5 Reasons 'Big' Had The Most Depressing Happy Ending Ever
If it's been a few years since you've seen the little-kid-becomes-Tom Hanks movie Big, let's briefly recap: A 13 year-old makes a wish on a Zoltar machine at a carnival to be bigger, and he wakes up in the body of Tom Hanks. He then runs away from home (calling his Mom and saying he's been kidnapped), becomes a big-shot at a toy company, gets a girlfriend, learns valuable life lessons, then at the end gets turned back into a kid again.
The final scene is his adult girlfriend watching the now-young Josh walking away, wearing an adult's business suit.
And that's when things would go to shit. See, the cops are going to have a lot of questions here, and a whole lot of lives are going to get ruined.
The Adult Josh Baskin is Now Missing
When Josh went back to being a kid again, an adult named Josh Baskin dropped off the face of the earth. This wouldn't be a problem if he was a nobody, but in his short time as an adult, he did quite a lot to get remembered. He leased an apartment, got a job, and then by virtue of his kiddish nature and his skills on the giant piano, he climbed the corporate ladder to an executive-level job in a matter of weeks. He made friends, acquaintances and business contacts along every step of the way.
As far as those people are concerned, he just disappeared, with no warning. Didn't somebody go looking for him? There must have been a police investigation, during which time the cops surely noticed there was already a missing Josh Baskin in the area (a kid) who was reported as found right when the adult Josh Baskin disappeared.
Now, we're not saying they would be able to just put two and two together and decide it was all a magical conspiracy, but it would certainly raise questions. Between looking for the adult Josh and following up with the kid Josh, they'd have to talk to his friends, family, coworkers, etc.
Frankly, his tailor earned some jail time.
In their investigation, they'd definitely notice some weird connections between the two Josh Baskinses; specifically the fact that they both spent all their time hanging out with the same obnoxious ginger kid.
Oh yeah, this doesn't set off any alarm bells.
Which brings us to...
Josh's Girlfriend is Going to Jail
So, it won't take long for the cops to connect the dots between this missing adult and the kidnapping, since he had assumed the identity of the kidnapping victim for whatever sick reason. That's going to lead to some hard questions for everyone who worked with him during this six-week ordeal and apparently didn't bother to inquire about all of his suspicious behavior. Some of these people visited his home, after all. They didn't wonder about the kidnapped child who was apparently there?
Or about his en suite trampoline.
Specifically, we're talking about Josh's adult girlfriend, Susan. She even had a "sleep-over" at the home of the now-missing guy the cops are pretty sure was holding young Josh prisoner. Then -- get this -- she dropped Josh (aka the missing child) off less than a block away from his house, in broad daylight, for the whole neighborhood to see.
A very confused Susan would be in a police interrogation room within 24 hours. If anyone is going to get pinned for this crime, it's her. And unfortunately, the jury probably isn't going to believe it when she says he looked older.
Of course, even if she winds up behind bars...
A Deranged Kidnapper is Still at Large
Let's go back to young Josh again. He's been magically returned to his prepubescent state so he can go back to regular kid stuff like playing boring-ass 80's computer games and trying to hook up with girls who are a foot taller than he is. But let's skip ahead to an hour after Josh returns home and all the welcome-back hoopla has died down. Then comes the first big problem for Josh when his mom asks "Where were you?"
Obviously he can't say he turned into an adult overnight due to a magic spell. If she was the type to believe that, he wouldn't have had to leave at all. So let's look at the facts, as Josh's family sees them:
A. Josh was kidnapped on the way to school by a strange man who then barged into Mrs. Baskin's house, insisted he was her son, flashed her, and left;
We're counting at least three felonies in this scene alone.
B. The strange kidnapper allowed Josh to write letters and was willing to sing lullabies over the phone to placate Josh's mother;
C. For six weeks, he kept Josh somewhere that was "a lot like camp" (according to Josh's letter) and then returned him home, unharmed, never saying word one about ransom.
Otherwise known as "every parent's secret dream".
That might be the freakiest kidnapping we've ever heard of. What was the kidnapper's motivation? Josh is going to insist during hours with his counselor that he was not molested (and they're going to ask, over and over). So was this man just insane, but still responsible enough to keep Josh safe and console Mrs. Baskin? What exactly is the neighborhood watch going to say at their next meeting to warn parents about this crazy criminal who's been known to snatch kids off the street, entertain them for more than a month, and then send them home with an oversized suit and corporate work experience?
Josh's mother will certainly never feel safe again, and the perpetrator will never, ever be caught. But Josh knows there's an even bigger danger out there...
The Zoltar Machine is Still Out There and Must be Destroyed
Josh, being a good-hearted kid, would presumably hear about all of this (especially once police bring him in to point out Susan in a lineup). His only choice for getting the heat off her would be to just come clean about the Zoltar machine. They might doubt him, but he can easily prove it by showing them it works.
And then, shit gets real.
We don't know much about the Zoltar machine but we do know that if you can get a quarter in its mouth, it will give you whatever you wish for (or some dick loose interpretation that causes your own mother to come at you with a knife). It's difficult to say exactly what would happen if Josh told the police about the machine and the government got it hands on a device that gave them literally anything imaginable for 25 cents, but we're pretty sure everything would go to shit, fast. Most likely, it would become a dictatorship run by the first corrupt person to come in contact with the machine.
As long as they had the physical dexterity of a small boy.
Then again, perhaps Josh comes up with a great explanation for everything and keeps the Zoltar to himself. Then we're dealing with a 13-year-old, who probably doesn't even know what "ethics" means, who has carte blanche on whatever, and that sounds just as bad.
But hey, maybe Josh would be too freaked out by what happened last time to try making anymore wishes. Maybe he covers it up, and tells the cops the machine was lost or destroyed. That still leaves the world open to a shitstorm. Remember, all it takes is one psychopath with a quarter, to stumble upon the machine and blow up the universe.
The only power he respects is the mighty quarter.
No, the only truly safe, responsible thing for Josh to do is to actually destroy the machine, before it has a chance to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting populous. And we're guessing a machine that can turn you into Tom Hanks at a whim, won't go down without a fight.
Josh's Childhood -- and Life -- is ruined
But even if he does destroy the Zoltar, he's still facing an awful life. Josh has already had a killer job, an adult relationship, and his own place. He knows for a fact that he can do just fine in the real world -- better than his parents in fact. What motivation does he have to every listen to anything any adult ever says to him again? What does he have to learn from his parents? Or school, for that matter?
He's going to resent them every time they tell him what to do and all his adolescent relationships will be unfulfilling. When he finally gets back to adulthood he'll be so jaded, he won't have the child-like edge that got him ahead the first time around. It's likely he'll find himself so disillusioned with life that he'll see a psychiatrist who will then diagnose him with delusions when he tells her about the time an arcade game turned him into an adult overnight and he spent six weeks as the vice-president of a toy company. He'll grow into an incredibly dysfunctional human being (who now matches the physical description of an at-large kidnapper who apparently doesn't age).
Thanks, plastic surgery!
Add it all together and a hypothetical Big sequel could range from Leaving Las Vegas-depressing (featuring a traumatized Josh Baskin) to downright apocalyptic (with governments competing to get their hands on the Zoltar to use as a WMD).
Either way, this film has to be a candidate for worst ending in movie history. Was banging Elizabeth Perkins really worth it?
Find more from Brendan Bourque-Sheil at his YouTube channel.