• Larger Than Life



    Released by: Olive Films
    Released on: November 24th, 2015.
    Director: Howard Franklin
    Cast: Bill Murray, Matthew McConaughey, Jerry Adler, Linda Fiorentino, Janeane Garofalo
    Year: 1996
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    The Movie:

    If you like Bill Murray and you like elephants than the odds are pretty good that you’ll at least be marginally amused by Howard Franklin’s 1996 family friendly comedy film, Larger Than Life. In the picture Murray plays a motivational speaker named Jack Corcoran whose career, honestly, isn’t all that hot. But Jack is determined. He really wants to make a go of it even if he generally seems to wind up taking the jobs that his competition can’t be bothered with.

    Jack’s life changes when his father, a professional circus clown passes away and he gets a telegram notifying him of his inheritance. Hoping that he’s been left some money or a house or something of serious value, Jack is surprised, when he arrives to claim what’s been left to him, to find that his father has left him a full grown elephant. Jack’s first instinct is to try and find a buyer for the animal, and he winds up courting two buyers – an obnoxious zookeeper named Mo (Janeane Garofalo) or a kindly animal show owner named Terry (Linda Fiorentino). But of course, as Jack gets to know the elephant, he and the creature start to form a bond and much heartwarming situational comedy ensues.

    “You know, they say an elephant never forgets. But what they don't tell you is that you never forget an elephant.”

    See? Stuff like that. The movie is full of it. And that’s fine, because it’s that kind of movie. You can watch this with your kids or with your grandmother and have a perfectly fine time with it. There’s a reason that films of this ilk are popular, because they’re easy to digest, they entertain without asking you to think and they present the world as a more or less pleasant place to live. You know early on that the character arc Jack will experience will rely heavily on his experiences with the elephant, because the elephant is on the cover art. The movie offers very few surprises, it simply is what it is and what it is, well, it’s perfectly fine.

    Murray is good in the lead. He plays the character well and he’s likeable. His character is flawed, of course, but you know in his heart he’s maybe not such a bad guy and you know that said heart will soon be warmed by the touch of a loving elephant. If you’re going to make a movie like this, casting Bill Murray in the lead isn’t a bad idea because people like him. Janeane Garofalo does just fine in the role of the snarky zookeeper. She’s got at parts like this, her fairly caustic style of humor translating into this type of character well enough, while Linda Fiorentino is both beautiful and likeable here. You want her and Jack to get together as the movie progresses. Will they? You don’t need this review to tell you that any more than you need this review to tell you that Jack’s heart will be warmed by the touch of a loving elephant. Matthew McConaughey and Jerry Adler pop up here too and the soundtrack features a song by Los Lobos. So that’s also nice.

    This movie is nice.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Olive Films presents Larger Than Life on Blu-ray in its proper 1.85.1 theatrical widescreen aspect ratio in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. For the most part, the movie looks quite good on Blu-ray. Grain gets heavy in spots but that won’t bother most. Detail is pretty solid throughout, close ups in particular, while black levels are strong and generally pretty inky. Nicely lit outdoor shots really look quite good. Skin tones look nice and natural, there are no signs of edge enhancement or noise reduction and although the disc is single layered compression artifacts are never a problem.

    The only audio option for the feature is an English language DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo mix, there are no alternate language options offered nor are there any closed captioning or subtitles options provided (though the scenes with the Japanese slave driver character do have forced subs that appear on the screen). Clarity of the audio is fine. The levels are nicely balanced and there are problems with any hiss or distortion.

    Aside from static menus and chapter selection, the disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer as its only extra feature.

    The Final Word:

    Larger Than Life is basically a family, kid-friendly film and as far as family, kid-friendly films go, it’s not half bad. Murray is Murray and as such is watchable here and the supporting cast members are amusing enough. Not a classic by any stretch but amusing enough in its own right and a fine light, breezy watch. Olive’s Blu-ray presents the film in decent enough shape – Murray fanatics will appreciate this.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!