Author Topic: The Big Chill (1983)  (Read 1288 times)

Offline Antares

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The Big Chill (1983)
« on: January 30, 2010, 12:26:22 AM »
The Big Chill





Year: 1983
Film Studio: Columbia Pictures, Carson Productions Group
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Length: 105 Min.

Director
Lawrence Kasdan

Writing
Lawrence Kasdan...Writer
Barbara Benedek...Writer

Producer
Marcia Nasatir
Lawrence Kasdan
Michael Shamberg

Cinematographer
John Bailey (1942)


Stars
Tom Berenger (1949) as Sam
Glenn Close (1947) as Sarah
Jeff Goldblum (1952) as Michael
William Hurt as Nick
Kevin Kline (1947) as Harold
Mary Kay Place (1947) as Meg
Meg Tilly as Chloe
JoBeth Williams (1948) as Karen

Review
       I’ve always found it ironically funny that the ‘Greatest generation’ had given birth to what historians in the future will dub the ‘Whiniest generation’. Just two years into the ‘Reagan era’, American society shifted course as the children of the ‘flower power’ generation started to turn 40 years old. They had all cut their hair, exchanged protest signs for briefcases, and had sired 2.1 children. As they started to cumulatively look at themselves in the mirror, a growing horror was becoming apparent to them; they had become their parents. For years they had expounded the principles of Peace, Love and Harmony amongst mankind, but now with a family to support, a mortgage to pay, and an insatiable hunger for competitive consumer consumption, they turned on each other. As their parents had showered them in their youth with everything that they had not had in their own childhood, a growing sense of material love would be fostered in their children’s collective consciousness. While their parents were perfectly happy ‘Just keeping up with the Jones’, their spoiled and selfish upbringing would foster a deep desire not to just keep up, but to always outdo the next guy. But we humans have a conscience, and it sometimes beats the drums of reason in our brain. When all was said and done, all of these material acquisitions proved to be hollow trophies which could not sustain a truly well rounded and fulfilling life.

       The first film to explore this growing apathy amongst a generation dubbed ‘Yuppies’, was an independent film by an up and coming director named John Sayles. The Return of the Secaucus 7 was Sayles first film and delved into the guilt and disenfranchisement of a small group of baby boomers who were searching for substance as they ventured forth into middle age. Made on a shoestring budget and starring a cast of unknowns, it relied heavily on Sayles’ gift for writing captivating dialogue in his screenplays to keep the movie moving. While it was a critical success, it found scant viewer ship in the multiplexes that were featuring the blockbusters of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.

       Hollywood, always looking for new material to seize upon, decided to make a big budget film about this new phenomenon gripping a large percentage of the population. Directed by Lawrence Kasdan, The Big Chill would be everything that the Sayles film was not; well financed, chock loaded with star talent and buoyed by a kick ass soundtrack that would mask the fact that the screenplay was as shallow as the characters in the story. The film starts out at the funeral of a friend who has committed suicide and we are introduced to his seven college friends who have gathered to make sense of their friend’s demise. Right from the start it’s evident that all seven of these people are so completely self absorbed that their combined level of personal depth would scarcely fill a wading pool. As they reminisce about their own past with their now fallen friend and justify their own inactivity in reaching out to help their troubled compatriot, we get a true glimpse of how empty each of them are morally and substantively. By the end of the film, Kasdan cops out by having all but two of the characters venture to separate bedrooms in what could be satirically deemed a ‘free love’ fuckfest. At no time are there any great revelations made, just a cheap and tawdry way of bringing this mess to a close. As I watched the end credits start to appear, I felt as if I had been invited to one of the most majestic and grand buffet dinners and all they served was cheese doodles. If you really want to see a good treatment on this subject, check out the Sayles film.


Ratings Criterion
- The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
- Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
- Historically important film, considered a classic.
- An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
– A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
- Borderline viewable.
– A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
– Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
– A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
- A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.

« Last Edit: January 02, 2014, 05:15:13 PM by Antares »