Brad’s Status Blu-ray Review
A couple of weeks on my Podcast I made the comment that, while I have very little talent, I have friends that have much more than I do. My friend Scott is a comic book artist who works with Harvey Pekar. John was a member of the groundlings. And Corey, who I’ve known for 40 years, was on the short list this year for an Academy Award nomination for make-up (he plied his trade on THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI). I’m happy with my life but wouldn’t it be cool to have theirs?
Brad Sloan (Stiller) is a good man. He has a loving wife, a college-bound son and runs a very successful non-profit. So why does he question his life’s choices. Could it because of his college pals, who have all gone on to more exciting careers? One is a film director. Another sold his company at 40 and now lives the high life on a remote beach. Another is a successful businessman while another, one a political advisor, is not a television star (think George Stephenopolis). Brad begins to question his life as the time comes to escort his son, Troy (Abrams), a very talented musician, to a tour of both Harvard, where Brad did not go, and Tufts, where he did. Things go well until Troy misses his Harvard meeting, causing Brad to call in a favor from one of the “better offs.” But are they really?
I’ve always enjoyed Mike White’s films. As a screenwriter he’s given us ORANGE COUNTY, THE GOOD GIRL, CHUCK & BUCK and SCHOOL OF ROCK. BRAD’S STATUS marks his directorial debut and he does a solid job. Part of the credit can also go to the cast. Stiller has grown older (as we all have) and the graying hair and visible face lines makes his performance more believable then if he just aged with make-up. Abrams is equally good as a young man that just wants to get into school and make his father proud. Small, but important appearances by the likes of Luke Wilson, Jermaine Clement, Jenna Fischer and, especially, Sheen, gives what is really an uninspiring story some interest. Director White also has a small part, ironically as a film director. As a film director, he keeps the film moving, introducing interesting characters as the story progresses. If only the story itself weren’t as interesting.
As Brad begins to question his own choices, he realizes that soon Troy will have to do the same thing. As do we all. Maybe a small part of me is upset that I’m not a comic book artist, or a successful actor or Robert Redford’s personal make-up guy (yep). But then I realize that I do what I do because they are my passions, which tells me I’ve made the right choices in my life. And I think if you sit back and think for a while, you, the reader, will realize that you did too. (But how cool would it be to have Robert Redford’s cell phone number?)
Video: The film is presented in its original 2:00:1 aspect ratio and is well transferred. Outdoor scenes are quite bright while darker interior scenes (restaurants especially) are well lit but nothing is lost visually.
Audio: The soundtrack is presented in DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 and is clean and clear. Even small scenes between father and son, no matter how intimate, come through loud and clear.
A Look at Ben Stiller as Brad (2:32): Fellow cast-members and behind the camera talents talk about how much Stiller inhabits the role of Brad.
A Culture of Comparing Ourselves (2:31): Apparently Brad and I aren’t the only ones who do it.
Mike White on Directing His Own Script (2:31): The first time director talks about why he felt he needed to be the director of this film.
The Story of Brad’s Status (2:41): Brief synopsis of the film.