... earring.

    With her, what she didn't know about was fine with her. To the day she died, she never knew shit about the real me. Too afraid to ask and deal with.

    I'm glad you and your mom got past that.

    Re: Big. Cute movie, but yeah, that stuff you talked about would be incredibly traumatic in real life. Then again, I think that a lot of hollywood movie fantasies, were they to come to real life, would cause more than one person to freak right the hell out.

    A chocolate factory owned by a man-child who wants to invite little kids into his fantasyland? Eeeeg. Yet Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was reasonably entertaining.

    Willing suspension of disbelief, Gwen. :) No matter how gruesome.

  6. I love your blog but you have a Big problem on this one.

  7. Care to elaborate, Anonymous?

  8. Tom Hanks makes me wanna put my put through the TV screen. Bosom Buddies was the last good thing he did. He is so ridiculous with his cosmic Oscar speeches and overacting with a volleyball on a beach ... yuck yuck double fucking yuck!!! He ranks right up there with Robin Williams, in my book. And I know we both can't stand him. ....babspeapod

  9. Hell yeah babspeapod. I've hated Robin Williams for decades. I thought Mork and Mindy was the stupidest fucking show ever produced. And that's coming from somebody who used to watch the Monkees. Bosom Buddies! I loved that show. I have to confess, I do love The Burbs and The Man with One Red Shoe. Both were great Tom Hanks movies. Saving Private Ryan, too. But the rest? Terrible. You've Got Mail sucked ass.

  10. Three most overrated things on the planet:

    1. Tom

    2. Hanks

    3. and Cruise

  11. Tom Hanks is a quality actor. Not the greatest but he made me cry in Forrest Gump and Saving Private Ryan and he has done some other fine work. Loved him on Bosom Buddies on TV as well.

    As for the movie Big, give me a break, it's funny. You could make that arguement about every movie. Godfather is considered one of the greatest movies ever. What about all the wives and mothers who constantly had to wait at home to see if their men were going to get blown away. The list of movies is endless if you over analyze. Just my opinion. Check out Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder, frickin' hilarious.

  12. I say, Anonymous, that we just agree to disagree. Maybe my experiences in life have shaped me in such a way that I can't stomach Tom Hanks. I mentioned in my comment above that Saving Private Ryan was a good movie.

    See, the thing about The Godfather is that they don't paint the fact that people are being murdered as a cutesy, feel good fantasy. Big is supposed to be a feel good movie, is it not? I just find that not to be so. I also mentioned above that I enjoyed the movie - against my better judgment. The Godfather is a great movie, but it is presenting the horrors of a criminal lifestyle. And there are movies out there that are realistic and raw and don't sugarcoat anything. I guess I just prefer those. We are all entitled to our opinions.

  13. WTF!!!!! I totally get it, from the 'maniacal mother RITA' to the hornistical BILLY! Like DAWG! I love it all!! Gwenn...You are the best:) For real...Love you lots...dont change a thing!!
    Jeanmarie (the maniacal mother's bestest friend...OK...Aunt Elaine is the BESTEST...I'll be 2nd best:)'