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The Big Kahuna (1999)

"Before viewing" talks introduce the film without spoilers. Watch it, then click on the "After viewing" talk for more. More»» by Randy Heffner

Why the film is worth your time

The Big Kahuna insightfully explores the nature of true concern for another individual in the context of friend-to-friend banter, interactions with coworkers, personal crisis, and Christian evangelism. Adapted from a stage play, the film gains substantial power by compressing the action into three characters, mostly in a single room. The screenplay, performances, directing, and cinematography are excellent. Running time: 90 min.

It’s a convention in Wichita, Kansas. Larry and Phil are seasoned lubricant salesmen hosting a hospitality suite and trying to land a big new account. To lend credibility, they bring along Bob, a new kid from the research department. Between Larry’s very colorful language and crusty demeanor, Phil’s depression and pending divorce, and Bob’s squeaky clean Baptist faith, plenty of sparks fly as all three try to catch The Big Kahuna.

Larry, an honest, no-nonsense, fun-loving salesman, uses a lot of language, including a sexual suggestion specifically intended to shock Bob. Phil reads Penthouse magazine (which is not exposed to the camera).

  • Director: John Swanbeck
  • Screenplay: Roger Rueff
  • Leads: Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito (in an atypical role for him), Peter Facinelli
  • Cinematography: Anastas N. Michos

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"After viewing" talks assume that you have seen the film. They will contain spoilers. More»» by Randy Heffner

How the film enriched and changed me

I came away from The Big Kahuna with a stronger desire to be sensitive enough to see another’s pain, to get to know them where they are, and to show them

Read the rest of this entry »

Screenshots and dialog copyright © 1999 by the filmmakers.

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