For the month of April, we have been featuring Staff Picks—movie choices specifically chosen by our staff members and student assistants. I decided to watch The Producers [IMC DVD 782.14 P964 2005] from our display, as well as The Big Chill [IMC DVD 158.25 B592 1998], which was recommended by another staff member in the library.
I’ve seen the 2003 version of The Producers, but had never had the opportunity to watch the original Mel Brooks version. It was interesting how there were parts that were almost exactly the same (the beginning sequence and a lot of the dialogue between Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom), and then parts where the newer version expanded a lot on certain characters (Ulla) or changed how characters were interpreted. The best example of this last one was how in the original version of The Producers, Hitler is played by a groovy hippie which is cast specifically because he didn’t fit the role. However, in the remake, Hitler instead is played by the gay director. I still enjoyed it, and the songs have a way of getting stuck in your head and staying there the rest of the week. I was especially impressed with Zero Mostel who plays Max Bialystock.
The other movie I watched was the film The Big Chill, a film which follows a group of friends who come together again after a mutual friend commits suicide. Their reunion stirs up a lot of history between the group members, and they struggle with understanding the suicide as well as the changes that they see in their friends. I was surprised that this was categorized as a comedy/drama because there didn’t seem to be enough comedic moments, or perhaps it didn’t come across as clearly to me. It was fun to compare it to another movie I watched a while back, The Decline of the American Empire, made in 1986, which is a Canadian comedy-drama film which had a very similar vibe. It felt like The Decline of the American Empire might have been influenced by The Big Chill, since it was made 3 years after The Big Chill was released. If you end up liking The Big Chill, you should check out The Decline of the American Empire as well!
Come check out some Staff Picks from the IMC staff before it goes away! If you watched a staff pick from our display, let us know what was your favorite @FHGLibrary on Instagram or find us on Facebook and leave a comment. Continue to follow along on your own film travelogue here: https://letterboxd.com/peterstanley/list/1001-movies-you-must-see-before-you-die .