Wednesday, October 17, 2018
  • Stuck in the '80s
  • Steve Spears

30 years ago, ‘Big Business’ was really small potatoes

When Big Business opened the in theaters back on June 10, 1988, the storyline of two youngsters trading places was hardly new. You can trace it at least as far back as Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper back in 1881. (And even further back to Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.) But the concept of two sets of identical female twins seemed fresh – at least to '80s fans.

Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin payed Sadie and Rose Shelton (and Sadie and Roe Ratliff) in the comedy. Big Business had a lot else going for it, including a member of the Naked Gun and Airplane! team serving as director (Jim Abrahams) and a supporting cast that included Fred Ward, Edward Herrmann, Joe Grifasi, and Seth Green.

The plot was simple. A business tycoon and his pregnant wife find themselves in the sticks of Virginia when the Mrs. goes in labor. Meanwhile, a local couple find themselves at the same hospital in the same condition at the same time. Add in one elderly nurse who mixes and mismatches the two sets of twins delivered and you should have a comedy classic, right?

Eh, not so fast. The Disney flick (Touchstone technically) didn't have the bawdy humor of the Naked Gun or Airplane movies, and critics weren't generally impressed. Though the movie was moderately successful at the box office, it maintains a 40 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Critic Roger Ebert was savage in his review of Big Business, writing: "In a movie of disappointments, the major disappointment is a shocker. What have we been waiting for through the whole movie? For the moment when the four women all meet in the same place at the same time, right? So what happens when they do? After the first shocked moment of mutual recognition – nothing happens!"

Here are five things you didn't know about Big Business on its 30th anniversary:

1. Big Business was written for Barbra Streisand (Midler's role) and Goldie Hawn (Tomlin's role). Would the other actors have improved the final product? Doubtful.

2. Much of the movie takes place at New York's Plaza Hotel, but the hotel wouldn't allow filming there. Producers ended up recreating the hotel on sound stages. To recoup the costs, Disney created a sitcom – The Nutt House – to use the same sets. The show – co-created by Mel Brooks and starring Cloris Leachman and Harvey Korman – lasted only 10 episodes.

3. Although Midler and Tomlin played identical twins, in real life, Tomlin is six years older.

4. The year 1988 was a big one for Midler. She appeared in another movie about best friends. You know it as Beaches.

5. Though Big Business wasn't the smash hit Disney was hoping for, other adult flicks from the Mouse House in the '80s fared much better, including Ruthless People and Down and Out in Beverly Hills.

Source: IMDB.com

Comments
‘Mr. Mom’ series coming to streaming service

‘Mr. Mom’ series coming to streaming service

Michael Keaton and Mr. Mom were comedy gold back in 1983, so is anyone truly shocked that Hollywood is trying to warm up this "woobie" for another run?Deadline.com reports that MGM and Vudu (Walmart's streaming service) are working on a series t...
Published: 10/14/18
Get ready for ‘Fantasy Island’ – the movie

Get ready for ‘Fantasy Island’ – the movie

Smiles, everyone, smiles! Hollywood is ready to announce its latest reboot/disaster of an '80s institution. There's a project now to remake TV's Fantasy Island as a feature length film.What was it Tattoo used to say? "Da plane! Da plane!" Only in thi...
Published: 10/11/18
Watch first trailer for ‘Pet Sematary’ remake

Watch first trailer for ‘Pet Sematary’ remake

We here at Stuck in the '80s are on the books as not being the biggest fans of horror movies – in our beloved decade and beyond. But we still couldn't resist checking out the first trailer for the remake of Stephen King's Pet Sematary. (Watch i...
Published: 10/10/18
Could Lady Gaga star in ‘Little Mermaid’ remake?

Could Lady Gaga star in ‘Little Mermaid’ remake?

The success of The Little Mermaid helped relaunch the animation business in the late '80s, so it was just a matter of time before it was tapped for a live-action remake. We just didn't expect Lady Gaga to be involved.According to The Dis Insider, Gag...
Published: 10/10/18
Oscar buzz for Rami Malek at ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ screening

Oscar buzz for Rami Malek at ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ screening

The new Queen bio-pic Bohemian Rhapsody had its first screening over the weekend at Fox, and the press is buzzing about the performance of actor Rami Malek as the band's frontman Freddie Mercury."In front of invited members of the Academy, SAG nomina...
Published: 10/07/18
Stallone is a cowboy now in Rambo 5

Stallone is a cowboy now in Rambo 5

Sylvester Stallone is back as Rambo in the fifth installment of the movie franchise – that's not news – but seeing him as a cowboy in the first pictures from the set is news indeed.Stallone shared some photos from the first day of shootin...
Published: 10/03/18
Molly Ringwald talks about teen culture in ‘Sixteen Candles’

Molly Ringwald talks about teen culture in ‘Sixteen Candles’

The congressional hearings of Brett Kavanaugh – and accompanying public accusations – have cast an unexpected look back on the teen culture of the 1980s, during which Kavanaugh's behavior is in the spotlight. An article about how Hollywoo...
Updated one month ago
See Ivan Drago’s return in ‘Creed 2’ trailer

See Ivan Drago’s return in ‘Creed 2’ trailer

The Rocky franchise appears to still have some fight in it with the release of the newest trailer for Creed 2. The "gasp" moment for '80s fans has to be seeing the villainous Ivan Drago return – the first time we've seen him since Rocky 4. Watc...
Updated one month ago
‘Die Hard’ toys coming soon from Funko Pop

‘Die Hard’ toys coming soon from Funko Pop

Yippee-Ki-Yay, '80s fans: Die Hard toys are finally coming from Funko Pop. According to Movieweb.com, thet will be available for sale in late October and will feature figures for John McClane, Hans Gruber, Sergeant Al Powell and Tony Vreski.Fans of t...
Updated one month ago
Jack White helps save house from ‘The Outsiders’

Jack White helps save house from ‘The Outsiders’

Do you remember the 1983 movie The Outsiders? Sure, you do. This is an '80s blog. What you might not remember as much is the house from the movie, where the "Curtis brothers" in the film lived. Well, it turns out that house is still around in Tulsa, ...
Updated one month ago