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Everybody's Fine Blu-ray Review

Everybody's Fine (2009) movie poster Everybody's Fine

Theatrical Release: December 4, 2009 / Running Time: 100 Minutes / Rating: PG-13 / Songs List

Writer/Director: Kirk Jones / Original Writers: Massimo De Rita, Tonino Guerra, Giuseppe Tornatore

Cast: Robert De Niro (Frank Goode), Drew Barrymore (Rosie Goode), Kate Beckinsale (Amy), Sam Rockwell (Robert Goode), Melissa Leo (Colleen), Damian Young (Jeff), Lucian Maisel (Jack), James Frain (Tom), Katherine Moennig (Jilly), Brendan Sexton III (Mugger), James Murtaugh (Dr. Edward F. Farnsworth), Kene Holliday (Butcher), Lily Sheen (Young Amy), Chandler Frantz (Young David), Mackenzie Milone (Young Rosie), Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick (Young Robert), Austin Lysy (David Goode), E.J. Carroll (Travis the Wine Man), Ben Schwartz (Ad Writer), Debargo Sanval (Art Director)

Buy Everybody's Fine from Amazon.com: Blu-ray DVD Instant Video

Some Oscar buzz is forming around Robert De Niro right now for his supporting role in the upcoming David O. Russell dramedy Silver Linings Playbook. Though widely considered one of the greatest film actors of all time, De Niro hasn't been nominated for an Academy Award since 1991's Cape Fear and he hasn't won one since Raging Bull over thirty years ago.
The last time De Niro was thought to even be in contention was for the 2009 drama Everybody's Fine, a film that won the sexagenarian just a single minor honor.

Everybody's Fine fizzled at the box office and despite a December opening, earned only mixed reviews and a few notices for its closing Paul McCartney song. Its most notable distinction may be that it was the last movie released by Miramax before Disney sold off that division. There was no irony in the timing; this movie capped off a year of underperformance for the decorated indie unit that dominated the awards scene under founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein. Miramax managed to make a number of good movies after the Weinsteins left to form their own studio at the end of 2005, among them No Country for Old Men, Gone Baby Gone, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The Queen, and Doubt. But Disney just no longer had any interest in prestigious art films. They wanted big tentpole pictures that generated many revenue streams across the company. So, they not only closed the studio, but sold off the entire library, a pretty significant chunk of cinema history stretching over twenty years.

Everybody's Fine was the movie that made me realize that Robert De Niro had officially gotten old. De Niro has acted steadily and more frequently in recent years than ever before. And yet his age still kind of crept up on me and surprised me in watching the film's trailer. Before this, De Niro had been playing characters that were still investigating homicides and robbing banks without giving us much thought about retirement prospects. Then here, he seemed to embrace old age with a tearjerker certain to do most of its business before sunset.

"Everybody's Fine" stars Robert De Niro as a widower who travels around the nation to see his kids. Forewarned of her father's (Robert De Niro) surprise visit, Las Vegas dancer Rosie (Drew Barrymore) arranges for a stretch limo ride.

A remake of the 1990 Italian drama Stanno tutti bene, Everybody's Fine casts De Niro as Frank Goode, a lonely widower of eight months who is finding it difficult to stay in touch with his four grown children. After every one of the siblings cancels at the last minute a trip planned to unite them at Frank's house, the patriarch decides to surprise each of them with a visit to their worlds. His pulmonary fibrosis developed from a lifetime of working with PVC makes his doctor advise against air travel, so Frank makes the trips with good old-fashioned public ground transportation.

The first stop is New York City, where artist son David is nowhere to be found. Next comes Chicago, where daughter Amy (Kate Beckinsale), a successful advertising executive, does some transparent lying while politely encouraging Dad to be on his way. In Denver, Frank is surprised to learn his son Robert (Sam Rockwell) is not a chamber orchestra conductor but a disposable banger of drums. The final stop is Las Vegas, where prepped dancer Rosie (Drew Barrymore) seems genuinely happy with the visit but guilty of her own deceptions.

As the ironic title implies, everybody isn't fine. The Goode children's open line of communication with their mother has never extended to their father, who drove them to excel while he himself took pride in insulating telephone wires used across the nation. There's obvious symbolism there and in the family surname, which the film doesn't exactly trumpet. Subtlety is not one of the movie's greatest strengths, as it can't resist depicting Frank's kids as the kids they haven't been in decades.

Frank awakens to the sight of three of his four children (Drew Barrymore, Sam Rockwell, Kate Beckinsale) gathered around him.

Adhering to the travelogue format, the film breaks from its strained familial relationships for scenes of Frank traveling by train, bus, truck, and so on. These bits could have been mere perfunctory transitions, but instead they offer some striking moments with a feel of tactful improvisation. But the heart of the beast is in those exchanges between father and children. They're poignantly uncomfortable, as pride and expectations get jostled while the truth is danced around.
Sharing Frank's perspective, we silently detect some of the unspoken secrets and lies, which are all exposed in a stirring climax.

While many have accused De Niro for long phoning in his performances, he doesn't do that here. This is not a character we've seen him play before: a sad old man who tries to start a conversation with anyone who will listen. Your heart breaks for him, as the kids whose lives he's been emotionally kept out of struggle to impress him and move him along on his journey. It's a powerful turn quite distant from the actor's most celebrated work.

Everybody's Fine was only the second writing credit (following Waking Ned Devine) and third directing credit (following Ned and Nanny McPhee) for Kirk Jones. If you wonder what it's done for his career, you'll be saddened to learn that he recently directed What to Expect When You're Expecting. Here, Jones occasionally flirts with being obvious (a fatal flaw in human dramas striving for earnestness) and chooses to keep things safe and digestible. But while you can fault the film for not being bolder, you can't object to its heartfelt storytelling.

As part of the majority of the Miramax library that went to Lionsgate, Everybody's Fine is getting the Blu-ray release next week that Disney didn't bother giving it in the winter of 2010.

Everybody's Fine Blu-ray Disc cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

2.40:1 Widescreen
5.1 DTS-HD MA (English)
Subtitles: English, English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Not Subtitled
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Suggested Retail Price: $14.99
Single-sided, single-layered disc (BD-25)
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase
Also available on DVD ($14.98 SRP) and Amazon Instant Video
Previously released to DVD ($29.99 SRP) by Disney (February 23, 2010)


Everybody's Fine looks more than fine in the Blu-ray's 2.40:1 transfer. The element is spotless, warm, sharp, and nicely detailed, although the glaring use of digital video still feels at odds with this film's classical dramatic stylings. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio also satisfies. This obviously isn't a movie that provides an intense aural experience, but there is still tasteful broad atmosphere to experience in certain stretches, while the dialogue remains perfectly crisp throughout.

In this extended scene, Frank (Robert De Niro) recalls advice he gave his son outside a gallery displaying his artwork. Paul McCartney fine-tunes his film-closing song in this making-of featurette. The Blu-ray's menu places a Photoshopped Robert De Niro and Christmas tree in front of a rotation of clips and character stills.


Lionsgate retains the same two bonus features from the movie's DVD, presenting both in high definition and adding nothing new.

First up come four deleted and three extended scenes (11:55). Several of these are evidently improvised between De Niro and quirky quasi-actors/speaking extras, including a 94-year-old man sharing his life

who can't resist acknowledging DeNiro's "pictures." There are also two elongated moments with David, the child we see the least of.

Not looking too sharp in the higher resolution, "The Making of Paul McCartney's '(I Want to) Come Home'" (9:49) directs our attention to the closing song transparently penned with accolades in mind. The Beatle shares how he became attached to the film and developed a fitting note on which to close the film.

Aware of the film's cast and its catalog, the disc opens with trailers for Serendipity, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, LOL, and The Winning Season, followed by a promo for EPIX. The same lot plays from the "Also from Lionsgate" listing. As on Disney's DVD, Everybody's Fine's own trailer is missing here. Digging around the disc's files, I found an interesting new 4-minute promo for Blu-ray featuring a nifty assortment of movie clips from Canada's Alliance Films library.

The original poster/cover artwork has curiously been updated to give the movie more of a Christmas feel and to remove Sam Rockwell. Because the people love Christmas and hate Sam Rockwell? There is no insert within or slipcover around the ecologically cut blue keepcase.

The menu slides co-star photos (even Rockwell!) and faded clips behind the cover's teary, Photoshopped De Niro picture and a Christmas tree. The pop up menu works perfectly over the film, but not over the extras. The disc supports bookmarks, flawlessly resumes playback, and, typical for Lionsgate, includes a DTS-HD Master Audio sound check feature.

In one of the film's most poignant scenes, Frank Goode (Robert De Niro) imagines a present-day meal with his four kids in their younger states, in which secrets and lies are disclosed.


Everybody's Fine still hasn't found the audience that avoided it in theaters. For proof of that, notice that Amazon themselves still hasn't exhausted its supply of the original DVD release that went out of print nearly two years ago. That's too bad because this is a good film that's occasionally funny and more frequently moving. While it could be sharper and a little subtler, it is nicely acted, written and directed, a perfectly fine human drama that is well worth seeing.

Lionsgate's Blu-ray release doesn't do anything unexpected, but the hi-def feature presentation is terrific, the retained supplements are good company, and the disc arrives with about as low a list price as you'll find for the format. Though admittedly something you probably won't be compelled to rewatch very often, I've now seen the movie twice in three years and enjoyed it both times.

Buy Everybody's Fine from Amazon.com: Blu-ray / DVD / Instant Video

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Drew Barrymore: Going the Distance He's Just Not That Into You Whip It | Kate Beckinsale: Vacancy
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Everybody's Fine Songs List: Perry Como - "Catch a Falling Star", William Joseph Martin - "At the Checkout Counter", William Joseph Martin - "Mannequins in Love", I Am Kloot - "No Fear of Falling", Badly Drawn Boy - "The Time of Times", Findlay Brown - "Come Home", Wanda Jackson - "I'd Rather Have You", Perry Como - "Papa Loves Mambo", Peter Bradley Adams - "So You Are to Me", Paul McCartney - "(I Want to) Come Home)"

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Reviewed October 7, 2012.

Text copyright 2012 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2009 Miramax Films, Radar Pictures, Hollywood Gang Productions, and 2012 Lionsgate and Miramax.
Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.