I’ve heard many good things about the movie Big. However, when it comes to Tom Hanks, I usually have to force myself to watch the movie. He’s not one of my favorites, but he always charms me when I do start watching him onscreen. Big was no different. After hearing multiple defensive arguments from my parents, I gave in and began watching the movie. I was immediately enthralled. Much to my surprise, Tom Hanks brilliantly played his role as a younger boy. I completely believed in his buoyant attitude towards life and his joyous personality while even at work. The part that truly got me was the very well known piano scene in the toy store. The story starts with Josh, a boy who wishes he was older mainly because the girl he likes goes for older guys. When he is at a carnival with his family, he plays a Fortune game where he wishes to be older, and that night his wish comes true.

Big Piano Scene

How could you not fall in love with him at this point? This part, which I saw before I watched the movie, was extremely touching now that I had seen the parts that led up to it. I hope this movie was a sign for all adults to not work too hard and to find the joy in their lives, because even though I’ve only lived 20 years, the film still made me think about taking everything too seriously. Not to mention, I could not stop laughing at the part where Susan comes home with Josh (Tom Hanks’ character) and the confusion shown on her face with what Josh was saying. She was expecting sex, or at least a little action, and he thought “playing” was physically playing with the toys in his apartment. The miscommunication in the scene was hilarious, and one of my favorite parts of the film.

When Harry Met Sally, He Was a Jackass. Is This the Modern Love Story?

For my last 80s movie of the semester, I wanted to watch something a bit sentimental. After searching for a bit, I stumbled upon When Harry Met Sally.


Potato, potato, tomato, tomato…


The Romantic Comedy fit the bill I’d say, but my favorite part of the movie had nothing to do with Harry or Sally. In fact, I really hated Harry—he’s neurotic, rude, and ugly in my opinion. And, even though Sally insisted that she hated Harry too when he professed his love to her for the first time on New Years, her smile betrays her perverted attraction to this crazy man. I can’t say that I am attracted to jerks just because they know what kind of dressing I like on my salad.

Really? Look at that face.

Perhaps he is characterized in this way to deconstruct the idealistic nature of love, and the well-mannered, handsome prince charming. But life is brutal enough, why can’t we have another fairy tale love story? Market saturation?

They just feel so good…almost as good as Sally’s boisterous simulated orgasm in the café—but both fairy tales and Sally’s orgasm are glaringly artificial. The fake orgasm, one of the most famous scenes of the film, could be a direct mockery of idealistic modern romance because real love can’t exist in an idealistic vacuum. Harry and Sally do not follow the traditional rules of love. This=fake o. That’s depressing.

I find it interesting that Harry consistently uses a black phone and Sally uses a white phone, no matter where they are.

My hands-down favorite part of this movie was the recurring shot of older couples recalling how they fell in love. I could have watched a whole movie of them, paying attention to their body language, clothing, and speech patterns to reveal the intricate dynamics of affection in only 30 seconds.


The opening scene is of an old couple, and then at least 4 others present their story at regular intervals throughout Sally and Harry’s journey. Most of the stories—like the “high school sweethearts” who decided to get married 34 years later, the gentleman who experienced an ungodly number of divorces in a month before meeting his current wife at a funeral, the couple who spoke over each other but didn’t seem to mind, and the old Chinese couple who didn’t meet until their wedding day—were a bit complicated. But they were all seemingly happy—the imperfections made them irresistibly cute, almost more so than a love story that unfolded in a predictable way.

When Harry Met Sally suggests that imperfect love is the norm. I agree with that claim. However, I can’t agree with the claim that difficult, complicated, thorny love is cuter somehow more endearing than simple love.

Say Anything…but another romantic comedy

We’ve all seen it…the iconic image of a young John Cusack holding a boombox above his head. This image has burned in the collective consciousness of anyone over 17. So annoyed by this image in my head I decided to finally watch the film from it sprung – Say Anything.

Say Anything poster

John Cusack plays the completely directionless Lloyd Dobler who at 19, has returned to America after spending the last couple semesters over seas. He kickboxes and has a fetish for trench coats. He lives with his sister (played by his real sister Joan Cusack) and his nephew. His home life contrasts sharply with his love interest Diane Court, played by Ione Skye, whose Father and her future is her world. Diane is an over-acheiver who has everything going for her – she’s the class valedictorian, a dedicated worker at her Father’s senior home, and to top it all off is drop-dead gorgeous. Her parents are divorced (Apparently she had to choose between the two of them in court at 13. No wonder she’s so responsible.), and her Father offers her the love and stability that her Mother could not. Besides that Diane is so wrapped up in her future, pleasing her Father, she has in many ways neglected simply being a teenager.

Mahoney in the middle.

Diane’s father played by John Mahoney (also seen in the 1987 film Moonstruck) is everything a parent should be – sensitive, supportive, and proud. However as the film progresses we see his fragile facade crumble, as it is revealed he is not so righteous a man. The IRS pursues Diane’s father on suspicion that he has embezzled money out of the senior’s at his home.

Ione Skye and John Cusack

Through a stalkerish phone call, mildly charming rambling, and a few chivalrous gestures, Lloyd manages to snag a date with Diane at a graduation party. Despite his over-protectiveness Diane’s father, James allows her to go out on a date with determined Lloyd. They attend their graduation party together where Lloyd serves as the “key-master” looking out for young drunkards, most notably a young Jeremy Piven, who repeatedly tackles Lloyd out of sheer joy.

Hey it's that guy from Entourage!

Through the party we also come to understand the source of Corey Flood’s pain, and why she bitterly trashes her ex-boyfriend Joe, who took her virginity then left her for another girl. She wines about him throughout the entire film. This entire pointless vignette did nothing to serve the direction of the film, and was forgotten as soon as it over. They film honestly could have done without 2/3 of Lloyd’s friends too…Corey’s pointless subplot was enough to make me reconsider watching Say Anything altogether.

Corey needs to build a bridge and GET OVER IT.

From here the movie progresses with astounding predictability. Montages of Diane and Lloyd necking underneath trees ensue, bringing us to the moment that they consummate their two-month-long relationship in a car by the beach. Diane has such a close relationship with her father that she actually tells him the truth of her whereabouts the night before. I found the most interesting aspect of this movie not to be Lloyd and Diane’s predictable boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-girl-back-plot, but John Mahoney’s crumbling from a respected member of his community and proud father. To the grey-haired, cigarette-smoking, embittered man we meet at the end of movie. HE ALMOST CRIES IN A BATHTUB FOR PETE’S SAKE. He gave the most emotionally-solid performance in an otherwise flimsy film, with a few endearing moments. (Although I will say I enjoyed the film’s iconic boombox scene in which John plays the song that he and Diane first made love to…Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes”.)


All-in-all, if you’re up for big hair, some memorable lines rambled by John Cusack, this scene in particular, and buckets of teen angst, I encourage you to tune in to Say Anything. If you’re not in the mood for adult-decisions made by inexperienced teens, then opt for the more-adult Moonstruck.

So dumb.