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My Big Chill

By strange coincidence, I found myself watching The Big Chill Friday night. It’s one of those super-famous movies that I’ve just somehow never seen.

Alas, when the flick was over and I turned in for the evening, I neglected to leave a trickle of water running, as I’d done Thursday night. This, despite the fact I knew we were still under a hard freeze warning, with potential record-breaking lows on the way. Sheer stupidity.

See, here in New Orleans many houses have pipes on the outside, exposed to the elements. You can get away with that here for years at a time.

Sure enough, when I woke up this morning, we had no water out the hot taps. The cold taps were working fine.

As I examined our plumbing with greater scrutiny, I concluded that most of our pipes are enclosed. The only place a couple feet of pipe are exposed is our hot water exchange.

Hot H2O Exchange

Those short little blue pipes leading into and out of our tankless water heater are what froze overnight. By the afternoon they were thawed and appeared to be no worse for the wear.

I tried to pick up some pipe insulation, but the local stores were all sold out. So I improvised, and wrapped the pipes in some foam which I cut from a mattress pad. I secured the foam with garbage-bag twist-ties. I’m actually pretty happy with the result.

As I was driving around Mid-City looking for pipe insulation, I saw the fountain in front of Schoen Funeral Home on Canal Street had frozen quite beautifully.

Frozen Fountain

It was quite striking. I only wish I’d had a better camera with me.

Meanwhile the Banks Street Bar is advertising that, indeed, they “Have Heat.”

We Have Heat

Now we are bracing for round three tonight. It will be nice when things warm up next week.

Oh, as for The Big Chill? Not bad. Fun to watch. But I’m not sure I understand why it has such a rep. To watch the retrospective featurette, you’d think they invented the ensemble film. I’m not sure that’s the case. Maybe its success is simply a matter of generational resonance? I’ll have to quiz my boomer friends.

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  1. Great question. While it might not have been the first ensemble film, it might have been the first of the style we’ve come to know. I’m assuming that you know it was Kevin Costner’s film debut, albeit without showing his face.

  2. Ian Zamboni Ian Zamboni

    I think a lot of it has to do with, if not the emergence, the success of the oldies radio format. The soundtrack for this movie was like a blueprint from the format, along with American Graffiti.

    Also there’s that whole Baby Boomer thing I suppose. It’s their Breakfast Club.

  3. Sophmom: The DVD had deleted scenes, but *not* the flashback scene where Costner actually plays Alex alive! They talked about it in the featurette; this scene was actually shot but cut from the final release. What a cool extra that would have been.

    Ian: I thought the same thing, a Breakfast Club for Boomers. But of course it’s really the other way around eh wot?

  4. Vicky Vicky

    You had to see it in the 80s – it doesn’t quite have the same resonance looking backward. I was in my 20s when it came out, not the 30s target audience they were going for, but it was a great cast, and I think the first movie where the Boomers were saying perhaps their lives (and making lots of money) aren’t what they thought they would be.

  5. I always hated the Big Chill. It made me dislike all ensemble reunion films.

    By the way, that beautiful frozen fountain reminds me of the Showalter Fountain, which I videotaped in its frozen state once a long time ago.

  6. Kent: Ahhhh…. so TRSS inspired Big Chill eh? I’ll surely check it out.

    Eric: Your response to the film fits. Your other comment led me to look for readily available online images of frozen fountains, and I found this one
    which is obviously quite fantastic… Too bad the photographer doesn’t make it easier to link to the photo on his site.

  7. I love the movie–in fact, it’s probably in my Top 5. I really think it’s one of the most honest and engaging examinations of what happens to people in the aftermath of a suicide–as a therapist it interests me.

    Oh, and beautiful shot of that fountain. Think it’s still frozen? I might go over and check it out myself.

  8. Brian Rice Brian Rice

    Its success is simply (or mostly) a matter of generational resonance! I think it’s a very self-conscious, kind of self-pitying sort of affair. A bunch of rich yuppies get together and realize their lives are empty, hollow and unfulfilled. Big whoop. Even worse was “St. Elmo’s Fire,” the Brat Pack version of this film, where a bunch of rich yuppies, in their 20s(!!!!), for crying out loud, get together and realize their lives are empty, hollow and unfulfilled. Absurdly premature for that sort of angst, I’d say. I consider “St. Elmo’s Fire” to be the worst film I’ve ever seen (Seriously! I HATE it). But I digress…

  9. mike paxson (and susie) mike paxson (and susie)

    Hi Bart,
    THE BIG CHILL was definitely a fun soundtrack with great actors, but what a formulaic piece of disappointment, I thought. They just had to neatly stick in every stereotype, and have them engage in glibly profound dialogue. THE BREAKFAST CLUB also was kind of disappointing with my exact same comments. I agree with the above that ST. ELMO’S FIRE is unwatchable puke, and that THE RETURN OF THE SECAUCUS SEVEN is better than any of ’em. Love, Sephie’s granddad Mike

  10. Scott: No, the Banks Street Bar is on Banks Street (strangely enough) on the “lake” side of Carrollton whereas Katie’s is at Telemachus & Iberville. Last time I checked they were still working to re-open as Katie’s but it sure is taking a while.

  11. […] recently got our energy bill for the period covering the recent cold snap: $500! Granted that was some record-setting weather but still… $500! Ouch. I’m still in […]

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