No Buys of The Good Life or The Go-Getter Yet?
by Alex Billington
February 1, 2007
Unless I missed the news, which I don't think I have, neither The Good Life nor The Go-Getter have been bought yet since their premieres at Sundance. Why is this such a big concern? These two movies are two of the best hidden gems from Sundance that hardly have any buzz and are incredibly underrated for being as amazing as they are. They need the exposure, the recognition, and most importantly, they need to be seen!
I've been following the coverage from all the other media outlets and critics out there throughout most of Sundance. And although it's over, even the top lists and "best of the fest" choices mention neither The Good Life nor The Go-Getter. Both of these films were a delightful surprise. I had no clue what to expect, and even with The Go-Getter wasn't looking forward to it, and I came out completely changed. Out of all the films I saw there (31 in total), these were two I didn't want to forget. And more importantly, I want to share them with everyone who wasn't at Sundance.
Another interesting thing to note is that these two films both star the lovely Zooey Deschanel. She has a golden touch that she brings to movies, and her presence makes them that much better. It's a surreal thing, but it's certainly noticed.
The Good Life
In my initial review I compared this film to Donnie Darko, and I stand by that. No, it's not about a kid who goes "back in time" and has a friend named Frank. I compared it to Donnie Darko because of the way the film flowed, the intensity, mood, and atmosphere of it, and just how moved I was at end - those were all similar to my experience when I first saw Donnie Darko.
I've been reading other reviews of The Good Life and they are not as highly supportive as I am, but they all say that it's a great creation for a guy who used to be a professional skater. Besides that consideration and his pretty big cast, director and writer Steve Berra has created a film that is much more powerful and enjoyable than lots of other films, at least most that also premiered at Sundance. The film is a combination of great writing, great directing, and a great cast.
Despite it was a few days ago that I saw the film right smack in the middle of my 31 film spree, I can still talk about how many fantastic elements it had. In one review I was reading, the critic was saying that there are different type's critics: those who review it technically, those who review it non-technically, and those who review it based on enjoyment/entertainment. I won't say I fit any one scheme, except I don't review technically unless it's technically bad. There are just so many great elements of The Good Life, too much to alone describe here, but most importantly is its overall feeling. Just the way it starts, that scene alone is phenomenal, and then it goes into the rest of a great movie. I can't exclaim in words alone how amazing this film was. And with that I can't say anything else without getting people out to see it.
Here are some quotes on The Good Life from other critics:
"But 'The Good Life' is artful, serious and worthwhile, something you can only say about impressive filmmaking debuts."
- Steve Ramos, indieWIRE
"The Good Life is a sweet and engaging film that has 'Sundance' written all over it."
- Tom Hall, indieWIRE
"'The Good Life' is stylistically ambitious and heartfelt … Technically, 'The Good Life' is an impressive first film for Berra."
- James Greenberg, The Hollywood Reporter
"I always believe that it is much more difficult to write real-world dialog than it is to pen what is said in an action flick, so Berra gets points for that… The acting was excellent, from everyone involved."
- Vic Holtreman, Screen Rant
"Steeping his film in the themes and motifs of the rich literary and cinematic tradition of small-town America, Berra shows penchant for describing the the unexpected details in his offbeat characters' behaviors and feelings."
- Emanuel Levy
"The Good Life is a melancholy, but ultimately rewarding piece, on isolation, love, despair, family and the need to connect… the film's performances are all superb… the film is mesmerising in its attention to detail and reality of human desperation."
- Paul Fischer, Moviehole.net
This film just struck me by surprise. I've thought about it so much recently after having seen it. At first I didn't care to even go see it, I thought it would be too Western-ish with the cowboy hat and all. And I think that's what everyone else thought, too. It is Western-ish, but in a good, and much different, way. It has such a distinct feeling, as I mentioned in my review, like a Michel Gondry film. I loved Gondry's Science of Sleep from last year because it was a quirky and very odd romantic story, and The Go-Getter is the same way. Even Zooey Deschanel is much cuter in this (than The Good Life), and she makes me want to fall in love (with her) more than anything!
In addition to some fantastic performances, The Go-Getter also has some of the best experimental and interesting cinematography of all of Sundance. There is a gritty, washed-out style to most of it, yet it's very colorful and very visual (just look at the image above). And the whole story itself is entertaining - a road trip movie, but with a twist. Hell, I'd love to have Zooey Deschanel calling my cell phone and eventually starting a relationship with me! The point is this film needs to be seen. It even has a perfect adolescent / college aged calling. I already know it will fare well with that crowd and be very well received, in the same way even Garden State or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was.
Here are some quotes on The Go-Getter from other critics:
"Flawlessly crafted by Martin Hynes and gorgeously shot, here is another example of a film with an adolescent central hero does not need to be clichÃ©d… Wonderfully funny and movie, The Go-Getter is highly commercial and is bound to be a crowd pleaser."
- Paul Fischer, Dark Horizons
"Overall itÂ’s quite a wonderful film, always entertaining and at moments deeply moving, Martin Hynes should be very proud of the work that he'Â’s created."
- Rav, Ain't It Cool News
"An unusually fresh-feeling indie with a nice sense of style…"
- Todd McCarthy, Variety
Someone PLEASE buy these films - they need it! And as much as it hurts me to say this… I'll even be satisfied with straight-to-DVD, as long as these wonderful films can be shared with the world somehow, someway!