At the height of the standup-comedy boom of the 1980s, this film offered the revelation that many comedians were, in fact, rather psychologically unstable individuals for whom performing was an outlet for hostility and aggression. Wow--who would have guessed? This film focuses on two who meet and forge an unlikely friendship: Tom Hanks plays a caustic, self-destructive comic looking for his big break and Sally Field plays a more Roseannelike comedian who begins neglecting her husband (John Goodman) and children because she gets such a kick out of performing. The offstage stuff is strictly soap opera, but Hanks and Field both develop solid comedic rhythms once they get behind a microphone. --Marshall Fine
I've been coming down here for 18 months. 18 months! And I have not missed a night. I take the money that my father sends me and I pay for a shrink, and I buy groceries. Now I owe my shrink, and I'm behind in my rent. My roommate's a bastard - he's changed the locks in in my front door - I can't get in! He won't give me a key until I pay him. You wanna play games? I can play games! I can play games. I can play ventriloquist with my underwear. I can play darts while maintaining an erection. I can gargle dishwater and fart O Canada at the same time! I can play piano without being popular. I once had this dream - I was dancing on the streetcorner with a jackhammer up my ass - now that was either a sex dream or I need more fiber in my diet. If any of this is turning you on, just let me know.