Synopsis: The Buckman family is a midwestern family all dealing with their lives: estranged relatives, raising children, pressures of the job, and learning to be a good parent and spouse.
Stars: Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Jason Robards, Tom Hulce, Martha Plimpton, Keanu Reeves, Dianne Wiest
Director: Ron Howard
Running Length: 124 minutes
TMMM Score: (8/10)
Review: 23 years on, this film continues to entertain and surprise me with each viewing. I think seeing this as a nine year old my understanding of some situations wasn’t fully there yet. Moving into seeing it as a teenager and then a young adult and now veering toward true adulthood I find myself seeing this in a new light based on where I am with my life. For a while I responded most to the Martin/Steenburgen family storyline, then it was the Moranis character was most interesting to me. My appreciation of Weist’s role is the one constant and it’s no big shocker she was nominated for an Oscar (I can’t say she was totally robbed as I’ve not seen Brenda Fricker’s winning role in My Left Foot) Howard directs this one with a light touch that has stood the test of all these years. At this time, these were the types of movies that he had a strong voice with. As the years pass he has moved on to more challenging works with darker themes but I have always responded to the 80’s and early 90’s Howard films.
The large cast is in top form working with great material that was culled from the lives of its director, producers, and writers. Giving it that personal touch elevates the movie to a more realistic tone that pays dividends to the viewer. I have to give special mention to Helen Shaw who plays, simply, Grandma. Her speech near the end not only sums up everything we’ve seen so far but provides Martin with the best punchline in the movie.
I pop this one in at least once a year – with its recent release on Blu-Ray it’s nice to view it anew with its remastered video and audio. Whether it’s your first viewing or 20th there is something here for all audiences.