Seven former college friends, along with a few new friends, gather for a weekend reunion at a summer house in New Hampshire to reminisce about the good old days, when they got arrested on the way to a protest in Washington, DC.
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The Secaucus 7 of the film's title are seven friends who, during their college days, were arrested in New Jersey on their way to a protest in Washington. The film takes place ten years after all that, as the friends gather at the home of Mike and Katie, now schoolteachers in New Hampshire, bringing with them old problems and new: Maura has left Jeff and seeks consolation with his best friend, J.T.; J.T., arguably the least successful of the friends, finally gets the courage to move to Los Angeles to start a career as a songwriter; Irene brings her new boyfriend along, hoping he'll like and be liked by her friends and expecting them to challenge him for his more-conservative politics; and more. This is the film that inspired "The Big Chill." Written by
Gary Dickerson <email@example.com>
The meaning of the word "Secaucus" and the phrase "Secaucus Seven" of the film's title is that is refers to the seven college friends of the sixties generation who made a an exit at a turnpike on the way to a demonstration rally in Washington, D.C to protest against the Vietnam War. The seven (amongst others) were stopped by police, arrested, detained and gaoled in Secaucus, New Jersey. "Secaucus" refers to the town Secaucus in New Jersey whilst "Secaucus Seven" references "The Chicago Seven". "The Chicago Seven" were 7 protesters who were charged with a number of offenses including conspiracy and inciting a riot during protests and demonstrations at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. See more »
Camera shadow on the ground during the basketball game when JT falls down. See more »
[Jeff is detailing his previous arrests to a booking policeman]
And that was for conspiracy to riot. Charges dropped. September 12, '69 for criminal trespassing and resisting arrest. Charges dropped. December 24, '69, inciting to riot. Charges dropped. August of '70 for lobbying in Kentucky. Charges dropped. Five arrests, all in Kentucky, in '71, for possession, "suspicion" of possession of a controlled substance. Charges dropped. Want the dates? And then March 5, '73, indicted for destruction ...
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Overshadowed by its loud, shallow and uncredited remake (The Big Chill) Sayles' first film is a very slight effort that manages to capture a time and place with quiet brilliance. The actors -- first roles for most of them and only roles for some -- are sometimes painfully amateurish and the duration and self-indulgence of some of the scenes make the viewer long for chainsaw intervention, but the film as a whole does a wonderful job of showing a generation of aging idealists on the eve of Reagan's America. Unlike The Big Chill, where everyone is pretty and successful and the dialogue is crisp and full of what passes for wit on prime time TV, Sayles' characters are almost too low-key, their banter sometimes clumsy and their jokes not terribly funny. The unfortunate side effect of his conscientious effort to keep things "real" is that the film sometimes fails to entertain or engage and most of the characters end up outside the viewers' sphere of caring, like someone else's friends in a third-hand story. Still, a very impressive first film and influential on many other 80s movies besides its gaudy imitator.
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