Uncle Buck

Did you like the movies of the eighties? Then you’re going to love the television series of the teens. Deadline reports that ABC is currently working on a half-hour sitcom based on John Hughes‘ 1989 “New Classic” (we use the TNT designations in this house) Uncle Buck, with Universal TV and producer Will Packer (the immensely successful producer behind both Ride Along and the Think Like a Man features) on board to turn the film into a weekly offering. The new Uncle Buck will be, well, pretty much just like the old Uncle Buck, as Deadline reports it “will center on a childish man, played in the film by [John] Candy, who learns how to be an adult by taking care of his brother’s kids in a very childish way.” Weirdly enough, this isn’t even the first time that Uncle Buck has been turned into a small screen offering — a CBS series based on the movie hit screens for one season back in 1990. One season. Big hit. Of course, Uncle Buck is not the only beloved eighties property to be getting the small screen treatment this pilot season, and it’s certainly not the most egregious. Let’s take a journey, back to a period of time when original entertainment wasn’t such a wholly foreign concept, to explore what else network television is so forcibly mining for new material.


Chris Elliott Get a Life

Sometimes I think Hollywood is directly screwing with me, personally. Recently I compiled a list of the comedies from the 1980s that couldn’t be made today. Big was one of the 10, and the feature itself was inspired by a commemorative piece for its 25th anniversary from a year earlier. At that time I’d written, “We can’t be sure that this movie won’t be remade anytime soon, but we can be sure it won’t mean as much after the careers of Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Will Ferrell and others of their ilk.” Well, now suddenly there are plans to remake Big, albeit as a TV sitcom on Fox rather than a movie. My point about the premise of Big‘s lack of relevance today still stands, especially in the wake of A.O. Scott’s much-discussed New York Times Magazine article on “The Death of Adulthood in American Culture.” The people developing the Big show seem to be aware of the issue they face, however, with the pitch communicated via Deadline being that it will “explore what it means to be an adult, what it means to be a kid, and how in today’s world those two things are more confused than ever.” The problem then, I think, is that the source of comedy — seeing a grown man act like a 12 year old — is gone, and this is sounds more like a drama with social commentary regarding the modern prevalence of grown men who at like 12 year olds. Either way, is it going to have much […]


Tom Hanks on the Piano in Big

Classic movies can sometimes be uncomfortable to watch. Many things that were socially accepted during the Golden Age of Hollywood are not today, and vice versa. And representations and treatment of minorities of race, religion, sexual orientation and gender were often inauthentic — whether because of customary ignorance or concealment. But it’s not just the movies of our grandparents’ era that fit into this idea where we need to consider the times when appreciating cinema, whether it’s awful stereotypes in The Birth of a Nation or marital rape in Marnie or the general villainization of Native Americans for decades. We’re now far enough away from the 1980s that it’s time to reexamine just what we thought was okay and particularly what we found funny back then. Many of the plots of hit comedies from that decade would never fly today. Some of it is leftover political incorrectness and downright racism and sexism, but there have also been cultural and technological changes in the last 25-35 years that make other scenarios dated and maybe even incomprehensible to young viewers now. One element of many 1980s movies that wouldn’t work for modern audiences is all the homophobia employed in insult humor and gags involving gay bars. There was also a huge issue regarding seemingly innocent, mostly non-physical sexual assault back then, from ghosts and super-powered guys peeping on and stripping unsuspecting women to more common non-supernatural forms of voyeurism. Hollywood could easily remake many of the movies guilty of those issues and leave out […]



I’m sitting here with Elizabeth Perkins, who starred in 1988’s Big, to talk about the making of the beloved movie now that we’re almost at its 26th anniversary. Elizabeth, thanks for meeting with me. Well, thank you. I’m a little confused why we’re talking about the film in time for the 26th anniversary instead of last year for the 25th. Right, right. Well, this didn’t occur to me last year. Oh. Okay, then.


discs death house

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Silent Night, Bloody Night Jeffrey Butler has arrived in the small town his family called home to check out the house he’s inherited, but someone else has gotten there first! That someone is Butler’s lawyer, who’s arrived to finalize a deal and maybe squeeze in some infidelity with his sexy squeeze in an upstairs bedroom, but his coitus is interrupted by the discovery that someone else has gotten there first! That someone has an ax. This low budget slasher premiered in the early ’70s, and while CodeRed apparently released a restored version as a double feature a couple months ago this new DVD from Film Chest is my first glimpse of the movie. It suffers from low budget woes, some serious ones at times, but if you can get past them you’ll find a fresh little tale that offers some genuinely creepy scenes alongside an interesting script. Again, it’s cheap as hell, but there’s a lot to love here for horror fans. [DVD extras: None]


big scenes we love

Tomorrow is the 25th anniversary of Big, the movie that boosted Tom Hanks from being just a funny leading man to an Oscar-worthy movie star. It’s also the comedy that put filmmaker Gary Ross on the map as he too earned an Academy Award nomination for this, his first feature script (co-written by Steven Spielberg’s sister, Anne). Directed by Penny Marshall, it was a word of mouth kind of hit, having opened in second place behind Crocodile Dundee II in its second week then going on to become the fourth highest grossing movie of 1988. For those of us around the same age as Josh Haskins (David Moscow/Hanks) at the time, it was a thought-provoking What If? situation even if most of us found a lot of the scenarios and behavior to be well-below the character’s maturity level. The tricky thing about Big in terms of highlighting its best moments is that it’s really only good as a whole, the sum of its parts. Yes, there are a lot of memorable scenes, but without the context of the, um, big picture, a lot of them are pretty silly or the comedy just falls flat (maybe this is why it’s so hard to find embeddable clips online). Still, I loved Big then and I love it now, albeit more so today as something to prod and study in terms of the fantasy scenario and how much of the humor seems so unremarkable in today’s regular manboy world. We can’t be sure […]


Cabin in the Woods

“In a perfect world, ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ would be a lock for a Best Original Screenplay nomination.” – Joey Magidson, The Awards Circuit It must be frustrating to write for an awards blog (aka an Oscar blog, since the Academy Awards are always the main focus of these sites), and know that the best films of the year are not necessarily the ones that will be nominated. Magidson’s comment above, from his April review of The Cabin in the Woods, sort of sums that up. But at the same time I don’t know if the movie truly deserves the statement. Something to consider, semantically speaking, is that the Academy’s award is not for “Most Original Screenplay” but “Best Original Screenplay.” This isn’t to say that the script, by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, isn’t well-written, and you’re welcome to argue its case for a nomination. Is it the best-written original screenplay of the year, though? All my time as a movie lover and watcher of the Oscars, including the past few years of hate-watching, the original screenplay category is one I’ve constantly been excited about. It’s the place where you could find some of the more clever and creative efforts, including a number of films that might not get other nominations. You could find a good number of interesting foreign films outside of the foreign-language award ghetto (such as Bunuel‘s two nominations for writing), as well as an interesting showing of mainstream and blockbuster fare, especially in the […]



What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that rounds up junk and stuff. It also likes J.J. Abrams’ movies, but not so much that it can’t laugh at them, as well. It is also currently being written by an author who is distracted with Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules. It’s surprisingly charming. Geek icon Simon Pegg released a book recently, “Nerd Do Well,” chronicling his life as a now-famous nerd. Personally, I can’t wait to read it. In the mean time, one passage about George Lucas and the Star Wars prequels has become a topic of discussion. Did Lucas apologize for the prequels? That’s the question of the day.



Since it’s Saturday and the likelihood of us finding a lot of news to write about is slim, I’d like to present you with a clip that will assuredly make you grin. If it doesn’t make you grin, you may want to have yourself checked. Sitting down to watch Big last night — because there’s no better background movie while you are working and cleaning a wrecked Reject HQ — I was reminded that the F.A.O Schwartz piano scene is one of cinema’s great moments of pure joy. There’s no pretense, no forced sense of fun and it fits neatly into the film’s tone of childlike wonder. As Robin explained when she wrote a Movies We Love piece about it some weeks back, it’s scenes like this that make Big one of the most rewatchable movies of all-time. This particular moment is a personal favorite of mine, and a scene that will undoubtedly brighten up your day. Check it out after the jump.


The Hunger Games

“The Hunger Games” is a fantastic book that I was going to write up for Print to Projector on the very day that it was announced for production. While this caused me to abandon writing my column that day, it also caused some celebration because the book deserves its popularity and its chance to be on screen. Now it appears that Seabiscuit director Gary Ross might be the one to bring child on child violence to its rightful place in our theaters and in our hearts.


Movies We Love: Big

It can be tough to be a kid. That’s what 12 year old Josh Baskin learns when he’s told he’s too small to get on a ride at a fair. This is especially humiliating because he’s told he’s too short in front of the girl he has a crush on.



Remember all of those movies you love to sit around watching and loving and talking about? Some of them were directed by women. You didn’t even know that. Did you, you chauvinist pig?



Artist Mitch Ansara has created what could be called one the first geekgasm of 2009: 1960s-inspired paperback book covers of novelized movie adaptations. Okay, so it might not sound so cool at first, but you’ve got to check some of these covers out.

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published: 01.29.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015

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