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And So It Goes (2014)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 11/18/2014
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 11/20/2014
As anyone who knows anything about the movie industry and they will tell you that it is a youth-oriented business. The studios aim to make the perfect movie which is aimed at the 18-24-year old demographic (with hopes that younger kids will sneak in). The only thing which is better is a family film with legs which will get tons of repeat business. (Frozen, anyone?) Having said that, we do occasionally get a movie which is aimed at older viewers. But, keep in mind, just because movies like And So It Goes feature mature actors, that doesn't mean that they are perfect for that audience.
And So It Goes introduces us to Oren Little (Michael Douglas), a real-estate agent in a small New England town. Despite his history of success, Oren lives in a small apartment building, as his old house reminds him of his recently deceased wife. Her death has lead him to become a bitter curmudgeon. Oren's neighbor is Leah (Diane Keaton), a recent widow who is pursuing her dream of becoming a lounge singer. Oren's already closed world is rocked when his estranged son, Luke (Scott Shepherd), suddenly shows up to announce that he's headed to prison and that he needs Oren to watch his 10-year old daughter, Sarah (Sterling Jerins). Oren actually refuses to do this and Leah agrees to watch the girl the first night. While Oren focuses on selling a house for a huge commission, Leah and Sarah begin to bond. Will Oren's cold exterior ever melt?
And So It Goes is a weird movie. The opening is somewhat standard stuff. We are introduced to Oren, who is a very stereotypical grumpy old man character. We then meet Leah, who is a very cliched sassy older woman character. Oren is asked to care for his grand-daughter and this creates something to force he and Leah to bond. There are also some supporting characters, such as Frances Sternhagen, who plays a very saucy old lady.
But, once you get past this seemingly normal exterior, And So It Goes really goes off of the rails. The first indication that something isn't quite right comes when we learn that Oren has apparently lived in the apartment building for some time, and yet it feels as if he's meeting his neighbor for the first time. The second thing happens when Luke announces that he's going to prison and Oren neither acts shocked or asks why. The fact that Oren allows Leah, who he apparently barely knows, to take Sarah the first night not only feels far-fetched, but it does nothing to make us like Oren better. The average audience will accept a certain amount of Grinchery, but child abandonment isn't going to win many fans. The whole thing with Leah wanting to be a lounge singer may not be as weird as the other stuff, but it never feels authentic.
These odd plot points play out in a strange fashion. The movie both fulfills and defies our expectations in a way which is both predictable and displeasing. You don't need to have seen many movies to know that there will be flirtation between Oren and Leah despite their friction in the beginning. The surprising thing about And So It Goes is the lack of drama. SPOILER WARNING: Sarah is a great kid who doesn't create any problems, save for the fact that she needs to eat and sleep, and those are fairly benign things. I was convinced that something would happen to Sarah, such as an accident or medical emergency, but no, everything is just fine with her. Oren states that he wants to help Leah with her career...and he does. Oren angers his neighbors...until they begin to get along. END SPOILER WARNING. The movie sets up several opportunities for something to actually happen, but nothing does.
And So It Goes comes from Rob Reiner, a once great director who has apparently lost his touch, based on his last few movies. (And the fact that he hasn't made a truly great movie in over 20 years.) Not only has Reiner (who has a small part in the film) seemingly lost his ability to tell a coherent story, but he apparently has no idea what the audience wants, even the older adults at whom this movie is presumably aimed. Sure, it's great to show 60-somethings working hard and having relationships, but one would assume that they also want to be portrayed as people who do realistic things. Blame must also go to Writer Mark Andrus, who has been involved with much better films in the past.
I had expected And So It Goes to be a light-hearted comedy, so I was surprised as the serious nature of the plot. There's nothing wrong with the fact that a seemingly cute Michael Douglas/Diane Keaton movie having a more somber tone. The problem lies in the fact that nearly every emotion and story point in this film rings hollow and carries no weight. Given the talent involved, this movie should have not only been much better, but at the very least, tolerable. And So It Goes is a train-wreck, no matter your age.
And So It Goes makes lounge singing seem just as exciting as you think that it can be on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 25 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no distracting grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is good and the image is rarely soft (which is pretty unforgiving on the actor's faces). The depth is acceptable. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Being a dialogue-driven drama, we don't get many dynamic audio effects here. The stereo effects show good separation and the in-film music offers some nice surround sound effects at times.
The lone extra on the And So It Goes Blu-ray Disc is a THEATRICAL TRAILER for the film.
Review Copyright 2014 by Mike Long