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Get Big

By Bradley Gibson | September 27, 2021

Dylan Anthony Moran writes, directs, and stars in Get Big, a raucous Millenial coming-of-age comedy. Nate (Moran) comes home from college to attend the wedding of a high school classmate. He pops in to see his parents, who are disappointed that he’s not visiting them. Then he finds his old friend Alec (Tanner Stine), and they set out on a vision quest to get high and find more weed to take to the wedding.

Along the way, they stumble into a wild adventure, primarily fueled by Alec’s chaotic personality. He doesn’t come from a wealthy family, but his impossibly good looks open doors for him that money could not. Nate is embarrassed that his family is financially well-off (definitely a generational distinction) and keeps his new Range Rover, which his parents gave him for college, trashed, so people won’t think he’s too “bougie.” But, of course, if there’s anything more obnoxiously humble-bragging than trying to downplay your wealth, it’s hard to imagine what that might be. Nate is struggling with relationships and generally has not grown up enough to have an idea of who he is or what he wants. Alec doesn’t know either, but instead of being anxious about it, he embraces the wildness full-on and sees no reason to stop.

Nate is struggling with relationships and generally has not grown up enough…”

High marks to Moran for creating such a well-made Indie film. This particular story as a movie, in some form or other, seems to come around for every generation, and Moran has borrowed heavily (and appropriately) from the greats. To list just a few influences, there are echoes here of FandangoSwingersAmerican PieDazed and ConfusedSuperbadThe Breakfast ClubHarold and Kumar go to White CastleClerks, and SLC Punk (an underrated gem), among so many more. The great thing about each wave of young adults sharing their rite of passage is that a movie can announce them to the world. Films like Get Big set a blueprint for the mythology of a generation as a platform for their concerns and values in a humorous setting. Despite the light-hearted vibe, there’s heavy responsibility when showcasing your age group, and Moran does a fine job.

For those who’ve been through a generational shift (or two) already, a fresh look allows us to compare what went before against what’s coming. Indeed, there are differences, but what’s most striking is how much doesn’t change. Sex, drugs, angst over the future and social acceptance (or not) are always drivers for young adults in America. Those of us of a certain age have left a large messy pile of issues for the next wave to clean up: political structures in shambles, global warming making the environment inhospitable, and wealth inequality, to name a few. Nate and Alec represent the two sane responses to the world before them. One is anxious and overwhelmed. The other has tuned it all out and is entirely carefree.

While most of Moran’s filmic instincts are solid, there are a couple of minor nits to be picked. First, his circle of friends has a grating tendency to say “gay” when they mean uncool or ineffectual. It’s not done in a particularly homophobic or derogatory way, but still, it’s out of step with current cultural norms. Another miss is that the two friends both seem to have an unreconstructed view of women. We can chalk this up to their immaturity, but again, it’s out of place. Otherwise, Get Big is a delightful romp with laugh-out-loud moments but also contains serious introspection about what adult life will be like for those now entering into it.

Get Big (2021)

Directed and Written: Dylan Anthony Moran

Starring: Dylan Anthony Moran, Tanner Stine, Paulina Alvarez, Lisa Alvillar, Clifford Bañagale, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

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"…Moran's filmic instincts are solid..."

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