Genre – Comedy
Run Time – 105 minutes
Certificate – PG13
Country – USA
Awards – Wins & Nominations
Amazon – £6.99 DVD (Blue Ray £26.99)
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Looking at all the positive critic’s quotes and four and five star ratings on the dust cover of this DVD I was looking forward to watching this one. I have seen quite a few smart little American mid budget comedies in this genre over the years and this one had all the ingredients to be a winner, one of those quirky highschool teen comedies America have always been rather good at. It’s not the pool parties, jocks and bitchy girl’s version but more like Easy A meets 50/50 this time around. It does involve a mature pretty school girl with cancer and a cute, clever and mature worldly boy so echoes of The Fault in our Stars.
The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2012 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year. The film was acquired by Fox Searchlight for $12 million dollars at The Sundance Film Festival in January 2015. This was the biggest buy in Sundance history. There was lot expected of this movie, exciting young Spanish director Alfonso Gomez- Rejon and a talented young cast, which doesn’t include Jessie Eisenberg for once, paid and ready to go.
Thomas Mann ... Greg
RJ Cyler ... Earl
Olivia Cooke ... Rachel
Nick Offerman ... Greg's Dad
Connie Britton ... Greg's Mom
Molly Shannon ... Denise
Jon Bernthal ... Mr. McCarthy
Matt Bennett ... Scott Mayhew
Katherine Hughes ... Madison (as Katherine C. Hughes)
Masam Holden ... Ill Phil
Bobb'e J. Thompson ... Derrick
Gavin Dietz ... Young Greg (as George Gavin Dietz)
Edward DeBruce III ... Young Earl
Natalie Marchelletta ... Anna
Chelsea Zhang ... Naomi ...
16-year-old Greg (Thomas Mann) has just started senior school and intending to blend in just enough so not to be picked on by any particular group. It will involve being polite but formal with his classmates and teachers. His early narration explains the tile of the film as his mom (Connie Britton) wants him to get to know the daughter of her work mate who goes to the same school year and just diagnosed with cancer. He knows Rachel (Olivia Cooke) to look at but nothing more as she hangs with the geeky library girls, her particular clan.
Greg hangs with Earl (RJ Cyler), his childhood friend, but never calls anyone his friend. That’s the way Greg is, preferring to chat in the common room with his pot smoking history teacher Mr McCarthy (Jon Bernthal) than make real school friends. Earl and Greg have been making spoof films together since they were kids as that’s what they do. But Greg quickly falls back on high school movie cliché as his safety net and drawls over high school hottie Madison (Katherine Hughes), who likes Greg as a friend but not your normal vacuous prom queen type.
Greg sets about bugging Rachel to be friends and although she knows he has been sent to be her friend in times of need the two eventually become buddies, similarly smart and aloof from their schoolmates type characters and now a regular visitor to her house. Rachael also clicks with Earl and the three hangout. Against convention neither falls for Rachael and there just as cheerleaders to help her beat cancer. Greg and Earl decide to make her a special movie to cheer her up. Rachael’s tactile single mother Denise (Molly Shannon) is very grateful for their visits and more than flirty with the boys. But can their friendship survive what they all now is coming as the school prom nears and Rachael loses hope…
I must say I was a little underwhelmed with this and so a bit annoyed. I hate it when I don’t like films what most people that matter do like the films. Maybe the broadsheet film hacks felt obliged to talk it up or something but for me it was OK and nothing more. The characters were a tad cliché and felt like teeth pulled from other quirky movies and because this script was so hot and expensive it feels like the director has over-thought it and scrubbed out any potential magic. Or maybe I missed the point and not aimed at me. It has some good bits and nice writing now and then but I still feel I have seen this film before in so many others. There is a bit of every teen movie here that has ever been made and not a lot of new stuff.
It cost $12 million to make and just $9.1 million back and clearly word of mouth wasn’t great for this one with that loss. Maybe they agree with me? In the way you like Juno - or not - early on this kind of has that same problem. I didn’t like Juno early on and bored at it bye the end. But in truth this is a pretty conventional teen high school comedy and perhaps the director trying to make it into a Juno or a Ferris Bueller type to justify the hot potato script. I just didn’t emotionally connect with anyone in this film the way we all did with those glorious 1980s American high school movies and that the biggest disappointment. The cool soundtrack wasn’t there either to lift us up and nobody to really pull for in the film as you simply don’t believe in the characters aloof nature. I certainly struggled for laughs and sweet moments here. Because it’s about cancer and young adults you just feel the director respects the angst the C word brings to us all and doesn’t really go for it.
It’s an OK American teen comedy but pretty forgettable. Good performances are softened up by the subject matter and the rhythm of the film slightly melancholy when it doesn’t need to be. It ends up as a comedy about cancer, a contradiction that quickly puts people off the movie. 50/50 with Joseph - Gordon Levitt similarly got bogged down around the same subject matter as it wasn’t quite sure what the film was trying to be. Nice little animations and a smart narration by Thomas Mann applied good craft to the film but it just wasn’t funny, sweet or emotional enough for me to care.
Imdb.com – 7.8/10.0 (65,319votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 83% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 74% critic’s approval
Talented director Alfonso Gomez- Rejon talks about his film
-Movie for Rachael-
See the full film
A trailer for his film
.Miami Herald –‘There's plenty to like here, but the movie focuses on the least interesting person on the screen, a curious choice considering we're talking life and death’.
Boston Globe-‘I found myself relishing the skill of the cast and laughing at the sharply turned dialogue while wincing at the self-consciousness of the storytelling and the self-congratulatory pop-culture references.
Entertainment Weekly –‘Somewhere along the way Earl eases up on the suburban-Wes Anderson whimsy and starts to find its heart, infusing the story's self-conscious cleverness and trick-shot set pieces with something sweeter, sadder, and even a little bit profound’
Rolling Stone -‘If only we all cared as much’
San Diego Times –‘It relies on smart writing, clever ideas, and terrific cinematography and rich, complex characters that are inhabited by three superb young actors, as well as a cast of crafty veterans in the supporting roles’.
The Mail –‘Poignant without being melodramatic, overflowing with unforced charm, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl holds a unique appeal that's certain to last’.
A trip to the cinema is a great treat yet one that really could bankrupt you when for two adults and two children you are going to have to shell out £25.80 plus of course popcorn because no matter what popcorn and cinema go hand in hand!
So we have put trips to the cinema on the back burner and we visit the cinema on a Saturday Morning which is Cineworlds kids club.
What is Kids Club?
Well this is designed as a family friendly showing and it shows films that are just about to be released on DVD or have recently been released for example this week it is Kong Fu Panda 2 and Gulliver's Travels.
Time and Cost
Kids club is at 10 am on a Saturday morning and this costs just £1.00 per person not all cinemas offer kids club so it would be best to check on the website www.cineworld.co.uk 67 cinemas do show movies for juniors and some show both days of the weekend.
For a treat going to the cinema is right up there my girls love it and Saturday morning cinema is a brilliant way to do this without breaking the bank and if you are also a little naughty and smuggle your own refreshments in as well then not at all bad, but even with the very reasonable kids box which contains popcorn sweets and a small drink we can still go to the cinema for £10.00 not at all bad for an occasional treat.
I do recommended this but one bug bear I have is that another leading cinema chain also do a similar kids club but they run every day of the school holidays as well so if anyone from cineworld reads this please bring this in.
All kids love going to the pictures but these days at a fiver a time, a family trip to the pictures can end up costing the earth. There is a way to save money on this though if you have a Cineworld cinema near you. Every Saturday morning Cineworld show a choice of family movies and entry is only £1.00 per person, adults and kids alike.
They have a varied choice of family movies and they do rotate them so you have different ones to choose from each week. I took my two to see Madagascar 2 last weekend, the other choices were Hotel for Dogs, Alvin and the Chipmunks or Horton Hears a Who. There is usually a mix of older films and newer releases.
There is a kids club that takes place in one of the screens before the start of the films, even if your film is not being screened in the one where the Kids Club is you can still go and join in. Members of staff do a mini quiz and the kids can win small bags of sweets or little treats.
This is a really great way to spend time with the kids without having to shell out a fortune. Check out my blog for loads of other great money saving ideas..... http://sortyourfinancesout.blogspot.com/