The Big Chill vs. Grosse Pointe Blank…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, March 12, 2007

I was born in 1963, so technically I’m a Baby Boomer, but I’ve never thought of myself as a Baby Boomer. In fact, I find a lot of Baby Boomerish things annoying. Maybe it’s my contrarian nature, I dunno, but they are an awfully large group of people who tend to see their lives and experiences as unique and special and, well, better than everybody else’s.

For proof I give you the movie The Big Chill. If you don’t remember it, here’s a link, but it’s about a group of University of Michigan graduates from the late 1960s who gather again some 15 years later when one of group commits suicide, and they deal with all that has changed between them and what hasn’t.

A decent movie. I liked it. Jeff Goldblum, Kevin Kline. Funny bits. I found Glenn Close to be kinda creepy (even before Fatal Attraction days), but nothing I couldn’t look past. What I didn’t like was other people (Baby Boomers) telling me that it was a freakin’ fantastic movie with the best music ever in the whole world. Good Lord, when The Big Chill came out in 1983 you couldn’t go to a college party without hearing “Big Chill music”! It was crazy. I mean, I could appreciate Motown, but I just couldn’t relate to it as the music of my youth. What about my music? My movie? My Big Chill?

Well a few years ago worker-mates and I did lunch and movie over at my friend Monty’s house and I saw the film Grosse Point Blank. It shares Big Chill’s “reacquainting old friends” theme, but here it’s Grosse Point, Michigan high school, and graduates are returning for their 10 year anniversary party. John Cusack is a professional hit-man who yearns to get back with his old girlfriend, Minnie Driver. Joan Cusack, Dan Aykroyd, Alan Arkin. Brilliant! And the music: the Clash, the Specials, Violent Femmes is brilliant, too.

Now I’m not saying that one film is better than the other. I’m telling you: acting, plot, humor, music, every category — Grosse Pointe Blank is a much better movie. Go ahead and argue with me, but you can’t deny the absolute greatness. It’s so obvious! It’s completely self-evident! It’s… oh, crap. Maybe I am a Baby Boomer….


  1. ryan said,

    March 23, 2007 @ 11:44 am

    Now I’m not saying that one film is better than the other. I’m telling you: acting, plot, humor, music, every category — $AMERICAN_PIE_REUNION_MOVIE is a much better movie.

    … oops, that’s my post from 20 years from now.

  2. Kris said,

    March 23, 2007 @ 12:21 pm

    No comparison – GPB is superior. No single actor says ‘Gen X’ like John Cusack. Baby Boomers have always been the obnoxious older sibling. And the kids of the baby boomers will be the same for the kids of Gen X. Vicious cycle.

  3. Hoz said,

    March 26, 2007 @ 1:42 pm

    i’m a boomer

    i didn’t particularly like big chill – thought it was overrated

    but we still have the best movie hands down


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