In Grown Ups, a group of childhood friends get back together as adults for a 4th of July weekend of misbehaver and fun. Most members of movie reunions are bound together by death, marriage, and the inevitabl high school get-together. The films contain performances by then little on unknown actors and give us soundtracks of a generation. Like an old LP record played over and over again, the premises might wear thin over time but still get stuck in our heads. Here are your the top 7 cinematic reunions in honor of Return of Secaucus 7, the film that started it all for seminal reunion flicks.
The ultimate before they were all rich and famous reunion movie, even the dead body was played by a then unknown Kevin Costner. The soundtrack has plenty of soul and doo-wop power to help you get through its more melodramatic moments. If dancing to "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" in a kitchen was cool, these characters would so have their own reality show.
This semi-sweet MTV movie divides its story between the lives of three best friends growing up in 1980s Inglewood and the marriage day for one of them. Omar Epps, Richard T. Jones, and Taye Diggs were a trio of unknown African-American stage actors when this movie became a sleeper hit of 1999. The best of the best in the best friend wedding movies that came out around the late 90s.
Its never easy returning home, especially if you’re a trained killer out to do one last job. John Cusack stars as Martin Q. Blank, a hitman in the fit of an existential crisis returning home to face old sweethearts, burned-out friends, crooked FBI agents, and a team of organized hitman. The madcap fun is kept under control by Cusack’s cool tone and swagger, while Dan Aykroyd adds a lot of the humor between the bullets. Classic 80s tunes from The Violent Femmes, Elvis Costello, and Joe Strummer put the final touches on this dark comedy reunion movie.
Writer/Director/Producer/Star Zac Braff guided by a hipster soundtrack led by The Shins and Nick Drake brings out a somber piece about returning home and dealing with life’s skeletons. Braff is helped with charming performances by Natalie Portman and Peter Sarsgaard, all creating a fine mix of touching comedy and drama.
The little indie film that started it all for reunion flicks, The Big Chill without any movie stars, this 1979 John Sayles movie was his first "blue collar filmmaking" effort that continued with classics like City of Hope and Lone Star. David Strathairn also gives one of his first memorable performances as the townie Ron.
Robert Downey Jr. and Shia LeBeouf give equally powerful performances as the past and present character of Dito Montel, the movie’s writer/director/producer. Montel, in his directorial debut, recreates the sweat and steam neighborhoods of Queens, New York in 1983. While the movie supports itself with the all-star cast of Rosario Dawson, Eric Roberts, Chazz Palminteri, and Diane Wiest, it’s the childhood friends, Channing Tatum in a surprisingly intense performance as Antonio, Montel’s doomed childhood friend, and Melonie Diaz as Montel’s girlfriend, that are the spark of the movie.
The seminal chick flick of reunion movies, Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino star as the titled best friends, who after 10 years of working in retail department stores decide to return to their high school reunion the successful inventors of Post-Its. The hilarious and neurotic performances by Jeneane Garofalo and Alan Cumming score one for the freaks-and-geeks reunion movie.