Melvin Adal, a mentally unstable, eccentric writer, hates literally everyone around him. Because of his strange behavior, he is lonely and often gets into comical situations. But suddenly his solitude is broken.
Melvin has to take care of a neighbor’s dog, and unnoticed he learns from it kindness and loyalty. Behind the wall of his own indifference he discovers the wonderful world of human feelings…
4k movies reviews
Oh, I love this movie! I remember watching it many times 5-10 years ago on a licensed videocassette, and now, after a pause of several years, since the beginning of this year (when at the end of last year, on the eve and for the holidays, I bought a licensed DVD; Blu-ray in the future, apparently), I was looking forward to the review, a little afraid to be slightly disappointed (the old impressions are a bit faded), but believing in the best, and in it preparing myself for the possibility of the desire to write a review. And only the latest review put everything in its place: the impressions are overpoweringly positive, they overestimate all the most optimistic hopes, and I am bursting with enthusiasm inside – to praise the film emotionally and as much as possible for the reader, and to convince him (the reader) at least for a moment that “There is no better” is really a fitting title for this cinema piece!
What we have before us is perhaps James L. Brooks’ best film. Yes, less Oscar-winning than 1983’s The Language of Tenderness, but, I think, more beloved by audiences and… more successful for Nicholson (a minor there and already a major Oscar here).
In the previous paragraph two names were mentioned at once (Oscar and Nicholson), which require a more thorough discussion. However, it will also be necessary to say a few words about the missing link in this logical chain, about Helen Hunt. Well, and, for that matter, to mention two cool supporting roles.
So, who are they, these main people in our film, who make it so remarkable by their acting, and, what’s the point of modesty, they are outstanding in this respect?
Jack Nicholson (Oscar for the lead role in this film): Oh, this endlessly charming Nicholson. From film to film creates images more vivid than another. Here, his eccentric Melvin Yudahl – this is Nicholson at his best (in full swing, in all his glory – whatever you say, everything fits), playing so bright, memorably bright, that not immediately possible to stop identifying Jack with this his character.
Helen Hunt (Oscar for the lead role in this film): played by her, so tired, easily vulnerable, but not giving up and having the strength of character Carol – a woman with a difficult fate, causing a full empathy from the sensitive audience. Her duet with Nicholson is, indeed, something terrific. Far from young, but such a sweet couple. One of the best in Hollywood’s long history.
In the near background is the wonderful Greg Kinnear (Oscar nominated for his supporting role in this film), whose Simon (“meet Carol the waitress, Simon the homo”), being a distinctive character with his own rather sad history, complements and helps the main characters unfold very seamlessly. In the background, the energetic Frank Gooding Jr. is a bright, expressive character who also plays an important role in the overall story, and, by and large, it is his decision to “temporarily lend Simon’s dog to that obnoxious Mr. Udall” that started it all.
We should also mention Verdell (a cute little griffon dog), whose participation (though his behavior, as described in the script, is not particularly canine) added so much, pardon the pun, puppyish delight to the movie experience.
Three cameo roles are notable: the cafÃ© manager (famous “Lethal Weapon” screenwriter Shane Black), the therapist who observes Melvin (no less famous screenwriter and director Lawrence Kasdan), the new doctor for Carol’s son (Harold Remis, the orchestra man, “Groundhog Day” dad).
Next on the plan is a rhetorical question for the reader: can the movie music, created by Hans Zimmer (deeply respected and adored by me), be unsightly, not memorable, not pleasing to the ear? That’s right, it can’t! Zimmer, as we know very well (the most obvious examples are music for Rain Man, Miss Daisy’s Driver and Trading Vacation), is capable of writing wonderful music not only for epics like Gladiator and The Last Samurai (to save space let’s not mention the Pirates Trilogy and half a dozen of his works), but even quieter films are often credited with the presence of this top-class composer. Brooks’ film is lucky, too. And, by extension, so are we the audience. The music here is excellent, saturating an already full movie with a range of additional emotions.
For those who haven’t seen it or who have forgotten the plot, I would like to point out that the film, which carries a positive charge of exceptional strength and power, is not a light melodrama (that is one of its main pluses), but rather corresponds to the collective genre of romantic tragicomedy. No, of course, we don’t smell much of tragedy here, but a hint of drama (especially concerning poor Simon, and up to a certain point Carol and her son could hardly be called happy) is present and, naturally, gives the film depth and seriousness.
For those who have seen it, for dessert, we would like to remind you of the most striking episodes and nuances, so abundantly scattered throughout the film. Every moment here is a “favorite” (this is what makes “It Doesn’t Get Better” stand out from its less scintillating brethren in the genre). With a smile I recall Malvin and Verdell’s initial relationship, Malvin’s oddball habits (both at home and on city sidewalks), his behavior in the restaurant, his initial barbs against Simon (and “people like him”). With sadness, many scenes with Simon after an unpleasant incident, episodes from Carol’s difficult life. With tenderness and heartbreak – the nature sketches a la “Titanic”, the dialogues (telephone, eye-to-eye) of the main characters, particularly that “best compliment of my life”. The ending leaves an extremely pleasant, light and airy feeling.
And, in conclusion, I want to wholeheartedly thank the publishers of the film in our native region 5 (R5), for such a rich (especially for the true fans of the film) content of the DVD disc: except for the familiar and almost native me dubbing there is a multi-voiced translation, the original soundtrack and director’s commentary with Russian subtitles. All this splendor will allow me to review “It Doesn’t Get Better” more than once, while discovering new horizons in getting pleasure from such a prosaic occupation.
It may be a couture for some to put a rating at the end of a review, but sometimes you can’t think of anything better to summarize what has been said above.
Codec: HEVC / H.265 (60.7 Mb/s)
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1
English: TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
English: Dolby Digital 5.0
French: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0
German: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0
Italian: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0
Hungarian: Dolby Digital 5.0
Polish: Dolby Digital 5.0
Chinese: Dolby Digital 2.0
Czech: Dolby Digital 2.0
Spanish: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0
Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0 (192kbps)
English, English SDH, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Polish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish.