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Grand Canyon

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Grand Canyon

Starring: Danny Glover, Kevin Kline
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Rated: R
RunTime: 134 Minutes
Release Date: January 1992
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Steve Martin, Mary McDonnell, Mary-Louise Parker, Alfre Woodard, Jeremy Sisto, Tina Lifford, Patrick Malone

Review by Steve Rhodes
4 stars out of 4

I have no doubt that GRAND CANYON will be my best movie of 1991. This was a movie about how the chance happenings in your life can fundamentally alter your life forever. It especially dealt with the chance meeting of people who might become inseparable to you.

What is the plot of GRAND CANYON? Hard to say. It is about a lot of things. There is a mugging, a rescue, a lost baby, a found baby, getting involved with gangs, getting away from gangs, falling out of love with your wife, falling into love with your wife, being scared of someone of other race, becoming bosom buddies with someone of another race, and so and so forth. In short it is about life. GRAND CANYON is set in LA, but it could have been set anywhere. The movie's title comes from a wish of one of the characters played by Danny Glover.

It was most of all a film full of wonderful characters that you would like personally to meet. The dialog (Lawrence Kasdan and Meg Kasdan) was always incredible. I hope the writers get the Oscar for it. The directing is super. It was done by Lawrence Kasdan who did THE BIG CHILL, and you can think of it as a much more serious and heavy BIG CHILL. Alternatively, you can view it as updated BIG CHILL for the 90s.

GRAND CANYON is full of characters and full of events that make you think of real life and not movies. Where else could you have a long scene about the absolute fear of teaching a young boy to drive. Imagine a left turn against heavy traffic that is really scary and realistic and not the laugh track version you have come to expect.

This is also a quite scary movie with a fair amount of fear and blood. A subtheme is the violence in society in general and in LA in particular. As parents who are trying without much luck to have a second child, the episode of finding the baby and keeping it was really touching. Yet this was a life affirming and fundamentally happy movie that made you want to immediately give your spouse (and children and friends) a big hug.

The actors (Danny Glover as Simon, Kevin Kline as Mack, Steve Martin as Davis, Mary McDonnell as Claire, Mary-Louise Parker as Dee, and Alfre Woodard as Jane) are in top form. I had no idea Steve Martin could be an articulate and serious character. There is one very bad side to the show: It ends! The ending is fine and not abrupt yet I wanted to go on for hours. I love these people.

GRAND CANYON runs 2:15 which might be too long in a lessor picture, but here I wish the editor Carol Littleton had included even more footage. Moreover, I hope that someday the producers (Michael Grillo, Lawrence Kasdan, Charles Okun) will do a GRAND CANYON II because I need to know how these new friends of mine from this movie are doing. GRAND CANYON is rated R for some reason and I guess it is the fear and the bad language. Certainly it would be fine for any teenager. I recommend this film strongly to everyone over the age of 12 and award it my top rating of ****.

Copyright 1992 Steve Rhodes

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