For those of you that have read my post on “The World According to Garp,” you remember me stating, “My conservative family (mom and dad) are very interesting to me. They knew that when they first saw this next film (referencing “Garp”), they were watching excellence, even though a lot of the source material made them feel uncomfortable.”
I know…I quoted myself… #PretentiousDoucheMuch ???
My point being, the first time that I saw “Grand Canyon,” I had a similar reaction. I knew for certain that it was excellence. It was unlike any movie I had seen before, but I didn’t know how to describe it to my friends or what to say about it.
I remember watching it with my mother.
After the first scene, when Simon (Danny Glover) helps Mack (Kevin Kline) with his broken down car, we kind of looked at each other and thought–this is weird.
Mack ends up in a rough part of town when his car decides to stop on him. He goes into the gas station to contact a tow truck, when he leaves to go be with his car, he is approached by a thug that has the intent to rob him and murder him. Simon shows up in the middle of the conversation and just starts to simply do his job like nothing dangerous is happening at all. Mack and the thug have a similar reaction–wtf???
The villain ain’t having it and approaches Simon now. Simon just plays it cool and calls it what it is. He’s here to do a job and help get this man and his car home. His logic wins out and the thief leaves. Mack, as you can imagine, is beyond grateful.
It’s one of the best written scenes I’ve seen unfold and the beauty of it is how simple it is. There’s no gun shots, no fisticuffs, just logic and conversation that wins out.
Watching “Grand Canyon” is like watching a series of philosophical conversations amongst friends. As philosophical as the conversations are, they are not “deep” in a jargon filled sense. The dialogue and script are brilliant by the great Lawrence Kasdan and Meg Kasdan. We understand the meaning behind the rants, the statements, and the emotional monologues. Each character that speaks believes everything that they say along with the people that they are talking to.
The cast is lights out:
Kevin Kline, Danny Glover, Steve Martin, Mary McDonnell, Mary-Louise Parker, and Alfre Woodard.
Watching these professionals play off of each other is a rare pleasure that most movies never find. Each one of them is perfect in the roles they are given and the passion of their craft truly shines from each performance. It was as if all of them wanted to be a part of this movie, rather than doing it for just another paycheck.
When it was all over, I remember not being sure if my mother had enjoyed what had just unfolded in front of us.
The credits started to roll…
The music played…
*A brief pause.*
“Now that was really a good movie,” my mother said.
I smiled. I couldn’t agree more…