Top Movies for Adults Who Are Kids at Heart
Being an adult is hard: There are bills to pay, jobs to go to, and families to care for. Everyone has days when they wish they could go back to high school -- or elementary school -- and live in a world where the only responsibility is turning in homework on time. Most adults feel like overgrown teenagers at some point in their lives. If this sounds like you, these five movies should have a permanent spot in your DVD rotation.
The seminal classic for any adult who feels like a kid, "Big" tells the story of Josh Baskin, a 13-year-old who makes a simple wish on a creepy machine at a carnival. He wants to be "big." The next morning, he wakes up in the body of Tom Hanks and has to learn to navigate the waters of being an adult until he can reverse his wish. Tom Hanks got his first Oscar nomination for "Big," and it's easy to see why. He plays Josh with a boyish charm and the perfect sense of innocence. Who hasn't wanted to simply say "I don't get it!" in a boring work meeting? And Josh's gorgeous loft apartment complete with bunk beds, vending machines, and a trampoline -- that's living the dream.
'13 Going on 30' (2004)
It's often called the girls' version of "Big," but "13 Going on 30" is so much more than that. The premises are quite similar. Thirteen-year-old Jenna Rink, after being ditched by the popular "six chicks" at her birthday party, wishes she was "30, flirty, and thriving." The next morning, Jenna wakes up to discover that she's 30 and has everything she's ever wanted. But at what cost? Underneath the giddiness of discovering her adult life, a true sense of melancholy pervades the film as Jenna realizes just what she gave up to be popular. Jennifer Garner is luminous, in a career-defining performance, and Mark Ruffalo is adorably rumpled as Matt Flamhaff, the sweetest guy Jenna's ever known.
'17 Again' (2009)
Take the concept of "Big" and flip it, and you get "17 Again." Mike O'Donnell (Matthew Perry) is 37 and his life is a mess. He's getting divorced from his high school sweetheart; his kids hate him; his career stinks. After visiting his old high school to reminisce about where his life went wrong, he encounters a mysterious janitor who transforms him into his 17-year-old self, giving him the chance to reset his life. Moral of the story? Janitors are always shady. The younger version of Mike was Zac Efron's first leading role after the "High School Musical" franchise, and he proves his ability to carry a film, delivering a charmingly befuddled performance.
'Freaky Friday' (2003)
Take a moment to remember when Lindsay Lohan was known as a talented young actress and not a tabloid regular. "Freaky Friday" is a remake of the 1976 classic of the same name (which starred a young Jodie Foster). What elevates this version are the performances given by Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis. Curtis was nominated for a Golden Globe for the way she expertly channeled a teenager, down to the way she changed her posture and altered her voice. Her meltdown once she realizes she's in an adult body ("I'm old! I'm like the Crypt Keeper!") is one any grown-up can relate to.
'Billy Madison' (1995)
If you ever wanted to revisit elementary school, "Saturday Night Live," Adam Sandler is pitch-perfect as spoiled Billy Madison, who is forced to repeat kindergarten through 12th grade so he can take over his father's hotel business. "Billy Madison" is also a dose of nostalgia for fans of early-'90s "SNL" -- it features Norm MacDonald and the late Chris Farley, in addition to Sandler. It's goofy fun and endlessly quotable. If you haven't screamed, "I am the smartest man alive!" after solving a problem, you haven't been living your life correctly.