My Favorite Film is a BIG One

Why This Particular “Feel Good” Movie Tops My List

By Jeff Salter

Topic: What’s your favorite feel good movie?

Well, it looks like we had a very similar topic a bit less than three years ago. [See WAY below for a link to the earlier blog.]

I should preface this blog by stating that I sometimes think I missed my true calling — American Film Critic. I absolutely love movies and – before I retired and began writing long fiction – I probably watched a dozen or more movies (on TV) each week. “I couldda been a contenda.”

As often happens (with me), when asked any question about my FAVORITES – whether books, authors, films, actors, characters, meals, etc. – I typically draw a blank. Therefore, in advance of composing today’s Hound Day blog, I went to the internet and googled “feel good” movies. Not sure why this surprised me, but the vast majority of titles listed are films I’ve never seen — quite a few that I’ve never even heard of! Of those which I have viewed, hardly any were (to me) “feel good” movies. Puzzling.

To cite merely one search example, I examined the list [“150 Feel Good Films” from Rotten Tomatoes]. Surprisingly, from that entire list, I only found about half a dozen that I agreed with! I suppose these results would indicate that the components (of a movie) which make me “feel good” differ considerably from nearly everybody else!

My Choice

Since I listed ten titles in my previous discussion, for today, I’ll focus on a SINGLE movie — one which I think I could watch and re-watch without ever tiring of it. To begin with, it’s wonderfully cast. Tom Hanks – early in his career (1988), but already demonstrating a remarkable range – is superb as the 13-year old getting his wish to be grown-up (i.e., “big”) so he wouldn’t be excluded from so many experiences. Moving to the big city, finding a job, getting an apartment, meeting the lovely Elizabeth Perkins – all while still maintaining contact (at least at first) with his neighborhood buddy – is beautifully handled. The script is terrific, the direction (by Penny Marshall) is great. The supporting players (like Robert Loggia and Jon Lovitz) are excellent. There’s nothing that I don’t like about the film.

It’s such a universal feeling – for kids – to wish to be “grown-up”… with the incredibly (but understandably) naïve notion that once they’re “big” everything will be easy-peasy. But it’s not, of course. Life gets complicated. Seeing how the character Josh – still 13-years old in his mind, personality, and emotions – handles all these challenges is fascinating and heart-warming.

Hanks was 32 while this movie was being filmed — it amazes me how well he captures the expressions and mannerisms of a child roughly 20 years younger. Though I won’t take the time to list them here, apparently over a dozen other big-name actors were considered for the “Josh” role played by Hanks. If you read the list you will be floored… trying to imagine how any of them could have pulled it off as well as Hanks did. [I will reveal one of the names: Robert DeNiro. Try to wrap your brain around his portrayal of Josh.]

I understand there’s a “re-cut” version – released in 2007 – which contains 26 additional minutes. Now my quest is to locate a copy of that expanded version [130 minutes] and view it!

After I’d already made my new list (for THIS week), I went back and checked the titles I’d indicated in October 2020. Several films appear on both of my lists.

In case you’re wondering – but not interested enough to click the link above – here are some of the titles I mentioned three years ago that are still contenders for my favorite “feel good” movies:

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off  /////  Who Am I This Time?  /////  The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill and Came Down a Mountain  /////  It Happened One Night  /////  Sixteen Candles  /////  My Cousin Vinny  /////  Back To The Future  /////  A League of Their Own  /////  His Girl Friday  /////  Ghostbusters.

Question:

Which film would top YOUR list of “feel good” movies?

[JLS # 636]

Advertisement

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
This entry was posted in characters, Jeff Salter, Lists, movies and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to My Favorite Film is a BIG One

  1. jbrayweber says:

    Feel good movies? Hmm… I mean, “feel good” could be subjective, right? So I’ll just list a few I know I enjoy watching that might be considered fun.
    (In no particular order:)
    Goonies
    The Prinecess Bride
    Airplane
    Robin Hood: Men in Tights
    Rat Race
    Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom & The Last Crusade
    The Breakfast Club
    Weird Science
    National Lampoon’s Vacation

    Liked by 1 person

    • I LOVE movies, Jenn, and I think you feel the same as I that enjoying watching a ‘good’ movie and one that is ‘fun’ can be two entirely different things.
      Nice list.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      Jenn, I’d definitely vote for Goonies and Weird Science. The rest of your nominations are a lot closer to my tastes than the titles on that Rotten Tomatoes list.

      Like

      • jbrayweber says:

        I forgot! I also love McClintock!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jeff Salter says:

          McClintock is a good one, but I wish some of the standard John Wayne movie “bits” had been either cut or trimmed back. Sometimes, in his films, he’s hardly more than a bully… and that doesn’t sit well with me.

          Like

          • jbrayweber says:

            In my opinion, it’s the character portrayal. Like Rooster Cogburn. But I understand where you are coming from. Still, I like nearly all John Wayne movies. McClintock, though, is my favorite.

            Like

            • Jeff Salter says:

              I like most of his. My least favorite is the one where his grandson is kidnapped by Richard Boone. Lots of flaws in that one (for me).

              Like

  2. As I generally bring up movies that no one knows, also, I bet few know The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill…It’s one of the few times that Hugh Grand was totally enjoyable and not doing the schtick he seemed to do in every other movie since. I truly enjoyed that one.
    I have yet to see all of Sixteen Candles, but I agree with the rest.
    I actually was a contributing movie critic on a MSN group years ago. It was sad when they closed them all down. I wish I had thought to save my posts.
    We’ve probably said several times everything there is to say about movies by now. It’s like a consumer poll where they ask you basically te same questions , just worded differently, to see how you REALLY feel about them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      Tonette, too bad there’s no way you can access those MSN group archives to save copies of your previous reviews. Did you type them directly onto the site? or did you compose them as a doc and then upload?

      Like

  3. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I remember seeing the promo clips for Big and thinking it might be a fun movie to watch, but never got around to it. What surprises me is that I’ve actually watched three from your previous list! I enjoyed Back to the Future, Sixteen Candles, and A League of Their Own. Yes, they all end happily, although Back to the Future has more of the “feel good” ending I usually equate with the term.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I hope you will find time to watch “Big.” It may have more of a “connection” with male viewers, but I think ladies would also enjoy it. Elizabeth Perkins does a terrific job, especially in the second half of the film.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My “favorite” movies are not necessarily the ones I would choose when looking for a “feel good” movie. To me, a feel good movie is one where there’s not too much suspense or mystery, and I can relax and just enjoy the story. That said, here’s a list of some movies that fill the bill for me:
    Jane Eyre (2011)
    Everafter (Drew Barrymore)
    McClintock (love John Wayne and all his movies)
    National Treasure (both)
    Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle (a British series which came to American TV as a movie) Note: I can’t stand the later one with Keira Knightley (I think she was a poor choice for the part.).
    The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison)
    Timeline (Gerard Butler)
    Finding Normal (Candace Cameron Bure)

    There are more that I can’t think of right now, I’m sure, but these are movies I turn to in our collection of DVDs simply to relax and enjoy. Jane Eyre, National Treasure, and Timeline may seem strange choices after my comment above about my criteria for a “feel good” movie, but for some reason they work for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I absolutely LOVE “The Ghost & Mrs. Muir” — for many reasons (some of which you already know) — but it does have a bit of a sad ending. I mean, all those years of Lucy Muir’s loneliness (when her memory of Capt Gregg had been erased) — that catches in my heart.

      Like

  5. I remember really enjoying Big when I was younger. I watched it again a few years ago and didn’t enjoy it as much but many of the movies I enjoyed when I was younger have not held up well for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      was there any particular element that you found had not held up well for you?
      I’m interested, because of my theory that “Big” might be more of a guy movie than a girl movie.

      Like

  6. Elaine Cantrell says:

    Jeff, I think that you and I would never be able to pick a movie to watch. I saw a few minutes of Big, and it didn’t interest me too much. I would like to see The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. I’ve never seen it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I think you’d enjoy the 1947 film. Gene Tierney (as Lucy Muir) shows a great deal of strength and independence — in a time when that was rather oppressed in females. And she’s fearless when confronted by the ghost of Capt. Gregg.

      Like

  7. Harper Nevar says:

    The Goonies of course, one of my all-time favorites, I love chunk and sloth, and I remember wishing I was on the ship with them when they found the treasure

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      that was a terrific film. I enjoyed it and so did my kids. We even took my dad to it the year it came out!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s