The Big Chill

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The Big Chill is a 1983 Dramedy film directed by Lawrence Kasdan and featuring a veritable Who's Who of '80s actors, including Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Kevin Kline, Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, Meg Tilly, and JoBeth Williams.

This is considered to be one of the finest films to show Sixties liberals who, in The Eighties, have basically become establishment types, suffering the angst of the 1980s, while lampshading the fact that "we had one of the cushiest berths ever".

A group of people who knew each other as college students and friends during the 1960s end up getting back together some 20 years later after their friend Alex commits suicide. All of them have gone along their ways and now look back and wonder where their idealism went. Along the way, they renew their friendships, and sometimes even more, as they try to understand why Alex, with all of his potential, worked at menial jobs and then, for apparently no reason, decided to kill himself.

Tropes used in The Big Chill include:
  • Corrupt Hick: Played with and subverted; Nick thinks the cop who pulled him over because he looks like a "Yankee drug dealer" is this, but he's willing to let the whole thing go when he recognizes Sam and asks him to recreate a stunt from his TV show (it doesn't go well). And then later, an angry Harold explains to Nick the cop had actually stopped the house from being broken into, and is a nice guy.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mostly Michael and Nick, though Harold has his moments.
  • Expy: The character Sam plays on his TV show seems a lot like Magnum, P.I., complete with Cool Car and Badass Mustache.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Many of the characters end up having sex with each other. Karen has considered getting pregnant, so Sarah decides to lend Karen her husband, Harold, for this purpose.
  • Longing Look
  • Posthumous Character: Alex.
  • Shout-Out: As Harold goes up towards the attic to slay a bat that's flown in, he hums the theme to Raiders of the Lost Ark, which Lawrence Kasdan co-wrote.
  • Starts with a Suicide: Alex's, before the opening credits. His funeral is what draws the whole cast together again after nearly 20 years.
  • Start to Corpse
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: A milder version here, but Sam does resentment towards Michael because of an article he wrote that slammed him.