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39 The Big Chill Trivia Questions & Answers

Big Chill, The
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There are 39 questions on this topic. Last updated Sep 21 2023.
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1 "The Big Chill" opens with Kevin Kline, as Harold Cooper, bathing his son, his wife in the next room. The phone rings and she answers. Although not privy to the content of the phone call, Harold (and the viewer) senses that it is not good. What bad news does Sarah Cooper receive -- while "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," the first song on an incredible sound track, is playing audibly in the background?
Answer: College friend Alex Marshall has committed suicide.

The film revolves around, but certainly isn't limited to, Alex Marshall's suicide. Described by the minister as "a brilliant physics student at the University of Michigan, who paradoxically chose to experience life through a series of seemingly random occupations," Alex apparently never met the expectations others had for him, or possibly the ones he had for himself.

Everyone probably knows this by now, but just in case: Kevin Costner was cast as Alex Marshall, but the only bit of Kevin we see in the film is his forehead; a shock of his thin, light brown hair; his wrists, including stitches; and his clothing as his body is dressed for viewing. The rest of Kevin was left on the cutting room floor, so to speak.

Alex killed himself in the bathroom of Harold and Sarah's summer house. He had been staying with them for an indefinite period of time.
Question Reference: Quiz: The Big Chill.
trivia question Quick Question
What famous actor played Alex but was NOT credited for it?

2 In "The Big Chill" old college friends reunite for __________.
Answer: a funeral

"The Big Chill" is about a group of college buddies that get together, years later, to attend a funeral for their good friend.
Question Reference: Quiz: The Big Chill.
3 Who is NOT a character in the film 'The Big Chill'?
Answer: Megan

Well, her name could be Megan but never once does anyone call Meg 'Megan', she's probably a Margaret!
4 Which two characters get stoned between the funeral and the interment?
Answer: Meg (Mary Kay Place) and Nick (William Hurt)

Nick and Meg smoke a joint in Nick's Porsche (a traveling "pharmacy") on their way to the cemetery. Their conversation about Alex triggers some awkward, black-humored dialog. Meg: "I feel awful. The last time I spoke with Alex we had a fight." Nick: "That's probably why he killed himself." (pa-dum-pum) "What did you fight about?" Meg: "I told him he was wasting his life..."

At the reception, Sam and Meg are chatting outside. Meg says, "That's why I don't smoke it anymore. Dope makes me stupid." Nick approaches and says, "You talking about me?"

William Hurt plays a perfect Nick, a character who almost got his Ph.D. and previously worked as a psychologist on radio station KSFO in San Francisco. Mary Kay Place is great as Meg, who started out as a dewy-eyed criminal defense attorney but was lured away by the big bucks of real estate law ("'El Greed-o' strikes again!"). Both characters are single and apparently have never married.
Question Reference: Quiz: The Big Chill.
5 In the beginning of "The Big Chill" whose funeral is everyone attending?
Answer: Alex

Alex committed suicide in Harold and Sarah's bathroom. No one understood why he did it, because he didn't even bother to leave a note.
Question Reference: Quiz: The Big Chill.
6 Why did these college friends happen to gather together once again?
Answer: They met for Alex's funeral

The whole movie is about grieving his death!
7 Which one of the group writes for a celebrity magazine?
Answer: Michael (Jeff Goldblum)

Jeff Goldblum is a riot as Michael, the pushy, opinionated, somewhat pompous pseudo-journalist who's unabashedly proud of his "news stories" and semi-oblivious to his own dorkiness. Michael is on his way to Dallas to interview a blind baton twirler when he gets the news about Alex. When Karen's husband, Richard (with tongue firmly in cheek) asks Michael, "Where do you get the ideas for these stories?" Michael responds earnestly, "It's just good investigative journalism!"

Michael has some of the best lines in the script and delivers them with deadpan perfection. Having overdone it the previous night, Michael sleeps past noon the next day. Stumbling into the kitchen, he finds Sarah staring at the shelves of the open refrigerator, trying to make her grocery list now that the Coopers have six guests to feed. Michael peeks around the corner into the 'fridge and says dryly, "You see? That's the trouble with these things. You have to watch them every minute." When he expresses his disappointment at sleeping through Richard's departure (leaving Karen dangerously footloose), Sarah clucks, "Michael, if you're going to sleep this late you can expect to miss a few mini-dramas." Michael drawls, "I just hope you'll wake me for anything really ugly."
Question Reference: Quiz: The Big Chill.
8 What famous actor played Alex but was NOT credited for it?
Answer: Kevin Costner

In the beginning of the film all there is of him is his hairline and his wrist. Even though the movie was great I still would have loved to have seen him.
Question Reference: Quiz: The Big Chill.
9 This is a cut section, but who was supposed to play the dead friend Alex when alive in the movie?
Answer: Kevin Costner

This was on a VH1 special, and those are actually Kevin's limbs we see being dressed for the funeral in the beginning!
10 Who is Chloe (played by Meg Tilly)?
Answer: Alex's much younger girlfriend

Meg Tilly's Chloe is a bit more complex than one might realize. She first comes off as the stereotypical blonde, despite being a brunette: not very intelligent and clueless. She often makes inappropriate remarks. E.g., she bluntly tells Karen, "I found him." [referring to finding Alex dead in the bathroom after slitting his wrists]. Karen: "That must have been awful! So ... what are you going to do now?" Chloe: "Oh, we cleaned it up!" Later, in the Jeep, heading to the cabin with Harold, Sam, and Michael, Chloe suddenly interrupts their conversation to blurt out, "Alex and I made love the night before he died. It was fantastic!" This prompts the wry Nick to pun, "He went out with a bang, not a whimper," as The Rascals sing "Good Loving'" in the background.

For most of the movie Chloe's strength appears to be her physical sexuality; she has a lithe, limber, lovely body and a very cute face. Eventually, though, particularly during Nick's on-the-scene documentary filming, Chloe makes some poignant observations. "I don't enjoy talking about my past as much as you guys," and "I haven't met that many happy people. How do they act?" She is drawn to Nick, at one point saying, "You remind me of Alex." Nick snaps back, "I ain't him." Nevertheless, he and Chloe do hook up. With Harold and Sarah's blessing, Nick steps into Alex's shoes and he and Chloe will stay in the summer house and continue rehabbing the cabin Nick has come to love.

Meg Tilly is the younger sister of actress Jennifer Tilly. The Oscar-nominated Meg won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Sister Agnes in "Agnes of God."

Interesting factoid: Actress Phoebe Cates read for the part of Chloe, and at that audition she met Kevin Kline. A few years later they married.
Question Reference: Quiz: The Big Chill.
11 What magazine does Michael write for?
Answer: People

He postpones interviewing a blind baton twirler to stay at Harold and Sarah's for the weekend. He tells his boss that he has something more interesting here. Michael says: "I mean it's not like she's going to regain her sight over the weekend."
Question Reference: Quiz: The Big Chill.
12 Who did Sarah have an affair with?
Answer: Alex

Sad stuff.
13 What song is playing as everyone is unpacking their "stuff" to stay at the Coopers' house for the weekend?
Answer: "Tell Him" by The Exciters

"I know ... something about love. You've got to want it bad. If that guy's got into your blood, go out and get him!" Remember? This upbeat song by "one-hit wonder" The Exciters reached number four on Billboard's U.S. Pop chart in 1963.

Kasdan's direction is particularly stellar in this scene; we learn a lot about the individual characters early in the film simply by watching as they unpack. Meg, the lawyer (after contemplating the cross hanging on the wall): cigarettes, lighter, and calculator from her briefcase (no luggage; she wears Sarah's clothes all weekend); Sam, the actor: a television script, portable tape recorder, book, and hair dryer; Richard, Karen's boring, bewildered, insomniac husband: a bottle of Mylanta and a picture of his two sons; Michael: portable tape recorder and extra batteries, hair dryer, striped bikini briefs, and condoms. Nick, the "salesman," (unpacking ... the trunk of his car): dirty shirt, dirty shirt, dirty shirt, and drugs. And finally Karen: a "US" magazine with Sam's picture on the cover and her diaphragm, creating a bit of foreshadowing in addition to characterization.

The other songs listed above are in the film and on the sound track; they just weren't part of this scene.
Question Reference: Quiz: The Big Chill.
14 Which character has a show called "J.T Lancer"?
Answer: Sam

The show came on right before the big dinner scene. All of his friends made fun of him during the opening credits. Remember the scene where the deputy asks Sam to jump into the car just like on the show? He didn't run enough, practically trips into the car, and hurts his arm.
Question Reference: Quiz: The Big Chill.
15 Who is Harold married to?
Answer: Sarah

This was way too obvious!
16 What startling revelation does Meg (Mary Kay Place) make to Sarah (Glenn Close) in the kitchen as they're preparing apple pies, while the rest of the gang is watching the Michigan game on television?
Answer: She wants to have a baby even though she's not married, and she wants the father to be one of these college buddies.

Meg has decided that despite having had an abortion in college, "the only thing I've ever known in my entire life is that I want to have a child." The only problem is, she's not married and her dating prospects aren't very good. She figures "these are the best guys I know" so one of them will surely help her out or, as she says, "plant the seed." "Yeah," replies Sarah, "but who's gonna be the lucky farmer?"

Tulsa, OK's Mary Kay Place is remarkably versatile: a country/western singer, actress, comedy writer, author, and director. She first appeared on television in a small role in an episode of "All in the Family", but a featured role (Loretta Haggers) in "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" launched her career. Her films include "The Rainmaker," "Being John Malkovich," and "Sweet Home Alabama."
Question Reference: Quiz: The Big Chill.
17 Which two of the group are married?
Answer: Harold and Sarah

Sam and Karen, and Meg and Harold all get "together" over the weekend, but are not married to each other.
Question Reference: Quiz: The Big Chill.
18 What is interesting about the girl that Michael is supposed to go and interview for his gossip magazine?
Answer: She's a blind baton twirler

A briefly mentioned part, the day of the funeral. You have to be awake for that one. 'She's not going to get her eyesight back over night!'
19 Why doesn't Nick (William Hurt) "help" Meg in her quest for maternity?
Answer: He was wounded in Viet Nam, rendering him impotent.

Somehow Meg "didn't get the memo" about Nick's war injury. (Meg to Sarah in the pie-baking scene: "And Nick -- as I am apparently the last to learn -- is no longer a candidate.")

As an audience, we don't get the gory details of Nick's injury. Rather, when Meg heads up the stairs to the attic to find Nick and sweetly seduce him for her purposes -- sitting on his lap in her (Sarah's) jammies -- Nick says, "Meg. Darling, Meg. ... Did I ever tell you what happened to me in Viet Nam?" The "bats-in-the-attic" scene follows shortly thereafter.

William Hurt has had a remarkable career from stage to big screen to small screen: "Altered States"; "Kiss of the Spider Woman," for which he won both the Oscar and BAFTA (British Academy for Film and Television Arts) awards for his role as imprisoned, flamboyantly gay window dresser Luis Molina; the steamy "Body Heat," opposite Kathleen Turner, also directed by Kasdan; "Broadcast News"; "Children of a Lesser God" for which he was Oscar-nominated as Best Actor (but lost to Paul Newman for "The Color of Money"); "The Accidental Tourist"; "Jane Eyre"; "Michael"; and one of my favorite Indie films, "Smoke," with Harvey Keitel.

In 2009, Hurt joined the cast of "Damages," a U.S. cable-t.v. drama series starring "Big Chill" co-star Glenn Close (for you fans of "Six Degrees of Separation" quizzes).
Question Reference: Quiz: The Big Chill.
20 What song plays while they clean up the big dinner?
Answer: Ain't Too Proud To Beg

In this memorable moment of "The Big Chill", Harold puts this song on when everyone begins to clean up after dinner. This song is just perfect because everyone is dancing and having a good time, it just makes you want to jump in the screen and start loading the dishwasher.
Question Reference: Quiz: The Big Chill.
21 Who is Karen married to?
Answer: Richard

Everyone thinks Richard is a moron.
22 What does Harold Cooper (Kevin Kline) do for a living?
Answer: He owns several athletic/running shoe stores.

Kevin Kline's character has a secret he's just bursting to tell, but to do so would violate regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC]. The secret? His company is about to "go public." "Be careful, some big monster's going to buy you out," Sam warns while he and Harold change bed linens. Harold: "We've had offers." (But he doesn't tell Sam.) Later, when he and Nick are out for a run in the early morning South Carolina mist, Harold offers this heavy-handed hint to Nick in direct violation of SEC regs: "In a few weeks, a very large corporation is going to buy my very small company. Anyone owning our stock will triple their money." Harold shares this information with Nick, hoping that the latter "will use it to get into another line of work." In that same conversation, Harold admits to having given the same information to Alex before he committed suicide. "Yeah," Nick deadpans. "And look what happened to him."

Harold also generously gives each of his guests a pair of "Running Dog" (his company) shoes.
Question Reference: Quiz: The Big Chill.
23 Who played the character Nick?
Answer: William Hurt

He's a pretty good actor, he was in the movie 'Michael' with John Travolta, about the angel.
24 What is the name of Sam Weber's television series?
Answer: J.T. Lancer

Handsome Tom Berenger plays Sam Weber, a chick-magnet detective in Louisiana, a role that brings to mind Tom Selleck's "Magnum, P.I." and reflects excellent casting by Kasdan's team.

Sam is a divorced Hollywood father who suffers guilt over his absence in his daughter's life but can't seem to change his behavior. He is both flattered and flummoxed by Karen's obvious attention to him the weekend of Alex's funeral. She seems to have come with a goal in mind: bedding the star, but to do so requires no fewer than four different approaches. After initially rejecting her for her own good, Sam eventually succumbs when Karen tells him her marriage isn't working and she's leaving Richard. Her conquest over, the next morning Karen seems to this author to have absolutely no interest in pursuing a relationship with Sam -- despite what she told him the previous evening about her plan to leave Richard. "If Richard and I bring the boys to Los Angeles, maybe you could get us in to one of the studios. Richard would like that." Karen's rejection makes us almost feel sorry for Sam who, earlier in the film revels in the fact that he can trust these long-time friends, as he ironically complained, "In L.A. I don't know who to trust." Nice reverse-stereotyping by the scriptwriters. For once it isn't the egomaniacal star rejecting the groupie, but vice-versa.

Chicago-born Tom Berenger (nee Moore) graduated from the prestigious journalism school at the U. of Missouri. His acting career began with the soap opera "One Life to Live." He quickly landed film roles, notably a murderer in "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" with a very young Diane Keaton; "Someone to Watch Over Me"; "Major League"; Butch Cassidy in "Butch and Sundance, the Early Years"; and "Betrayed" and "Platoon," for which he was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.
Question Reference: Quiz: The Big Chill.
25 According to Michael, what is more important than sex?
Answer: Rationalization

This conversation takes place while Michael and Sam are videotaping themselves in the sitting room.
Sam says: "Nothing is more important than sex."
Michael says: "Oh yeah, have you ever gone a week without a rationalization."
Question Reference: Quiz: The Big Chill.