The Michigan Daily
Wednesday, October 7, 1987
By Michael Behm
What? You're kidding. Big Shots
? Who stuck me with this? I haven't
even seen a preview of the show yet.
Who have the lead roles, Burt
Reynolds and Kirk Douglas? C'mon,
two pre-adolescent punks? I'm dying
here. It says that one of the co-leads
only acting experience is a school
play called Herb the Verb.
I was thinking, "Mike, tell your
editors you've got too many papers
M to write and you won't be available
for a week. At least."
I don't lie that well. So I took a
chance and saw it. And I'm glad I
Big Shots tugs at your heart. If
Mark Twain were alive today, this is
the kind of work he would be doing.
The film is simple but has some
pertinent things to say about the
relationships between children and
adults. It is about losing something
very dear to you and the trials of
trying to regain it. Big Shots is
moving, touching, heart warming,
emotional, and realistic.
The realistic aspect of the film
was the last thing I expected. But
it's this aspect of the film that truly
sells the movie.
Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas
(Jagged Edge, Flashdance ) uses
personal experiences in presenting
the audience with a convincing story
line. He does not drop hints that
would encourage the audience to
believe that the movie will end with
the good guys walking off into the
Obie (Ricky Busker) and Scam
(Darius McCray), the films two
stars, meet unintentionally. Scam
and Obie are twelve year-olds; Scam
is the streetwise businessman and
Obie is the kid from suburbia. The
two boys are both separated from
their parents and wind up befriending
each other. Obie's father has died and
Scam doesn't know where his father
is. Despite these tribulations,
however, each kid has resources to
help the other one out.
The movie progresses as the boys
try to track down Scam's father. The
journey they embark upon is filled
with many surprises, dangerous
characters, and humorous situations.
But the most important thing they
find, although not looking for it, is
No particular scene was more
emotional than another. The
audience leaves the theatre with a
feeling that stems from the entire
movie. Producer, Ivan Reitman
(Ghostbusters, Stripes, Anitnal
House) should feel the most sat-
isfaction from this accomplishment.
The last movie that had this
effect was Stand By Me I
appreciated Big Shots to a greater
extent because it involved not only
the honesty and frankness of a best
friendship but also the love and
compassion of a parent/child
relationship. If Stand By Me caused
you to shed a tear or two, Big Shots
will certainly cause you to leave the
theatre with a damp kleenex.
Unlikely stars Obie (Ricky Busker), left, and Scam (Darius McCrary), right, team up in 'Big Shots.
The classic form
of a dying art
By John Shea
This past summer, Walt Disney's
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Released back in 1937, it was the
first full-length animation feature in
the history of motion pictures. It has
largely been credited for opening up
the genre of animation in film, and
has been lauded across the world as
thu best film of its kind.
Disney re-released the film in
May to celebrate the occasion, and
while I was home I asked my 10
year-old neighbor, Michael, if he
would like to share with me the
Disney magic and wonder.
"I ain't gonna see that crap," he
announced. "It's for fags."
Wait a minute. Something is
wrong here. Every red-blooded
American sees this film at least
twice: once when they are young and
forced to go by their parents, and
again when they grow up and have
children. What about that Disney
Interested in writit
magic and wonder? It didn't seem
right that Michael should miss out
on all of this. So, later on that
week, I visited his home; Snow
White was playing at the local
theatre and I was going to drag him
there if I had to.
Michael's mother greeted me at
the door and pointed me to the
family room, where Michael was
watching television. He was
surrounded by toy action figures,
spread out all over the floor. If his
nose were any closer to the screen, it
would have gone through it. He was
watching one of those new-wave,
futuristic cartoons, the kind where
robots blow-torch one another for
kicks. Michael couldn't get enough.
He never knew I was there, and
we never went to see Snow White.
The cry one hears over and over
again from the purists is that film is
becoming too commercial. Two
years ago, I might not have agreed;
but now I've added my voice to the
growing chorus of discontent.
Hey. I saw Star Wars. Twice.
And you know, I don't remember
there being 256 characters. But there
seems to be that many toy action
Nowadays, some movies put up
no false pretense at all; they are un-
abashedly 85-minute commercials,
designed to sell a product. Those of
whom argue that My Little Pony the.
Movie and Care Bears: Loving,;
Learning and Laughing have any
ig about film, theater,
ks or dance?
give to animated features is invested
in marketing; the final product is
lost somewhere between the shuffle.
Oh, well. Kids like Michael...
well, they're just kids. If playing
with Go-Bots does something for
them, great. More power to them.
But listen. Snow White is playing at
the. Michigan Theatre this Sunday
and I've got two tickets for the
show. Does anyone want to go?
The Walt Disney classic 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' (above) celebrated its 50th anniversary this summer.
Unfortunately, today=s studios have their eyesights on the consumer's pocketbooks instead of quality animation.
redeeming qualities beyond their
sugar-coated messages probably
work at Toys-R-Us.
It's no secret that the field of
animation has gone to pot. Since
1937, we as a nation have fought in
two world wars, built an atomic
bomb, and put a man on the moon;
yet we can't make a good cartoon.
Where is the detail? Where is the
effort? Where are the creative minds?
Who in the hell is She-ra, Queen
of the Galaxy?
It shouldn't be that the very first
animated feature in the history of
Hollywood stands up as the greatest
of all time. We should be moving
forwards;.we should be evolving into
better things with all the
sophisticated equipment that's
around these days. Yet, we are stuck
in reverse and falling into creative
oblivion - fast.
Enjoy the great gifts of animation
that Walt Disney has given us,
because there won't ever be anymore
like them, ever again. What studio is
going to invest the millions of
dollars and the years - not hours,
but years - that would be needed to
make anything approaching the
calibre of Snow White ? The answer
is painfully obvious.
But then again, the times have
changed. Disney isn't all that hip
anymore, and Bugs Bunny is gauche,
too. Whatever concern major studios
Canon - Minolta . Nikon
Pentax - Olympus
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