the big chill

It’s Friday night and I am watching The Big Chill, a blast from my past, 1983. Three years before my son was born. Forever ago.

My son who just got his first “real” job, graduated from college in May, and is now on to a new stage in life.

The Big Chill. A movie about the death of a friend amongst friends, friends my age, or slightly younger. A movie from the time when I worked at a movie theater, and all the movies I played during that time, over and over, are imprinted on my brain in indelible ink.

E.T. Eight weeks, four shows a day. Back To The Future. Risky Business Hated that one, every night having to kick beer-drinking teenagers out of the theater, though some really funny stories come from that. Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, the one where Spock dies. I used to go to the door of the theater every night at that exact moment and pull it open, to hear the sound of sobs and sniffles. For some reason, it always made me smile.

Flash Dance. Terms of Endearment. Noticing the fact that Shirley Maclaine’s dress changes as she walks across the airport. Same scene, different dress. Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. A whole bunch of senior citizens coming out to the desk demanding their money back. They thought it really was about the meaning of life. Boy, were they surprised.

Oh the memories. The lifting of 30 pound reels of film up over my head, the frantic splicing each time the film broke, the smell of popcorn and coke, the perpetual stickiness of the floor.

Tootsie. Sixteen Candles. Purple Rain. The Breakfast Club. Two movies I have watched many times since then. An Officer and A Gentleman. Ghostbusters. Who you gonna call? Indiana Jones. The Karate Kid. Amadeus. Still one of my favorite all-time movies.

Out of Africa. The movie that never ends. And by that I don’t mean it was long and boring, I mean you never forget it. Footloose. Rambo. A movie that I wish I could forget. The Color Purple. Trading Places. Octopussy. Gremlins. Bright light!

The Outsiders. A Christmas Story. A movie I still watch every Christmas Eve. People were so offended back then, when it came out, portraying Santa in such a bad light. I think there were protests. Harrumph. Dad gummit, flob!

A Passage to India. Silkwood. The Natural. Some classics.

Revenge of the Nerds. Porky’s. Fast Times at Ridgemont High. I didn’t need to see any of that, and we won’t even go there.

Never Cry Wolf. Cocoon. Two favorites. Prizzi’s Honor. “Want a cookie, little girl?” I love Anjelica Huston.

Scarface. A movie that scarred me, for life.

Just a little walk down memory lane triggered by an old movie, kept in my back pocket all these years…

11 Responses to “the big chill”

  • Tracy Brown Says:

    I used to be able to quote every line from The Breakfast Club. Seriously.

    I still have a crush on John Bender (Judd Nelson).

    (PS: G. won’t watch The Big Chill with me… I should just rent it without him.)

  • Debi Says:

    When you grow all the way up, you forget the age differences between yourself & friends. Until they list movies that were around when they teenagers. But still, I saw most of these movies – The Big Chill all by myself in a tiny tiny theater. I would’ve been about 29, identifying with the characters, my life already not exactly where I’d thought it would be. Friends already buried. By the time Out of Africa showed up, I was settling into the relationship I am still in, he a pilot, conversations in the movie word for word identical to conversations we’d had. We’d argued and he saw THAT alone on a New Year’s Eve, then called me, insisting I see it the next day, but without him. It was that spooky – Karen & Denys’ relationship so similar to ours. I called him later crying – “you didn’t tell me he crashed!”, I sobbed.

    Memories stirred. When I was younger, it was Taxi Driver, The Godfather, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore” – Network. The original Vanishing Point, Delaney & Bonnie providing some music. David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth. So many I can’t remember.
    They will come to me during the day today, in the small unthinking moments.

    And by the way, I LOVE that image.

  • Kathryn Says:

    Wow, you took me for a trip down memory lne with you for sure. So many great movies, makes me want to dig out my old favorites, dust them off and watch them again.

    Funnily enough I watched a movie last night with Tom Cruise in when he was really young (it was one I surprisingly hadn’t seen before). The music, clothing and characters all took me back to my childhood and I found myself reminiscing.

  • Anna Says:

    I have spent too many minutes over the years trying to figure “which one” of the breakfast clubber I am…. in the end I guess I have finally matured enough to see that I am a little of all of them.

    My friends and I used to lay for hours in my parents pool when we were in high school, wasps desperate for water dive bombing us….someone would grab the pool cleaner net thing and we would all sing ” who ya gonna call…….wasp busters!” LOL thanks for the little walk down memory lane

  • beth Says:

    i love movies….
    and don’t really remember seeing many as a kid or even in my twenties…we were too busy raising babies. but now, oh now i live for movies and can’t get enough of them !

  • margie Says:

    a lovely snippet of your movie career.

  • whollyjeanne Says:

    now that sounds like a fine way to spend a friday night. maybe i didn’t always think so, but i do now. so there.

  • Cristina Says:

    In the end, you have to fight for your right to dance 🙂

  • Lisa Says:

    Wow. What a complete walk down memory lane! It certainly brought up some things for me….wonder how it felt for you remembering all of those as you typed?

  • Lisa's Chaos Says:

    Hey I worked at a movie theater in the early 80s too. I cannot remember what years, but I’m thinking. . .oh, I just looked at some of the movies that came out while I worked there and it was 83-84. I remember Purple Rain, Christine, Cujo. . . and most of those you mentioned. 🙂

  • Amy @ Never-True Tales Says:

    I was a fearful kid, and left both ET and Ghostbusters from the theater in tears, long before either was over. Yes, I have seen them again since, but it wasn’t until adulthood. 😉

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