I saw Return of the Secaucus 7 as part of Richard Linklater’s Jewels in the Wasteland series at the Austin Film Society. This is often described as “The Little Chill,” as it is generally recognized being a spiritural successor to The Big Chill, a movie I viscerally hated when it came out. Secaucus 7 is populated by a group of more sympathetic people. The idealists went on to become teachers, doctors, drug abuse counselors.
It’s a talky, actorly movie, and the best scenes are dialog: Three guys recite a perfectly timed ensemble of a motor sports commercial: “Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! At Washington Valley Speedway: thrills, chills, and spills!” Another scene has a woman vomiting off screen in another room, while to guys try to figure out who it is based on the sounds. “No, Maura more of a ralpher.”
It kind of makes me wonder how I’d react to The Big Chill now.
On a side-note, Linklater revealed that the big money in Hollywood is in rewrites. When a multi-million production is scheduled to start and they have script problems, they’re willing to shell out a boatload of money for a week of work. Apparenly Sayles is a writing machine, makes a living this way, and rolls much of the money into is indie projects.