A seminal Thirty-Something movie in which a group of old college friends who are now all grown up and hardened by the big wide world come together for the funeral of Alex, a barely glimpsed corpse, who was at one time the brightest and the best of them, and yet who never managed to achieve half as much as any of the others. The friends use the occasion to reacquaint themselves with each other and to speculate as to what happened to their idealism which had been abundant when they were younger. Written by
Mark Thompson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"The Ladd Company, producers of [writer-director Lawrence Kasdan's earlier] Body Heat (1981), passed on the project as did top executives at Paramount, Universal, MGM, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros [and Columbia Pictures]. It was Marcia Nasatir, then president of Carson Films, who finally persuaded Columbia chairman Frank Price and president Guy McElwaine to back the project" according to Torene Svitil's essay with the Criterion Collection's DVD. On the 15th Anniversary DVD documentary, Lawrence Kasdan says how every major studio had turned down the project, including Columbia who ended it making it, they just couldn't see it. It was the belief of Nasatir that catalyzed the film to get made at Columbia, though, according to Kasdan, with much resistance, and toing and froing, until they reluctantly agreed to make it. See more »
A Winning Comedy-Drama Backed by One of the Best Soundtracks Ever!
1983's THE BIG CHILL is one of those beautifully crafted and wonderfully acted films that is so ingratiating that I can watch it over and over and never tire of it. Director Lawrence Kasdan hits the bullseye in this alternately hilarious and moving variation on the earlier RETURN OF THE SECAUCUS SEVEN. This film follows the reunion of a group of friends who went to college together, who have gathered for the funeral of their mutual friend, Alex, who has committed suicide. The original screenplay included scenes with Alex, who was played by Kevin Costner, but, in a stroke of genius, it was decide to delete all of the Alex scenes in the film, lending a wonderful air of mystery to the character of Alex and allowing the audience more input as to why Alex decided to end his life. Alex's friends are Harold Cooper (Kevin Kline), who now owns a shoe store franchise and his doctor-wife, Sarah (Glenn Close), who also serve as our hosts ; Michael (Jeff Goldblum), a writer for PEOPLE magazine; Meg (Mary Kay Place)an attorney who wants to have a baby; Sam (Tom Berenger) an actor with his own TV show who misses the simple life; Karen (JoBeth Williams), a restless housewife who would really like to be a writer and Nick (William Hurt) a drug dealer who would like to be anything else. Also thrown into the mix is Chloe (Meg Tilly) Alex's girlfriend, who knows a completely different Alex than his friends do. This gathering of old and new friends sets the stage for some long-dormant resentments to bubble to the surface and for some long buried passions to be re-ignited. Kasdan has a sharp directorial eye and a flawless ear for dialogue with one of the most quotable screenplays ever and it is all set to a soundtrack of the greatest music from the 1960's ever compiled for a movie soundtrack. The cast is perfection...Close received a Best Supporting Actress nomination but the entire cast works at the same level and to honor one without honoring the ensemble wouldn't have been right. This is the ultimate ensemble piece and it works just about perfectly. Anyway you slice it, an instant classic.
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