And Everything Is Going Fine


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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by meddlecore 10 / 10

Spalding Gray's Final Monologue!

Just watched this and must say it is totally brilliant.

Soderbergh has brought us SPALDING GRAY'S FINAL MONOLOGUE with the film, "And Everything Is Going Fine".

He compiles what is essentially a final autobiographical testament of Gray's life using rare footage of his TV interviews, recordings of his theatrical monologues, and even some footage taken personally by Gray with his family members.

A simple mash-up of such footage gives Gray the oppourtunity to bring us one final monologue- from the grave- speaking about himself, just as he loved to do...for our pleasure, and his sanity!!! He truly was the best monologist, one-man-show and storyteller to ever grace the stage.

And Soderbergh- whom directed Gray's Anatomy (Gray's 1996 monologue,which is beautifully shot) and King of the Hill (in which Gray played the role of Mr. Mungo)- must get props for not succumbing to the urge of telling Gray's story, but instead appropriately allowing Gray to tell it himself. Collaborating through selectivity and editing, Soderbergh plays a role much like the one he did when filming his earlier monologue.

Gray begins this story by discussing the overwhelming influence his mother had on influence that would consume and eventually take his life. He continues by talking about his journey to Hollywood, becoming an actor, his various escapades, his travels to India, the art of writing and performing monologues, the art of acting, the value of conversing with the audience and people off the street, his marriage, keeping secrets, and ending with a recollection of his experience of being in a major accident, one he would never fully recover from.

Throughout this monologue he reflects upon life, living, death, growing up, sex, love, relationships, experience, creative narcissism, psychology and the limitations of being human, hardship, depression, and, most importantly, introspection.

On January 10, 2004, after watching the film "Big Fish" Spalding Gray got on the Staten Island Ferry from which he would jump, committing suicide, as his mother did before him. Gray killed himself as a result of the major depression that plagued him after the accident he discusses near the end of the film. I have included this information here, but Soderbergh decided to omit it from the film. He does this so we can remember him for what he did in life, as opposed to how he exited in death. (and because Gray can't tell us the story of his death from the beyond...if only...)

This can be contrasted with the film "Lenny Bruce - Without Tears" in which Fred Baker decided to not only discuss Bruce's tragic death, but show the photos and video footage of Bruce lying dead naked on his bathroom floor with a needle in his arm. I do not hold this against Soderbergh, because I feel that this final testament is true to how "Spud" would want to be remembered. He was always one to create his own myth (as opposed to Bruce who "kept it real"), and it was only appropriate for Soderbergh to let Gray tell his own story.

Shortly after the middle of the film there are a couple interviews in which Gray foreshadows his own tragic death. It is clear from the footage at the end of the film- after the accident- that he never was able to fully recover from the crash- emotionally or physically- and that is what drove him to join his Mother, in death.

May you RIP Spalding, you will never be forgotten! I'm sure you are ecstatic that Soderbergh gave you the chance to bring us one last monologue- your final testament to the world - at least i hope you are. Thank you for everything you've done to entertain us, I hope you gained as much from it as we did.

A definite 10 out of 10, if you loved Spalding Gray as much as I do, you will not want to miss this!!!

Reviewed by MisterWhiplash 9 / 10

Give a man a fish he'll eat for a day, give Spalding Gray a microphone he'll speak for a lifetime

A mind like Spalding Gray's was full of inquiry, mostly into himself. This was more than alright as by the looks of And Everything is Going Fine he was a master storyteller and orator. He originally wanted to be an actor and trained in that for many years (eventually getting lackluster parts on off-Broadway and, even at one point, a porno role). But his best role in his life was... himself really, as Steven Soderbergh takes to task with a multitude of video clips, interviews and little asides like one he had with his father in the 90's. He could be incredibly neurotic, and had a family with a history of suicide and mental illness and depression, but he someone made his sad lemons into bittersweet lemonade. His monologues were full of life and humor, little details and observations like in the best prose. In a sense this makes And Everything's Going Fine a movie where talk and stories takes us to other places and situations (it may not be an accident that one of Gray's big influences was Andrew Gregory of My Dinner With Andre).

We get to see the full nature of the man, of at least as much as could be seen in interview clips (albeit Gray is nothing but candid even with a guy from E! News), stemming from a home life that would have been normal if not for his overbearing and crazy mother who left him all too early from life. And along with the acting bug that hit him we also get told his time spent in India, and his sort of search to "find" himself, leading up to the monologues that he started to do in 1979. It was almost like an experiment in self-expression, and if he wasn't as funny as a Woody Allen New York style guy he had much more candor. Eventually we also hear about his love life, and the ups and downs of his relationship that led to him leaving her for his wife and son after a revelation eight months into the little guy's life.

Soderbergh is generous to Gray, his legacy and his attitude towards life and himself which wasn't always pretty. Maybe he understood how far to go with the footage- apparently he didn't show his much darker mood after his sudden accident that led to his suicide in 2004. But at the same time that this is a 'character' study, and that character being Mr. Spalding Gray, it's also an epic story of a life (he calls himself a method actor in a way, which caused some problems as the monologues went on and on and Q&A's had to be done with the audience). Some of Gray's points may be redundant after a while- we get it, you're a depressive, you have mother issues, woman issues, are a little crazy but have a good sense of humor about it- but I never got tired of hearing what he would say next, and always with eloquence and intelligence. Gray was the kind of guy whose mind was always moving and it looked like he was thinking as he answered questions even as he talked so fast. He was one of a kind, and this is a fine, personal tribute.

Reviewed by dbborroughs 9 / 10

Worthy, but sad final monologue by a master story teller

The life of Spaulding Gray in the words of Spaulding Gray. Assembled by Steven Soderbergh from hours of film and video tape the film covers Gray's life from birth until just before his death. Its a final monologue from a man who is best known for monologues.

The film is a funny, but almost overwhelmingly sad look at the man and his life. Its a version of his life as he might have told right before he went into the great beyond. Its incomplete, details are missing (If you know his monologues you know how much is missing), but its still his life.

For me the biggest shock was seeing the change in the man after the accident in Ireland. He was clearly altered by the experience. He was no longer the same man who only months before had done the glorious and life affirming Morning Noon And Night. When I saw that Show at Lincoln Center I witnessed one of the most life affirming moments of my life. Little did anyone know that within mere months the man on stage celebrating life and family would be broken and set irrevocably (and seeing the footage unsurprisingly) toward self destruction.

I like the film. It seems to be a fitting, if overly dark, send off for a man who was always talking about himself. Being a fan I was deeply saddened by the film, at the loss. The Chumbawumba moment from Morning Noon and Night reduced me to tears. I freely admit it was because of what the moment means having seen the original show, its life. Unfortunately it comes right before Gray went into free fall. I kind of went into free fall too.

This was the wrong movie to see during the happy time of Christmas...

That said, this is a really good film and worth seeing.

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