ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movie – M – The Money Pit (1986)

Director: Richard Benjamin

Writer: David Giler (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Shelley Long, Alexander Godunov, Maureen Stapleton, Joe Mantegna, Philip Bosco, Josh Mostel


Plot: A young couple struggles to repair a hopelessly dilapidated house.

Tagline – For everyone who’s ever been deeply in Love or deeply in debt.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Nice Little Comedy


Story: The Money Pit starts Walter (Hanks) and Anna (Long) lose their apartment in New York City, they must scramble around looking for somewhere to stay and they come across a million-dollar house for a fifth of the price, they simply must jump at the chance.

They move into the house only to learn about the numerous problems the house has and must work on fixing it using up the remaining funds they have.


Thoughts on The Money Pit


Characters – Walter Fielding has been living in his father’s debt for years and he wants to settle down in a house over an apartment with his girlfriend. When the house becomes a dream, he jumps at the chance only to learn he is now living a nightmare. Anna Crowley is the girlfriend of Walter that has been living in her ex-husband’s apartment, she loves Walter but isn’t ready to get married, she supports Walter in his dream house and doesn’t care about the money troubles they will be facing. Max Beissart is the ex-husband that is an arrogant composer that believes he is the best, he does want Anna back and will try anything to do so.

PerformancesTom Hanks was in the middle of his comedy run here and it shows because he is great with his comic timing, something we don’t see enough in his newer films. Shelley Long works very well as the girlfriend which showed how her fame had risen with Cheers behind her. The rest of the film has good performances with the cast knowing where they can hit it off with comedy.

StoryThe story here follows a couple that must move out of their apartment and the only place they can afford in a massive house outside of the city. The house looks like a dream home, but soon turns into a nightmare and a money pit, needing repairs in every single part of the home. This is the basics of the story, we do have a small subplot surrounding Anna and her ex-husband who is trying to win her back, otherwise this is just about how the house is destroying the life and relationship of the couple.

ComedyThe comedy comes from all the events the couple must go through with making the house work, the best parts come from all the mishaps they have which does play more towards the slapstick.

SettingsThe film spends most of the in the new house, this is where the best moments happen, the comedy, when we are away from the house we get to go through the normal New York locations.

Scene of the Movie –
Bath Tub.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The subplot gets in the way of the comedy.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the comedies that showed us all just how capable Tom Hanks was going to be. The comedy hits well and even though we have a small subplot that takes away from the film.


Overall: Good comedy that still stands the test of time.




ABC Film Challenge – 80s – B – Bachelor Party (1984)

Director: Neal Israel

Writer: Neal Israel, Pat Proft (Screenplay) Bob Israel (Story)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tawny Kitaen, Adrian Zmed, George Grizzard, Barbara Stuart, Robert Prescott, William Tepper


Plot: A soon-to-be-married man’s friends throw him the ultimate bachelor party.

Tagline – Shocking, Shameless, Sinful, Wicked. And the party hasn’t even started.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Wild Party


Story: Bachelor Party starts when Rick (Hanks) announces to his friends, Jay (Zmed), Rudy (Diamond), Gary (Grossman), Ryko (Dudikoff) that he is going to marry his girlfriend Debbie (Kitaen), which means one thing for the guys, a bachelor party. Rick is trusted by Debbie, but her father Ed (Grizzard) doesn’t like him and wants his selection Cole (Prescott) to marry his daughter.

With the bachelor party underway, the boys think they are going to have a couple of strippers, few drinks and a good time, only for Cole to bring problems to the party in his attempts to break up the couple, meanwhile Debbie is having her own quieter party with her friends, which is also in Cole’s plans.


Thoughts on Bachelor Party


Characters – Rick is considered a bit of a slacker, he drives a school bus and hasn’t ever put his life into any order, he does however decide to marry his girlfriend against her father’s wishes, he is used to getting abused by people who look down on him, though he is the friend that will always be there for a friend in need. Debbie is the future bride, she comes from a rich family which she is tired of the lifestyle that looks down on people and sees the pure nature in Rick. Jay is the best friend that is always trying to get Rick in trouble, he loves to party too. Ed is the father of Debbie, he always looks down on Rick never seeing him as good enough for his daughter and wants to end the relationship before it gets started.

PerformancesTom Hanks is the clear standout in this film, you get to see how he has a different level of acting abilities than most people in the film being able to do the sleazy moments, while bring a human friendship figure to life. The rest of the cast do work for their roles, the party animals work well, the upper-class characters and the one trying to steal the girl work too.

StoryThe story here follows a slacker that is going to marry the love of his life, but before he must have a bachelor party which soon gets out of control. This film doesn’t have the deepest story, it dives into the idea parents don’t always approve of the potential loved ones, your friends will want you have one last mad night before you get married and needing to avoid the person trying to take apart you life. This is everything that we know from the wild party film, it plays out like a checklist without being anything new, but easy to enjoy.

ComedyThe comedy in this film enters us into the wild party, we get to see how things go wrong, they will get us laughing at times even if certain jokes might not have aged well.

SettingsThe film is set in a hotel room for the party, we get to see how the guests get themselves into trouble through the night, looking for extra people to join the party.

Scene of the Movie –
3D experience.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The donkey.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun 80s party movie, which bought us an early role from Tom Hanks, it is everything you expect and can be a good time for all.


Overall: Simple, fun and entertaining.




ABC Film Challenge – Romance – C – Larry Crowne (2011)

Director: Tom Hanks

Writer: Tom Hanks, Nia Vardalos (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Pam Grier, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Holmes Osbourne, Taraji P Henson, Rob Riggle


Plot: After losing his job, a middle-aged man reinvents himself by going back to college.

Tagline – Never too late in life to start living.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Clichéd Rom Com


Story: Larry Crowne starts as we meet Larry (Hanks) a hard-working sales man for a supermarket like company that is let go due to him not having a college education, in desperate search for a new purpose, he heads back to college with one of his lecturers being Mercedes Tainot (Roberts) who feels she is under achieving.

After meeting fellow student Talia (Mbatha-Raw), he learns to fit in with the students and helps him find a new purpose as he reinvents himself.


Thoughts on Larry Crowne


Characters – Larry Crowne spent years in the Navy as a chef, he has worked his way up the ranks at a superstore, only to find himself laid off because he doesn’t have a college education. Not finding a new job, he heads back to college where he makes new friends and clashes with the teachers, while finding himself. He doesn’t have a bad bone in his body and just wants to help people. Mercedes Tainot is a teacher that doesn’t feel she is achieving everything she could, she enjoys a drink to cover her failings in life with her marriage going down the toilet, she pushes her students while not always caring. Talia is a student that takes Larry under her wing, helps him join their gang and becomes the friend he needs through his college experience. She is the spark in the movie that keeps everything feeling fresh.

PerformancesTom Hanks takes many roles in this film, director, writer and leading man, he is good in this role, where he can play into the comedy he was once known for, but it is far from the best we know he can do. Julia Roberts is good too, she enjoys playing a less complicated character to the ones we know her for too. For me the star of the movie must be Gugu Mbatha-Raw who steals every scene we see her in with her pure positivity. The rest of the supporting cast are good throughout the film with some names that have gone onto bigger things too.

StoryWhen I look at this story it does show us how one man who loses his job, wife and is left facing no future because of his lack of education, it does play out like an important look at the real world, this side of the story is good, the problems I found with the story include how he goes to college, but we never learn what this is to achieve because on of the courses seems like a made up one too. We get a romantic angle which just doesn’t work and while it does show us about taking change in your life in your stride we do see to lose plot points quickly through the film.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film does work, it is mostly light hearted which works well. The romance in the film for me is mostly a miss because we do try to play into what could happen between the two, which shouldn’t be around in this story for Larry.

SettingsThe settings in the film take our main character back to college and to locations he wouldn’t have imagined he would have gone, even with they are cliched as they come.

Scene of the Movie –
Larry’s speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The subplots just seem to vanish through the story.

Final ThoughtsThis movie does want to give us an important message, but by the end it just falls into the clichés we know too often in rom coms.


Overall: By the book.




Toy Story 4 (2019)

Director: Josh Cooley

Writer: Andrew Stanton, Stephany Folsom (Screenplay) John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Josh Cooley, Valerie LaPointe, Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, Martin Hynes, Stephany Folsom (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Keanu Reeves, Annie Potts, Joan Cusack, Tony Hale, Madeleine McGraw


Plot: When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.

Tagline – On The Road Of Life, There Are Old Friends, New Friends, And Stories That Change You

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Cash Grab Sequel


Story: Toy Story 4 starts as we see how the toys are now living with Bonnie, Woody is starting to get ignored more with her enjoyment of Jessie getting stronger, with Bonnie starting Kindergarten Woody goes against orders of the room to help her in class, where she builds a new toy called Forky out of trash.

Forky becomes her favourite toy and Woody wants to do everything he can to stop him running away, when the family goes on a road trip, Forky escapes forcing Woody to rescue him once again, on the rescue attempt Woody finds himself investigating an antique store which could have an old friend in Bo Peep in, only to find the toy living in the store Gabby Gabby searching for something, forcing Woody to team up with Bo and new friends to save Forky and get back to Bonnie in time.


Thoughts on Toy Story 4


Characters – Woody is struggling with not being in control of the room anymore, he still wants to help make Bonnie happy, which sees him acting selfishly, he does try to fix his own mistakes which will see him facing a second chance, meeting an old friend and distancing himself from his current friends. Woody is the key figure in this film, this is very much his story. Forky is the newly created toy out of a spork and is learning everything as it unfolds even though he believes he is trash. Buzz Lightyear is trying to step up when Woody goes off, he does feel like a bigger idiot than we are used to, using his voice commands to help him, which seems like a huge step back on his character. Bo Peep coming back to the franchise is fun, she shows Woody a new life away from kids, where she helps toys, she is Woody’s big love in life too, kick ass fighter too. Gabby Gabby is an older toy like Woody, she has been damaged and is searching for something to hope she can be taken home one day, she is painted as the villain, though she is the weakest villain in the franchise. Duke Caboom is the best addition to the film a stuntman that has failed as a toy, he is always up for trying something new and is filled with confidence.

StoryThe story here follows Woody trying to find himself a place in the world after becoming a smaller part in the life of his new owner Bonnie, he gets too involved and spends most of the story trying to make up for his mistake of letting Bonnie create a new toy, caught in the middle saving the day or breaking free. Now this is the 4th part of the franchise which did tie up nicely after the third one. The supporting characters do take a big back burner in the story which even sees Buzz getting less screen time, this is a full Woody story trying to figure out where his life is going on next. We do try to play on the heart strings, though it just doesn’t get to the levels it could have and has been there before. The new characters to bring the bright spark to the story, but we do end up going down the road, where this is becoming too unbelievable that these toys are acting like this.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure side of this film comes from the idea that Woody will need to go on a new adventure to save Forky, only to see Buzz on his own adventure which does cross paths with Woody, only his feels like a simple side to everything. the comedy from the new characters hits very well, its just old character seem to fall short.

SettingsHaving the film use an Antique story is great idea because we get to see known toys that could add comedy in places, the carnival also adds potential new characters too.

AnimationThe animation is Pixar at its very best, it looks perfect like we know they are used to bring us, bringing us larger scale environment to everything going on.

Scene of the Movie –
Duke Caboom.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Buzz seems to be dumber.

Final ThoughtsThis does end up feeling like a cash grab sequel, it doesn’t have the heart the previous films do and fails to use the original characters well enough.


Overall: By the books sequel.




That Thing You Do! (1996)

Director: Tom Hanks

Writer: Tom Hanks (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler, Steve Zahn, Johnathon Schaech, Ethan Embry, Charlize Theron


Plot: A local Pennsylvania band scores a one hit wonder in 1964 and rides the star-making machinery as long as they can, with lots of help from its manager.

Tagline – In every life there comes a time when that dream you dream becomes that thing you do.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review




Story: That Thing You Do! Starts in a small town in Pennsylvania in 1964, where four young men Jimmy (Schaech), Guy (Scott), Lenny (Zahn) and the Bass Player (Embry) are trying to make a nae for themselves and when they win a talent contest, the band known as ‘The One-Ders’ grab the attention of the state.

When Mr White (Hanks) discovers the band, he rebrands them ‘The Wonders’ and soon their hit ‘That Thing You Do!’ rises up the charts becoming an overnight sensation.


Thoughts on That Thing You Do!


Characters – Mr White is the music manager who takes over control of ‘The Wonders’ he knows how to make them bigger than they are and shows them how to go from small crowds to the main attraction to national success, however he makes sure he keeps them doing the song that made them popular over trying to make them do anything new. Jimmy is the lead singer of the band and along with his girlfriend has always tried to make the band their own style, always trying to find a clever snappy name for them. Guy is bought in last minute to become the drummer and soon becomes the man of mystery in the band, the one that pushes them to up the tempo of the band sound. Faye is Jimmy’s girlfriend that has supported the band from day one, she will follow them on tour.

PerformancesTom Hanks is a busy man on this film taking writing and directing too, he is great as the manager trying to make the band the next big thing, he shows he knows this side of the business with the character too. Johnathon Schaech, Tom Everett Scott, Steve Zahn and Ethan Embry as the band are good they have great chemistry together. Liv Tyler is good with her role slowly turning into the background roll in the film.

StoryThe story follows a young band that rise from small-town band to national success with their one hit wonder song that is filled with good feeling. We see how the band can be led down one the path that is best for their quick success over being shown about lasting success in a cut throat 60s music industry, where everyone wanted to become the next Beetles. The story is shown in a pace which shows the band just loving the success that is coming their direction while they have their own issues which must be put aside to keep the band together and we see how they must learn to handle success.

Comedy/MusicThe comedy in the film comes from the supporting cast where Lenny get the laughs with his enthusiasm about the band. The music is mostly the same song being played, but it isn’t one that gets annoying though.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the small humble beginnings the band has to just how big they becomes with each location becoming bigger to mirror their success.

Scene of the Movie –
That Thing You Do! The song.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Bass Player not actually having a name.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good example of how bands can have one song which makes them massive only to see them struggle when it comes to trying to make a name for themselves in a new booming industry.


Overall: Hanks is just as great behind the camera as he is on front of it.