11 user 6 critic

Big Time (1988)

Bringing his unique sense of humor to this bizarre and original piece of moviemaking, Tom Waits takes the audience through a musical journey with his jazzy, quirky, bluesy tunes presented ... See full summary »


Chris Blum




Credited cast:
Tom Waits ... Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Michael L. Blair Michael L. Blair ... Musician
Ralph Carney Ralph Carney ... Musician
Greg Cohen Greg Cohen ... Musician
Marc Ribot Marc Ribot ... Musician
Willie Schwarz Willie Schwarz ... Musician


Bringing his unique sense of humor to this bizarre and original piece of moviemaking, Tom Waits takes the audience through a musical journey with his jazzy, quirky, bluesy tunes presented as you would never, ever, ever expect. Written by Sam Hayes <gshayes@mail.gwi.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The concert was "the best live performance of the year." The movie is BIG TIME.


Documentary | Music


PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

6 January 1989 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Wielki czas See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Tom Waits: I think the question I get asked the most is, well I dunno know, it happens a lot, enough that I would remark on it - a lot of people come up to me and they say "Is it possible for a woman to get pregnant without intercourse?" My answer's always the same, I say: "Listen. We're gonna have to go all the way back to the civil war. Apparently a stray bullet actually pierced the testicle of a Union soldier and then lodged itself in the ovaries of an 18 year old girl who was actually 100 feet from ...
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Spoofed in Documentary Now!: Final Transmission (2016) See more »


Hang On St. Christopher
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User Reviews

to quote the man hissef "beautiful maladies"
28 October 2005 | by johatzSee all my reviews

There is a brilliance in the seemingly unintentional fluidity of the music is Waits' power. It is theatrically awful, in the sense that it includes music that is interesting in its ferocity and its failures but also exists as a remodeling of what is tangible about consciously produced sound. It is music, undeniably, it is watching MTV in the mid eighties through a dirty window in a smoke filled room with an obese man dancing and singing along. It is an event, a living process and a benevolent cultural tumor. See it. Allow it. Learn.

I grew aware of a certain truth that is unrelated to reality. The truth of a person. Tom Waits is an instrument of himself. He has fashioned a persona that is so real, and simultaneously so fantastical that it cannot be fraudulent. His presence is haunting, human entirely aware and yet still skewed. His music is that of perspectives. Each note, of each strange instrument carries its own voice. The collective whole does not then become an singly integrated piece but a turbulent chorus of voices and desires. It's as though the instruments are arguing about which direction they are going and in their argument become the songs, the melodies, as though they had no intention of doing so but happened to. There is no good excuse that his music has not prevented trifling, logical and in-specific pop music. I blame myself.

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