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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.

Director:

Christopher Guest

Writers:

Michael Varhol (story), Christopher Guest (story) | 3 more credits »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Bacon ... Nick Chapman
Emily Longstreth ... Susan Rawlings
J.T. Walsh ... Allen Habel
Jennifer Jason Leigh ... Lydia Johnson
Michael McKean ... Emmet Sumner
Kim Miyori ... Jenny Sumner
Teri Hatcher ... Gretchen
Dan Schneider ... Jonathan Tristan-Bennet
Jason Gould Jason Gould ... Carl Manknik
Tracy Brooks Swope ... Lori Pressman
Don Franklin ... Todd Marvin
Gary Kroeger ... Mark
Alice Hirson ... Mrs. Chapman
Grant Owens Grant Owens ... Mr. Chapman
Fran Drescher ... Polo Habel
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Hollywood Reel To Real See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As Nick walks out of the Los Angeles movie theater, the short cigar-smoking fellow one step ahead of him is Jerry Maren, who at the time was the last surviving Munchkin from The Wizard of Oz. See more »

Goofs

In Lydia's apartment she begins to raise her beer to her mouth in one shot, but in the next shot it's back by her side. See more »

Quotes

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.
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Connections

Features It's a Wonderful Life (1946) See more »

Soundtracks

Angel
Written by Eric Kaz
Performed by Bonnie Raitt
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

User Reviews

 
Bacon 'n' Guest, makin' their best!
19 December 2009 | by nixskitsSee all my reviews

It's hard to believe it's been twenty years since this came out. Kevin Bacon is established as one of the best American actors (also, one of the greats who've never been nominated for an Oscar!). Teri Hatcher is the star of a huge television hit. Christopher Guest still makes brilliant films and gives his actors more freedom than almost any other director today. And my affection for "The Big Picture" only grows fonder as the time passes.

In "Rolling Stone" magazine's 1989 "Hot Issue", then newcomer Steven Soderbergh was profiled as that season's hot new filmmaker. One remark was about how students in LA based film schools have their works shown at big events, attended by many hot shots in the entertainment industry. Meaning, a young woman or man could have a "bomb" of sorts on their hands before even turning professional! Not the most nurturing environment for youthful talent.

Bacon's "Nick Chapman" gets the full treatment as a guy on the fast track after winning his school's big prize for his project. And things don't go wonderfully well after he starts meeting the movers and shakers in his new world. The late, great J.T. Walsh is a studio head (for the time being) who seduces Chapman into believing all his dreams are possible. Michael McKean is Chapman's friend, a cinematographer who isn't necessarily the first choice to shoot his debut. And John Cleese, Martin Short and Jennifer Jason Leigh have great turns as Chapman's different associates that can't really stop the grimly funny runaway train he's on until his self respect finally returns and he sees everything for what it really is.

Most films about film-making are not that good. This is a major exception to that rule. Very bitter, but also very sweet. Just like life!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 December 1989 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

The Big Picture See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$33,071, 17 September 1989

Gross USA:

$117,463

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$117,463
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Aspen Film Society See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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