a “BIG” star

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I could have chosen many actors to write about, who I rate or enjoy watching. Most of them would be unknown by people of my age and younger. I believe this person ranks up there with the best and still at the age of 57 brings out some amazing performances. Their career has Been long, nearly 33 years in total so far, which means that for all of my life they have been on the big screen. I grew up with this person, I have laughed at them, feared for them, been inspired and have shed tears, which is something I rarely do. In interviews there is no glitz or glamour, I see them as a friendly neighbour, fun and just “normal”. You would feel comfortable in their presence even though they are the biggest blockbuster actor of all time. It is a career that has not always produced greatness, there have been some bad choices, but when it is good it is really good. They have won 2 Oscars and have been nominated numerous times. They are interested in space travel and the universe, they are an advocate of gay rights as well as being strongly political. This is a family man who is now a much loved grandpa. There is little scandal to tell and they remain skill private about their home life.

The first film I saw them in was splash, a film that really started his career off. It’s a great family film with a lot of comedy in it, but also shows this actor can pull off romance and be a leading man. In support is John Candy playing the older brother who’s character is in complete contrast, but despite this they still have great brotherly love. John Candy was a great comedic actor and its such a shame he died so young. Daryl Hannah was perfect as the Mermaid with her simple and naive performance, almost like an alien to this new world. I still enjoy watching this film now and can see why this was their great break through in film. This wasn’t a smooth ride to the top however as critics panned some of the follow up films although this actor still came out with some credit.
I still enjoyed the “not so good”, they were very silly films, light hearted and odd in some ways. The film’s coincided with my childhood when silly and light hearted are more than acceptable, even popular! I loved The Burbs, The Money Pitt and even Joe vs the Volcano. Would I enjoy them now? Probably not as much, but I think because it brings back childhood memories I wouldn’t be able to help myself and still enjoy these goofy films.

“BIG” must be a part of everyone’s childhood if they are aged 27-33 years of age now. It was a dream come true, who wouldn’t want an apartment like that? Trampoline, drinks machine, inflatable toys, balls, goals, a basket, pin ball machine etc… this boy was living every child’s fantasy. To be able to get in the mind of a child at 35 takes some doing, to talk like them, walk like them and feel like them is a tough job. This actor did it perfectly and you never forgot that they were a 13 year old boy inside. There was the mix of enjoying being “BIG” and the fear of what it would be like for a young boy all alone. The mixed emotions of being the source of attraction of a 30 plus year old woman, having never even kissed a girl. That is nightmare and fantasy rolled into one. It also showed how adults can be childish at any age, the racket ball scene in particular. The famous scene where they play the chopsticks on the huge piano has gone down in film history. Recently on the Jonathan Ross show this scene was reinacted to a generous applause, nearly 25 years after the film first came out.

The beginning of the 90s proved to be a decade where they put themselves above anyone else. The performance in Philadelphia was truly special and thought provoking at a time when homosexuality and aids proved controversial. People still didn’t understand what aids was, how it was passed and it was still unclear that you didn’t have to be gay to get it. There was a great commitment to the role, losing a large amount of weight and thinning their hair to make them look ill. There must have been a risk too on how the film would be received. I don’t know how they got the part because it was unlike any other film they had performed in before. Their audition must have blown the director away and it proved to be the right choice. I imagine it changed people’s views and educated those who knew nothing of aids Denzel Washington’s character changed from being homophobic to accepting Andy as a man not to be judged by their sexuality or the disease that would kill them. I wonder if this film helped those suffering during this period? The final scenes are a real choker and bring a tear to my eye. This was the first Oscar to go up on the shelf and the next would follow shortly.

The next was a film full of character, hope, warmth, history, friendship, love and so many lines that we can all repeat. The tale of a less than smart fellow that made his fortune, became war hero, met the president, influenced Elvis and John Lennon, fell in love, ran for a year became a football and table tennis champion, all this in the space of around 20 years. That’s quite a life for anyone especially someone with a very low IQ. The character again was played extremely well without being over the top. I think the actors development was in making their performance less hammy and more subtle. It most definitely worked in this film. The fact this film may have not been completely accurate in regard to history or that it is hard to believe such a life story doesn’t really matter. This is the beauty of film, reality can be stretched and sometimes you have to sit back and enjoy without picking too many holes. A film that leaves a warm feeling and a smile on your face at the end is a good one in my book. If you remember very little from this film, you’ll most definitely remember “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get” Another Oscar followed.

There were more Oscar nominations but as yet the third award has not arrived, although I believe it’s only a matter of time. Maybe this year’s film Captain Phillips could be the one and I truly believe that it would be deserved. It’s a masterful display of control, bravery and letting emotions just run free. I’m jumping ahead now though and there have been a few notable performances before this one. There is Saving Private Ryan, a war film with spectacular effects, a simple story, an idea of what life was like during the war. This is not my favourite film as war films are not really my cup of tea, but you still can’t not be amazed by the effects and the casts performance as a whole.

I think maybe his third best performance was in Castaway. A film which was pretty much all him, oh and a volleyball. Not many actors could hold your focus for that length of time, when not very much is happening. Like in Philidephia there was also the commitment to gaining and losing weight. He ballooned for the first part and lost the weight and turned himself into solid muscle for the remainder of the film. When I saw Gravity recently I thought it would basically be Castaway in space and that’s what it was, but, and I can hear the booing already, the performance and storyline from Gravity was no where near as good.

There have still been the odd flops such as the ladykillers, The da Vinci code and some that were so under the radar that I hadn’t even heard of them. This actor is now truly back on top form with films such as Cloud Atlas and Capatain Phillips this year. I’m sure there will be a few more duds, but then no one is perfect!

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3 thoughts on “a “BIG” star

  1. stephili10

    Love this!!!!! I loved Mermaids and I also loved John Candy! Denzel Washington is one of my favorite actors of all time as Man on Fire is one of my ALL TIME favorite films!

  2. Amy

    Having watched Cloud Atlas again recently, definitely appreciate the actor you are talking about even more. Tom Hanks is a brilliant actor. Can’t wait to see what he has in store for us next!

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