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And Everything Is Going Fine(2010)
An intimate portrait of master monologist Spalding Gray, as described by his most critical, irreverent and insightful biographer: Spalding Gray. Director Steven Soderbergh, who collaborated with Gray on Gray's Anatomy, has sifted through rare and revealing footage to construct a riveting final monologue. There are glimpses of Gray's father, and of his son Forrest (who provides soaring music for the end credits), but mostly this is an inspired one-man show, a bittersweet display of Spalding's playful and embattled intelligence, his gift for tracking universal truths by looking himself squarely in the eye.
For more about And Everything Is Going Fine and the And Everything Is Going Fine Blu-ray release, see And Everything Is Going Fine Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on June 26, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Spalding Gray
» See full cast & crew
And Everything Is Going Fine Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, June 26, 2012
Steven Soderbergh's "And Everything Is Going Fine" (2010) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion. The supplemental features on the disc include an original trailer for the film; exclusive new video interview with director Steven Soderbergh, producer Kathleen Russo, and editor Susan Littenberg; and Spalding Gray's first monologue, "Sex and Death to the Age 14". In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
The entire film is comprised of archival footage from various shows and interviews. Some are hilarious, at times also quite explicit, while others are serious. The camera only occasionally moves away from Spalding Gray's face to quickly show us a few of the people he is talking to.
During the monologues Gray often looks agitated. It is part of his style, but occasionally we get the feeling that not everything we see was rehearsed. He talks about his childhood years and later on about different suicide fantasies. He also mentions some of the girls he dated, as well as his mother, who committed suicide. Then he confesses to Charlie Rose that at one point he was told that he was manic depressive. For a moment, Rose looks genuinely confused. Is he serious?
The film is essentially a collection of B-sides and rarities. We know the hits, now we get to see some of the footage that wasn't meant to be seen – at least not as compiled by Steven Soderbergh. Gray often looks jaded and even vulnerable, and as he talks about his past, we begin to realize that his life was far from perfect. He suffered a lot, but he was too good at hiding his emotions – at least for a while.
I felt strange watching this film. There is a part of me that is happy and thankful that it was made because it offers a fascinating look into the world of a brilliant performer. Having seen the film, I think that I understand better now who Spalding Gray was. I think that I also understand better what inspired him to do what he did.
But there is also a part of me that is rather sad that the man behind the face I knew was so fragile and towards the end of his life so disillusioned. In the second half of the film, the confident and energetic Gray from the monologues is replaced with a defeated man who simply isn't as good as the one I remember. It is so strange to see a great performer so disconnected from the image he created for himself.
I think that a lot of people that will see the film will have reactions similar to mine. I don't think that anyone will dislike the film, but I think that there will be plenty of people who will conclude that it is too honest – not disrespectful, just too honest, answering many questions about Gray and his persona and asking new ones that will likely remain unanswered. In the minds of many an image will undoubtedly be altered.
Ultimately, however, Gray's story is a fascinating one, well worth telling, and it is difficult to imagine that someone other than Soderbergh could have handled it better. The film is completely free of melodrama and very respectful, a must-see for Gray's fans.
Note: Gray was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1941, and raised in the Christian Scientist Faith. During the 1970s, he was a member of the experimental theater company The Wooster Group, but became famous for his witty and entertaining monologues. In 2001, Gray suffered multiple injuries in a serious car crash in Ireland. He struggled with depression and in 2004, for a short period of time, he was declared missing. Eventually, his body was pulled from New York City's East River.
Steven Soderbergh's Gray's Anatomy is currently available on Blu-ray as well. See our review here.
And Everything Is Going Fine Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.32:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080i transfer, Steven Soderbergh's And Everything Is Going Fine arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"The film was assembled from archival interviews with and performances by Spalding Gray, material primarily in the form of NTSC videotape. Still photographs were also used, as well as home movies over the closing credits. No new material was photographed.
All the original NTSC videotapes were digitized 1:1 as Avid MXF media at 720 x 486 resolution. These files were then upconverted to 2K DPX files (1920 x 1440 inside of 2048 x 1556) in Scratch, using Lanczos scaling to increase sharpness with a minimum of artifacts. The film was then color corrected in Scratch, with noise reduction later applied as necessary, creating the final color-timed DPX files. Throughout all of these steps, the original frame rate of 29.97 and the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio were maintained.
Colorists: Steven Soderbegh, Nat Jencks.
HD facilities: PostWorks, New York; Final Frame Post, New York."
The only obvious advantages in terms of quality come from the noise adjustments that were made to rebalance the image as best as possible. Otherwise, the footage has obvious resolution limitations which have been retained. Detail, clarity and contrast often fluctuate, but this should not be surprising considering the fact that there is so much archival footage used in the film. All in all, I have every reason to believe that the quality of the presentation reflects the quality of the footage which was used to create this film. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
And Everything Is Going Fine Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one track on this Blu-ray disc: English LPCM 1.0. For the record, Criterion have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"The soundtrack was mixed from original monaural source elements by post-production sound supervisor Larry Blake.
Because And Everything Is Going Fine is primarily a dialog-driven feature, the lossless track has a very limited dynamic amplitude. This being said, the dialog is crisp, clean, and stable. Also, there are no audio dropouts, distortions, or skips to report in this review.
And Everything Is Going Fine Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
And Everything Is Going Fine Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Steven Soderbergh's And Everything Is Going Fine offers the most complete portrait of Spalding Gray ever assembled. It is a must-see for fans of the late performer and his work, as well as an excellent companion piece to Criterion's release of Gray's Anatomy. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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