By Keith Staskiewicz
Updated December 13, 2013 at 05:00 AM EST
Everett Collection

Great comedic performances are often criminally overlooked by the Academy Awards, which have a preference for wrenching portrayals of characters under extreme duress and canny impersonations of real-life figures. Or both, which Tom Hanks did this year with Captain Phillips and Saving Mr. Banks. But the actor’s first Oscar nomination was far less of a sure bet: Big (1988, 1 hr., 44 mins., PG). The movie, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary with a special-edition Blu-ray, is the best encapsulation of the lovably zany first act of Hanks’ career. As a 12-year-old boy who wakes up in the body of a 30-year-old man, Hanks gives an effortlessly ingratiating performance that lets you see his inner child in every scene. Before he became the go-to guy to play decent men facing adversity — combining Jimmy Stewart’s aw-phooey charm with Henry Fonda’s purity of heart — Hanks was one of Hollywood’s best comedy actors. Whether dealing with an amorous mermaid (Splash), accursed real estate (The Money Pit), or murderous neighbors (The ‘Burbs), he was eminently watchable, pairing an Everyman’s exasperation with the burbling hilarity of a less grating Robin Williams. Admittedly, it’s a bit odd to see America’s Nicest Guy watch porn and cavort with hookers in 1984’s Bachelor Party, but even then he comes off like your favorite uncle. The new Big release is a perfect reminder of Hanks’ early years. The EXTRAS include deleted scenes and commentary from co-writer Gary Ross, who took a turn for the serious himself, directing Seabiscuit and The Hunger Games. A

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