Spalding Gray, actor, author, and raconteur, was perhaps best known for his monologues (or monologs, as he preferred to call them) in which he turned anecdotes from his life into sardonic, often scathing, meditations on existence. These humorous, neurotic observations on the world around him garnered him a devoted following, and in 1996 Soderbergh filmed one of Gray's monologs about an eye condition he contracted that required him to have corrective surgery. The monolog goes from diagnosis, to treatment, to the variety of remedies and strange miracle cures that Gray pursues rather than conventional surgery, trying anything he can to avoid the slim chance that surgery will result in blindness.
|Spalding Gray in Steven Soderbergh's GRAY'S ANATOMY.|
Courtesy of The Criterion Collection.
As a portrait of an artist it is decidedly one sided, but then again such is the nature of Gray's monologs. Gray remains an incisive presence even after a car accident left him crippled in 2001. It is clear, however, that the fire just isn't in him anymore, and it's tragic watching his steady decline. And Everything is Going Fine is not a typical tribute by an artist to another artist, it's almost like a tribute by an artist to himself.
|Spalding Gray in Steven Soderbergh's AND EVERYTHING IS GOING FINE.|
Courtesy of The Criterion Collection
Criterion's new blu-ray release feels a bit superflous, despite typically excellent supplements. Featuring the complete recordings of some of Gray's other monologs, the special features are home runs. But since much of these films were taken from VHS recordings, there isn't much even a blu-ray can do in terms of image quality. Taken together, however, these films are a vibrant portrait of an even more vibrant man, and worthy entries into the collection. They may not be Soderbergh's most famous films, but they remain hidden gems in two very unique careers.
GRAY'S ANATOMY - ★★★½
AND EVERYTHING IS GOING FINE - ★★★
Now available on blu-ray and DVD from The Criterion Collection.