RETURN OF THE SECAUCUS SEVEN .... If you sort of enjoyed The Big Chill, then this is the "progenitor" of what The Big Chill SHOULD have been; the original recipe. Amazingly, this special, consistently-flowing, 1979-produced film, with engaging character development, does not seem extremely "dated" today, (with a refreshing absence of cell phone scenes, overplayed drug scenes, but including those "short-shorts" on the basketball & volleyball court scenes).
The production was quite advanced in its style of filming, you are mixed into the group dynamics via the unobtrusive and intimate camera work, devoid of the typical pretext, or presentation hoopla often used to force-feed viewers with some sort pre-packaged message, music, or mood set-up. Rather, simply, it's like you are a fly on the wall, and its director John Sayles lets his characters flourish in both humor and angst in a natural flow; it's almost as if the film was done in just one masterful take. Maybe it almost was. (It would be great to find out what those actors and actresses are up to now, my guess is that they largely took up interesting roles in real life decades later, not necessarily acting.) If any you are out there and link to this site, please chime in somewhere ! Director Sayles, who played one of the characters, (I won't reveal which one) went on toward critical acclaim and success in many later directorial projects.
I was fascinated with this film as originally shown with small audience draw in theaters nationally, and I tried to obtain a video copy about ten years later, as it was such a cult film, the video cost something like $40-50 to obtain then. Now, it's back into the "attainable" range. I still love this film, it is a pleasure to own the DVD, and I will enjoy it repeatedly every few years, now.
The coolest thing is, such perfection (IMHO) in filmmaking flew almost completely under the "popular" radar when it was new. If you came of age during the 70s and experienced at least a year or so of college, and got swept up in the pre-aids relationship pleasure/angst culture, (if not the politics), you'll love this "reunion" film. (Of course the reunion occurred at the end of the 70s, of characters originally meeting in the late 60s-early 70s maelstrom. Warning, filmed in peaceful rural Vermont, so don't get your heart set on scenes or glimpses of bygone New Jersey, though the characters will remind you of friends from the NE. Have a glass of wine, darken all the windows, set your phone on vibrate and enjoy getting lost in this timeless time capsule !