Go Team! Play That... Game!

Sometimes, in the advent of feeling rather poopy and down for no identifiable reason, the best solution is to stick a chicken in the oven, invite a bunch of people over on a Saturday afternoon for some 80s Pop Trivia, and cocoon on a comfy sofa while the rest of the state fights its way up 23 for the UM / MSU game. Ahhh, football, and how I love it only from my couch with a mug of hot cider, a flannel blanket and the promise of a nap ever-hanging in the air. Around my brethren, it’s a toss up between patriotically watching the game (which, as has been stated many times, many ways: the Tigers and the Wolverines kicked y’all’s asses. Hail to hairy Detroit-area teams with claws and big teeth!) or keeping in the athletic spirit (without being bored comatose between plays) by watching movies that feature some football-playing, i.e. The Replacements, Remember the Titans, or, my family’s evergreen favorite: The Big Chill.

This movie has been a staple in my home since its creation (I’m only two years older than it is, so I can only assume my parents have had it nearly as long as they’ve had me); it’s one of those movies that you can’t remember seeing for the first time, have seen at least once a year between kindergarten (when you knew all the lines but got none of the jokes) and high-school (when you watched it during family gatherings because it was one of four films on which everyone could agree), and quotations and have worked their way so far into your family lexicon you don’t realize you’re using them anymore. It makes a perfect get-together movie, because it doesn’t require constant attention after the first viewing, so conversation can safely overlap the expositionally dull (JoBeth Williams) parts while implicit silence will reign when William Hurt interviews himself. It is for all these reasons that, when constructing a theoretical top ten list, this film pops out of at least three of my siblings’ mouths simultaneously, and there is never an ensuing debate. So, in light of the perennial, unresolved debates that inevitably followed last Saturday’s viewing (and in celebration of our conquering heroes, because, eat it, YANKEES!), I open the following discussion topics for this bitchin’ movie. Let me know where you land on the issues, because no time spent discussing good film is ever wasted.

Warning: Spoilers ahead, inasmuch as a movie from 1983 can be “spoiled.”

[If you’ve never seen this movie, do the following: Netflix it immediately, moving it up the list to top priority; X-Men 3 was lame anyway and The Lake House isn’t going anywhere. While waiting for it to drop, wonder if your friends really care about you, ditto your parents, ditto anyone you’ve ever spoken to on the topic of film, since none of the above have gone on a righteous tear about how flaming awesome it is. When it arrives, call everyone in your address book to enquire whether they’ve seen it, and assemble a viewing party of the other less-fortunates. Pop the corn, screen the show, love the show. Then, scroll down and get in on the debate.]

What actually happened to Nick in Vietnam? This is one of the hottest running movie debates in my family, and we’re split right down the middle. My brother’s team, also known as the Team “It Got Shot Off in the War”, thinks something physically prevents him from having sex, like… well, as you may infer from the team name, either Diana or one / both of his Supremes was literally a casualty of war. My team, Team “He’s Just Impotent Because War Is Hard and Will Do That to a Guy”, believes that he is psychologically scarred by his experience in Vietnam, supported by the fact that he can’t hold down a job, has insomnia, and his recreational drug use. All the lines that reference the issue are (intentionally) ambiguous, so no matter how heated the discussion gets, it’s inevitably just speculation. Except I’m right, Dann.

What are Sam and Michael talking about in the car, when Sam laughs about Michael’s being a journalist? I say it’s mostly male posturing to impress Chloe, but probably firmly rooted in some asshole thing Michael did years before. Not that Sam’s a saint, but he’s not trying to bang his dead buddy’s girlfriend… just his married ex-girlfriend. Um. Okay, so Sam’s a little egotistically retarded, but Michael’s a bastard, so I’m coming down on Sam’s side.

Are Karen and Sam going to keep on doin’ it? Sam had this little spiel about how he can’t handle a commitment, and I think that extend to the hassle of having a married fuck-buddy as well as a wife, so I’d have to say no. But hey, if he decides Karen is actually worth it in the capacity, they totally deserve each other. If they’d gotten married, he probably would have paid her bills (kinda like Richard) while she walked all over him, but it wouldn’t have lasted as long as her loveless yuppie-marriage. I think they both realize this after they have their dirty whore sex next to the garbage cans (contrasting a little too well with Harold and Meg’s awesome pity-sex in a nice warm bed where clothes actually come off). Karen got laid and Sam is okay with being used, if we can believe their reactions at the breakfast table. So she successfully deceived both her husband and her friend / tail, all while wearing fur and whining petulantly... I guess that’s something to smirk about. Hate.

What’s the big deal about the Rutledge Fellowship? This is mentioned enough that I was forced to Google it, but all I gathered was that the RF is offered mostly in the field of medicine, sometimes law. So Alex was a brilliant mind, but turned down a fellowship because he… didn’t think he was good enough? Didn’t wanna be just a cog in the corporate machine (y’know, man)? I think it’s mostly the latter; it reinforces the metaphor of believing in yourself when you’re young—even if you don’t know exactly what you want to do—but then you’re an adult and still unsure where you’re going, and you wonder where it all went wrong. That gels with Nick’s reaction to Chloe’s RF comment; Alex was a smart screw-up, but he had options—and before he killed himself, he regretted not taking them (particularly, the ones that would have made him rich and successful, and therefore less like Nick. God, this movie rocks). Is that it?

If you’re still not sated, play the Which Character Am I Game; that’s always a good time. Beware of your friend’s opinions, though—all the Michaels of the world think they’re Harolds, but your friends will set you straight.*

*Speaking as a self-designated Miranda; I’m not a Carrie, dammit.


SpiritMom4U said…
Sounds like you enjoy the outdoor sports as much as we do. We grab our stadium seats and blankets then, head out in all our warm gear. Like you dont forget the hot cider! :)

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