Big Shots (film)

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Big Shots
Big Shots.jpg
Directed by Robert Mandel
Written by Joe Eszterhas
Starring Ricky Busker
Darius McCrary
Robert Joy
Robert Prosky
Jerzy Skolimowski
Paul Winfield
Brynn Thayer
Joe Seneca
Beah Richards
Ellen Geer
Music by Bruce Broughton
Cinematography Miroslav Ondříček
Edited by William M. Anderson
Sheldon Kahn
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • October 2, 1987 (1987-10-02)
Running time 94 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $3,390,043

Big Shots is a 1987 American comedy adventure film directed by Robert Mandel, starring Ricky Busker and Darius McCrary.


An 11-year-old boy from Hinsdale, Illinois named Obie Dawkins (Ricky Busker) is out fishing with his father, who tells him about the birds and the bees. All the while Obie shows interest in his dad's watch, who eventually gives it to him. After having breakfast Obie is driven to school by his dad. While in class Obie's mom shows up to tell him that his dad is in the hospital. The family learns that he suffered a massive heart attack, which he dies from days later. After the funeral, Obie lingers to the one good memory of him and his father, the day his dad gave him his watch, as he and his family tries to move forward.

Arriving at school Obie is reminded of the way his dad took him to school, when he sees a father drop his son off. Consumed with sorrow over his own father Obie leaves school and runs away on his bike. Having left the suburbs Obie finds himself on the south side of Chicago. There, he meets some boys washing car windows in traffic. After telling them he is lost one of the boys invites Obie to look at a map. Obie is lured into a lot, attacked, and robbed of his bike and watch. One of the boys named Scam (Darius McCrary), an 11-year-old street hustler, befriends him and aids Obie in retrieving his watch. Scam takes Obie to a bar where they greet a man named Johnnie Red (Paul Winfield). Scam believes he bought the watch from Obie's muggers, but when asked Johnnie Red denies it. Believing he is lying Scam takes Obie to Johnnie Red's apartment, where they sneak in to locate Obie's watch. But Johnnie Red shows up and catches them. He lets it slip that Obie's muggers did give him the watch, but because it wasn't gold he didn't buy it, and just kept it. Forcing them to leave, he tells them he gave it to a man named Keegan (Robert Prosky), a slick pawn shop owner.

Scam and Obie go to visit Keegan, and it is there at his pawn shop where Obie finds his watch. But Keegan has put it on display to be sold and charges Obie $180.00 to buy it. Obie and Scam leave promising Keegan they will get him the money. Instead of going home Obie stays the night with Scam, who lives at a hotel managed by a Miss Hanks (Beah Richards). She reminds Scam that she cannot let him stay any longer, for it is against law for an under-aged child to live alone without adult supervision. But Scam promises that his father is coming for him. As they are heading to Scam's room a hit man named Doc (Jerzy Skolimowski), and his assistant Dickie (Robert Joy), are beating up a man trying to find another man, their target hit, who runs out the door seconds later with Doc and Dickie chasing him. Meanwhile, Obie asks Scam about his dad to which Scam replies that he is dead.

The next morning, Doc and Dickie return to the hotel having caught their mark, killed him, and stuffed his body in the trunk of their car, a dark gray colored Mercedes-Benz. Scam then steals their car by using Obie as an accomplice. Scam drives Obie to the bank to get the money for his watch, with both unaware of the body in the trunk. After leaving the bank with the money Obie has Scam to take him by his house so that he could make sure his mother and sister were okay. While there, they learn that Obie's mother has reported him missing to the police. Having discovered their car stolen, Doc and Dickie go around offering a $1000 reward to anyone for the recovery of their car. Obie and Scam return to the pawn shop to buy Obie's watch from Keegan. First Keegan ups the price by charging taxes, then stiffs them by taking the money and refusing to give Obie his watch. Scam attempts to get the watch himself, but Keegan stops him. Plus he make a horrible comment about Obie's dad, sending him running out the pawn shop upset with Scam following after him. Obie goes from being saddened to being angry, and Scam determines that with his fire of emotions they both are ready to really get back Obie's watch.

Back at Scam's room at the hotel, they get cap guns to use as real guns to scare Keegan. On the way out they have an encounter with Dickie, then they overhear Doc asking Miss Hanks about their missing car. They then take the car and hide it in a garage under a pile of boxes. Afterwards they burst in Keegan's pawn shop, pointing their cap guns, demanding Keegan give up Obie's watch. But Keegan hits his silent alarm and decides to call their bluff. Convinced that the guns are toys he dares them to shoot him. Obie then squeezes the trigger, firings off a live round, realizing and revealing the gun he has is in fact real. They force Keegan into his own cage and make off with Obie's watch running out the back door. The police arrive and Scam is caught. Obie exits seconds after the police grab Scam. Seeing Scam placed in the patrol car, Obie gets rid of the gun and hides. He manages to subdue one of the officers and steals the car that Scam is in. After leading officers on a chase through the city streets and down an alley, Obie and Scam manages to get away, but crashes the squad car in the process.

They head to a diner where Scam confesses to Obie that his father isn't dead. According to Scam's account of events, his father went south to look for work after his parents got divorced. Scam's mother died 3 months previously while he was living with her, leaving him on his own and his father unaware of what happened. All that Scam has of his father's is a driver's license, and vows to find him. At this point Obie now considers Scam his friend as he gets his bus and heads home. Obie arrives home the next morning, and is visited by the police shortly after to find out what happened to him and where he was. Obie lies, claiming he caught amnesia and does not remember. Afterwards he has his mom take him to school, not wanting to mention his bike was stolen.

While at school Obie starts thinking about Scam. Considering Scam his friend Obie decides that for all he has done for him he would help find his father. The next morning Obie steals the family jeep and returns to the hotel to look for Scam. But finds out from Miss Hanks that a social worker had came and put Scam in a home. Obie visits the social worker and finds out where Scam is. On his way back to the jeep, Obie finds it swarmed with police looking for him. Determined to help Scam he gets the Mercedes out of hiding and enlists the help of Johnnie Red. Though hesitant at first, Johnnie Red agrees to help him. As they set out to get Scam, someone spots the car and calls his friend to inform Doc and Dickie to claim the reward. Obie and Johnnie Red arrive at the youth center where Scam was placed. And with Johnnie Red passing himself off as his father they get Scam out. Obie then tells Scam that his uncle Harry works at the Internal Revenue Service and with his help they will find his father.

Meanwhile Doc and Dickie head back to the bar to locate the car. Doc attacks the bartender forcing him to give them a name, and he gives them Johnnie Red. Arriving back at Johnnie Red's place Doc and Dickie sneak up, grabbing the boys from behind. As they are forcing them into a different car Johnnie Red walks up and stops them. After they flee, Obie and Scam head downtown to the IRS office of Obie's uncle. Using the driver's license, they find that Scam's dad lives in a town in Louisiana, and the two set out on a road trip. Obie's uncle tells his mom where they are headed, causing her extreme worry. Recalling their encounter with the boys previously at the hotel, Doc and Dickie revisits to tie up Miss Hanks, and force her to give them Obie's full name.

Having traveled one hundred miles from the city Obie and Scam camp out for the night. After being scared awake by a stray cow the very next morning they get back on the road. Back at the Dawkins' residence Doc and Dickie manage to track down where Obie lives. Posing as Chicago Police officers they find out from Obie's mom where they are headed. Because the car is registered in Doc's name both he and Dickie set out after the boys, before they discover the body in the trunk.

When Obie and Scam get to Missouri they pick up a hitchhiking bible salesman. He talks them into heading to a diner to get a bite to eat. At the diner he asks them to watch his suitcase while he goes to wash his hands. Scam is convinced that he is running a con on them. Doc tells Dickie to stop at the very same diner so that he may use the restroom. But Dickie feeling that they are close keeps driving and passes the diner, all the while unaware that they just passed the car. Revealed to be a conman, just as Scam suspected, the phony bible salesman sneaks outside and steals the car, leaving Obie and Scam stranded at the diner. Doc After finally demanding they stop so that he could urinate, Dickie and Doc spot the approaching Mercedes. Thinking its the kids they jump back in their car and give chase. But before they are able to catch up to their Mercedes, a State Trooper starts pursuing it for speeding, forcing Doc and Dickie break chase. When they notice that it's not the kids they follow the car to the police station. Waiting to retrieve it Dickie and Doc sit inside a diner across the street.

Meanwhile, Obie and Scam are aboard a bus heading towards their destination. Due to the cost of the tickets they have very little money. But when Scam notices the conman being taken into police custody, he and Obie spot the Mercedes they get off to retrieve it. After an officer's unsuccessful attempt to open the trunk of their Mercedes, Doc and Dickie continue to wait to get their car back. Taking their eyes off the Mercedes for a few seconds allowed Obie and Scam to sneak up and regain the car. They drive off with Doc and Dickie chasing out right after them. They catch up to the boys and starts ramming them to force them off the road, with Doc firing gunshots at them. But good driving skills allowed Obie and Scam to evade their pursuers, leading them to splash in a watery ditch. Realizing their pursuers want the car back Obie and Scam take it to a dealership and trade it for another car, not ever knowing of the body in the trunk.

Having traded the Mercedes for an old beat up Cadillac convertible, Obie and Scam make it to the town and address in Louisiana. Heading inside the house, they learn that Scam's dad has moved. As they are heading back to the car, they noticed that Obie's mom has shown up accompanied by police officers. To avoid running into her both he and Scam run out the backdoor. Managing to avoid Obie's mom they head into a bar to ask about Scam's dad. The bartender makes a racist remark about Scam's dad, leaving Obie to tell him off with a few choice words before they both leave. Overhearing their inquiry, a waitress follows them outside and she tells them where they can find him.

Both Obie and Scam head back to the house, making sure that Obie's mom has left. As they walk towards their car they are grabbed once again by Doc and Dickie, forcing them back to the dealership where they traded the car. Returning to the dealership, Dickie holds the kids captive, as Doc attempts to take the car back from the car salesman at gun point. While holding them Dickie is briefly distracted, allowing Obie and Scam to attack him and flee. Running across the road, a semi-trailer truck swerves to avoid hitting them, causing the truckdriver to crash into the cars on the lot. Doc tries to run but falls in the process, and the chain reaction of car crashes sets off an explosion that kills Doc. Obie and Scam run away when motorists spot Dickie with a gun in hand, subdue him, and hold until police arrive. When the police are able to open the trunk of the Mercedes, they discover the body of the man they killed. With Doc dead, Dickie tries to clear himself by pinning the murder solely on Doc. Plus he tells the police about the kids that stole the car.

Obie and Scam reach a car ferry to take them across the river. But the ferryman (Joe Seneca) charges them money they do not have. Rather than let Scam give up, when they are so close to his dad, Obie willingly gives his watch for payment, although Scam advises against the idea. The ferryman accepts Obie's watch, then has a change of heart and decides to take them for free, allowing Obie to keep his watch. The two pull up to a factory where employees are leaving after the ending workday. Through the crowd Scam spots his dad. Once his dad recognizes him they both run towards one another other and start hugging. As he watches this reunion of Scam and his dad, Obie has found closure, thus allowing him to accept his father's death. The movie ends with Scam and his dad riding back on the ferry with Obie, and is reunited with his mother.



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