There’s something really magical about movies from the ’80s. I mean, the premise of the movie Big is about a boy who isn’t tall enough to go on a ride at a carnival with a girl he likes so he wishes to be big and a magical wish-granting machine makes him a 30-year-old man overnight. As far as his parents are concerned he’s been abducted, which is so strange to think about.
Anyway, I love fish-out-of-water scenarios so this was always one of my favorite movies as a little kid with the ultimate “don’t wish your life away” message. And Penny Marshall directed it and I love her, so. . .
Here are five ways Big ruined my life:
1. I Think Every Zoltar Machine Is Magic. Duh.
OBVIOUSLY. The first time you see a Zoltar machine (or Zoltar-like machine) in real life after seeing Big, it’s a magical experience. You actually think it’s going to grant you wishes.
Of course it doesn’t and, none of the real life versions have the same amazing design as the one in this movie but STILL, we can all dream, can’t we?
2. It Ruined FAO Schwartz For Me
Of course, one of the most famous scenes takes place in FAO Schwartz on the giant piano. Now, you must understand I grew up in Upstate NY so I was always adjacent to New York City (“The City”) but wasn’t going there all the time until I moved there for college. So when I went on a school trip to the Statue of Liberty in 4th grade and went to FAO Schwartz as part of the trip, I was downright LIVID that the giant piano was a lie.
Now they have (or at least they did the last time I went in 2012), a small step-on piano for children, but it is not the same. And, again, the design just isn’t as good as in the movie!
3. I Think I’ll Become Successful If I Can Just Charm An Important Person
The important thing that happens in the FAO Schwartz scene is that Josh’s boss, played by Robert Loggia, has a fun time with Josh! And it makes him say, wait a minute, you’re really smart about toys maybe you should do more in the company.
And the thing is, I now think this is a real thing that can happen. Well, MAYBE, it is but I think the likelihood of it actually happening is far less than what I think it is because of Big (and lots of movies for that matter).
All I want is to charm someone who, say, designs stickers or tee shirts or works for Sally Hansen or makes TV shows and have them say, “Erin! You’re great! Here’s a huge job bump and a lot of $$$$$!!!!”
Big taught me that might happen. I’m just still waiting to charm you, Fancy Business Person Who Will Give Me Money.
4. It Taught Me The Only Way To Eat Baby Corn
Everything Tom Hanks does as a 13-year-old-turned-30-year-old does is the best. In particular, I love this outfit he wears to his fancy company party.
But then, after double-dipping about a million times and doing other things kids would think are totally acceptable at a fancy party with unlimited free food, he notices a baby corn.
I guess poor Josh has never seen one of these before because he examines it, realizes it is a tiny ear of corn and proceeds to eat it as you would a giant ear of corn. Brilliant.
You better believe I insisted on eating baby corn like this whenever I had Chinese food for many years after seeing the movie.
5. The Message to Keep Your Youthful Wonder and Find Success!
I think the most important takeaway for me is the idea of holding on to your youthful wonder. And if you know me in real life, or on the Internet, I think we can all agree I’ve done that fairly well.
I’m not interested in changing who I am for anyone: I’m writing this in a vintage Chicago Cubs tee shirt and cutoffs I made myself and I’m pretty happy about that. I don’t care if you think it’s weird that I have stickers on my phone case or my journals or that I own stickers in general.
I remember being a freshman in high school and thinking, “Man, I can’t wait to be a senior and have nice hair that I ‘do’ every day and to dress up like they do.” And that never happened. You know why? Because that’s not me. It’s just not, and I’m completely, 100% okay with that.
And one day my youthful wonder will earn me a ton of success! One day, I’ll be Big!