The Oscar Project
Today is the first day of February and there is a lot going on lately at The Oscar Project. If you haven’t checked out any of my Oscars 2023 coverage, I have posts on the nominees for Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, Best Costume Design, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling with another post planned later today for Best Film Editing. Each post gives you some background on the individuals nominated in those categories along with some of my thoughts on the films that I’ve seen already.
But this post is about my fifth film in the 2023 Movie Challenge a fun little film from early in Tom Hanks’s career called Bachelor Party. The premise of this film is simple. Hanks stars as Rick, a man who makes his living driving a school bus and tells his group of friends that he’s getting married to his girlfriend Debbie (Tawny Kitaen). In true bro fashion, his friends decide to throw him a bachelor party, complete with “chicks and guns and fire trucks and hookers and drugs and booze” according to his pal Rudy (Barry Diamond). If you’ve ever seen a movie like this, you probably know how the rest of the film goes. The boys get a hotel room and end up with most of Rudy’s requests (I don’t remember any guns or fire trucks) while Debbie and the bridal shower try to foil the boys’ night of excess by sneaking into the party dressed as hookers.
The cast in the film is not really notable other than Hanks and Kitaen. If you’re a Hanks completist, you’ll have to watch this, but I would definitely put this quite low on his list of best films. That said, there are glimmers of future characters throughout the film. This film was Hanks at some of his most manic and comedic, something that has become softened over the years. Interestingly, I saw Hanks’s most recent film, A Man Called Otto, just a few days before watching this film, and his perfect line delivery is still there nearly 40 years later, but it’s a bit more subdued. Hanks seems to have learned that you can deliver a bitingly sarcastic line quietly and have it be just as effective, if not more so, as yelling it across a hotel room full of bachelor party guests.
One of the other voices I couldn’t help hear throughout was one of Hanks’s most beloved characters, Woody from Toy Story. Several times when Hanks delivers lines with that voice that rises in pitch and intensity, I immediately though of Woody getting exasperated with buzz under the tanker truck at the Dinoco station (“YOU…ARE…A…TOY!!!”). And wouldn’t that be a movie premise. If Andy never gave Woody away at the end of Toy Story 3, but kept him around and brought him to a future bachelor party. I don’t know about you, but I’d watch that movie.
In the end, Bachelor Party is not a great movie. It follows in the line of over the top comedies akin to Animal House, or maybe even a bit of Porky’s (though slightly less graphic). There are definitely some film descendants of this movie in films like American Pie (traditional sex comedy) and Meet the Parents (wedding weekend comedy). If you’re a fan of those types of films, you can get some enjoyment out of this movie, but I wouldn’t really recommend it as one of the best of those genres. Hanks is Hanks, and that helps make this one go down a bit easier.
Film that takes place somewhere you want to go
This was a fun category for me and I ended up picking a comedy movie even though there are so many films that take place in Hawaii. There were also lots of different places I would love to go, but landed on Hawaii since I’ve heard wonderful things about the state.
In terms of things to do in Hawaii, I think I would focus on the history, especially centered around Pearl Harbor. I’m a huge history buff and I’ve always wanted to visit the wreck of the USS Arizona. I would spend as much time there learning and seeing as much as possible in that area.
For the movie (50 First Dates), I actually love this one and have seen it probably two dozen times over the years. It’s one that is on TV quite a bit and you can pick it up anywhere and watch little bits and pieces. There are lots of fun set pieces in the film and the relationship between Adam Sandler’s Henry and Drew Barrymore’s Lucy feels natural and unforced in the way many on-screen relationships do. The twist that Lucy has short term memory loss and cannot create new memories leads to the film’s title. Add in Lucy’s loveable father Marlin (played by longtime Sandler co-star Blake Clark) and brother Doug (Sean Astin) and you have a great cast. On top of that, there is even a Dan Aykroyd cameo for good measure.
The other fun thing about this is that it is the second film starring Sandler and Barrymore, the first being The Wedding Singer. There is a clear chemistry between the two actors so it’s not surprising that they connected on screen more than once. The thing I actually like about both films is that they are not straight love stories where boy meets girl, they fall in love, and eventually get married. They both twist and turn, throwing some unexpected roadblocks in the way of the pairing.
If you haven’t seen 50 First Dates, do yourself a favor and rent a copy for your next date night. It’s a tidy 99 minutes and will have you laughing, crying, and cheering for true love to prevail.
I'm just a film buff who wants to watch great movies. Where else to find the best, than the list of those nominated by the Academy each year?