Every Day
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Every Day

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It can be said that family is at the center of the greatest triumphs of our lives as well as frequently being the source of our most enduring anxieties. The commonality of the most fundamental and ancient social unit makes it the perfect subject for movies. Although the theme is well used in mainstream films such stories often attain their most interesting use in the realm of independent movies. Without the staggering motivation to fill the studio’s coffers overflowing them with box office receipts the Indy filmmaker is in as much better position to create for the sake of artistic endeavor and progressing in his craft. Even when the resulting movie is flawed, speckled with imperfections the result can work. Such imperfections often make the flick more endearing; it is very difficult to identify with perfection but the blemishes of reality are something we all understand. Only with an Indy movie the inner motivations and emotional responses be truly be explored in a realistic fashion as the true expression of the art form of cinema. A reasonably effective example of this can be found in the movie ‘Every Day’. It falls into the general category of the midlife crisis tale but in many ways it has the feel of a coming of age story for the fortyish generation. After all there is a lot in common between the two genres both have to do with an individual trying his best to navigate the treacherous waters inherent in move on from one stage of life to the next. Both are require a major readjustment of self image and redefining one’s place in the world. A teen aged boy and forty year old man both experience a destabilizing influence on their personality as they scurry to regain their social footing. Although this movie concentrates on the man it does aptly reflect his situation through the vantage point of his teen aged son. The film has been attacked for drifting too close to the soap opera or sit-com but I think most people will agree that there are times in your life that you feel trapped in that kind of television program. You look at you situation in disbelief but ultimately conclude it is just how life unfolds sometimes. This movie id for those who feel their life is a bad teleplay and your contract excludes any form of script control.

As is the case with a significant number of independent films this one speaks with the filmmaker’s personal voice. Prior to writing and directing this movie Richard Levine wrote and produced a sizeable number of episodes for ‘Nip/Tuck’ along with the creator of the series Ryan Murphy. This is reflected through the main character, Ned (Liev Schreiber), a script writer for a sensationalistic television medical drama that could very well be the illegitimate sibling to ‘Nip/Tuck’. I couldn’t help but to think that Ned’s job was a negative reflection of his own objections to the outrageous antics the real show routinely incorporated in each episode. Ned is not only miserable at work but find the job completely unrewarding artistically. His boss, Garrett (Eddie Izzard) is constantly pushing for every increasing depravity demanding a quota of sexually shocking moments per episode. To assist Ned in reaching this lamentable goal Ned is assigned a writing partner, the extremely seductive Robin (Carla Gugino). It is not as if Ned finds any relief from his doldrums at home. His wife Jeannie (Helen Hunt) is uninterested in sex concentrating her whole life on the care of their two sons, Jonah (Ezra Miller and the younger boy Ethan (Skyler Fortgang). Johan has come out as being gay, something that doesn’t sit well with Ned and that his mother overcompensates for coming across as condescending. Her life is also unusually arduous made worse by taking in her invalid father Ernie (Brian Dennehy). He is elderly, wheelchair bound, incontinent alcoholic and suicidal. Considering the level he takes being a curmudgeon to they might seem like his good points. Jeannie is stuck in a constant caretaker mode for males mostly ungrateful for her efforts.

One of the aspects of this film I found most intriguing was the juxtaposition of the classic four ages of man. We see within this family a child viding for parental attention, a teen striving to establish his sexual identity, a man coming to the realization more days are behind than and as senior citizen whose only happiness is faded memories. For the middle men in this drama sex is at the core of the difficulties. Ned has the middle age need to be seen as sexually attractive, something Robin appears eager to provide. In contrast Johan is on the verge from being gay emotionally to reaching the point of experimenting physically. Levine provides the audience with a view of a family in crisis. Ned may be the focal point but everyone in his immediate circle is burdened with pressures threatening to crush them. There is a bleak mood that pervades the movie making the usual Hollywood spin impossible. The point to be taken away from the film is life is hard no matter what age you happen to be. There are a few lighter moments proving Levine’s directorial style is not completely nihilistic. One example occurs when Ned is working at Robin’s home. She suggests a swim first changing a bikini and supplying him with a Speedo. Her bathing suit is sufficiently revealing necessitating Ned remaining in the water unable to leave until after Robin was out of sight. Every man out there knows exactly the point made here. The movie is frequently rough to watch; not for lack of quality, just the opposite, because it scores as a frankly honest film that forces top see these foibles within your own life. the film is well worth watching and experiencing.

Posted 03/05/11

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