There comes a time in a reviewer's life that you have to watch a movie you don't really want to watch. Honestly, I was not too excited about this film when I first picked it up. Then my wife pulled a movie out for us to watch and she just happened to pick out One Last Thing. After sitting down, grabbing some pizza and a drink, I found myself actually enjoying the film. I wanted to find out what was wrong with this kid, and I really felt for him. I ended up having a great time watching the movie, which was a big surprise to me.
Directed by Alex Steyemark, One Last Thing is about a boy's journey to fulfill one last thing during his life. It is more than that though--it is about a boy becoming a man in the short time that he has left on this earth.
We are introduced to all the main characters right away. We meet high school sophomore Dylan (Michael Angarano) and his two friends Ricky and Slap (Matt Bush and Gideon Glick respectively) as they sit around smoking weed for "medical reasons" though it is only truly medicinal for Dylan's terminal cancer. As they try to decide if Dylan should go fishing with his favorite professional football player Jason O'Malley (Johnny Messner) for his wish from the Make a Wish Foundation...or go on a date with his dream girl Nikki Sinclair (Sunny Mabrey) the supermodel...we also get to meet Dylan's mom Carol (Cynthia Nixon), who struggles with letting her son go. Of course, this is an expected reaction from any mother who finds out her son is dying at too young an age.
Dylan decides to go with the wish for a weekend with the model...only he decides this right before he has to announce it in front of the foundation, to the surprise of everyone present. After all, this is quite a controversial wish! It seems part of the reason he decides to not go fishing is because his deceased father (played by Ethan Hawke) is the only one he ever fished with...he wants to keep those memories intact. Dylan's journey begins after meeting Nikki for only a brief moment before getting turned down to go on a date with her. Dylan decides to go to New York to win Nikki's heart over, and Ricky and Slap want to tag along for the ride. They try to raise money for the trip by selling all of Dylan's worldly possessions on TV...they get lucky when O'Malley wants to buy an Eagles signed football for $10,000. When they finally get to NYC, Ricky and Slap's true colors come out. There is a constant reminder of how horny these two are. Their entire goal in the film seems to be to visit a strip club again and again. Dylan, however, does whatever it takes to find Nikki. He is able to use his celebrity status from being on the Post's front cover to get them where they need to be, but we can see how his condition continues to worsen.
Throughout the movie there is constant struggle in all the characters lives...except from Ricky and Slap (unless you consider them getting kicked out of a strip club). Dylan struggles to grow up in the short amount of time he has left, trying to figure out what life is about and what love is. Dylan's mom struggles to let go of her son. Nikki can't figure out if the life she is living is actually the life she wants to live. Although the plot is very simple, we learn about the inner struggle of several different characters. There are definitely holes in the story that could have been cleaned up a little. Especially with Ricky and Slap being nearly pointless. But in the end, all the storylines seem to get tied up neatly. All in all, I got a decent amount of enjoyment from One Last Thing.
Presented in 1080i 16x9, One Last Thing is a very good transfer. The contrast is high, but not too high to be noticeable, over-saturated, or overexposed. The colors throughout the film are very vibrant, especially in the streets of NYC and during the few beach scenes, which is a little surprising considering it's being presented in 1080i and not 1080p. There was a little noise in the dark areas when opposed to the beautiful, good-contrast scenes, but this is a common thing that tends to affect many movies. There were times when I felt like the white balance was off, especially when Dylan was in bathrooms or his high school hallways. This gave it a yellow tinge that distracted me from the otherwise great colors.
One thing in particular that I did really enjoy were the camera movements. In particular, there is a scene where Dylan is watching a tape of his dad talking to him and the way that they panned into different parts of his face, leaving other parts out, was incredible and really set the tone of the scene nicely.
Presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital & 5.1 DTS. One Last Thing consists of mostly dialogue, so considering this we have good highs and lows. There is also a good soundtrack that takes you on the journey with Dylan.
Higher Definition: Hosted by Rober Wilonsky, we get a very nice cheese ball host that is over the top with his explanation of the movie. It honestly doesn't feel like he even knows what the movie is about. There are interviews with the cast and the director; mainly about their thoughts on the story and how the storyline progressed. Not much here on this one.
Commentary: Director Alex Steyermark gives us his words of wisdom on One Last Thing. We learn how difficult it was for the studios to pick this one up and how HDNet finally ended up with it. Steyermark's commentary was very slow...he managed to discuss some difficulties with shooting, timing during certain scenes, casting choices, and so on. My favorite quote, "It's like Dorothy going to see the Wizard of OZ." Yep, that's how he explains the movie! You won't miss much if you skip this commentary.
A little slow overall, but a decent movie about holding onto what is important in life. Basically it is all about a boy's quest that inspires you and moves your heart. With a quality transfer, good audio, and a simple but inspirational storyline (that unfortunately tries to be a little bigger then what it actually is). This is a good one to rent and enjoy for an otherwise empty night.