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Then & Now: Elizabeth Perkins

01.05.2013by: Salacious Crumb

Time: the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole. If I had a time machine, I would try to track down hotties in their most preeminent days, and avoid visiting eras of war, global refrigeration, and especially dinosaurs. Well, I suppose if there is one hottie I'd take that last risk for, it's Wilma Flintstone. And I don't mean second-dimensional Wilma voiced by Jean Vander Pyl. I'm talking about the Elizabeth Perkins portrayal. She also starred in the blockbuster comedy BIG, where a young boy's wish is granted and he becomes 20-25 years older. I wonder what Perkins looks like 20-25 years later…

Elizabeth Perkins originated from Queens, New York City. Her Greek grandparents from Salonika changed their surname from "Pisperikos" to Perkins when they emigrated to the United States. Good thing, too, because "Perkins" makes me giggle like a schoolgirl on crack. Going through her filmography I had to think "Holy crap! This woman's been in a ton of movies I've never seen or heard of" (SWEETHEARTS DANCE, FROM THE HIP, MOONLIGHT AND VALENTINO, INDIAN SUMMER, and so on and so forth). However, her first breakout role is pretty well-known, starring alongside Rob Lowe and Demi Moore in ABOUT LAST NIGHT…

It follows Danny (Lowe) and Debbie (Moore) the first year of their relationship, from fighting on Thanksgiving, breaking up on New Year's Eve, and getting back together on St. Patty's Day (the most romantic holiday of all). It's based on the 1974 play from David Mamet, Sexual Perversity in Chicago. This is how Perkins was introduced to the big screen, and luckily, it was a hit, becoming one of the top 10 most successful R-rated movies of the 1980's. This is probably largely due to Elizabeth's completely nude body filing the screen for a fair amount of time.  Surely, big things were bound to happen for our dear Miss Perkins… literally.

Almost (but not quite) as big as her frizzy hairdo.

BIG took the 80's brand of comedy to a whole new level, allowing both fantasy and realistic drama to intercept. So much so, it wound up getting Tom Hanks his first Academy Award nomination. It was also extremely successful in the box-office, pushing Hanks deeper into the limelight than ever before. But for whatever reason, not as much attention was focused on Perkins, who played Hanks's borderline illegal love-interest in the film. As we all know, Hanks plays Josh Baskin, a boy trapped in a man's body (a concept which has been stolen many times since, if you think about it). This instance of magic was caused by fortune-telling arcade game at a carnival, which Josh can't seem to locate. Forced to leave his home, he must quickly try to land on his feet in the real world, with the help of his best friend Billy Kopecki.

His first day doesn't go so well, but within the two weeks after, Josh winds up becoming the vice president of a major toy-manufacturing company, buys a massive apartment with a trampoline and a jacuzzi, and of course, he even gets his hands on some boobies...


Those of which are owned by Susan Lawrence (Perkins), a latter-climbing executive at the toy company who starts to fall for Josh and his boy-like charms. I like that her character is so used to that uninspiring, sleep your way to the top lifestyle, but thanks to Josh's cluelessness, she learns to live her life and have fun again. It's a great scene-by-scene transformation the whole way through, and gives you that magical feeling such a movie should. What else can I say about the premise of BIG besides "shimmy shimmy coco pop, shimmy shimmy rock"? It's an awesome movie. It reminded adults of the innocence of childhood, and showed children how complicated it is to be an adult. Or more like how easy it is, I guess.

Although Perkins wasn't getting mothered with the same amount of media attention as Hanks, she was obviously being eyed for more major roles (HE SAID, SHE SAID with Kevin Bacon, LOVE AT LARGE, AVALON). Some were dramatic, some were romantic. One was just plain weird, and that's when she played a blonde Texan girl who bangs her older sister's husband, and when the wife catches them in the act, they "accidentally" kill her.

It's called OVER HER DEAD BODY (also known as ENID IS SLEEPING), and no, not that horrible Eva Longoria ghost movie, although I can't imagine this one being much better. The whole movie is basically about them disposing of the corpse (apparently, corpse comedies were a popular thing when the '90's hit). The cheating husband is played by Judge Reinhold from FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH, so if Perkins pops out of a swimming pool in a red bikini and removes her top, it could (maybe) be worth checking out. Otherwise I'll stick with redheaded Perkins from 1994…

Ah, Wilma Flintstone, the prehistoric hottie with a pearl necklace so big, you'd think Fred Flintstone had balls like a stegosaurus. Obviously, Steven Spielberg's THE FLINTSTONES may be remembered by movie fans as a crucial stepping-stone towards terrible live-action remakes with annoying CGI reincarnations of beloved characters, but not me. I remember it as a very fun movie-going experience, but that's because of how uncommon it was to see an old cartoon show get transformed into a live-action movie. In fact, the only other movie to make this attempt beforehand was POPEYE with Robin Williams (feel free to strike back with your furious fingers if there's another one). Who would've thought that idea would take an unfortunate turn, and we'd ultimately get YOGI BEAR, SCOOBY-DOO, THE SMURFS, GARFIELD, MARMADUKE, UNDERDOG, ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS and so on, and kill me?

Lizzy Perk also went on to star in the national-television remake of MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET as Dorey Walker. Then there was the TV mini-series "From the Earth to the Moon", 28 DAYS, CRAZY IN ALABAMA, CATS & DOGS, and a truckload of other projects throughout the '90's. But it seems as though Perkins went off the radar somewhere around a decade ago. Kind of a bummer. Did she get fat? Did she get hooked on bath salts and spiral downward towards adequacy? I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that she's been hiding under the freeway in Los Angeles collecting roadkill. There's only one way to find out... 

Well, to quote someone I know, "YYYAABBA-DABBA DOOOO!!!". I'd sure like her to make my "Bedrock", if you nawmsayin'! This may come as a surprise to some of you, but it shouldn't if you're a stoner and have Showtime. Perkins has starred as the principal antagonist Celia Hodes in the darkly comedic "Weeds" since 2005. She plays sort of a manipulative, button-pushing c*nt who calls her husband a "loser asshole" and is cruel to her daughter for being a slightly overweight lesbian. Plus, she's completely obsessed with her image, but hey, who could blame her?

Perkins has in fact been keeping her career in movies pretty persistent over the past decade. She's also lent her voice to animated features like FINDING NEMO, THE LORAX and HOP. Aside from "Weeds", Elizabeth has also had guest spots on drama series like "Monk" and "The Closer", and lately she's been filming the first season of the upcoming sitcom "How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)" with Sarah Chalke playing her adult daughter who moves back in with her folks and… well, you get the picture. Here's a promo shot of it with Elizabeth looking rather milftastic...

One of the last lines Perkins delivered to Hanks in BIG was "I'll be fine… In 10 years, who knows? Maybe you should hang on to my number." If you ask me, he may as well have waited 25 years. Just sayin', she's hot. Hotter than the molten lava that eventually made Dino extinct. While I can fancy big-haired chicks from the '80's era, I have to say, Perkins looks extra fantastic with her hair straightened out. And now that she's returning to primetime television this April, we're likely to be seeing plenty more of her this next year. Thank you for reading a neanderthal's ramblings about the classiest woman of the stone age, and the woman who de-virginized Tom Hanks. And thank you, Liz Perkins, for not hiding in the past! Now, where the f*ck are my Fruity Pebbles!?!?

Extra Tidbit: Would you still throw her a bone?


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