One of Michael J. Fox’s most popular and beloved films is one where the actor doesn’t even appear on screen, but only his voice. This family film can now be seen on Netflix.
Stuart Little has Michael J. Fox lending his voice to the title character and tells the story of an anthropomorphic mouse who is brought home by Eleanor (Geena Davis) and Frederick Little (Hugh Laurie) after the pair visit an orphanage with the idea of bringing home a baby for their family.
When the Little’s instead bring home Stuart, it doesn’t sit well with their son George (Jonathan Lipnicki), who is less than enthusiastic in greeting Stuart and refuses to call him his brother. Stuart’s presence also causes Snowball (Nathan Lane), the family cat, much discomfort as he refuses to recognize Stuart as his new “master.”
Slowly, though, Stuart wins over George. The two begin to play together and Stuart seals the deal when he offers to help George finish building his remote-controlled racing sailboat that George wants to enter in a boat race in Central Park.
Meanwhile, Snowball is tired of Stuart and is now looking at alley cat mobster Smokey (Chazz Palminteri) to help him rid the Little home of the pesky mouse.
Stuart gains even more favor with George when the day of the boat race Stuart takes charge of the boat because the remote control accidentally gets broken. Though Stuart runs into trouble with a boat piloted by George’s nemesis, Stuart holds out and is able to win the race.
After the race, the Littles are visited by Reginald and Camille Stout, two mice who claim to be Stuart’s real parents. They inform the Little’s that they gave him up because they were too poor to raise a child. A reluctant Stuart leaves with the Stout’s, much to Snowball’s joy.
A few days later, Mrs. Keeper from the orphanage shows up at the Little home to tell them Stuart’s parents actually died a while back and the two claiming to be his parents are imposters. The hunt for Stuart is on.
Stuart is a loveable little mouse, who has that effect on many, even the Stouts. They realize they have done him wrong, so they tell him the truth – Smokey used them to trick Stuart into believing they were his true parents.
Does Stuart reunite with the Littles? Does Snowball regret his part in the plot? Does Smokey get his comeuppance?
Stuart Little was brought to the screen by Rob Minkoff from a script written by, believe it or not, M. Night Shyamalan and co-written by Greg Booker. Shyamalan is best known for writing his thriller movies such as The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Split, and Glass. Shyamalan and Booker based their script on the 1945 E.B. White novel of the same name.
Minkoff was given a budget of $105 million to bring Stuart Little to life. His film was rewarded with a return of over $300 million at the box office.
Michael J. Fox’s story is a sad one. He came into prominence first on the small screen starring as Alex P. Keaton in the long-running, hit sitcom Family Ties. The series ran for seven seasons and put Fox on the map, though he wasn’t even first selected to portray Keaton. The role was intended to go to Matthew Broderick, but Broderick had to pass on it as he was too busy to take on a sitcom.
During Michael J. Fox’s time on Family Ties, he made the move to features as well. Of course, the big one to come out for Fox was the 1985 smash classic, Back to the Future. The Steven Spielberg film showcased Fox’s brand of humor to the world, and it paid off. The movie was made for $19 million and raked in a cool $389 million.
Fox would go on to star in Teen Wolf later that year and his film career took off. He continued on for two more years playing Keaton while making hit movies like Light of Day, the underrated The Secret of My Success, and Bright Lights, Big City.
The freight train, or should we say DeLorean, continued to roll on for Michael J. Fox when immediately after he finished with Family Ties, he put out not one, but two sequels to Back to the Future. Both films, Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III, were a rousing success and further solidified that Fox was a major player in feature films.
Michael J. Fox would continue to crank out feature films. In 1991 he was in the fun rom-com Doc Hollywood about a big city doctor falling for a small-town ambulance driver, played by the talented and beautiful Julie Warner. It was during the filming of this movie that Fox would be diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
Fox knew what the diagnosis meant for him and his career. The decline would be slow but very noticeable. He was told he probably had a good ten years left before he wouldn’t be able to act again. He continued to make movies and hide his diagnosis. He even jumped back to the small screen with the hit TV series Spin City, one that ran for six seasons but one that Michael J. Fox only appeared in the first five. Parkinson’s was taking over, so the final season of Spin City saw Charlie Sheen take over for Fox, who did make a few appearances in the final season.
Although Parkinson’s was beginning to show, Fox never fully retired from acting until this past year. He’s made appearances on TV shows such as Scrubs, Boston Legal, The Good Wife, Designated Survivor, and The Good Fight. Fox, along with his Back to the Future co-star Christopher Lloyd, even returned to their Back to the Future roots when they reprised their beloved characters on a Jimmy Kimmel Live! skit.
Since his diagnosis, Michael J. Fox has been the face of the disease. He started the Michael J. Fox Foundation in order to help those with the crippling disease and has been constant in the media as well as in Washington D.C. with his efforts to help combat Parkinson’s.
Michael J. Fox has given fans plenty of reasons to be in his corner as he continues his battle against Parkinson’s on all fronts. His film and TV resume are without question, for the most part always bringing a smile.
If you’re looking for some fun Michael J. Fox family entertainment, Stuart Little can be found on Netflix.