‘The Good Life’ DVD Review
‘The Good Life’ is a film that sends a very strong message that will leave you in awe. Writer-director Steve Berra does an excellent job breaking down socio-economic status. His message hits you right in the face from the moment the film begins. The opening scene is the ending, yet when you see the scene totally fleshed out at the end you really feel bad for the main character.
The story centers on a boy named Jason (Mark Webber) that has had a very rough life from family, work, and school. Jason works at a gas station as an attendant. At the beginning of the film, he has an altercation with the school bully Tad (Chris Klein). Tad even has issues of his own that he treats guys like Jason as his punching bag. Jason is a good kid with a huge heart yet tragedies and heartache have done nothing to help him. As you see Jason onscreen throughout the film, you start to really feel bad for the kid. To add to all this, Jason is on medication for depression.
Things start to look good for Jason when he meets Frances (Zooey Deschanel), as she appears to be what he needs in his life. There are times where she is not with it and focused elsewhere. This brings him some happiness, but the times where she isn’t paying him any attention it makes him feel like he isn’t important.
He also helps Gus (Harry Dean Stanton) manage a movie theater. Older movies are shown at the theater. Even though Gus is a bit mean at times, Jason looks at him as if he is a part of his family.
The acting in the film is superb with Mark Webber really stealing the show. He takes us through a world wind ride that shows all kinds of emotions. As the viewer, you feel captivated and sorry for the kid having to go through this whole mess in his life. With a supporting cast consisting of Chris Klein, Drea de Matteo, Bill Paxton, Harry Dean Stanton, and the underrated Zooey Deschanel we have a solid effort.
The film is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen. With a lower budget, the film is rather dark throughout. The dark tone fits the film very well as this could have been what Steve Berra was going for. There is a saturated tone to the colors which fits in with the dark atmosphere. The print does look clean and pristine with some subtle hints of grain throughout.
Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. ‘The Good Life’ is mainly a dialogue driven film with a few scenes that have sound effects. Dialogue is rather clear through the center channel. The rears have a few sounds coming through whenever there are effects like gunshots, vehicles, and music from a party.
Writer-director Steve Berra really brings this tale to life with true to life storytelling and excellent acting. While this film won’t go down with classic status, it is a rather enjoyable afternoon time killer. Both Zooey Deschanel and Mark Webber will have Hollywood success if they continue to perform as well as they have in the ‘The Good Life’.