Page 6 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 30, 1983
Can you get what you want?
By Susan Makuch
IT HASN'T happened to us yet, but
just wait. There will be a moment in
time, maybe in five or ten years, when
we will be revisited by a figure from our
past - from our college days. It may be
a word, a phrase, or a song that strikes
a certain cord in our memories. It's the
chill that runs up and down your spine
that indicates that we do, indeed,
remember what it was like. All the
hopes and dreams from those years will
be either realized or lost ideals - it is
That is exactly the type of feeling
University alumnus Lawrence Kasdan
aims for in his latest, and perhaps
finest, motion picture, The Big Chill.
Kasdan, author of such fabulous fun
as The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of
the Lost Ark, and Return of the Jedi,
scores once again, only this time in a
totally different genre.
Combining insight and humor,
Kasdan tells the story of seven college
housemates who reunite at the funeral
of their friend.
Don't be fooled - this is not your
about-old-times" reunion movie. The
Big Chill does talk about old times, but
only in order to let the viewer know
that the characters have reached their
These University graduates, produc-
ts of the baby boom as well as the '60s,
seem to have a lot more to deal with
than you or I, but maybe that's because
of the idealism with which they grew
The problem that continues to arise
for this group is that their ideals were
University alumni gather to reminisce about Ann Arbor in Lawrence Kasdan's latest,'The Big Chill.'
formed in the radical '60s, but they had
to come to terms with those attitudes
during the introspection and me-ism of
Kasdan, himself a student of the '60s,
had to deal with the very same
disillusionment as do his characters.
That is precisely why The Big Chill
works - it comes from the heart.
Kasdan, also the director of the film,
r lci;n I n m W I ' u .lr
Richard Brinsley Sheridan
should be credited with deftly handling
a large ensemble cast, that includes
some of the hottest actors in films
today: Tom Berenger, Glenn Close,
Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, Kevin
Kline, Mary Kay Place, Meg Tilly and
Jobeth Williams. This movie could have
very easily turned into an ego-fest -
one thespian trying to out-act the next..
The Big Chill, however, never falls into
that trap. Kasdan retains complete con-
trol without becoming domineering.
The actors form a commraderie that is
real, as if they really were housemates
in college. That feeling of reality is
most obvious when they do normal
things - like cleaning off the table after
a communal meal.
One of the characters, Sam Weber
(Berenger), has become a Tom Selleck-
like TV star. It's comforting to see his
ability to fall right back into the
casualness of warm friendships, even
after the harshness of Hollywood..
Nobody in The Big Chill possesses a
haughty attitude - they are all equals.
The problems that these people face
are created by their obviously high ex-
pectations. Those lost hopes, in turn,
leave them each with a void that'is not
easily filled. At one point,- in a
discussion with an outsider (the older
husband of Karen, played by Jobeth
Williams), Sam and Nick (played by
William Hurt) ask an advertising man
how he deals with boredom and
stagnation of everyday life. He replies,
"Nobody said it was going to be fun-at
least nobody told me." He has the
ability to deal with the unfullfilling part
of life because, unlike the 60s
generation, he doesn't expect anything
Another character who floats into the
lives of this reunited group is that of
Chloe, a youngster of 23 who was
Alex's lover, the friend who has died by
his own hands. Alex, a mere memory
by the time the film opens, was the con-
science of the group in their earlier
days. What made them such a good
couple, someone asks Chloe. "I had no
expectations and he had too many," she
answers. The Big Chill overflows
with such statements and analogies.
One of the most effective components
of the film is its use of music from the
generation in question - the '60s. Right
from the first snipet of celluloid, the
viewer gets the distinct feeling that
he/she has been there before. "I Heard
it through the Grapevine" blasts into
the theater and grabs the audience im-
mediately. The method in which it is
weaved into the opening credits -
which is interesting and imaginitive -
makes us want to find out why these
characters are so ,closely tied to that
era. The tunes, which include
everything from "Joy to the World" to
"You Can't Always Get What You
Want," give The Big Chill the definitive
The film can be fun for University
students who may enjoy the passing
references to University-type things.
Harold (Kevin Kline), the business
magnate, does all his jogging in blue-
and-gold Michigan T-shirts and shorts.
A focal point of the film occurs during
a'Wolverine football game, at which
timie these folks look like real alums -
complete with tassled "Go-Blue" knit
hat and scarf. They look back to their
Ann Arbor days with a feeling of
bewilderment and longing - something
I wonder if we, the current crop, will
There's just too much to say about
The Big Chill, and just not enough space
in which to say it. Kasdan has done i
again, achieving a level of
sophistic~ated, personal moviemaking
that is much too infrequent in
Hollywood these days. Now that's
something you can shout "Go Blue" at.
For an interview with Lawrence
Kazdan, see today's Weekend
Directed by Ed Stern
V Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
October 5 & 6 Previews, October 7-9;
Wed.-Sat. 8P.M.; Sun.-2 P.M.
Tickets available at the
Professional Theatre Program Ticket Office
Michigan League Building, (313) 764-0450
siUDEH ~OR o
San Fran videofest
(Continued from Page 5)
woman yet another. Their views are as
far-ranging as they are funny. We listen
to a prostitute describe herself as
merely a product, then watch an Am-
way distributor promoting a bleach
while she comments on how her whole
life now has a purpose since she swit-
ched careers to hustling soap.
Ilene Segalove's repulsion toward the
whole business world is obvious,
perhaps a little too much at times. She
could also learn to treat her human sub-
jects with just a bit more compassion,
though she does maintain a light
enough tone throughout the tape to keep
the piece entertaining and even thought
provoking. In fact she herself con-
cludes, "Business is biological, like
The SFVF Traveling Show is co-
sponsored by the Performance Net-
work and Ann Arbor Community Ac-
cess Television. The program is two
hours long, beginning at 8 p.m. tonight
through Sunday at the Performance
Network's intimate auditorium (408 W.
Washington between First and Third ir4
Ann Arbor). Tickets are $5,$4 for
Also available at the showing will be
copies of the magazine Video 80, which
is published by the producers of the
SFVF. Video 80 is one of the leading
publications on video art and is other-
wise unavailable in Ann Arbor. More
information on the Performance Net-
work can be obtained by calling 663-
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BE ALLYOU CAN BE.