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5 Star Day (2010)

Breaking Glass Pictures
DVD Released: 2/7/2012

All Ratings out of
Audio: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 2/7/2012

At this point in my life, it's very rare to hear me say, "I've never seen a movie about _____ before." (Although, it's very common to hear my wife say, "If this is another movie with ________, I'm not watching it.") So, when a movie has an unusual or unique idea, I sit up and pay attention. Now, when I say unusual or unique, you may be thinking of something like David Cronenberg or David Lynch. But, movie's can present a deceptively simple idea which can propel the story. But, can a new idea, like the one in 5 Star Day, make a movie worth seeing?

Cam Gigandet stars in 5 Star Day as Jake Gibson, a young man who has been inspired to conduct a unique study for his college ethics class. On the way to work on his birthday, he happens to note his horoscope in the newspaper, which states that he's going to have a good day. What follows is one of the worst days of Jake's life, as he loses his job, has his car stolen, discovers that his girlfriend is cheating on him, and his apartment floods. Due to these events, Jake decides that "astrology is bull&*%#" and he sets off on a journey to prove this. He checks records and finds four individuals who were born at the same time and the same location as him. He wants to learn what transpired on their birthdays to see if their experiences were as bad as his. As he makes this quest, he begins to learn that human interactions are far more important than anything happening in the stars.

I've seen a lot of movies, but I don't think I've ever seen one where a character goes on a mission to learn the truth about astrology, so 5 Star Day gets points for that. But, the story suffers from a severe case of vagueness. We see Jake reading his horoscope once. Does he read it everyday? Up until his bad birthday, had he previously believed that horoscopes were generally accurate? There's also ambiguity for Jake's character overall. What was his job? Why is he in school? If he already has an office job, is he looking to change careers? And as someone who took ethics in graduate school and regularly takes ethics refresher courses, Jake's presentation to his class made no sense. It came across as more of a sociology lecture.

These story issues aside -- and it's difficult to put them aside -- Jake's interactions with those who share his birthday are interesting. I won't ruin any of the details here, but he finds three people who span many socio-economic and ethnic categories. Again, Jake's goal was to learn about their birthdays, instead he finds himself making a human connection with each of them. And in two of the three cases, he goes out of his way to help better the person's lives. Jake learns that instead of looking to the stars, we should look to those around us on Earth.

The issue with 5 Star Day is that there is no tension here. This is ostensibly a drama, and there are some emotional moments, but there's no real drama here, and thus, there's very little in which the audience can get invested. Jake goes on his quest and he either gets his answer or he doesn't -- it's very difficult to care. Although, as noted above, the wrap-around story here is very weak. Jake's quest becomes a null point. We do want to see more of his interactions with those around him, but even those are a bit hackneyed. 5 Star Day offers an interesting premise which goes nowhere. What's your sign? A bit bored.

5 Star Day shows that out-of-work college students can afford to travel all over the country on DVD courtesy of Breaking Glass Pictures. The picture has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is sharp and clear, showing only a slight amount of grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look good, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The image is soft at times and somewhat lacking in detail, but this may be due to the fact that I've become so accustomed to the sharpness of Blu-ray Disc. There is some slight artifacting here as well. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Being a drama, we don't get many dynamic audio effects here. The music sounds good, as it fills the front and center channels. A few of the street scenes offer somewhat detailed stereo and surround effects.

The 5 Star Day DVD contains a few extras. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Danny Buday and Cinematographer Jason Oldak. "Behind the Scenes" (25 minutes) is strictly "fly on the wall" on-set video showing the cast and crew at work. Occasionally someone will address the camera, but this is essentially just a peek at the working environment. The DVD contains five DELETED SCENES which run about 7 minutes. Character actor Richard Riehle makes a cameo here. Otherwise, these are all brief dialogue scenes which don't introduce any new characters or ideas. "Dependency" (22 minutes) is a short film from Director Danny Buday. The extras are rounded out by the TRAILER for 5 Star Day and a PHOTO GALLERY.

Review Copyright 2012 by Mike Long