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Reviews & Ratings for
Grand Canyon More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

I must be stupid

Author: francke-4 from SF CA
7 January 1999

I read some very good reviews and was expecting a decent film. It includes actors I recognize and have liked. Must be I'm oblivious or just too stupid to comprehend it. I fell asleep about half hour in. Tried again and failed again. Possibly TV editing did it. But I don't think so. This movie must simply be beyond my little mind.

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7 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Grand Pretentious

Author: flyingcandy from eekstown, maine
3 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If anyone thinks MAGNOLIA is the most pretentious movie ever made, as Richard Dreyfuss tells Robert Shaw in JAWS: "I got that beat."

This movie, about rich and poor people in Los Angeles whose lives intertwine, all discussing their own philosophies of life, takes the pretentious nasal-gazing gold medal.

Lawrence Kasdan, who's written and directed modern classics like SILVERADO and THE BIG CHILL (and wrote the script to THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK based on George Lucas's story), penned this do-gooder doozy with his wife, Meg. Kevin Kline's car breaks down in Inglewood (after a Laker game) and is almost killed by gangsters; Danny Glover, as a tow truck driver, saves him; they become friends and we follow each of their (and their friends and families) lives and basically learn: we're in different sized boats in the same raging sea.

Hollywood bigwigs with tons of money obviously have a lotta guilt, and the Kasdans probably wrote this to assure their diamond-studded cronies: "No matter if we're millionaires, at least WE care". Or something. This film is God-Awful. Every sentence has a POINT; every camera angle an AGENDA. "I dare you to watch this and NOT LEARN SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR LIFE", is in parentheses throughout. As one character says: "People who excel at one thing think they know about everything." I think Lawrence and Meg might have been projecting here.

And, at the very end of the two-and-a-half hours of ponderous diatribes (people carrying- on as if they've had that perfect amount of alcohol)... as the cast (including Steve Martin as a film producer who, after being shot in the leg, realizes his billion dollar bank account is pointless; Mary McDonnell, whose very countenance screams "I'm Better Than All Men", playing Kline's wife who finds an abandoned baby; and Jeremy Sisto as Kline's not-spoiled but very privileged son who works with the handicapped) all stare off into the actual Grand Canyon... realizing their problems are tiny in comparison... Don't be surprised if you hear yourself screaming "JUMP!" like I did.

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7 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Kasdan's Canyon is not so deep

Author: Stig-4
27 October 1998

One of the worst commentaries on social and spiritual oblivion in LA. This is the most embarrassingly misguided 'feel good' movie out there. Guilt ridden and spiritually dead whites make good by befriending token blacks. Tedious characters torture us with their ponderous urban angst and self reflectivity, then link arms and go to Grand Canyon for affirmation of their universal insignificance. A revelation for New Agers, others will do best to stay away.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Life Lesson Here

Author: dallasryan from United States
21 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm almost sure Paul Haggis got his idea for his film Crash, from this film. Both are really the same in many ways, Crash is a little better of a movie than Grand Canyon in the way that it's presented, and because of the more profound moments that are presented in it(Crash). But honestly Grand Canyon is just as good. Crash just happened to be made at the height of political correctness, at the height of the Al Sharpton era, ergo Crash wins the Academy Award for Best Picture where as Grand Canyon only gets an Academy Award Nomination for Best Screenplay. Times were different when Grand Canyon came out in 1991 then when Crash came out in 2005(Plus I don't think the Academy wanted to see a Homosexual Cowboy Lovestory win best film, even though we all know, It's 10 times better of a film than Crash is, that movie being Brokeback Mountain of course).

I won't really get much into Grand Canyon because if you've seen Crash, then it's all said right there. Lot's of Concepts, lot's of things being said that are contrived, etc, etc. One thing I will touch on though is the best scene in the movie Grand Canyon. The best scene in Grand Canyon is with Jeremy Sisto's character and Kevin Kline's character, Kline is Sisto's father in the film. Kline is teaching Sisto how to drive and Sisto makes a big boo boo while driving and they almost get in a big car crash, but they don't and Kline patiently tells Sisto to pull over. I think this is a scene that is greatly over looked. I know with my dad, he would have been yelling and screaming at me if I almost got in a car accident. And as we don't want to be push-overs to our kids, there needs to be a balance, a moderation.

What's brilliant about the scene is it speaks volumes about Kline's character as a father. Sisto's character in the movie, is a smart, kind- hearted kid, with a good head on his shoulder. Kline's character isn't a hot head, he's very calm and patient, but no push-over either, and that's why Sisto has such a good head on his shoulder and doesn't overly stress out ever because he's been raised with very good parents. They say kids pick things up mentally for the rest of their life between the ages of 6-8 years old.

I know when my dad yelled at me for doing something wrong that i hadn't learned yet between the ages of 6-8 years old, later in life, I have always stressed out if i do something wrong, and I always expect to be yelled at. Not a good feeling to feel nor should one feel the need to feel that way. It's obvious that Kline's character never yelled at his son like my dad did when Sisto's character was between 6-8 years old because if Kline's character had, that scene in the car with Sisto almost crashing it, would have gone down with Kline's character castigating Sisto and Sisto stressing out with sadness, anger, resentment, that leads on to things later in life with always feeling you have to be perfect, feeling like you can't make a mistake or you'll get yelled at, walking on eggshells, and then perhaps leading further down the road in life to anger management and PTSS, you name it.

That stuff messes up kids. Not saying Kline's character is husband of the year, he has an affair in the movie, and he's quite lucky his wife and kid(Sisto) didn't find out or that could have had catastrophic effects on both his wife and son, but other than that mistake, Kline's character is a good husband and a great father. If nothing else from this movie, I think we can all learn to be better parents, to raise our kids better in a more constructive manner than in a reactive manner after watching this film.

Also, Steve Martin is terrific in this one as well, and Danny Glover is always likable, perhaps one of the most likable actors in history. If you liked Crash, you'll like this one, if you didn't, then you might or might not like this one.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Kasdan Canyon

Author: tieman64 from United Kingdom
17 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Lawrence Kasdan directs "Grand Canyon", a sprawling ensemble piece which recalls such films as "Magnolia", "Crash", "Short Cuts" and "City of Hope". With the exception of "Short Cuts", these films tend to be very contrived, filled with strained connections and spending much of their time making laboured points about fate, fragility, coincidence and the interconnectedness of life.

Though better written than its imitators, "Grand Canyon" does the same thing. Set in Los Angeles, the film glides gracefully across a set of characters, all of whom share common experiences despite their different economic strata, ages and racial backgrounds. Though at times unfocused, the film is ambitious and contains a number of well written sequences, including one in which actor Kevin Kline describes the moment a stranger saved his life. Another scene, in which a father and son share a driving lesson, is particularly beautiful. It points to life's precariousness, the way every mundane activity carries with it both risk and bravery, as well as the infinite number of little "miracles" which occur everyday.

On another level, "Canyon" is a "white, middle-class, suburban disaffection movie" in the vein of "American Beauty", "The Ice Storm", "Safe", "Far From Heaven" and "Happiness", most of which were released in the mid 90s. "Canyon", however, predates them all, and is resolutely upbeat. Where those films tend to end in violence, disillusionment and disaffection "Canyon" ends on a note of almost naive optimism. And while most of these films focus on a white, middle class, "Canyon" jumps from the staggeringly rich, to the middle class, to ghetto-trapped African Americans. Another distinction is Kasadan's direction itself, which isn't afraid to drop into surreal territory. The film includes several extended dream sequences, one of which recalls the Coens' "Big Lebowski", another LA flick.

"Canyon" indulges in two recurring metaphors or motifs, that of "The Grand Canyon" and that of permanently patrolling helicopters, the latter resembling the "med fly" aircraft of Altman's "Short Cuts". Kasdan's point: man is utterly inconsequential when stacked up against a universe that is simultaneously vast, beautiful, horrific, malevolent and seemingly time-less. Elsewhere Kasdam's patrol helicopters offer a mixed sense of guilt, danger and perhaps cosy communal safety, the world presumed dangerous, but rendered navigable alongside the watchful eyes, or even miracles, of others.

"Canyon" isn't as good as "Short Cuts", but it is better than all the other "ensemble movies" and "disaffection dramas" that came later. In terms of flaws, all of Kasdan's characters speak the same, regardless of their economic standing. The film is also at times very heavy handed, condescending and has that typically overproduced look of early 90s Hollywood.

7.9/10 – There are a number of great scenes here, but the film can't sustain these highs. Worth one viewing.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Kasdan's Grand Project has scope

Author: mark-whait from United Kingdom
17 December 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Lawrence Kasdan's Grand Canyon is a movie trying to go places, and isn't quite sure how it gets there. Set in 1990s Los Angeles, it follows the fortunes of half a dozen citizens whose lives are intertwined by fate and fortune. There are some memorable scenes that will live long in the memory. Take Kevin Kline being rescued by pick up truck driver Danny Glover when he breaks down in one of the most undesirable neighbourhoods around. I found that the first half of the movie rolled along at a cracking pace and was watchable, even though many of those scenes were laden with doom and gloom and the chaos theory that we all live through in every day life. Indeed, Kasdan seemed to relish every single opportunity to tell us that modern day life - especially in LA - is fraught with danger, despair, injustice and anguish. After a while, the message gets laborious, but Kasdan then shows us that despite all that, we cannot cheat fate and that there are immeasurable pleasures to be had in life despite the surface appearing to be rotten and hard. The ending is a little too neat and doesn't sit kindly after what has been shown before, and the second half of the picture does start to sag, but all in all this is a decent movie well worth a revisit. Not sure what Steve Martin is doing here - he seems hopelessly miscast in a straight role, but Kline and Glover, in particular, are excellent.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

It's a small subgenre, but a good one

Author: mrtraska from United States
23 June 2009

This film was Short Cuts before Short Cuts and LA Story and The End of Violence by Wim Wenders, except that Short Cuts and The End of Violence were better. The unfortunate thing about them all is that they chose LA for the setting to make their points, as if LA were the be-all and end-all of the world, but then people in Los Angeles (especially Hollywood) are stupidly myopic about that. Still, the directors made their points and the points work and provoke thought, and LA just barely makes it as a microcosm for the various things that are wrong with the world; so perhaps we give credit where credit is due and leave it at that. The two Raymonds -- Chandler and Carver -- always did see LA accurately, if through a darkened lens, one that LA deserves. And yes, as in Grand Canyon, sometimes, perhaps often, you need to leave LA and see the rest of the country, or world, to get real perspective and genuine hope ... something those of us who live between the coasts already know, unfortunately for Angelenos. But then, you should really see all four of these films, then maybe City of Angels, for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

"Why can't we all just get along?" R.King

Author: ianlouisiana from United Kingdom
27 July 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well,this movie will tell Mr King what I'm sure he knows well - enough. In Los Angeles the gap between those who indulge in conspicuous consumption and those who live in perpetual penury is less likely to narrow than anywhere else.There is little incentive and even less chance for those denied a tolerable existence by accident of birth to improve their circumstances unless they are extraordinarily gifted athletically or intellectually or possessed of a very high degree of determination and motivation.Most likely a combination of all those rare qualities is required if life for any member of the underclass is not to become a self - fulfilling prophecy.That is the received wisdom.It is not challenged by "Grand Canyon" - indeed the Steve Martin character articulates it,or something very like it,in the movie.If,as he says,there are no answers,then we are walking on eggshells.No amount of navel - gazing,awestruck at the wonders of nature is going to make an iota of difference. What "The bonfire of the vanities" says about New York is merely echoed by the main thrust of "Grand Canyon"'s sentiments.Racial and social politics appear to dominate life in both those cities.Here in the U.K.,those who "just want to get along" are polarised in their respective communities and generally manage to get along by steadfastly ignoring each other.This may be a peculiarly British solution to a problem i.e. pretend there isn't one. In the 17 years since the movie was made I doubt if the rich of L.A. have become poorer or the poor richer.If the movie's purpose was to somehow help redress that imbalance then it has,sadly,failed in that purpose. If,as I rather suspect,its purpose was to engender debate on the inequities and vagaries of life by taking the larger view,the general rather than the specific,then it has succeeded very well indeed.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Eye opening...

Author: armenk2000 from Canada
23 March 2008

Sometimes a film comes along that makes you open your eyes and see what is really important in life.

This is one of those films.

From the opening scene, right to the end credits, we see that there are connections in life that cannot (and maybe should not) be explained.

Are they miracles? I guess it depends on what you believe.

Maybe there are miracles occurring all around us, but we're just slow to recognize them.

Regardless, this film makes you pause to think about it all. That can't be a bad thing.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Should be in everyone's DVD library

Author: joefunsmith from California
4 March 2008

It has been about 15 years since I watched this movie. I remember loving it and wondering why it didn't receive more attention. I agree with many others who say it is one of the most underrated, overlooked movies from the 90's. When I ask people if they have seen it, they either have not or they have and they loved it. I can't for the life of me figure out how it is coming in currently as a 6.5 out of 10. There are many other movies of lesser quality getting 7 or more stars.

Now to be honest, my memory of the specifics of this movie are a little vague and I don't criticize movies for being "too sappy" or for things like rehashing themes that others have done. I figure if the movie can make me laugh and cry all in the same movie, it is a great movie. I think this one did.

I find movies like this superior to say a Tarentino movie or a movie full of special effects. I want a movie to SAY something. I want it to touch me deeply, and not just get a cheap rise out of me. This is just such a movie.

Although I agree with one other review that compared it favorably to Crash, for me it isn't about the end being positive per se. I just didn't think Crash quite spoke the kind of truth this movie did. One of my favorite rock albums of all time is Pink Floyd's "The Wall" which is very dark in its message. I only listen to it once in a while because I don't like to dwell on the negative -- Crash could have been on a par - unfortunately, I can't put my finger on the reason, but it didn't achieve that level of truth for me.

Long story short... If you haven't seen Grand Canyon yet, make it point to watch it.

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