It began as a funeral, a likely scenario for a reunion with The Stones playing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”, and culminated into a bittersweet weekend of soul searching. I watched The Big Chill recently after not having seen it for many years and I quickly moved in with these ex-college friends again as if it was yesterday and I was tagging along for the ride.
It’s been thirty, yes THIRTY, years since it was released. I was in high school when it came out listening to Duran Duran and the Culture Club, and had not gone through any of the life experiences in the film, yet was so taken by the intensity of the relationships, the emotional situations, the diversity of characters, and of course, the music! 1983. The year when Michael Jackson’s almighty Thriller album dominated. National Lampoon’s “Vacation” , and Tom Cruise in “Risky Business” dancin’ in his underwear were flying up the charts. Bjorn Borg (hottie) retired from tennis, Swatches came out, Microsoft Word was introduced and M*A*S*H ended its phenomenal run. But it was The Big Chill that introduced me to “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge and I fell in love with the songs in the 60’s! I imagined how awesome it would be ‘when I was WAY older’ to have a motley crew of friends stay together in a big house on the waterway, drink, smoke, have sex, partake in deep conversations and all things cool. Seemed like the quintessential life moment. (ended up having a few of them in college minus the intellectual conversations….)
Now fast-forward thirty years. You’ll see it through new eyes. We’ve been married, divorced, had children, dealt with infidelity, know friends trying desperately to conceive, and unfortunately have known friends to take their own lives. We’re reliving our past; uncertain of our future and trying our best to live in the moment. We are all living the Big Chill! We’re microcosms of unique circumstances, all cooking up something together and bringing it to the giant oak table, metaphorically speaking. (cue “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”, by The Temptations).
At the end of the movie, are they any clearer of their future? They’ve looked back on the 60’s to understand the 80’s looking for second chances and fresh starts. I like the fact that there is no ending. Nothing is really resolved. I would say that’s the message.
Some great quotes from the movie:
Sam Weber: Nothing’s more important than sex!
Michael: Oh yeah, have you ever gone a week without a rationalization?
Michael: Harold, don’t you have any other music , you know, from this century?
Harold: There is no other music, not in my house.
Michael: There’s been a lot of terrific music in the last ten years.
Harold: Like what?
Chloe: I haven’t met that many happy people in my life. How do they act?
Michael: Everyone does everything just to get laid.
Karen: Who said that? Freud?
Michael: No, I did.
[about getting pregnant]
Sarah: It doesn’t always happen the first time.
Meg: That’s not what they told us in high school.
Michael: Amazing tradition. They throw a great party for you on the one day they know you can’t come.