Family Movie Night #3

Movie suggestions are still aplenty, so there are more reviews that are sure to follow. Of course, if you’re reading this and you have any suggestions for films you think I should watch, just post a comment and I’ll be sure to add it to the list.

“When Harry Met Sally…” (1989)
Boy, I sure have been watching a lot romance movies lately, haven’t I?
Not just any romantic movies though, ones that take place over an extended time. “(500) Days Of Summer” was the first, and now we have a movie about the developing relationship between two people who initially hate one another over the course of twelve years.
The difference between “When Harry Met Sally…” and “(500) Days Of Summer” though is that the latter is more about Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character changing as a result of his relationship with Summer. The former, on the other hand, is about how the relationship between Harry and Sally changes as a result of both characters changing.
The film begins when the two, of course, meet each other and share a road trip from Chicago to New York. There is that initial spark where Harry (Billy Crystal) admits that Sally (Meg Ryan) is attractive, but Sally turns him down. 
As the film progresses and years pass before they see each other again, both Harry and Sally have become rather different people. Their experiences in New York have changed them as individuals, to the point where they can now find people who they once found disgusting to be trusted companions. 
Sally, the once high-maintenance woman focused on her career, now has the job she wants but wants to focus on other things like her boyfriend. Harry, the self-centered guy who feels he has to question everything that doesn’t fit his worldview, now always tries to find a chance to make someone laugh or crack a joke at something. 
In short, the two lead characters are growing up.
The environment these two live in and the people they surround themselves with are changing who they are. Opening their eyes to new possibilities that they had never considered, including relationships with one another. 
For me, “When Harry Met Sally…” is a core example of a film strictly about the characters and their journey through life. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan capture these roles so well that you forget you’re watching the actors and become one with these people. It is an effective romance because it doesn’t get bogged down in anything superfluous or out-of-place and focuses on just giving what is necessary to Harry and Sally.
Final Grade: B+

“Amadeus” (1984)
I freely admit that I know next to nothing about opera and know very little about music. What I do know about is the passion and energy behind someone’s taste for life and how well that translates on screen. 
“Amadeus” makes it clear that you don’t need to know anything about how music operates to enjoy what happens. Through the subtle way in which F. Murray Abraham speaks about how Mozart changed his life through his music and that through the same drive is the need to kill him. This is where the true energy of the film lies.
During the late 1700s in Vienna, the once famous Court Composer Antonio Salieri (Abraham) reflects on his life and all the sins he has committed. The most heinous of which being the years in which the world-renowned Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce) lived in Vienna and bested Salieri at every turn, leading him to renounce his faith in god and swear to ruin Mozart.
What ties everything together nicely is that this story is being told entirely from Salieri’s perspective, as he explains it to a priest. Salieri starts out as a religious man who thanked god every day for giving him all he has, including his musical talents. Once Mozart arrives, who is a giggling child who can never refuse a part or an open invitation to make himself look like an idiot, Salieri begins to question what God was thinking. 
It’s not that he believes God doesn’t exist, just that God is cruel, unfair and has a bad sense of humor. Mozart, this immoral and improper man, creates music that is befitting of the heavens. Yet Salieri, who has spent his life worshipping the lord, has his music reduced to mediocrity in the face of Mozart. You can see where Salieri is coming from, thus making his actions just.
In a way, “Amadeus” is more of a confession of Salieri’s sins than anything else. Yet, Salieri knows that confessing his sins won’t change anything. Though he may have outlived Mozart, his music still speaks louder than ever, making Salieri stick out every less. This is why both he and God laugh, through Mozart’s insane giggle. 
“Amadeus” also offers a portrayal of Mozart that is both funny and touching. Though he may behave childishly, it could be interpreted that he does so through his lack of a proper childhood, always performing instead of playing. He has a simple view, but one that is understandable without going over the top. This makes Mozart’s triumphs all the sweeter, and Salieri’s defeats more bitter.
Overall, “Amadeus” is a stylized masterpiece with outstanding performances from Abraham and Hulce, a tight script that never looses momentum and a beautiful soundtrack that fits the theme and mood of the story. Like Mozart’s music, if anything were removed or replaced in this film, it would cease to be the excellent work of cinema that it truly is.
Final Grade: A+

“Almost Famous” (2000)
It is interesting I would follow up “Amadeus” with another film centered on music, with “Almost Famous.” This time, the film is focused on the late 1960s and early 1970s and the impact of rock-and-roll. However, unlike “Amadeus,” if you are unfamiliar with the musical styles of this era, you will more than likely get lost or lose interest.
Fifteen-year old William Miller (Patrick Fugit) has spent the last four years of his life learning all he can about rock-and-roll and wishes to become a great rock journalist. An opportunity arises for him when Rolling Stone magazine gets ahold of some of his work and wants him to cover the low-profile band Stillwater and their tour across America. Much to his mother’s (Frances McDormand) irritation, William agrees to join the band’s hijinks of booze, drugs, sex and rock music while learning the ins-and-outs of why music can be so powerful.
As I previously mentioned, I know very little about music. Of course, I’ve listened to Bob Dylan, the Beatles, David Bowie and Elton John, but I can’t for the life of me describe what makes this type of music so emotional and heartfelt like I do with cinema. Movies click with me, but most great music just goes right over my head, especially rock-and-roll. Meaning that much of the dialogue and breath of this film is lost on me, because it doesn’t try to draw in those who are not familiar with the craft. 
Instead of focusing on something I can’t adequately describe, there are other reasons why I didn’t find myself enjoying “Almost Famous” that mostly revolve around the resolution of all things.
The beginning of the film is quite solid as it tells the disjointed adventures of both William and Stillwater as they have quarrels and mistrust, while William decides between having fun with the band or being accurate with his story. However, once the climactic moment in the film occurs, it feels like “Almost Famous” can’t make its mind on what it wants to say and loses track of what previously happened.
For example, from the start there is a central focus on William, with every main action revolving around him. Yet once Will has made his decision, the film switches focus on the lead guitarist of Stillwater, Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup) as he reflects on the decisions he’s made since joining the band. William, our main character, is practically left with nothing to do.
Not to mention William is the same person he has at the beginning of the film as he is at the end of it, while Russell is the one who at least gets some character change. This makes me believe that during the last act, the movie suddenly decides to switch protagonists, like it can’t decide who to focus on.
I also question what the audience is supposed to walk away from “Almost Famous” learning. I want to say its moral is to be honest yet unmerciful, since multiple characters tell this to William, but when he does so it comes back to bite him in the butt and nothing good comes from that. 
If there is no moral or anything to learn other than an appreciation for rock-and-roll, then why even bother with the film?
Overall, “Almost Famous” starts off nicely with its string of “This Is Spinal Tap”-Esque shenanigans with a good grasp of character and pace, but runs out of steam near the end and becomes indecisive on what it wants to do or say. The film has a good grasp of rock-and-roll and speaks passionately about it, but it doesn’t go anywhere with it.
Final Grade: C
“Ben-Hur” (1959)
I’ve always had a problem with movies over three hours in length. Maybe it’s because of my attention span or because of the films I watch, but once it gets over three hours long it becomes more a chore to sit through.
A three hour movie needs to have a good reason for being that length, since it’s twice the time of the average human attention span. For example, “The Dark Knight” is over 195 minutes, but has so much going on and has such interesting characters that I’m excited when it has multiple climaxes. In the case of “Seven Samurai,” it moves at a fast enough pace and never slows down that the film ends up feeling more like an hour and a half instead of well over three and a half hours.
“Ben-Hur” is a case of a film over indulging itself on it’s own image. As it tells the story of Jesus’ time on Earth and the connecting story of Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) and his struggle against the Roman Empire, the film takes its sweet time to give the audience story or character drama and instead focusing on the majesty of the landscape and scope of this epic.
For example, there is a sequence near the beginning of the film where we see a vast market of people returning to their homes to be counted and categorized. This scene is followed by a seemingly never ending stream of Roman soldiers and their trek through the town of Nazareth. These scenes go on for quite a while before the audience learns anything about the main characters, such as Ben-Hur and Messala (Stephen Boyd).
To be fair, there are some wonderful sequences throughout the film with flawless execution and perfectly paced. Near the one hour mark in the film, there is a colossal ship war, clearly done with miniatures and set pieces, but the craftsmanship and the camera angles enhance the scene to the point where you don’t care if the set pieces aren’t real.
Not to mention the famous chariot race sequence, in which Ben-Hur and Messala finally meet to have their ultimate battle. This particular scene sticks out because of the consequences of what would happen should a warrior make even one mistake during the race. We see firsthand how much contestants fall and what happens to them, and it’s not pretty. This makes the threat of losing even more potent.
However, I ultimately couldn’t get behind many of the main characters and their struggle in a Roman oppressed society. While these wonderful sequences were gems to behold, there just weren’t enough of them to keep me interested after watching it for over three hours. It is in the nature of epics to indulge themselves in the grandness of the past, so I don’t mind the rather slow pacing of “Ben-Hur,” but it certainly doesn’t help the film either.
Final Grade: C

Final Thoughts:
With this group of movie reviews, we come across my first A+ film, with “Amadeus.” It is odd that a film so strikingly similar, “Almost Famous,” would be so much lower on my rating system. 
I’ve mentioned this prior, but when I watch a movie, the main aspects I focus on are the characters and the story of their struggle or triumph. “Amadeus” impressed me through the passion of characters like Salieri and Mozart, but also made them feel human through their weaknesses, such as envy and pride. “Almost Famous,” on the other hand, while having solid character arcs, didn’t feel solid in what it wanted to do with the story, especially near the end. 
I realize I’m sometimes harsh on certain movies, such as my grading of “The Passion Of Joan Of Arc,” but that is only because I’m so passionate about cinema. When I watch a great movie, I’m passionate about what made that film so great and about telling others why they need to see it. When I watch a film that is a challenge to sit through, I’m passionate about why it made me uncomfortable and why I feel the film should be avoided. Just know that my passion runs very deep and comes right from the heart.

Family Movie Night #2

Family Movie Night #2
It’s that time again. More movies suggested to me by family and friends. A few of these I also watched alongside my family, which is something that I haven’t done in a while. Good to know that a family can sit down and just enjoy a good hour and half of entertainment and forget about the troubles of the day, right?
Anyway, let’s get right to it.

“The Perks Of Being A Wallflower” (2012)
I freely admit that I was not the target audience for this film. I understood what the film was trying to say about growing up, especially after a tragic event, and trying to find a place in life, but it didn’t have any impact on me and I moved on fairly quickly afterwards.
Charlie (Logan Lerman) is beginning his freshman year of high school, but doesn’t have a single friend and is nervous to make new ones. As the days progress and a few seniors who seem more outspoken than others, Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson) stand out to Charlie, and he connects with them through their similar tastes in music and awkwardness.
Now the trio must go through the rigors of high school life, while Patrick and Sam deal with getting ready for college and Charlie secretly battles the inner thoughts of his late aunt. 
While I have no problem relating to these characters and at times enjoy their journey through bullies, relationships and coming to terms who they really are, most of what happens doesn’t stick with me. 
There is certainly an overarching story involving Charlie and his need to overcome what happened to his aunt and make friends, this plot thread is rarely touched on and is vaguely explained. It isn’t until the end of the movie until we know exactly what happened, so we’re kept in the dark, unsure of what to make with the connection to Charlie’s aunt.
Outside of that, most events just happen with little regard for others. While that style of filmmaking has its place, thats never appealed to me. Moments come and go and some don’t seem to have any impact on the outcome. They might have a subconscious affect the characters, but not the audience. 
Overall, “The Perks Of Being A Wallflower” did it’s job at portraying a coming-of-age story about a shy, awkward high schooler, but it really didn’t do anything impressive or different. Thus, nothing sticks out. It’s just kinda there.
Final Grade: C

“(500) Days Of Summer” (2009)
In my “The Big Chill” review, I talked about how the film attempted to capture the randomness and unpredictability of life and turn that into the plot. Or rather, the lack of a plot, because life itself rarely has a plot or story to it.
While “The Big Chill” took the plotless concept and still made for an interesting character piece, “(500) Days Of Summer” does something rather similar by being essentially plotless yet consistently entertaining and fun.
The movie follows Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a greeting-card writer, who steadily falls in love with Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel), an assistant at the same company. The film is told in a nonlinear fashion, over the course of the 500 days in which Tom and Summer know each other. We see the full course of their relationship, from awkward beginnings, to passion lovemaking, to the bitter breakup and the aftermath.
The opening narration of the film clearly tells the audience this is not a love story. The narration is correct about that. While the movie is entirely about the relationship between Tom and Summer, it’s more-or-less about the day-to-day randomness and unpredictability of life. 
Yes, “(500) Days Of Summer” was able to capture what I feel “The Big Chill” could not achieve: Taking the plotless idea of life, and making an interesting and compelling story out of it.
Part of what makes “(500) Days Of Summer” work is that its told in a nonlinear manner, yet its impossible to get lost or confused as to where you are. The problem with films being told out of order is that you get lost rather easily. You’re not sure which piece goes where and if there aren’t any pieces missing that we’re not seeing. “(500) Days Of Summer” cuts all that out by giving each day a number. It’s a quick yet effective solution.
Second is believability between Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel. Their relationship feels real, with ups-and-downs, good days and bad days, arguments, apologies, fantasy moments and even their little quirks and character weaknesses. 
Actually, with the framework of the movie and Tom’s constant hunt for “The One,” I can’t help but be reminded of “How I Met Your Mother,” which seems like a large inspiration for this movie. While “How I Met Your Mother” mostly uses the framework for comedic effect, “(500) Days Of Summer” uses it to demonstrate the progression and changes of life.
In the end, “(500) Days Of Summer” finds the perfect blend of the randomness of life, but also the emotions and sincerity of life as well. The framework is used just right and the relationship between Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel is the structure that holds the film together.
Final Grade: A-

“The Bishop’s Wife” (1947)
I hate to do this, because I try to avoid comparing two films to one another, since one of my rules on film criticism is that a film should stand on its own merits without being compared to anything else. But I feel with “The Bishop’s Wife,” this comparison is unavoidable. Therefore, I must compare the film to “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
Before anything else, I adore “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Easily one of my favorite movies of all time, it never fails to make me happy and yet cry at how everything comes together perfectly. That’s no small task, since I can only think of two other movies that have managed to make me cry. Yet “It’s A Wonderful Life” is one that does this with so much ease. Twice.
The reason I say comparisons between these two films is unavoidable is for a few reasons. One is how much the two have in common, with story, tone, atmosphere, attempts at messages and to a lesser extent, character. 
The other reason is how close these were released from one another. “It’s A Wonderful Life” came out in 1946, received quite a bit of praise and was nominated for several Academy Awards. A year later, “The Bishop’s Wife” was released.
For me, that has to be more than a coincidence. 
I can see Samuel Goldwyn, the producer of “The Bishop’s Wife,” attending a screening of “It’s A Wonderful Life,” falling in love with the film and immediately thinking about doing his own version of the film. In the 1940s, that was manageable, since Hollywood studios could make a movie in roughly three or four months.
While Goldwyn may have been able to understand plot points and characters of “It’s A Wonderful Life,” if this film is any indication, I don’t think he understood what made the film so fantastic.
The story follows Bishop Henry Brougham (David Niven) as he attempts to get financial backing to rebuild the local Cathedral during the holiday season. Henry is swamped with work and has no time for his wife, Julia (Loretta Young), or to enjoy all of life’s pleasures and the spirit of the holidays. That is until he is visited by an angel, Dudley (Cary Grant), who has come to help solve all of Henry’s problems.
My problem with “The Bishop’s Wife” is not so much that it attempts to copy and paste “It’s A Wonderful Life,” but that it does so by removing all humanity and heart from the initial classic. 
Where “It’s A Wonderful Life” would spend time building up the surrounding cast of characters in Bedford Falls and showing us the progression of George Bailey’s life, “The Bishop’s Wife” just meanders around while we watch Dudley perform miracles and acts of kindness and then quickly move on to the next act.
This would be fine if Dudley was an interesting or fun character, but he’s not. Everything he does in the film is done perfectly. Always with a smile, never anything wrong or a hair out of place. I’m sorry, but that’s boring. What makes a character enjoyable and everlasting are their flaws and weaknesses. To show they’re human and that they can change or fix problems in their lives.
Dudley has no flaws.
And it’s not because he’s an angel. Clarence from “It’s A Wonderful Life” was an angel (second-class) and he wasn’t perfect. He messed up at some things, but he still had a big heart and wanted to help George realize how great of a life he had. That makes him a far more developed and likable character than Dudley.
If anything, watching “The Bishop’s Wife” just made me realized how unbelievably well-made and heart warming “It’s A Wonderful Life” is. That even if you copied story elements and character motifs from a successful film, doesn’t mean you’re going to have the same results as that film.
“It’s A Wonderful Life” works because of a combination of simple morals and values that most people can understand, developing a world around the life of one man and showing just how many other lives he touches, and never losing touch with the kind and giving nature of humanity. This is something that Samuel Goldwyn and “The Bishop’s Wife” didn’t seem to understand.
Final Grade: D-

Final Thoughts: 
It’s interesting that this time around all three of these films made me feel something different and left contrasting opinions with me. “The Perks Of Being A Wallflower” was just sort of meh and forgettable. Nothing too special, but nothing particularly bad either. “(500) Days Of Summer” showed me how to turn a plotless film about the randomness of life and love into something unique yet insanely fun to watch. While “The Bishop’s Wife” took all the great parts out of “It’s A Wonderful Life,” leaving just many acts of kindness.
Going into each of these movies, I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was that members of my family had enjoyed these movies. I can certainly see why my family likes each and every one of them. “The Bishop’s Wife,” while repetitive and nauseating at times, does have a generally pleasant attitude and Cary Grant is charming and usually brings out a smile.
So in the end, it really comes down to expectations. My level of expectations were set at the same point for each of these movies, yet I came out feel different about them all. Others might go into “The Perks Of Being A Wallflower” expecting to feel something or to learn about themselves or how to a teenager in a difficult environment. While I may have not felt that, I can understand and respect that.

Family Movie Night #1

Recently, I picked up several movies from loved ones that had been suggested to me for quite some time. Films that other loved ones enjoyed, one that I should watch or just movies that are a good time. 
In this new segment, I will reviewing each of these films with my brief thoughts on each of them. Similar to my “The Hooper” style reviews, minus the sticky theater floor.
Let’s get started with the first movie suggested to me,

“Easy A” (2010)
This film got under my skin, but not in a good way.
I had heard from many different people about how funny and creative “Easy A” was, but there were many things in this film that left me upset and angered.
The premise has plenty of comedic potential: Olive (Emma Stone) is an awkward high school girl without many friends. One day though, a rumor accidently gets spread that she lost her virginity to a guy she made up and she suddenly becomes the school slut. Other high school boys hear about this and learn that she made it all up, deciding to extend the lie by pretending they had sex with her to increase their own popularity. As time goes on and Olive begins to embrace her new lifestyle as the slut, the rumor gets out of control and some things are taken way too far.
There are certainly jokes to be had here, and some of them are effective, mostly revolving around some of the pathetic lives of the boys who want Olive’s services.
There are multiple things that drag me out of the experience and make me angry at film. 
For one, we have to believe that Emma Stone is this unattractive high school who can’t seem to get a boyfriend or doesn’t want to date. I don’t buy that for a second. Emma Stone is gorgeous. If she wanted to, she could have any guy in the school. This premise doesn’t work if the girl is drop dead beautiful.
Another reason is that this film takes so many disrespectful shots at the Christian lifestyle. Now, I’m not a Christian, but I do respect the lifestyle choices of those who wish to pursue it. The characters who are hardcore Christians in “Easy A,” such as Amanda Bynes’ character, have no depth and has one setting: Stereotypical Christian.
It seems like the filmmakers only see Bynes and others as a means to talk about how messed up the Christian lifestyle is. Yet the film only seems to focus on the bad side of that style, never the good. It doesn’t give an accurate portrayal. 
The thing that pisses me off the most about “Easy A” are Olive’s parents, played by Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson. These two are terrible parents, especially the mother. There only purpose in this film is spout out one-liners, rather than what parents are supposed to do: Teach their kids how to be responsible people and to help them through difficult times. To show them the light when their kids only see darkness.
Olive goes through some emotional moments over the course of the film and not once do the parents do anything other than crack jokes at Olive’s expense. To be fair, Tucci does get off some good one-liners, which is why I give him more credit than Clarkson, but that still doesn’t excuse his behavior.
So while “Easy A” had some good jokes and an interesting premise, there were many characters that were poorly written and many jabs that felt unnecessary and disrespectful. Parts of it worked, others did not.
Final Grade: D+

“Tangled” (2010)
When you think great animated Disney movies, what comes to mind? Some might say “Beauty And The Beast”, “Aladdin”, “Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs” or even “Fantasia.” Now, I can honestly say “Tangled” joins that list.
Some might immediately dismiss it since the film is a 3-D animated movie and not a traditional Disney film, but to be honest, “Tangled” is a 2-D movie in a 3-D film’s body. It follows all of the classic tropes and stories of the wonderful past Disney movies and does them just as well as films like “The Lion King,” if not even better.
Once upon a time, in a magical kingdom, a princess was born with magical hair that could heal the sick and elderly, due to her mother eating a magical flower when she was sick and pregnant with her. One night, the princess, Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), is kidnapped by an old woman (Donna Murphy) who plans to use her mystical locks to stay forever young.
18 years later, Rapunzel has grown up and wants to leave the tower that the old woman has locked her in. But the old woman, pretending to be her mother, forbids Rapunzel from ever leaving, saying that the world is too scary and dangerous for her. It isn’t until a theft, Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) finds his way to the tower and sets a series of wacky events in motion.
I’ll admit, as a kid, I wasn’t into many of the Disney princess movies. It was more aimed towards girls, with female protagonists, an abundance of musical numbers and very touchy feely stories. As a young boy, that’s usually the last thing you want to see.
Nowadays though, I find that most of the Disney princess movies are excellent films, especially during the early days of the Disney Renaissance in the 1980s and 1990s. “Tangled” is an excellent film in much the same way as those films. 
Not only is the film beautifully animated, the story is competent, interesting and adds a whole new spin onto the story of Rapunzel. The characters are understandable in their struggles, while still have a fun sense of adventure and comedy, yet with our two lead characters having great backstories.
But what really shines through this film is the age old filmic tradition of being able to tell so much of your film without every saying a single word. To let the images speak for themselves, rather than telling the audience what is going on, something that goes back to the silent era of filmmaking. 
There are at least four different characters in “Tangled” that play a prominent part yet never say a single word. For example, the king and queen of the land, who only have a few scenes, don’t speak but convey so much with so little. You can tell the emotional torment they are going through with just one look on their faces. 
Then there are the comedic side characters, such as a horse who is out to find the theft, and Rapunzel’s little chameleon buddy. The horse in particular has so many great comedic moments with his quick movements or just a simple jutting of an eye brow. The horse is probably the funniest character in the film and yet doesn’t say a word of jive or rap. 
“Tangled” is just one of those great examples of the power of animation. To create this in-depth and detailed world and give it so much life and energy is always interesting to watch, and nobody does that better than Disney. This film has everything you would ever want out of an entertaining animated film: Clever characters, intriguing story, a bright and colorful world, interesting and fun musical numbers and a film that is accessible to adults as much as it is to children.
Final Grade: A-

“The Big Chill” (1983)
Whether someone is willing to admit it, there are always certain types of movies that people are not comfortable with. Movies that rub them the wrong way or just don’t do anything for them. 
“The Big Chill” is one of those movies for me.
I can understand why this film is so highly received and acclaimed, but at the same time the film doesn’t accomplish anything for me. This comes to the type of movie that “The Big Chill” falls under: Plotless films.
There is no over arcing plot in this film. No rising action, climax or resolution. Just a series of events that are very loosely tied together and all happen to take place over the course of one weekend at a house in the woods, where a group of old college friends reconvene after one of their friends commits suicide. 
The cast discuss why their friend did that, develop love triangles, talk about why they’ve grown apart after so many years and their own individual problems. Each of these characters has something that gives them their own unique personality and you really do grow to enjoy most of these characters because of their flaws and weaknesses.
The problem is that the film gives you nothing to grab unto. Because of all of these events are just coming one after another and don’t have anything to do with the previous scenes, there is no flow or consistency to the film. Moments will just come and go and by the end I forget about half of the events that occurred.
Some might argue that the film is being accurate to life itself: That existence is just a series of events that aren’t necessarily connected or have nothing to do with one another. My problem with that has always been, that’s one of the key differences that sets life apart from movies. 
Typically, movies are about telling a story, much like a work of literature, except where books and novels deal in written words and paperback, films deal in images and celluloid. Life, on the other hand, isn’t always trying to tell a story. It usually is just random occurrences, but that doesn’t always make for an interesting premise for a film.
This is a problem that I have with all plotless films: Instead of giving the audience something they’ll remember through plot and character, the film decides to reinterpret the randomness of life and make for a disorienting work that is often hard to picture.
Alfred Hitchcock once said that film is “life with the boring parts cut out.” Well if Hitchcock were making a film like this, he would probably cut it down to about ten minutes… and add in a murder plot.
Still, “The Big Chill” does this style of film effectively and is filled with top-notch performances from Glenn Close, Kevin Kline and Jeff Goldblum, just to name a few. The characters are all relatable and there are some genuine good moments of both comedy and drama.
The film isn’t my cup of tea, but if you enjoy films that are meant to resemble life, “The Big Chill” will not disappoint.
Final Grade: C
Final Thoughts:

All three of these films demonstrate the differences between how film can used as a visual medium. While films like “Easy A” don’t always effectively use it, others like “Tangled” let the images speak for themselves. It’s not just about “show, don’t tell” but also realizing that actions speak louder than words.
Not to mention the power of having likable or interesting characters. While “The Big Chill” lacked a plot that lasted the whole film, it still had characters that had multiple sides to themselves that kept the film going. “Easy A” on the other hand was filled with unlikable or terrible people, and the film suffered because of that. 
So unless the film wants to filled with bad people who either get their come-upings or because the whole world is like that, similar to “Now You See Me,” having relatable characters is always the way to go.