For obvious reasons, I’ve always confused The Big Chill with The Ice Storm, and the latter was the one I happened to watch first. Despite their titles and the shared presence of Kevin Kline, these films aren’t exactly similar, but Ang Lee’s acid-tipped recreation of the late 70’s was exactly what I wanted out of Lawrence Kasdan’s star-studded tale of 60’s hippies turned into 80’s yuppies. It turns out the Big Chill has little to say about the withering of youthful idealism or getting stuck in historical patterns, and it has even less to say about the Reagan-era time period it takes place in. That doesn’t make it dull, which it isn’t, but it does make it slight and something of a waste of all the considerable talent on the screen.
Half military recruitment ad and half confirmation of everything the Village People implied about the Navy, Top Gun is somehow more than its reputation. Quentin Tarantino wrote himself a long diatribe about the film’s homoeroticism, but it’s so much more aggressive than one mere the volleyball scene. It’s known as one of the first coproductions with the Department of Defense, but the militarism is apparent on every frame. The culture has undersold the most notable aspects of Tony Scott’s breakout film. Top Gun is shocking in its shamelessness, a perfect vehicle for a mid-80’s America that needed the smallest of shoves to fall back in love with the military and all its wet-butted studs.
Julie Taymor’s turgid and cliché-ridden biopic of Gloria Steinem, The Glorias, had the misfortune of coming out within several months of the excellent FX miniseries Mrs. America. Though Steinem was only one lead of many on that series, it both scooped and improved on every single aspect of Taymor’s attempt to tell the story of second-wave feminism and the women who led it. The Glorias, by contrast, falls into every biopic trap and ultimately has nothing to say about anything.
Random projects from the MMC Universe.