Nick (William Hurt): It’s pretty strong stuff.
Mary Kay (Meg Jones): Ugh. I feel terrible.
Mary Kay: The last time I spoke with Alex, we had a fight. I yelled at him.
Nick: (deadpan) That’s probably why he killed himself.
They share a look. Nick smiles faintly. The funeral processional rolls through main street of the small town.
William Hurt: What was the argument about?
Woman: I told him he was wasting his life.
Michael (Jeff Goldblum): I write for PEOPLE magazine. (turns to Sam, who’s driving) I can’t believe you’re still mad about that thing.
Sam (Tom Berenger): Michael, this isn’t the time. Let’s just drop it.
Michael: Yeah, well, I will if you will. You know on this day most of all we should remember we’re friends.
Sam: Right, right.
Chloe (Meg Tilly): (to Sam) And you’re an actor?
Michael smirks loudly in the back seat. He and Sam share a look. The procession rolls past the ruins of a centuries-old church, now just a roofless, hollow shell. CUT TO:
Another car, where husband and wife RICHARD and KAREN BOWENS are following the hearse.
Richard (Don Galloway): I mean, nothing like you described. Not at all. Not one of those people looks like I thought they would. I can’t believe these are the same people you’ve been talking about all these years. Really. (Derisive snort). I’d love to hear you describe me to them.
He snorts another self-absorbed laugh as Karen (JoBeth Williams) gazes out the passenger window, her eyes tell us, “No, you wouldn’t love to hear that…”
Harold (Kevin Kline): So what happened to your partner?
Michael (Jeff Goldblum): He wasn’t my partner. He just had the original idea for the club. He’s out of it now. We weren’t conducive. We’d get together and hyper ourselves into a frenzy. Then his wife left him for another woman, he couldn’t make love, until he was hospitalized for being such a nerd.
Harold: So he’s out of it.
Michael: Yeah, he’s out. It’s just me. Looking for investors, really.
Chloe: Alex and I made love the night before he died. It was fantastic.
The guys all share a look.
Nick: He went out with a bang, not a whimper.
— The Big Chill (1983), written by Lawrence Kasdan and Barbara Benedek
The Daily Dialogue theme for the week is reunion, suggested by Laura Deerfield. Today’s suggestion by John Arends.
Trivia: The characters were based on people Lawrence Kasdan lived with in the Eugene V. Debs co-op in Ann Arbor, MI, while attending the University of Michigan. Co-ops are co-ed housing in which the residents share household duties like cooking. This explains why the characters are so comfortable sharing the house, cooking and are so attached to the Michigan football game.
Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary from John: “Lawrence Kasdan was nominated for a screenwriting Oscar. It’s clear to see why, right at the top of the picture. He effortlessly introduces both characters and relationship dynamics during the funeral procession, dropping us mid-conversation into various cars following the hearse. Then he hooks us with irony, humor, surprise and great acting — all underscored and heightened by a killer soundtrack. One of the best, by one of the best.”