Podcast 60: Big (1988)

The 3 Guys Podcast

Recorded on 4/28/2022

I wish I were big. In this episode we review the 80s comedy classic, Big (released 1988) starring Tom Hanks, David Moscow, Jared Rushton, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia and John Heard. This week we welcome back our special guest Katie. WARNING: There will be SPOILERS!

The 3 Guys Rating

3.3/5

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Notes From The Show

  • Quick Synopsis

  • Released:  June 3, 1988

    Directed By:  Penny Marshall  

    Screenplay By:  
    Gary Ross & Anne Spielberg  

    Stars:  Tom Hanks, David Moscow, Jared Rushton, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia and John Heard

    Tagline:  Have you ever had a really big secret?

    How did this movie do
    Budget: $18 Million
    Box office: $152 Million

  • Casting

    • When Spielberg was set to direct, he wanted Harrison Ford for Josh.

    • After Spielberg left, Tom Hanks was the first choice to play Josh Baskin, but was unavailable due to scheduling conflicts with “Dragnet (1987)” and “Punchline (1988).” Robert De Niro was then offered the lead role, but was rejected because his $6 million salary demand was too high. Hanks then became available and accepted it for $2 million. David Moscow was originally cast not as young Josh, but as Billy, since he didn’t look like De Niro. When Hanks was given the role, Moscow was recast as young Josh.

    • When Penny Marshall got the script, nobody was interested in doing the movie. It was only when Robert De Niro announced he wanted the part of Josh that the script received attention from people wanting to do it.

    • Robert Loggia’s character is based on then FAO Schwarz CEO Peter Harris. The character is a youthful, albeit goofy, retailer, true to Harris’s own personality.

    • Harrison Ford turned down the role of Josh Baskin.

    • Debra Winger was originally considered for the Susan Lawrence role but could not take the part because she was pregnant at the time. She recommended Elizabeth Perkins.

    • Robin Williams was considered for the role of Josh Baskin.

    • Bill Murray was considered for the role of Josh Baskin, but chose to do “Scrooged (1988)” instead.

    • Steven Spielberg almost directed the film, but didn’t want to steal the thunder of his sister, Anne Spielberg, who co-wrote the script.
  • Awards

  • Academy Awards

    • Nominated for Best Actor (Hanks) and Best Original Screenplay. This movie was the first time Tom Hanks got nominated for an Oscar.

    Golden Globe Awards

    • Nominated for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
    • Hanks was nominated for (and won) for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.
  • Trivia

    • Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pop was based on a song called “(Shimmy Shimmy) Ko Ko Wop,” which was released by a Pittsburgh group called the El Capris in 1956. It later was recorded by Little Anthony And The Imperials in 1960 (and is on YouTube).

    • Other movies with similar themes (twin films): Like Father Like Son (1987), 18 Again! (1988), Vice Versa (1988), 14 Going on 30 (1988)

    • In 1996, the film was made into a musical for the Broadway stage. It featured music by David Shire, lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr., and a book by John Weidman. Directed by Mike Ockrent, and choreographed by Susan Stroman, it opened on April 28, 1996, and closed on October 13, 1996, after 193 performances. I relaunched in 1998 and won a Tony and a Theater World Award.

    • To give Tom Hanks an idea of how a 13-year-old would behave, director Penny Marshall filmed each “grown-up” scene with David Moscow (Young Josh) playing Hanks’ part, who then copied Moscow’s behavior. Hanks would go on to do something similar for Forrest Gump (1994), when he would spend time with Michael Conner Humphreys (Young Forrest) and imitate his Southern accent to prepare for the part.

    • According to Robert Loggia, on the day they filmed the famous keyboard scene at FAO Schwarz, he and Tom Hanks noticed that doubles dressed like them were on hand just in case the two could not do the dance moves correctly. It became their goal to do the entire keyboard number without the aid of the doubles. They succeeded.

    • Penny Marshall became the first female director to ever direct a movie that grossed more than $100 million at the box office with this movie.

    • The ‘Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pop’ rap was Tom Hanks’s idea. According to Tom Hanks in an interview with Jonathan Ross, the rap was something his son had learned at summer camp and Hanks came up with the rap for the film and made up the words to the rap.

    • John Travolta was one of director Penny Marshall’s top choices for Josh, and he wanted to do it, but the studio didn’t want him, considering him “box-office poison” at the time.

    • David Moscow wore colored contact lenses to match the eye color of Tom Hanks.

    • The Cavern of the Evil Wizard computer game wasn’t a real computer game and was created for the movie by David Satin and SMA Video Inc.

    • DELETED SCENE: A scene was filmed, then cut for the theatrical release, and subsequently reinstated for the extended edition DVD: After Josh tells Susan that he is 13 and that he made a wish to be big on the Zoltar Machine, Susan looks through Josh’s wallet whilst he is sleeping and discovers a baseball card with bubble gum on it and Josh’s Zoltar Speaks card.

    • Tom Hanks was 32 while Elizabeth Perkins was 28 while filming.

    • During the sleepover scene, where Josh shows Susan his New York City apartment and toys, Patrice Rushen’s “Forget Me Nots” can be heard playing in the background. Will Smith would later sample this song for his successful Men in Black (1997) theme, written for a hit franchise directed by none other than Barry Sonnenfeld.

    • The costume designers took special care to ensure that Susan realistically transitions from uptight businesswoman at the beginning of the film to a sweet, almost girl-like persona that she is at the end of the film. Notice that her wardrobe and hair gradually become less and less adult (hair goes from pinned up to loose, and with schoolgirl hand bands, clothes from tight suits to loose girlish angora separates and young skirts, and shoes from heels to flats), and more that of a schoolgirl. Susan may turn down the offer to become a little girl again, but we are left with the clear impression that, thanks to her relationship with the “adult” Josh character, she has found her inner child.

    • At the end of the film when Susan discovers Josh’s real age, she was scripted to kiss Josh goodbye on the lips. However, Elizabeth Perkins insisted that she kiss him on the forehead instead.

    • End of Movie Question: How does Josh explain where he’s been? The FBI Would be involved in kidnapping like this (which they probably would have traced his call from work). Plus there has been an adult running around New York using his name, who has just mysteriously disappeared right when Josh returns home.

    • End of Movie Question: How does Susan explain the complete disappearance of her boyfriend Josh, leaving behind a fully furnished apartment and high paying job? Adult Josh was last seen fleeing a business meeting, followed shortly by his girlfriend (who has been known to sleep around with other office workers) who ends up being the last to see him.

    • End of Movie Question: What happened with the investigations? The FBI investigating child Josh’s disappearance wouldn’t stop just because he’s home. Adult Josh’s disappearance would likely lead to an investigation into Susan. Eventually these 2 investigations would connect and would Susan be questioned regarding the disappearance and reappearance of young Josh.  Would she pass a lie detector test? If she tells the truth, would she end up in a mental institution?  There are so many ways the ending leads to a dark future.

Released:  June 3, 1988

Directed By:  Penny Marshall  

Screenplay By:  
Gary Ross & Anne Spielberg  

Stars:  Tom Hanks, David Moscow, Jared Rushton, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia and John Heard

Tagline:  Have you ever had a really big secret?

How did this movie do
Budget: $18 Million
Box office: $152 Million

  • When Spielberg was set to direct, he wanted Harrison Ford for Josh.

  • After Spielberg left, Tom Hanks was the first choice to play Josh Baskin, but was unavailable due to scheduling conflicts with “Dragnet (1987)” and “Punchline (1988).” Robert De Niro was then offered the lead role, but was rejected because his $6 million salary demand was too high. Hanks then became available and accepted it for $2 million. David Moscow was originally cast not as young Josh, but as Billy, since he didn’t look like De Niro. When Hanks was given the role, Moscow was recast as young Josh.

  • When Penny Marshall got the script, nobody was interested in doing the movie. It was only when Robert De Niro announced he wanted the part of Josh that the script received attention from people wanting to do it.

  • Robert Loggia’s character is based on then FAO Schwarz CEO Peter Harris. The character is a youthful, albeit goofy, retailer, true to Harris’s own personality.

  • Harrison Ford turned down the role of Josh Baskin.

  • Debra Winger was originally considered for the Susan Lawrence role but could not take the part because she was pregnant at the time. She recommended Elizabeth Perkins.

  • Robin Williams was considered for the role of Josh Baskin.

  • Bill Murray was considered for the role of Josh Baskin, but chose to do “Scrooged (1988)” instead.

  • Steven Spielberg almost directed the film, but didn’t want to steal the thunder of his sister, Anne Spielberg, who co-wrote the script.

Academy Awards

  • Nominated for Best Actor (Hanks) and Best Original Screenplay. This movie was the first time Tom Hanks got nominated for an Oscar.

Golden Globe Awards

  • Nominated for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
  • Hanks was nominated for (and won) for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.
  • Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pop was based on a song called “(Shimmy Shimmy) Ko Ko Wop,” which was released by a Pittsburgh group called the El Capris in 1956. It later was recorded by Little Anthony And The Imperials in 1960 (and is on YouTube).

  • Other movies with similar themes (twin films): Like Father Like Son (1987), 18 Again! (1988), Vice Versa (1988), 14 Going on 30 (1988)

  • In 1996, the film was made into a musical for the Broadway stage. It featured music by David Shire, lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr., and a book by John Weidman. Directed by Mike Ockrent, and choreographed by Susan Stroman, it opened on April 28, 1996, and closed on October 13, 1996, after 193 performances. I relaunched in 1998 and won a Tony and a Theater World Award.

  • To give Tom Hanks an idea of how a 13-year-old would behave, director Penny Marshall filmed each “grown-up” scene with David Moscow (Young Josh) playing Hanks’ part, who then copied Moscow’s behavior. Hanks would go on to do something similar for Forrest Gump (1994), when he would spend time with Michael Conner Humphreys (Young Forrest) and imitate his Southern accent to prepare for the part.

  • According to Robert Loggia, on the day they filmed the famous keyboard scene at FAO Schwarz, he and Tom Hanks noticed that doubles dressed like them were on hand just in case the two could not do the dance moves correctly. It became their goal to do the entire keyboard number without the aid of the doubles. They succeeded.

  • Penny Marshall became the first female director to ever direct a movie that grossed more than $100 million at the box office with this movie.

  • The ‘Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pop’ rap was Tom Hanks’s idea. According to Tom Hanks in an interview with Jonathan Ross, the rap was something his son had learned at summer camp and Hanks came up with the rap for the film and made up the words to the rap.

  • John Travolta was one of director Penny Marshall’s top choices for Josh, and he wanted to do it, but the studio didn’t want him, considering him “box-office poison” at the time.

  • David Moscow wore colored contact lenses to match the eye color of Tom Hanks.

  • The Cavern of the Evil Wizard computer game wasn’t a real computer game and was created for the movie by David Satin and SMA Video Inc.

  • DELETED SCENE: A scene was filmed, then cut for the theatrical release, and subsequently reinstated for the extended edition DVD: After Josh tells Susan that he is 13 and that he made a wish to be big on the Zoltar Machine, Susan looks through Josh’s wallet whilst he is sleeping and discovers a baseball card with bubble gum on it and Josh’s Zoltar Speaks card.

  • Tom Hanks was 32 while Elizabeth Perkins was 28 while filming.

  • During the sleepover scene, where Josh shows Susan his New York City apartment and toys, Patrice Rushen’s “Forget Me Nots” can be heard playing in the background. Will Smith would later sample this song for his successful Men in Black (1997) theme, written for a hit franchise directed by none other than Barry Sonnenfeld.

  • The costume designers took special care to ensure that Susan realistically transitions from uptight businesswoman at the beginning of the film to a sweet, almost girl-like persona that she is at the end of the film. Notice that her wardrobe and hair gradually become less and less adult (hair goes from pinned up to loose, and with schoolgirl hand bands, clothes from tight suits to loose girlish angora separates and young skirts, and shoes from heels to flats), and more that of a schoolgirl. Susan may turn down the offer to become a little girl again, but we are left with the clear impression that, thanks to her relationship with the “adult” Josh character, she has found her inner child.

  • At the end of the film when Susan discovers Josh’s real age, she was scripted to kiss Josh goodbye on the lips. However, Elizabeth Perkins insisted that she kiss him on the forehead instead.

  • End of Movie Question: How does Josh explain where he’s been? The FBI Would be involved in kidnapping like this (which they probably would have traced his call from work). Plus there has been an adult running around New York using his name, who has just mysteriously disappeared right when Josh returns home.

  • End of Movie Question: How does Susan explain the complete disappearance of her boyfriend Josh, leaving behind a fully furnished apartment and high paying job? Adult Josh was last seen fleeing a business meeting, followed shortly by his girlfriend (who has been known to sleep around with other office workers) who ends up being the last to see him.

  • End of Movie Question: What happened with the investigations? The FBI investigating child Josh’s disappearance wouldn’t stop just because he’s home. Adult Josh’s disappearance would likely lead to an investigation into Susan. Eventually these 2 investigations would connect and would Susan be questioned regarding the disappearance and reappearance of young Josh.  Would she pass a lie detector test? If she tells the truth, would she end up in a mental institution?  There are so many ways the ending leads to a dark future.

A Video Investigation: Big Magic or Big Murder...

Watch the video below for a special look at the unanswered questions and possible murder mystery the movie Big created…investigated by the 3 Guys.

About The Movie From IMDB

Big Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance | June 3, 1988 (United States) 7.3
Director: Penny MarshallWriter: Gary Ross, Anne SpielbergStars: Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert LoggiaSummary: Josh Baskin would do anything to be big to hang out with his crush at the carnival. He finds a Zoltar machine, and he wishes to be big. After Zoltar tells him, "his wish is granted", Josh notices the machine is unplugged. He wakes up the next morning in an adult's body but he still has the same personality. With the help of his best friend, Billy, Josh learns how to act like a grown up. But as he gets a girlfriend and a fun job, he doesn't want to be a kid again. Will Josh stay big or become a 13 year old boy again?

Photos


See all photos >>

Videos


See all videos >>

Cast

...
Josh
...
Susan
...
MacMillan
...
Paul
...
Billy
...
Young Josh
...
Scotty Brennen
...
Mrs. Baskin
...
Mr. Baskin
...
Cynthia Benson
...
Freddie Benson
...
Cynthia's Friend
...
Gym Teacher
...
Derek
...
Ticket Taker
...
First Brother
...
Second Brother
...
Motel Clerk

See full cast >>

Countries: United StatesLanguages: English, SpanishBudget: $18,000,000 (estimated)
Big Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance | June 3, 1988 (United States) Summary: After wishing to be made big, a teenage boy wakes the next morning to find himself mysteriously in the body of an adult.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English, Spanish

Quotes

Young JoshBilly: The space goes down, down baby, down, down the roller coaster. Sweet, sweet baby, sweet, sweet, don't let me go. Shimmy, shimmy, cocoa pop. Shimmy, shimmy, rock. Shimmy, shimmy, cocoa pop. Shimmy, shimmy, rock. I met a girlfriend - a triscuit. She said, a triscuit - a biscuit. Ice cream, soda pop, vanilla on the top. Ooh, Shelly's out, walking down the street, ten times a week. I read it. I said it. I stole my momma's credit. I'm cool. I'm hot. Sock me in the stomach three more times.


Susan: I'm not so sure we should do this.

Josh: Do what?

Susan: Well, I like you, and I want to spend the night with you.

Josh: Do you mean sleep over?

Susan: Well, yeah.

Josh: OK... but I get to be on top.


Josh: Will you please leave? I got a deadline to meet. Gosh.

Billy: Who the fuck do you think you are ?

Josh: *Hey*!

Billy: You're Josh Baskin, remember? You broke your arm on my roof! You hid in *my* basement when Robert Dyson was about to rip your head off!

Josh: You don't get it, do you? This is important!

Billy: I'm your best friend. What's more important than that, huh?

[Turns to leave]

Billy: And I'm three months older than you are, *asshole*!


Interviewer: Where did you go to school?

Josh: It was called George Washington.

Interviewer: Oh G.W. My brother-in-law got his doctorate there. Did you pledge?

Josh: Yes. Every morning.


Scotty Brennen: See that girl over there in the red? Say "hi" to her and she's yours. She'll have her legs around you so tight you'll be begging for mercy.

Josh: Well, I'll stay away from her, then.


Josh: My best sport is video hockey.

Paul: That isn't a sport.

Josh: Well, It takes eye-to-hand coordination.

Paul: It's not a sport if you don't sweat.

Josh: Well, what about golf? You don't sweat and that's a sport.

Paul: It's not a sport if you let a machine do all the work.

Josh: What about car racing?

Paul: Aw, shut up, Baskin!


Paul: What is so special about Baskin?

Susan: He's a grown up.


Mrs. Baskin: You have my son?

Josh: [Over the phone] Yes.

Mrs. Baskin: Look, if you touch one hair on his head, I swear I will spend the rest of my life making sure you suffer.

Josh: Wow, thanks.


Josh: It's a glow-in-the-dark compass ring. So you don't get lost.


Josh: What's this?

Scotty Brennen: Pay day.

Josh: [Opens up the envelope and looks at his check] *A hundred and eighty seven dollars*?

Scotty Brennen: Yeah. They really screw you don't they?


MacMillan: You can't see this on a marketing report.

Josh: Um, what's a marketing report?

MacMillan: Exactly.


Susan: All he said was he didn't get it.

Paul: [Mimicking Josh] "I don't get it." "I don't get it." "Let's make it a bug."


Susan: It happened again. David, the girl is absolutely useless. You've gotta get me someone who knows what she is doing. Excuse me. I'm not getting any of my mail, nothing has been filed. Ever since she got engaged, my life has been a disaster.

Personnel Director: You know, she came so highly recommended.

Susan: She spent the last three months writing down her married name. "Mrs. Judy Hicks", "Mrs. Donald Hicks"; "Mrs. Judy Mitchellson Hicks", sometimes with a hyphen, sometimes without a hyphen. Sometimes, she spells the hyphen.


Billy: [noticing a dingy hotel that says "St. James"] This one looks all right.

Josh: No, it doesn't.

Billy: St. James, Josh! It's religious.


Bank Teller: [cashing Josh's first paycheck] Okay, so how would you like that?

Josh: [he and Billy discuss it privately, then return to the window] Three dimes, a hundred dollar bill and 87 ones.

Bank Teller: [pause] Okay...

[takes out stack of $1 bills]

Bank Teller: One, two, three, four...


Josh: [playing racketball] That was under the line.

Paul: What?

Josh: That was under the line. You said it had to be over the line on a serve.

Paul: No, I didn't.

Josh: Yeah you did. You said it had to be over the line on a serve.

Paul: No I did not, now give me the goddamn ball!

Josh: Well that's cheating.

Paul: Give me the goddamn ball, will you?

Josh: No.

Paul: Give me the ball, you little shit.

Josh: It's my serve.

Paul: Give me the ball! *Give me the goddamn ball*! I never said that!

Josh: Yes you did.

Paul: Give me the...

[Josh starts to run, Paul gives chase]

Paul: Give me the... Give me the ball. Give me the ball!


Josh: [looking around St. James hotel room] I can't sleep here.

Billy: Maybe it's better if you don't


Young Josh: I wish I were big.


Susan: [talking work at the office party] I thought if we could get everyone together.

MacMillan: Susan, have a drink. Have a couple of drinks. It's a party.


Billy: I'd use the chain if I were you.


Josh: [checking Billy's baseball cards] Got it, got it, need it, got it...


MacMillan: Boss needs to be knocked on his ass every once in a while.


Josh: [inputting toy orders] The Dinky Link... Jimmy's Toy Box...

Scotty Brennen: [in the next cubicle] Psst, hey, I'm Scott Brennan.

Josh: I'm Josh Baskin.

Scotty Brennen: Listen, what're you tryin' to do, get us all fired? You gotta pace yourself, slowly, slowly.

Josh: It's my first day.

Scotty Brennen: I know!


Billy: So you got a job, where you play with all these toys.

Josh: Yup!

Billy: And they're gonna pay you for that!

Josh: Yup!

Billy: SUCKERS!


MacMillan: You can't keep a kid from growing up. All a 13-year-old boy wants is a 13-year-old girl. And I sure don't know how to build one of those.


Billy: [about the luxuries in Josh's office] You're the luckiest guy I know!

[Josh plays with a punching hand puppet until he hits himself]


Man with beard on street: *Fine*! Fine. Fine. Fine, fine! Kill the bitch. Kill the bitch. Kill her with a knife. Kill the bitch. Put it in. Bitch! Kill the bitch! Kill her!


Motel Clerk: Hey Angel, get out of that bathroom now.

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