FRIDAY NIGHT/GREEN JEANS MOVIE REVIEW: Last night, I saw “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” stars Thomas Mann (Project X, Beautiful Creatures), Olivia Cooke (The Signal, Bates Motel [TV series]), RJ Cyler (Second Chances, Power Rangers ), Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation [TV series], The Kings of Summer), Molly Shannon (How the Grinch Stole Christmas , Hotel Transylvania), Connie Britton (Nashville [TV series], Friday Night Lights [TV series]), Jon Bernthal (Snitch, Fury), and Katherine Hughes (Men Women & Children, Surviving Family). It is directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Glee [TV series], American Horror Story [TV series]) and the screenplay is written by Jesse Andrews (Empress of Serenity), who also wrote the novel of the same name. Greg (Mann) is a senior in high school who never tries to fit in to any specific group, feeling as though he should be on good terms with everybody. He travels under the radar, wanting little interaction with anyone, until he is thrown into the friendship with Rachel (Cooke), a girl who has been diagnosed with leukemia. They teach each other lessons and help one another through their time together.
High school: it’s never fun in movies. And like all teen films, “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” tells the story of a guy who hates high school, and tries to be different. Not entirely, but that is the gist. In all honesty, this is a story that has been told in many different ways and forms. High school, best friends, cancer, and changing of heart. We have all seen many versions, some of which have been told the exact same way, but something about this plot is unique, and at times special. This film was produced by Fox Searchlight, the same company who gave us “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Gentlemen Broncos.” It’s more of an Indie production company that gives more free rein to the filmmakers who are behind the scenes, with little company intervention. This movie has style to it. It’s unique in how it displays it’s story, and the way it is shot is interesting. And like a lot of Indie films, it can be weird. I enjoy these type of flicks, and I had fun watching this. The style was inventive, and it was quite funny, at least in the first half. The writer wasn’t shy about stating things as they are, and some of these interactions amongst characters were shocking. It was fun, and I will say that the first half of this movie was new and a blast. I was interested in what I saw, and I could understand what our main character was thinking. His bond with Rachel, the dying girl, was awkward at first, but then they became great friends (if that’s what he would call it). It was nice to see progress in these characters’ lives, and Greg and Rachel began to experience different feelings and thoughts about themselves throughout the story. The acting in this was good, with some solid performances amongst most of the actors. At times it did feel a bit over-the-top, but for the most part it was controlled and funny. I didn’t know any of the actors who filled the main roles, but I did know Nick Offerman, Molly Shannon, and Jon Bernthal, and they all did good. It takes a lot for a film to be different for me when looking at the plot of this one. It has several elements that could make it cliché and like the rest of the teen-drama crap that I have to sit through when watching any “new” releases around the subject. This one held its own, however, but I will say that the second half was a mixed bag. So far, the movie was upbeat, establishing its own style and straying away from what it usually done. But once the second half sets in, as well as the seriousness of cancer, this release takes a spin in another direction. The tone shifts and it ends up feeling like another movie. One that wants you to cry and get emotional over a disease that is hard to conquer. I’m not heartless nor do I hate it when they try to be sentimental when it comes to cancer, but once this film took this direction, it lost its charisma. It began to feel like other movies, ones that I can predict the outcome of. I will say that there were a few things I didn’t see coming, but the overall ending could be seen from a mile away, even though the story tried so hard not to do so. There were good parts of the second half, but overall it was depressing and not as lively as the first. At times it was even boring, as all the characters could do is talk about Rachel dying and wanting to set things right with her. They circled around this forever without going back to their roots. I felt sorry for the girl, but the way they played it at the beginning was orchestrated better. I guess once you reach the final stretch, there is nothing to be happy about, or sarcastic for that matter. This was better than a lot of teen dramas that I have seen. It was a very good film overall, and if you are into an almost unique experience, I would recommend you to watch this. Even though the second half waned, I enjoyed the ride. FINAL SCORE: 88%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: