Return of the Secaucus Seven

Synopsis: The Secaucus 7 of the film's title are seven friends who, during their college days, were arrested in New Jersey on their way to a protest in Washington. The film takes place ten years after all that, as the friends gather at the home of Mike and Katie, now schoolteachers in New Hampshire, bringing with them old problems and new: Maura has left Jeff and seeks consolation with his best friend, J.T.; J.T., arguably the least successful of the friends, finally gets the courage to move to Los Angeles to start a career as a songwriter; Irene brings her new boyfriend along, hoping he'll like and be liked by her friends and expecting them to challenge him for his more-conservative politics; and more. This is the film that inspired "The Big Chill."
Genre: Drama
Director(s): John Sayles
Production: IFC Films
  3 wins & 3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
104 min

We should put Irene

and this guy in here.

Yeah, we probably should.

You know where the dustpan is?

They've just gotten together,

they'll be at it like rabbits.

Behind the refrigerator.

No, it's not.

Yeah, like when she and J.T. first

got it on, when we lived on Mass Ave.

Or maybe out on the porch.

Listen, I already did the kitchen.

-You did?

-Yeah, it just looks like that.

You could do the bathroom,

though. The Ajax is in the cabinet.

So those guys get a bedroom,

and we get a bedroom.

Listen, you think we ought to put

the mattress on the floor in here?

-You know how the frame collapses.

-Only if you go jumping around on it.

Do we have a sponge?

That's why they're getting

a room. For jumping around.

-We should put it on the floor.

-I don't know.

This guy of Irene's might not be

the mattress-on-the-floor type.

All she said on the phone was that he

worked in the senator's office with her.

-He might be 40.


Yeah, he might be one of those

boyish types with graying hair.

We probably should have gotten

some Jim Beam or Johnnie Walker.

God, I hope not.

Maybe we should leave it up on

the frame. I'll just warn Irene.

We'll tack up a sign: "All sex

acts must be performed on the floor.

The management."

That leaves Frances with

J.T. out in the living room.

Frances will be pleased to hear that.

Maybe this year she'll make her move.


-Come here.


-You want a ride?

-I didn't recognize you. You got a new car.

No, it's a different one.

It's pretty far from being new.

You look like an album cover

out there with your guitar.

Helps me get rides.

Nobody figures they'll get bludgeoned

to death with a secondhand Gibson.

You ought to get a new

one, update your image.

No, old country boys never

die. They just move to L.A.

-You're really going?

-I scraped the money together.

-I got a bunch of new songs.

-I wanna hear them all.

Oh, it's good to see you.

How did we ever fit everybody

when Jeff and Maura came?

Well, for a while Irene and J.T. were sleeping

together, which made it more convenient.

Yeah, but that's when Frances

was with what's-his-name.

-The one nobody could stand.

-Jeff liked him.

No, different guy. The one nobody liked

was before the one that only Jeff liked.

The way I feel, if we're taking the

trouble to rent this place every summer...

...people ought to strike up a relationship

with whoever we put them in with.

Right. As long as I bunk with you.

Where are the sponges?

The sponges are under

the sink in the kitchen.

Behind the Brillo pads.

Where they always are.

Where they always are.

It's not gonna freak you out, is it?

Seeing your old boyfriend? Not at all.

I think what we're on is

this Kancamagus Highway here.

"Boyfriend" isn't the term I'd use.

I lived with J.T. for over a year.

-He's the guitar player, right?


Can we be on the Kancamagus if

we haven't gone through Littleton?

It won't bother me if

it won't bother you.

It's not gonna bother me, it's just

that there are a lot of loose ends.

Franconia, that's where we

are. Just south of Franconia.

I mean, it's a little weird.

We had this real nightmare of a

relationship, but I'm always glad to see him.

That's weird, all right.

Hi, my name is Michael. I'm

a friend of Lacey Summers.

She said you have some comps for me.

Lacey said you'd wanna be

about four back from the front?


-How is she in this?


It's hard to say. I'm in it too.

It's hard to have any perspective.

-Five, six. There you go.

-Thank you.

It's the last night of the run,

everyone will be up for the show.

-Mike! Hey! Mike! Michael!

-Hey, you guys!

-Frances, you look terrific.

-So do you.

-I wasn't expecting either of you yet.

-I stayed at my sister's in Boston last night.

-Did you come up together?


I was hitchhiking, and this

beautiful woman pulls up.

Yeah, sure, I've heard that one

before. How's med school treating you?

Well, doctors are a**holes

mostly, but what else is new?

Listen, I've got this

pain in my chest--

Don't start.

Hey, Irene and Chip here yet?

Chip! That's it. I

was trying to remember.

Katie said it was Skip, I said

it was Biff. What's he like?

I don't know. I only met him

once. He seemed a little...


What do you mean, straight?

Well, I don't know, he's....

Like prep-school straight or Army

straight or political straight, or what?

Well, he works for

that senator's office.

Well, so does Irene. She's not straight.

Straighter than she used to be.

Just pile it in the corner, J.T.

You got the floor again, sorry.

Hell, I've been on more

floors than Johnson's Wax.

J.T., you're the original

Westchester cowboy.

You got the couch, Frances. We

figured we'd give the newly-whatevers--

We figured we'd give

them the other bedroom.

Get yourself a steady woman, J.T.,

and you can kiss the linoleum goodbye.

So, what is he? Boy Scout

straight? Plaid-pants straight?


"Jacking and stowage instructions.


Follow jacking and stowage instructions.

Use the jack only

when changing the wheels.

Never get under the

car when using the jack.

Do not start or run the

engine while the car is on the jack."


A little.

Just act naturally.

You just told me I should loosen up.

Right. You should just act naturally and

like you always do, except a little looser.

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John Sayles

John Thomas Sayles (born September 28, 1950) is an American independent film director, screenwriter, editor, actor and novelist. He has twice been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Passion Fish (1992) and Lone Star (1996). His film Men with Guns (1997) has been nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. His directorial debut, Return of the Secaucus 7 (1980), has been added to the National Film Registry. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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