Good Day for It
by Sam Flancher
Currently Playing at the Downtown Independent Theater in Los Angeles, CA
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The trouble with genre films is that they can tread such a thin line between wit and cliché. When done well, filmmakers can use genre as a tool for parody, commentary, or honest rendering of the already established conventions. When done poorly, however, these films come off as tired, boring, and formulaic. This brings me to Good Day for It, the newest film from tenderfoot director Nick Stagliano. Rather than using genre as a tool for exploration and expansion, Good Day for It delivers a meek step-by-step rendering of rural gangster/western conventions.
The story holding the film together is compelling enough. A father forced to abandon his daughter and her mother because of a criminal past is searching for reconciliation. He meets his daughter for the first time in a diner and attempts to explain his life decisions when his old life comes crashing into him and he is forced to confront his criminality. Unfortunately, this basic kernel of a story falls subject to sloppy filmmaking and tired cinematic traits. The cliché-ridden script, uninspired directing, and uneven acting all push this reconciliatory tale towards failure.
The film bears passing resemblance to David Cronenberg’s excellent A History of Violence. Like Cronenberg’s film, Good Day for It deals with the attempt to bury a troubled past and start a new life. Both films aim for meditation on violence, criminality, and family in a rural setting, but where A History of Violence succeeds, Good Day for It fails. Stagliano brings up many of the same topics as Cronenberg, but it feels as though he has nothing to say about them (where Cronenberg makes his statements clear, obvious, and profound).
In the end, Good Day for It feels like a confused attempt at genre replication. Full of eye-rolling dialogue and constant thematic contradiction, this wannabe morality tale is flat from start to finish.
Sam Flancher is a film student at Columbia College Chicago. He currently lives in Chicago and is a freelance writer and videographer.
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