Twins (1988)
Commentary by Jesse Fornash, November 2002

Twins is a movie about two twin brothers that were created in a medical experiment. The goal was to create the perfect child. One of the brothers, named Julius Benedict (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger), was the perfect child: tall, strong, and handsome. The other brother, Vincent Benedict (played by Danny DeVito), is the reject. He is short, fat, and not as tough or respected as his bigger, badder brother.

When they first meet, Vincent is surprised that Julius is his twin brother because of their vastly different looks and size. In many scenes we see the towering 6' 2" Schwarzenegger standing next to the barely 5' 0" DeVito. The height comparison is no contest. Why the director did this throughout the movie is unknown but it really got to be annoying after the fourth or fifth time. It was like rubbing salt in an open wound showing how much taller a big, respected man like Schwarzenegger is compared to little man DeVito.

After they meet, it is immediately obvious which brother is the tougher one. Julius finds himself repeatedly bailing out his smaller brother. One scene in the movie shows Vincent fighting with a man who is of course taller than he. Vincent is losing the fight badly and after two minutes of being pounded, Julius comes to his rescue. He breaks up the fight and easily handles Vincent's opponent.

Not much more is really said about their height differences until they meet a professor at a university who turns out to be Vincent's father. The professor explains that the two are half brothers; the same mother but two different fathers. He says that Julius is the perfect brother because he was made big, strong and good looking while Vincent is nothing more than a mere reject, made from leftover DNA. This explains why he was made short, fat, and well inferior to his so called perfect bigger, twin brother.

Vincent is hurt by the news and finds it difficult to believe that he was made out of crap; a term used by the professor, which Vincent repeats to himself and to his brother. He does not understand why the two were made to be brothers. From this part until close to the end of the movie, Vincent feels bad about himself. His feelings are not unlike those of many short men. He feels jealous, weak, rejected, and inferior to anyone who is bigger than him. Happily, by the end of the movie, Vincent got over his sad feelings and did not care so much about his size.

I was upset with how this movie addressed height. It tells us that if you're big and tall, you're always the stronger one and will have no fear of anyone. Tall people almost always have more self-esteem than shorter people do. When you're tall, it seems like you can do anything you want. You can push people around without anyone trying to fight back because once people see how big and tough you are, they're usually going to back away from you. Instead, they'll pick on someone shorter and weaker. The movie makes the case that tall people tend to be more perfect humans than short people. Tall people are also happier with who they are. The short guy just has to stand there and watch the tall people enjoy their lives with the ability to take control of things. The short guys know that they're unable to do the same because their small stature makes it harder for them to earn respect, be noticed and looked up to (no pun intended).

I don't know why this movie had to make such a striking comparison of how much better of a person a big guy can be over a small guy. Most of us know already that there's no contest! The tall guy is always the hero, while the short guy seems to be nothing more than a reject side-kick who needs to be saved by his bigger and better companion. It also seems to tell the audience that all men are not created equal, that size is everything you can ever hope for and if you happen to be a lucky person who gets it, you'll be happy with you're life no matter what.

This discrimination ruined what could have been a good movie. If more movies would simply show that tall guys are no better than short guys, society would not always have to make short guys the butt of their jokes. More of us could simply be accepted and be happy with who we are.