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Reel Big

Movies – only bigger.

It’s been a big year. Without the right words, there would be literally no way to describe it. There’s business, and then there’s “big” business. There are part-timers and big-timers. There’s trouble — and there’s big trouble (sometimes in little China).

For lack of a better term, J. P. Richardson would just be “the Bopper,” 32 ounces of Mello Yello from 7-Eleven would be just a “Gulp,” tales of “the Dude” compiled into a simple narrative of “the Lebowski” and constellations would be simply dippers of far less titillating proportions.

Semi-precious gems of the silver screen are calling: Small-minded folk can turn to their favorite medium for big-time entertainment and expect a good fit. The “big” name of a movie may be like draping a gaudy piece of costume jewelry across the frail frame of an aging heiress, but it just really ties the look together.


“The Big Sleep”


Directed by Howard Hawks

Starring Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Ridgely

This film-noir — based on the eponymous novel by Raymond Chandler — weaves its endlessly complicated whodunit in a fuzzy and mesmerizing dreamscape befitting its name. Over its beguiling and labyrinthine plot sizzles a romance between the young, sultry and husky-voiced Lauren Bacall, who disarms the hardboiled detective Philip Marlowe (Bogart) spitting out one-liners as fast as his snub-nose.

“The Big Chill”


Directed by Lawrence Kasdan

Starring Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum

When a mutual friend kills himself, a group of college buddies reunite and dust up old memories in the process. About 15 years of daily life having dulled their shines into defeated, depressed and/or anxious schmucks, the 30-somethings carry out escapist romances, various juvenile antics and confront what it means to grow up long after becoming adults.


“The Big Kahuna”


Directed by John Swanbeck

Starring Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito, Peter Facinelli

Here’s Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito as you’ve never seen them: together on screen. This modestly philosophical film, adapted from a stage-play, sets its action on a single day in a hotel where three representatives of an industrial lubricant firm attempt to land their potentially largest client, which cynic Larry Mann (Spacey) dubs “The Big Kahuna.” While awaiting the news of the deal that could make or break their careers, Larry and co-worker Phil (DeVito) spar, commiserate and wax poetic on the meaning of life.


“The Big Heat”


Directed by Fritz Lang

Starring Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Lee Marvin

A swaggering Glenn Ford is the tough and gruff homicide detective Dave Bannion, whose investigation of a colleague’s suicide blows the lid off a bubbling cauldron of criminal activity in the city. The local villains’ hold on the city quickly unravels, as Bannion stops at nothing — not even his wife’s murder — to grab corruption by its roots and tear it straight out. Of course for Bannion, it’s all in a day’s work.

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