Livin’ Large!

Wednesday, August 24 at 7:30 PM — The Auditorium at NEIU — 3701 W Bryn Mawr Ave
Tickets: $10 at the door

August 24 - Livin' Large!

Directed by Michael Schultz • 1991
Thirty-something delivery boy Dexter Jackson’s greatest dream is to be a television news anchor, a gig he spends every free moment practicing for. His big break comes during an active hostage situation where he spontaneously takes over for a reporter shot to death on air. Dexter scores an on-camera interview with the gunman and convinces him to stand down, his heroic efforts earning him the respect of his community and a cushy reporting gig as the only Black newsman at a highly rated local network. Soon enough, though, he’s pushed by a craven, ratings-hungry producer to deliver sleazy exposés on his friends and neighbors, and he begins to see a grotesque, Dorian Gray-like transformation in his on-air appearance. Director Michael Schultz (Cooley High) carved out a lane as one of the strongest utility players in ‘70s and ’80s Hollywood cinema, but even though Livin’ Large! followed the occupational comedy formula of previous Schultz canon-entries like Car WashWhich Way Is Up?, and Disorderlies, box office returns were disappointing and critics proved inexplicably hostile to the film. Schultz’s work has mostly been consigned to TV in the years since, but in hindsight Livin’ Large! looks more like a stepping stone between Sidney Lumet’s Network and Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, a media satire as broad and crass as the industry it’s skewering, and another Schultz-directed winner that pins its wacky hijinks to an uncommon sensitivity regarding matters of race and work. (CW)
Rarely revived since its initial release, Livin’ Large! was selected as the most promising title among our recent 35mm acquisitions in a survey of CFS patrons and donors.
96 min • The Samuel Goldwyn Company • 35mm from Chicago Film Society collections, permission Park Circus
Preceded by: Production featurette for “Sparkle” (Sam O’Steen, 1976) – 8 min – 16mm