Lawrence Kasdan may be known to the more diehard Star Wars and Indiana Jones fans as the co-writer of Episodes V and VI, as well as the original Raiders film. Well, apparently he was so well regarded with his contributions in the film industry that they gave him a shot at the director’s chair as well, and he made something of it with Body Heat, which is also on the List and thus one I will get to soon enough. This one, The Big Chill, is his next film, and it falls in with Diner and other films of its like, being a grown-up reunion film, almost like an older version of American Graffiti mixed in with “inter-connected lives” films like Smoke. So, because it is like so many other films already on the list, it pretty much immediately garners some initial hesitation from me on the count of not wanting to sit through yet another of the same experiences, so I was keen to look for anything that would help this stand out from the rest of the pack. Needless to say, it doesn’t, but it’s still a decent film regardless.
The narrative device of the Big Chill is not a new one, and there are several films that this one evokes; a group of old school friends reunite and spend some catching-up time together after the funeral of one of their own. Like I said, it doesn’t exactly break new ground, so what does this one have to offer? Honestly, I’m not too sure what this one has that other films don’t already have, and it’s mainly just the unfortunate happenstance of having seen all those other films before having seen this one. Still, if you’re a fan of films like Diner, and are interested in, well, more of the same, this will be a nice second helping for you. Otherwise, if you’re still full from the first serving, more of this will likely leave you feeling bloated.
I really wish I had more to say about this one, but that’s how samey it is to so many other films, especially from the List, I’ve seen. There’s a few non sequiturs, like the film’s propensity to cut the scene right after delivering one of its cutting whammy lines, and the distinct oldies soundtrack (a highlight for me, as I’m a big oldies fan, despite how obliviously nostalgic it desperately tried to make the film), but other than the odd tassels at the end of the carpet that these are, it’s still just another rug. Now, again, if you’re a fan of rugs, you’ll find many things to appreciate about this one, but as for me, I’ve seen enough rugs just like this one.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10