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The Big Picture (1989)

Film school grad Nick Chapman thought his career was made after his award winning short film, but discovered Hollywood wasn't as easy as it seems.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Emily Longstreth ...
Susan Rawlings
Allen Habel
Lydia Johnson
Emmet Sumner
Kim Miyori ...
Jenny Sumner
Jonathan Tristan-Bennet
Jason Gould ...
Carl Manknik
Tracy Brooks Swope ...
Lori Pressman
Todd Marvin
Gary Kroeger ...
Mrs. Chapman
Grant Owens ...
Mr. Chapman
Polo Habel


Nick Chapman graduates from film school, and his short film wins a special prize. This gives him a high enough profile that he can get Hollywood to back the film he has long dreamed of making. Studio exec Allen Habel is interested. But Nick soon is seduced by Hollywood and makes one concession after another until his original movie is lost altogether. Worse, Nick is lost, too, turning on girlfriend Susan and old buddy Emmet. Will he come to his sense before everything is lost? Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Hollywood Reel To Real See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 December 1989 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

A Grande Comédia  »

Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)


$117,463 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


During the student awards dinner, after the Crossed Sabres of Truth is shown, Dan Schneider's line "...regrettably killed while filming" could be a reference to Vic Morrow, who was Jennifer Jason Leigh's father. She plays Lydia in the film. Even if not intended to be about him, it was how she lost her father. See more »


A pointed piece of equipment moves up and out of frame as Lydia is talking to Nick in her apartment. See more »


Neil Sussman: I'm very, very aware... that you are seeing other agents. And I think it's good that you are. Finally, I mean it's healthy. But, this is the thing. If you decide to sign with me, you're gonna get more than an agent. You're gonna get three people.
[Holds up four fingers]
Neil Sussman: You're gonna get an agent, a mother, a father, a shoulder to cry on, someone who knows this business inside and out. And if anyone ever tries to cross you, I'll grab them by the balls and squeeze 'til they're dead.
See more »


The Christmas Song
Written by Mel Tormé (as Mel Torme) and Robert Wells (as Bob Wells)
Performed by Dick Haymes
Courtesy of MCA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Overlooked classic
29 April 2003 | by (Oakland,CA) – See all my reviews

I've watched this many times, and feel that this ranks with the best work of Christopher Guest. Kevin Bacon is outstanding as the idealistic young director Nick Chapman, who falls prey to the jaded Hollywood lifestyle - long before he can afford it personally or financially. Martin Short's role as Nick's agent is hilarious, and other good performances are turned in by Jennifer Jason Leigh, Terri Hatcher, and many others. This is Spinal Tap for the film industry, and well worth a look.

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