When a lawyer's (Kevin Kline) car breaks down in a dangerous Los Angeles neighborhood, a tow-truck driver (Danny Glover) arrives just in time to save his life. The two men begin a deep friendship that sets off a chain of ... more »unsettling and surprising events involving their families and friends for years to come. Lawrence Kasdan's powerful, uplifting film about the harsh realities of contemporary urban life co-stars Steve Martin, Mary McDonnell, Mary-Louise Parker and Alfre Woodard.« less
Don K. from BEAVERTON, OR Reviewed on 3/13/2013...
I gave up on this film about 2/3 into it, knowing from other reviews that the last 1/3 was just more of the same. I love these actors, and very much wanted to like this movie, but it was boring. It was pretty much a collection of stories you can hear every day by asking your friends what's going on in their lives. I don't watch movies to find new ways to be depressed about how life sucks in the modern world. About how unfair it all is. About how unthinking and cruel people can be to each other, just because they can. No thanks.
And the acting was uninspired.
Bottom line...was I entertained? Not a bit.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Peter Q. (Petequig) Reviewed on 4/20/2010...
ANOTHER GREAT ENSEMBLE CAST FROM THE DIRECTOR OF 'THE BIG CHILL'.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Benjamin M. from LYNNWOOD, WA Reviewed on 2/22/2009...
A must see
1 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Coming to the edge 10 years later
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 06/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ten years ago when GRAND CANYON was released many people snickered at a movie so overblown with making the world (read Los Angeles) seem so seemingly cruel and unjust. Some of us found the movie poignant and apocalyptic, but I think the press barred the public from taking the movie seriously. Well, here we are ten years laater watching this well crafted movie, surrounded by even more cosmic madness than ever before. A lot of contemporary prophecy films such as this need to be more widely viewed if we as a culture, as a world, are to survive. Living in this tenuous time where most fingers are on triggers, whether they be personal guns or national weapons, private or public disasters, or just on the thin strings that contain sanity - now more than ever we can benefit from films such as this. Caring, finding solace in acts of kindness shared at times of direst need, and yes, even putting it all in perspective by returning to the natural positive phenomena such as the Grand Canyon seems like our only reliable way of making it. This Kasdan film has more fine performances (Kevin Klein, Mary McDonnell, Alfre Woodward, Danny Golover, Jeremy Sisto, etc etc etc) and drives relentlessly to a final ending of such beauty that even ten years later we can only say "Thank you " to Kasdan and crew."
An Insightful Commentary on Life from Lawrence Kasdan
Reviewer | 09/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Early in this film one of the characters makes the observation that half of the people in the city of Los Angeles (in which the story is set) live every day on the verge of hysteria. It is further noted that the other half ARE hysterical, and the predominant aspect of their lives is attempting to control their constant fear; fear generated entirely by the very nature of their environment, and just the way things "are." It's a thought provoking concept of life in the `90s and beyond, and of a world in which babies are abandoned, people live in boxes on the street and the guy with the gun is in charge. And as another character so succinctly points out, "This isn't the way the world is supposed to work--" All of which and more is considered by director Lawrence Kasdan in his evocative drama "Grand Canyon," starring Danny Glover, Kevin Kline and Mary McDonnell. It's a contemplation of the kind of world in which we are forced to live, the huge gaps and voids it creates in our lives, and the decisions and choices we make in an effort to fill the crevasses it all forms in our souls. This is more than just a film, it's a statement; a reflection upon what it takes for millions of people from all walks of life to get out of bed every morning and face the day. And for those who care enough and are bold enough to look deeply into Kasdan's eyes, there's a message to be found here, and a powerful one it is.In the song "Johnny 99," Bruce Springsteen sings about a part of town where "When you hit a red light you don't stop," and when Mack (Kline) leaves a Laker's game at the Forum and decides to try a short cut to avoid traffic, it is precisely in "that" part of town that his car gives up the ghost. His cell phone is dead, but he manages to find a phone booth and call for road service. But just as he gets back to his car, he becomes the target of a gang of armed young hoodlums out for an easy score or possibly more. And when things are looking about as bad as they can for Mack, the tow truck arrives, and out steps a man named Simon (Glover), who thankfully knows a thing or two about negotiating with gang members; after all, this is his turf-- where he lives and makes his living. Simon takes Mack out of harms way, and it is at that auspicious moment that a convergence of two heretofore divergent worlds occurs.Mack is an immigration lawyer who lives and works within the environs of the Miracle Mile; Simon is a part of the town in Springsteen's song. Two individuals from different worlds whom fate brings together for a split second; and It's a moment that is destined to change both their lives forever, and like ripples issuing from a stone dropped into a pond, it is soon going to touch and make a difference in many other lives, as well. Mack and Simon are about to learn a few things from one another, the most important of which may be found in Simon's perspective of the human race, and the significance of "people" when compared to one of Eternity's masterworks, the Grand Canyon.Lawrence Kasdan and Meg Kasdan wrote the screenplay for this film, from which Mr. Kasdan proceeds to deliver one of his finest cinematic offerings. As previously stated, this is more than a film; it's a contemplation of who we are and what we have become as a species during our time upon this planet, and where it's all taken us. And under Kasdan's steady guidance and insightful gaze, it is truly riveting drama that works especially well because there is something in it to which everyone will be able to identify or relate. Certainly it will strike a deeper chord with those who live or have spent time in a large metropolitan area; the situations in this film will resonate much more for someone who has lived in L.A., as opposed to those born and raised in Independence, Oregon, for example. But all will find a connection with the human issues Kasdan so incisively examines, because they are universal in nature. Quite simply, Kasdan hits a perfect pitch here. This is emotionally involving drama from beginning to end, aided in no small part by the mesmerizing score by Bill Conti and James Newton Howard that serves as a veritable pulse for the entire film.The outstanding ensemble cast matches Kasdan's excellence with a number of unforgettable performances, beginning with Kline and Glover. Kline gives the kind of performance we've come to expect from him, which is to say convincing, believable and entirely credible. He explores all of the nooks and crannies of his character and concisely expresses all that he finds there. Glover, too, hits his stride perfectly, making Simon genuine and real by finding his character's center and effectively maintaining his focus on it.It is Mary McDonnell, however, who nearly steals the show with her portrayal of Claire, Mack's wife. This is an extremely complex character, and McDonnell manages to thoroughly examine all of her myriad emotional levels and express them convincingly. This is a woman at a most fragile time of her life, with the concerns of being a loving, devoted wife in conflict with her more maternal nature; coping with the sense of loss associated with the fact that her only child, Roberto (Jeremy Sisto) is fifteen and growing up too fast, and seeking to satisfy her need to nurture. In Claire, McDonnell creates a woman with an absolute aura of beauty about her; it's a brilliant performance that is the very heart of the film.And finally, Steve Martin (Davis), Mary-Louise Parker (Dee) and Alfre Woodard (Jane) take "Grand Canyon" to the zenith of cinematic accomplishment."
Ignore the ignorant jibes...this film is truly outstanding.
Sneak | Perth, Australia | 03/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've just endured an unpleasant half hour trawling through the myriad reviews of "Grand Canyon", that are so misinformed as to be laughable.
Aside from the fact that the New York Times may have awarded this the "worst film of all time" (in a year that "Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves" was released?? - please!) I find these attitude of such reviewers quite lamentable. Grand Canyon is a magnificent film - and absolutlely NOT just the purview of "New Agers"! Anyone who has studied film to even a marginal degree will recognise the greatness in Grand Canyon. No, it's not "The Godfather"... yet it is still one of the finest films of its time. To those it touches (and there are many), it is unforgettable.
Kasdan had a vision that was unfortunately ahead of its time (and still appears to be in 2006, judging from some of the reviews here!). Certainly not "The Big Chill", Grand Canyon is a far more nuanced work - to those who understand its subtleties, it is sublime - to those still struggling to comprehend the mysteries, magic and meaning of our existance here, I can see how it might appear impenetrable or pretentious. That is no fault of the film itself - just as "Deuce Bigalow" is speaking to its chosen audience of prepubertal adolescents, so is Grand Canyon attempting to connect with those humans who choose to delve beneath the flimsy facade of modern existance. To the opinion-makers, it will naturally slip under their radar; don't let that be a reason for you missing this unmissable film.
To anyone considering this film, I implore you - do not be distracted by the inane ramblings of posters who wouldn't understand a truly meaningful film if they fell over it. Grand Canyon is for a select audience - it will never be widely popular; as if that were any true marker of what is important! Grand Canyon stands tall as one of the great achievements of the 1990s - watch it, and be moved. Watch it, and see a reflection of the world we currently find ourselves in - striving for answers, yearning for meaning... and looking all the while for the magic that defines our existance.
Absolutely five stars!"
Steve in Houston
L. Shirley | 05/04/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I love that this film so polarizes its viewers! Is this not the signal that something substantial is going on up on the screen? And who can keep from smiling at how ardently some online reviewers have aligned themselves with the New York Times? Okay, the Times is generally a reliable source for helping you sift through movie-going options. But is this the worst movie ever made? C'mon. This is wonderful entertainment, with a dense script and an array of first-class off- and on-screen talents. Rent it. Wherever you come down between one star and five, you won't be sorry for giving yourself over to Kasdan's film. A movie that provokes viewers the way Grand Canyon does can't be all bad. And it just might not be bad at all."