- Movie Rating -

Big Shots (1987)

| September 25, 1987

If there is anything that I can’t stand, it’s a movie in which I say “Well, there’s a good movie in here.” But that’s what we have with Big Shots an junior-league action comedy that could have amounted to something if it weren’t cluttered with a lot of unreality involving little boys dealing with crooks, thieves killers and a high speed chase.  There’s a good movie in here but nobody really cared to make it.

The premise: A kid named Obie (Ricky Busker) goes fishing with his old man who gives him some facts of real life.  Within a few days dear old Dad is dead and the kid grieves to the point of getting on his bike and riding from his comfortable Chicago suburb into the dangerous section of the south side – a journey that might take at least a week by bicycle and would surely be noticed by adults or at least a cop on the beat. 

Naturally, Obie is robbed by some local teenagers.  Out of this, he loses his late father’s watch but very slowly makes a friend named Scam (Darius McCrary) whose father is either absent or dead.  Scam lives up to his name, living on the streets through hustles and lies, but more importantly knows the terrain, he knows all the angles, all the players and how to duck and weave in this hostile environment.  Yet, we sense in Scam a kid who is lost and lonely and hides behind a tough exterior.

So, you can already see that, yes, there’s a good movie in here.  The problem is that the filmmakers don’t have the confidence to let the movie really be about something.  Once Obie and Scam meet, they are then set off on a series of capers fit for bad television.  Obie spots the watch in a pawn shop but they are scammed by a crooked pawn broker named Keegan (Robert Prosky) who steals their money.  They get help from a local drunk named Johnnie Red (Paul Winfield).  This leads them to steal an expensive car from a flashy criminal named Doc and on and on and on.

By the time the kids are being chased down the highway by several police cars, I had given up.  Whatever human feeling had been built up (it’s in here) is buried in a lot of caper theatrics and adventures that no two adolescents in this history of the world would ever find themselves wrapped up in without heavy news coverage and a gaggle of adults, both official and nefarious, quickly bringing them down.  I have a feeling that this movie started off with two kids from different worlds brought together by their grief and loss and some executive saw an opportunity to pad it with a lot of action-comedy nonsense.  It’s in here but someone didn’t think it made good box office.  Well, now they’ve made it worse.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1987) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy, Kids