Saturday, 7 November 2015

The Afternoon Movie: Harry and the Hendersons

I cannot recall exactly the first time I saw the 1987 film about a family who run over a sasquatch and decided to take him home, only for him to wreck revoke and cause a media stir, not to mention grabbing the attention of a hunter. It is now regarded as a classic in our family. We quote only a few moments, mostly famously the short scene where the hunter, Jacques LaFleur (David Suchet), has been arrested and is making a call on the phone. Another favourite involves George Henderson, (John Lithgow) stuttering his name when the news cameras turn their attention on him. But I'm getting ahead of myself, I know there are those out there who are yet to watch the wonder that is, Harry and the Hendersons.

Unlike my previous posts of The Afternoon Movie, Harry and the Hendersons is not animated and was made in the 80s but it is still most definitely an afternoon movie.

The Henderson family, while on their way back from a campiing trip hit something with their car. Thinking that the creature is dead and deducing that it must be the myth like animal, Bigfoot, believe it might be worth money and take it home with them. Back in the forest a hunter who was tracking Bigfoot finds the car's licence plates. In the Henderson house, the creature is very much alive. Chaos ensues. But after an awkward scene of removing all the dead animals, trophies lining the walls are removed, the family makes the creature settle in. They name him Harry. And once you name something theres no going back. Of course Harry does run away and the family try to find him and take him home after the media grabs hold of the story. Jacques LaFleur continues to track Harry and the Hendersons turn to a Bigfoot expert for help

There are bits in the film that I recall more than others, such as the knocked over fridge in the kitchen. The drawings that George does of Harry. Little Bob the family dog. Harry eating Sarah Henderson's prom flower. Harry knocking her over thinking its affectionate. The annoying nosey neighbour who is the mum from My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The other neighbour, Kim Lee. Always getting hungry in the scene where the family throws a load of fast food burgers in the car to entice Harry. These little moments are just pitch perfect in memory.

When Harry starts to settle in and become a family member, he even starts to watch TV, laughing his head off. Hi choice of TV is excellent.

The story of how a sasquatch lives with a family and how they try to save him from being hunted first by the media then by that hunter, is odd, but its funny and bizarrely enjoyable. I think the fact that John Lithgow and David Suchet are in the same film is a massive draw for me personally. The film has some interesting observations, especially about traffic. Stick your head out of the window and make siren noises and this is guranteed to create a path through. The story is touching especially when George who has already admitted that Harry is like a friend, he pushes him away with anger as he knows that Harry is better off in the forest. This scene was also used to illustrate the point you have to be mean to keep someone safe, in an extremely funny episode of 30 Rock. This film has power.

Luckily this film is available everywhere. At one time you could only buy this now classic in US, DVD opened up for everyone and I have a sneaky suspicion that it was Netflix at one time. If you're in the mood to be amused and amazed, I'd suggest an afternoon in with Harry and the Hendersons.

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