We are rounding out the second round of the Movies of 1988 bracket game. After today’s match, we will have our final four. Today’s contest is between two popular comedies both of which had some cross-generational appeal. Roger Rabbit‘s blend of animation and live action appealed to both kids and adults. To sweeten the deal, the movie includes a heavy dose of nostalgia and some risqué gags that will go over the heads of most youngsters. Big created a fantasy that plays out differently depending on your age. Kids could fantasize what adult life and the freedom that comes with it might be like whereas adults could imagine what it might be like to recapture some of their childhood wonder.
One of these ostensibly family friendly comedies will advance to the final four and the other will be eliminated from the game.
As this game illustrates, 1988 was a banner year for comedy. In fact, renowned film critic Daffy Stardust wrote “1988 has to be considered one of the greatest years in the history of film comedies.” So there you have it. Case closed. In today’s match-up we have two more successful comedies both of which represented attempts at growth by their leading men. After breaking out as a massive movie star playing fast-talking hustlers on Saturday Night Live and in movies like 48 Hours and Trading Places, Eddie Murphy wanted to be a romantic leading man. Tom Hanks had already established himself in the romantic-comedy, Splash, but Big offered him the opportunity to show a little more range than most of the goofy parts he had played up to that point.
Today our headliners are two actresses who were very familiar faces to late 1970s and early ’80s TV audiences, both of whom have other accomplishments as well.
Linda Lavin turns 79 today. Her first significant TV role was in the recurring role Det. Janice Wentworth on Barney Miller. After two seasons, she left the show to take the lead role in a sitcom about a widow with a young son who plans to move to California, but ends up in Phoenix after her car breaks down, and finds work as a waitress at a restaurant called Mel’s. She played the role of Alice Hyatt in Alice for a run of nine seasons, winning two Golden Globes for Best TV Actress–Musical or Comedy.
Twenty-five years ago, director Penny Marshall spoke with Movieline about her upcoming drama, Awakenings, how she became one of two prominent female directors in Hollywood at the time and what it was like working on her brother’s sitcom while being married to Rob Reiner.