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Encore, the pay cable TV channel, is showing one of my top 10 favorite movies of all time tonight (Tuesday, July 7) at 9:10 p.m. CDT.
“The Big Chill” is a 1983 film, directed by Lawrence Kasdan, about eight college friends who attended the University of Michigan during the height of the Vietnam War and campus protest. They gather 15 years later for a funeral of one of their friends and then spend the weekend together.
It featured a cast that were in the early stages of their careers and went on to further stardom — Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place, Meg Tilly and JoBeth Williams.
They were very idealistic while in college and determined to change the world. It didn’t quite work out that way. They have joined the mainstream. Harold (Kline) got rich selling running shoes. Sam (Berenger) is an actor starring in a “Magnum P.I” type of television program. Sarah (Close), who is married to Harold, is a doctor. Meg (Place) is an attorney earning a lot of money in private practice and Michael (Goldblum) writes for People magazine. Karen (Williams) is a rich suburban housewife. Meanwhile, Nick (Hurt) has been wandering since graduation; he went to Vietnam, didn’t finish his graduate work and hosted a radio call-in program among other stops in life.
Their late friend, Alex (played by Kevin Costner although his scenes ended up on the cutting room floor and never made it into the film), never adjusted to life after college. He struggled to find a place in the world and killed himself.
The film shows how all the friends reflect on their lives during the weekend and wonder whether there is more they could have done to help Alex. They think about if they can still have their ideals despite the type of lives they now lead. When they leave to go back to those lives, their friendship is as strong as ever.
I love this movie because I think anyone who has gone to college can relate to the friendships made during it and the feeling of being idealistic during a special time of one’s life. And the soundtrack is one great 1960s song after another.
I am also very sentimental about this movie because it was recommended to me by one of my best college friends, who unfortunately, died shortly after graduation.