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Western Animation / It's Such a Beautiful Day

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A trilogy of short films — everything will be ok, i am so proud of you, and it's such a beautiful day — by Don Hertzfeldt. They focus on a man named Bill, who leads a boring and somewhat depressing life as he struggles to deal with his mental problems. There is a certain air of the absurd, not at all mitigated by his dysfunctional family and hallucinations and odd dreams brought on by a rapidly worsening malignant brain tumor.

The first two films have been released separately on DVD. A feature film compiling the three parts under the title of the third short has been released as well.

The it's such a beautiful day trilogy as a whole provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: Bill was originally from Hertzfeldt's webcomic Temporary Anesthetics and in it led a relatively normal, if depressingly banal, life, free of mental disorder (if you're willing to forget about some strange recurring dreams.)
  • all lowercase letters: The titles.
  • Black Comedy: The overall film is much more depressing in tone than some of Don's other films, but there's still quite a few moments of his trademark absurd, surrealist humor. The scene where Bill goes around doing the same thing over and over again due to memory loss is a particularly good source of dark humor especially the line "What in the hell is wrong with this mug?".
  • Compilation Movie: One that shares the title of the third part, it's such a beautiful day.
  • Hallucinations: Bill suffers these multiple times throughout the films.
  • Imaginary Enemy: Bill believes that there is a fish living in his head that feeds upon his skull. It's mentioned in the first and third films, but only shown visually in the second.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Specific compositions are noted in the individual folders.
  • Recut: According to Hertzfeldt's Facebook, the theatrical cut of the Compilation Movie "is a slightly different extended version than the cut coming to DVD, but kind of not really."
  • Sanity Slippage: As the story progresses, Bill's mental illness gets worse and worse.
  • Slice of Life: Bill's imminent death does create a sense of conflict, but otherwise the plot is rather meandering and focuses on random goings-on in Bill's life.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Much of the narration of the relatively mundane segments of Bill's life are set to spectacular classical music.
  • Surreal Horror/Surreal Humor: The trilogy has justified both these, because the protagonist Bill is mentally (and perhaps terminally) ill, and has to deal with how his depressing (yet ridiculous) life may eventually end with premature death.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Up until the end of it's such a beautiful day, it's through no fault of his own. He stays true to Bill's memories and perception—however, it's explained that a good chunk of his memories were fabricated to cover up the gaps the brain tumor has left. However, right at the end, it goes into overdrive—he refuses to believe that Bill has died and instead claims that he outlives everything, even the stars in the sky.

The individual films provide examples of:

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    everything will be ok 
  • Brick Joke: Near the start of the film, the narrator remarks on how Bill always picked fruit from the back of the pile at the grocer's, because the fruit at the front was at "crotch-level" with the other customers. Later on, he starts hallucinating that, in addition to having smokey demon heads, everyone he saw had "gigantic, bacteria-riddled crotches all over the goddamn produce."
  • Dysfunction Junction: Most everyone Bill knows and meets was odd in one way or another, such as his unhelpful neighbor who talked about how nanomachines could preserve his brain in a failed effort to comfort Bill, and quickly changed the subject to a dream he had where his toes fell off.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Excerpts from Georges Bizet's "Au Fond du Temple Saint" and Bedrich Smetana's "Vltava (Moldau)" are featured.
  • Real Dreams are Weirder: Bill has a couple dreams representing his fragile, delusional mind- one about a giant fish head that fed upon his skull, and another where he was lost at sea and desperately throwing bodies off a small boat. Later Bill talks to his friendly but unhelpful neighbor, who randomly mentions "last night I dreamed all my toes fell off".
  • Sensory Abuse: The second act, as mentioned below, is fucked up in the most frightening way. Film burns, deformed creatures, cacophonous music and a dog barking through a wet piece of glass are all in it.
  • Synthetic Voice Actor: Some of the random voices heard during Bill's nightmarish hallucinations are made via voice synthesizers saying random nonsense phrases like "I am made nervous by a clone" or "Why don't you come and sit on my lap".
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: The entire film is done through Bill's perspective. During the second act, Bill suffers a severe bout of hallucinations and dementia filled with demon-headed people, giant deformed birds, and Bill turning into a fire-breathing monster.
  • Title Drop: Very nearly; the exact line is, "...As if everything were OK."

    i am so proud of you 
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Bill's schizophrenic grandmother, who kept severed cat heads in her dresser and would rub them across her scalp when she "felt the fish smothering her brain."
    • To a lesser extent, Bill's mother. She only had one cat, but she would shave it on the weekends.
  • Death of a Child: Three children die in this film: Bill's disabled half-brother Randall (ran into the sea and drowned,) his great-uncle's illegitimate child (smothered to death in an abandoned stable) and his great-aunt Polly (died at the age of 8 from yellow fever/fire.)
  • Disabled Means Helpless: Bill's half-brother Randall is a mentally challenged child in the special-ed class who was taught to simply stay within the confines of the tether-ball circle every recess.
  • Disappeared Dad: Bill's birth father left him and his mother when Bill was a child.
  • Hook Hand: Randall had two aluminum arms with hooks for hands.
  • Hope Spot: Right at the end. We even get a Title Drop from the first movie—almost.
  • I Got a Rock: In one flashback, Bill's mother gives him a postage stamp, a piece of yarn, and a really long, awkward hug for his sixth birthday.
  • It Runs in the Family: Mental illness seems to be common in Bill's family on his mother's side: His grandma, for instance, rubs severed cat heads on her face because "the fish are smothering her brain." The rest of her family has similar manias: her sister Polly pounds imaginary animals with hammers, her mother saw phantoms, and her brother believed that a sea monster stole the local sheriff's prize cow.
  • My Beloved Smother: Bill's mom was very overprotective of Bill after losing her second husband and Randall, making him wear a heavy coat, a helmet and asbestos safety gloves every day for a year after Randall's death, for fear that he might catch "walking pneumonia."
  • My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: Occurs in the film's last moments.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Excerpts from Johan Strauss' "Vier letzte Lieder," Richard Wagner's "Das Rheingold" and "Im Treibhaus," and Robert Bremner's "Old Sir Symon the King" are used.
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: Three of Bill's relatives, including his mother, were killed by trains.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Bill's great-aunt Polly died at the age of 8 after catching yellow fever... And then catching on fire.
  • Title Drop: Bill's mother would pack notes saying, "I am so proud of you!" with his school lunches. As noted in Hope Spot above, the previous film's title is very nearly dropped.
  • Visual Title Drop: The notes that Bill's mother put in his school lunch containing the short's title "I'm so proud of you!" written in neat cursive as shown in a piece of paper.
  • Wild Child: "A wild man wandered into town that summer and beat the church organist with a shovel." He was really Bill's great-great-uncle, whose parents had drugged and abandoned in the woods as a child.

    it's such a beautiful day 
  • Blatant Lies: The narrator goes into denial over the fact that Bill has just died and instead tells the story of him achieving Complete Immortality.
  • Mood Whiplash: After having a lovely moment with the man in the wheelchair it’s suddenly revealed that Bill is having an Imagine Spot while “he’s driving a car.”
  • Rewrite: Much of the stories of Bill's family introduced in i am so proud of you are revealed to have been confabulations made by Bill's mind.
  • Rule of Three: The entire "it's kind of a really nice day" sequence, where Bill wanders in and out of his apartment, going around the same path through town about three times before he forgets even more stuff.
  • The Runaway: After Bill is told he doesn't have much time to live, Bill rents a car and drives it all the way to his uncle's house, then to the nursing home where his birth father lives, and then finally just drives mindlessly for hundreds of miles before ending up in an unknown field.
  • The Stars Are Going Out: The final motif of the film.
  • Synthetic Voice Actor: Bill's "roommate" in the hospital, Matthew, is a paralyzed man who communicates with a set of buttons that can say 5 different electronic sentences, but the only one heard in the film is "I am in pain".
  • Title Drop: What may or may not have been Bill's final thought.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: After Bill collapses in pain at the end of the previous film, this film opens up with Bill waking up in the hospital.
  • Wistful Amnesia: Bill's memory loss gets progressively worse and worse as he goes on, and he constantly struggles remembering things like his address and people's names and faces. At one point he constantly forgets that he went grocery shopping, and walks into his kitchen with an armful of groceries, discovering more full grocery bags all over the place and wondering why he has so much food.