Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Grand Canyon


The only reason a white man of a certain economic class, driving a luxury car, could have for driving through Inglewood at night is to be returning home from a Lakers game at the Forum. Kevin Kline decides to drive around some traffic by taking back streets. His car breaks down and five gangbangers surround him. He is about to get the shit beat out of him when he is saved by the arrival of the tow truck driver, Danny Glover.

Kline’s wife, Mary McDonnell, is out jogging when she hears a baby crying. She finds an abandoned infant in the bushes. She takes it home and decides she wants to keep it.

Kline’s best friend, Steve Martin, is a producer of splatter flicks who is mugged one day outside his red Ferrari, shot in the leg so badly he almost loses it.

Danny’s sister lives in a very bad part of town. Her son has joined a street gang. One night rival gang members perforate the house with automatic weapons fire.

These are all good people from opposite ends of the economic and social spectrum. Their paths have crossed as a result of these life-changing events. There is no real plot here, as such. We just follow these people as they try to make sense of their lives. I highly recommend this one. The writing, by director Lawrence Kasdan and his wife Meg, is terrific, thoughtful without ever getting too wordy. What does the title have to do with the story? Not much, except that most of them gather there at the canyon’s rim at the end of the film. The idea is that confronting such a gigantic thing as the Grand Canyon will give you some perspective on your life. I can’t say the same thing happened to me when I visited, but you can’t help reflecting on just how tiny you are in the scheme of things.