Oprah Winfrey Presents: For one more day
Title: For One More Day
Rated: Not Rated
Screen format: Full Screen 1.33:1 and Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1 selectable
Year first released: 9 December, 2007 (Television)
DVD released: 6 May, 2007
Director: Lloyd Kramer
Starring: Michael Imperioli, Ellen Burstyn,
Sound Formats: Dolby Digital 5.1
Length: 92 Minutes
Subtitles: English & Spanish
“For one more day” is the television adaptation of Oprah Winfrey Book Club darling Mitch Albom’s second novel, which bears the same name. Charlie ‘Chick’ Benetto (Imperioli) has reached bottom, he is an alcoholic who has estranged his wife and daughter, ridden his brief stint of sporting fame into the ground, and is ready to end his own life.
Chick returns to his home town with a pistol, intending to shoot himself, but drives off the road and into a tree, and find himself visited by the ghost of his mother Posey (Burstyn) who died 9 years earlier on a day that Chick had left her to go play baseball. Through a series of disjointed flashbacks Chick relives the events that brought him to this point, the choices he made, and especially his involvement with baseball are focused on.
Chick was forced to live his father’s dream of playing ball for a living, and despite his father abandoning the family (which Chick blames on his mother), he unquestioningly does what his father asks with regard to the game. But through these flashbacks and by spending this one special day with his mother again, Chick comes to terms with who he is and what he wants to do with his life outside of the influence of the past.
While not as maudlin as most TV movies in this genre, FOMD is still overbearing in it’s message of hope and second chances. The good news is that despite the weepy drama, the cast is universally excellent. Burstyn is simply graceful and airy as Posey, giving grace to the dead and Imperioli shows a range of emotion much more deep than his Soprano’s character ever was allowed to explore. Imperioli’s son Vadim gets a shot to play a younger version of Chick and he succeeds very well at this, showing Chick’s fatherly devotion against the backdrop of Posey as a younger, struggling mother. Vadim’s definitely got his father’s nose too, there is no mistaking the family resemblance and it looks like he is off to a good start into his own acting career.
In the end, what should have helped this film rise above others in the genre and be infinitely more interesting was the flashback editing, but sadly this was handled way too sloppily and it simply just wasn’t all that effective and the big reveal at the end was a foregone conclusion from about 15 minutes in. The book has gotten terrific reviews, as have others in Albom’s back catalog so I might just have to check them out.
Sound Quality: 4.5/5
‘For one more day’ has the best use of surround sound in any made for TV movie I’ve heard, period. From the opening scene in a thunder storm through the end both effects and music are woven into an immersive sound field that covers all 4 corners and is underlain by a strong bass presence. Bass is exceptional during the storm and very good during crash and other scenes. Lennie Niehaus’ understated compositions were pleasant and cheery but a bit too minimalistic to really take much notice of. Voice details are mostly front and center but always crisp and clean.
Visual Quality: 4/5
Visually this is also a very strong film, using razor thin depth of field to dramatic effect in many instances, showing the writing of the magazine article about Chick that frames the whole movie, giving direction to the writer’s feelings. Composition is also quite well done with many scenes having dramatic perspective and foreboding imagery. Color range and image detail is pretty incredible for DVD, as this held up quite nicely upconverted on my projector and I was floored especially by the scenes of Chick being interviewed on the baseball field and in some of the stadium action. The flashback scenes are purposefully desaturated and these are not as pleasing but had to be done to give some clue as to when they occurred. As noted above the editing was not really sharp and this visual cue was very helpful. I did note slight elements of edge enhancement but was never annoyed with them, but had they not been present this would almost certainly have gotten closer to a perfect score, as it’s among the best looking DVDs I’ve seen otherwise.
Extra Features: 0/5
Not a single extra. I’d at least have liked an interview with Oprah, Imperioli or Albom but none are to be found here.
Overall: 2.5/5 (not an average)
There are three terrific things about ‘For one more day’ but these are not enough to help it rise above the ham-fisted editing and sappy fantasy elements. First, this is a great tribute to the power that Mothers have and it is no surprise that it was released the week before Mothers day. Second, the audio and video qualities are top notch and head and shoulders above any other made for TV movie I’ve come across. Finally the performances of the two principal actors was really good, especially when compared to the overacting that is typical of this genre and the limited range that Imperioli was allowed to show in the only other major things I’ve seen him in. Still, this brand of ‘feel good in the face of everything going wrong’ just never appealed to me, and its message of divine second chances just felt totally misplaced. That the twists were so overtly signaled as to make it predictable also took a lot of enjoyment away for me. I’ll definitely be passing this one on to Mom tho with her Mothers Day card, I bet she’ll get a kick out of it!