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Netflix Daily Pick: House Rules in ‘The Money Pit’ (1986)

A classic Tom Hanks comedy is today's Netflix pick.

The Money Pit is a 1986 comedy about a young couple who thing they have stumbled into the house of their dreams, only to have it be an inescapable nightmare.

Today’s Netflix pick is a classic slapstick comedy that may not be the most sophisticated in the lot but is a riotous bit of silly nonetheless, one that if you haven’t seen already is well, time to fix. Starring Tom Hanks smack in the prime of his funniest films, he pretty much saves this from frame one, with co-star Shelley Long doing her noble best to play the ‘straight man’ to his zingers. It’s full of zany pratfalls and goofy sight gags that kinda feels like a throwback to a good Blake Edwards film in many ways with Hanks a perfect fill-in for a Peter Sellers. It’s The Money Pit and it’s what you’re watching tonight. Here’s why.

THE STORY: Produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Richard Benjamin, the story follows Attorney Walter Fielding (Hanks) and his longterm girlfriend Anna Crowley (Long) who fall into a hard spot and are about to be homeless until they stumble upon a deal that seems almost too good to be true: a million dollar home in a distress sale at a hugely reduced price. They quickly buy the place even while is all seems shady and move in right away. Big mistake. It’s not long after when the whole house shows its true colors and begins to fall apart at the seams. From doors and windows and plumbing and electricity, there is nothing about the house that has a solid nail in it. Chaos ensues and it spirals the once loving couple into their own pit of demolition.

The Money Pit
The Money Pit, 1986 © Amblin Entertainment

WHY YOU NEED TO WATCH: If you’re a fan of Tom Hanks, there’s already reason enough to put this on your list. His early films were all about absurdist comedy and The Money Pit is a great example of some of the great physical comedy he was so capable of doing. We watch him now, one of cinema’s most esteemed statesman, and it’s easy to forget where he got his start. His timing and self-deprecating style were so fluid and even if the story lacks cohesion and even some common sense, he manages to elevate the entire experience completely with his impressive presence. Pay attention to a great bit with a bathtub and a penultimate moment with a Rube Goldbergian mousetrap of a ride as the house pulls out all the stops. It’s really funny stuff and it’s streaming on Netflix right now.

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