Gigantic is one of those Indie films you have to be in the mood to see. Yes, I’m going to watch it again. You can watch it for free on Tubi and a few other free streaming services. (Hopefully they never tax the free streaming services!) It’s a boy from somewhat dysfunctional family meets girl from massively dysfunctional family that has more money movie. In other words, these weird entities are your typical New Yorkers.
I’m going to suggest you watch The Extra Man (2010) first. No, the movies aren’t related. It’s just that you really should appreciate just how far Paul Dano takes his typical New Yorker roles. Compared to that one, this one seems like a wholesome episode of Andy Griffin.
I have been in love with Zooey Deschanel since I first saw her in Tin Man on the Syfy channel. (You can also watch that mini-series free on Tubi.) There is something about that girl on screen. She has these puppy dog eyes at all the right moments. They can be sad, they can be glowing happy, but they always remind me of a puppy and who doesn’t love puppies. It doesn’t even feel like she is acting in Tin Man, you believe she is the character.
Besides being free, one of my big draws to this movie was someone/somewhere it stated she had a nude scene. Well, 12 year old you is going to feel very cheated. It’s dimly lit, shot at an odd angle, and diving topless into a pool. If that’s what you tuned in to see, man will you feel screwed!
My second big draw to this film (no pun intended) was John Goodman. When he was on Rosanne I thought he was just a comic pin cushion. Let’s be honest, that show never reached for the heights, it was mostly the life of white trash and entertaining. Then I saw this dude in The West Wing and I said “Man, can he act!” John Goodman does not disappoint here!
You gotta love a movie that finds a way to include Edward Asner. Since he passed away in 2021 that will be increasingly difficult, but you can get a sense of his ability in this bit role. He fell into the niche of the good hearted cranky old man and it just plays well in all decades. Watch some episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore show if you don’t understand. He plays the somewhat dysfunctional father to Paul Dano’s character. On his birthday all his sons and he go to a cabin in the woods, Ed’s character makes tea from Magic Mushrooms, then they go mushroom hunting. It’s a tradition. I told you this was a semi-dysfunctional family.
You hear people in “the industry” talk about “the chemistry on the set” and most of us have no idea what they mean. You can see the chemistry at work in this film. Gospel truth, I don’t think there was a script for the dinner scene where Zooey’s character has Paul’s character come to dinner with her father and his girlfriend. I think the directory just said “wing it” and all of these actors played off of each other. It’s one of the most endearing scenes in the movie.
You’ve got fertile ground right there! What do you have to go to China for?John Goodman’s character at supper
Leven Rambin plays Missy Thaxton, a research Phd. student of some kind. She jokes about playing with some kind of rodent’s penis all day. It’s a bit role, but it’s funny. For those of us who have already seen (many times) Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, she will forever be Riley.
One of the great things about stumbling into an old Indie movie like this is seeing where people you learned to love later in life got there start.
Indie films are weird
Those who know that going in tend to enjoy them more. Zooey has a set of legs that cause traffic accidents in seven states any time she steps outside and this film makes ample use of them. The pig in me was incredibly happy about that.
John Goodman’s character appears to have more money than he knows what to do with, but little happiness. He has a gay assistant that he openly chastises for being gay and the assistant always has the discussion ending zinger “Wouldn’t you like to join us?” They never say what he does. He has been sleeping on the floor because his back hurts and he cannot get a good night’s sleep. Paul’s character works in a mattress store, which sets up the “cute meet” because Zooey play’s John’s daughter and she is sent to both check out and pay for the $14,000 mattress.
During the “cute meet” Zooey passes out on the mattress for hours and Paul just lets her sleep. When she wakes she hears about Paul’s dream to adopt a child from China, been his dream all his life and he is only 29. No, he isn’t married either.
Some things you have to see
One of the biggest WTF moments happens when John Goodman’s character has to go to the spine doctor during the mattress delivery. Zooey can’t drive in New York so they hire Paul to drive them around. Yes, that is weird, but not the real weirdness. They have a modified station wagon where John’s character lies on this slide out board while they drive around. I’m not making this up. They even shoot a camera up from the back of the wagon while it is driving around New York. Only in New York could you get away with something so dangerous.
Someone needs to pause the movie and get a few screen grabs of that!
When John Goodman gets back into the car after his spine doctor appointment (not yet knowing Zooey and Paul had sex in the car during his doctor’s visit) you have to see that. I can’t tell you any more without taking away the thunder.
Why I have to see it again
Indie films are weird. There is this homeless man that keeps popping up and kicking the shit out of Paul’s character. He even takes a shot at him in the woods when they are hunting mushrooms. It is some kind of metaphor that is never explained. That’s all I can say about it without giving away too much.
I don’t care if Robert Ebert shit on this film. It’s endearing now that so many who were in it have either left us (Ed Asner) or moved on to better careers. I knew it would be weird going in and found it quite enjoyable. Yes, I’m going to watch it a few times to figure out the homeless man thing.
There is an angle to this movie most don’t seem to get. A dad, who knows he has a seriously dysfunctional family, does everything he can, without being obvious, to throw his daughter at a guy he likes.