The visionary writer-director behind such films as Passion Fish, Lone Star and Sunshine State, OscarÂ(r)nominee* John Sayles has been at the forefront of the independent film movement for more than twenty years. In this, his 'triumphant directorial debut (Los Angeles Times), Sayles delivers an utterly engaging (Time) look at seven friends who reunite ten years after their radical college days for a dramatic, poignant and revelatory weekend. Hailedby critics as delightful (The Washington Post), irresistible (The Boston Globe) and a minor miracle (The San Francisco Examiner), Return of the Secaucus 7 inspired the later hit film The Big Chill and heralded the arrival of a brilliant new force in independent cinema. *1996: Original Screenplay, Lone Star; 1992: Original Screenplay, Passion Fish
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John Sayles began his commendable directing career with this terrific portrait of 1960s counterculture survivors, now teetering on the brink of turning 30. A homegrown movie all the way, Return of the Secaucus Seven was made for around $60,000 of Sayles's own money (earned writing horror pictures such as Piranha). An effortlessly funny and thoughtful ensemble piece, Secaucus unmistakably provided the template for the bigger-budgeted The Big Chill: old friends reunite for a weekend to sort through fond memories, old resentments, and new problems. Sayles, longtime producing partner Maggi Renzi, and then-unknown David Strathairn are among the actors. The marvelous back-and-forth patter of the characters and the sprightly pacing show Sayles already had a sure sense of what he wanted on screen, and his mastery of the running gag is in place (the name Dwight won't ever sound quite the same again). This is the definition of "low-budget classic," from an indie pioneer. --Robert Horton
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