Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Movie Review)

Once again Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a movie where I have actually read the book beforehand, but can’t remember it in much detail. Maybe I should really start reading them closer to the movie release date …

me-and-earl-and-the-dying-girl

Genre: Drama/Comedy
Length: 105 min
Cast: Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke, Nick Offerman, Connie Britton, Molly Shannon, Jon Bernthal …
DirectorAlfonso Gomez-Rejon
Writer: Jesse Andrews (for both, the novel and the screenplay)

Greg Gaines tries to survive High School by being on good terms with everyone but friends with no one. He usually spends his time making parody-like remakes of classic movies with his co-worker Earl. That is until his mother forces him to hang out with Rachel, a girl who just got diagnosed with cancer and who will profoundly change his life.

Me and Earl was originally a YA novel and reeked quite some havoc at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, igniting a bidding war for the movie. I have to say it is definitely one of the the better Indie movies out there and after the whole The Fault In Our Stars hype an original and refreshing take on the cancer-topic. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon puts his own spin on the story and makes every scene feel either beautiful, comical or deeply relevant.

I remember not liking Greg very much in the book and maybe he still isn’t the most likable character out there. Greg is just such a freaking liar, most of all to himself I think and that broke my heart. However, this time around I just felt so much more with him. And with Rachel as well. And also with Earl. I really have to say that all three (Mann, Cyler and Cooke) did a brilliant job with their respective characters. The adults were also cast very well, but they are just not the focus of the story.

I like that Me and Earl wasn’t pretentious or over the top. It had a beautiful cinematography, but often in the most simple ways. I can tell you that I was just crying by the end – the final message was just brilliant. I hope that this movie will get a bigger audience over time and won’t get stuck in the art-house or indie sector, because it does have commercial potential.

Fazit: I am glad that I’ve watched the movie. It made me feel so much more than the book.

What’s your take on Me and Earl and the Dying Girl? Do you prefer the book or the movie or like them both equally?

Fall Review: Jane the Virgin

Finally, I can say that this is the last pilot I’m reviewing this fall season! Despite the really terrible title “Jane the Virgin“, it’s such a fun show to watch. If you’ve seen the Trailer for the first episode, this review can in no way spoil you, but if you haven’t and you want to go into all of this pretty much unknowing, then beware of Spoilers ahead!

As I said, I’m not a big fan of the title, but I was surprised by how much I actually enjoyed watching the show. The premise is as follows: Jane’s life pretty much turns into a telenovela when she accidentally gets inseminated by her gynecologist. As if that fact alone wasn’t already terrifying enough, circumstances are even more complicated. Despite her 2-year-relationship with her boyfriend, Jane is still a virgin and was in no way prepared to have a child, especially since she lives her life according to a strict timeline, just to avoid turning out like her mother, who got pregnant at 16. Also, the supposed father of the child, Rafael, is a former crush of Jane’s and the sample she was inseminated with was his last chance for a biological child, due to the cancer he had. In addition to that, his wife just tried to get pregnant to save her marriage with him, because according to their prenuptial agreement, she gets about 10 million Dollars if they stay together for 5 years. Also, she cheats on him with one of his best friends. Even worse is the fact that the gynecologist who screwed up is actually Rafael’s sister. Told you it was like a telenovela!

The cast was chosen very well in my opinion and includes: Gina Rodriguez, Andrea Navedo, Justin Baldoni, Yael Grobglas, Brett Dier, Ivonne Coll, Jaime Camil, Ryan Devlin, Alano Miller … But let’s step away from the facts and take a closer look at some of my thoughts:

  • I like the use of text during the show, but they need to keep it moderate in order to have it’s effect. On-screen text is just like voice-overs – it can be nice, as long as you don’t overdo it and since the show has both, voice-overs and text, they better make sure it doesn’t get annoying.
  • The story definitely is a bit ridiculous, but the way they promoted it and even gave it that telenovela look on purpose, doesn’t make me judge it. You get what’s on the package, so I’m fine with the concept. However, I still wonder if that is something that appeals to a lot of people …
  • The show mainly avoids talking about serious issues (e.g. the abortion that is considered by Jane) though and take a much lighter approach to everything. The soapy nature of it all makes it easier to forgive that.
  • Michael, Jane’s now fiance, seems so sweet and understanding and most of all patient. He certainly looks too good to be true. I can’t help, but think he has a massive and dark secret, as teased by Billy, his brother, and the narrator at the end of the episode.
  • Gina Rodriguez, as Jane, does a great job! You are totally on her side, whatever she decides and she has chemistry with both, Michael and Rafael. They did well casting her as the lead.
  • We’re not supposed to like Petra and I don’t, so, that’s good too I guess.
  • One of the shockers of the first episode was the fact that the telenovela star Jane idolizes and hallucinates about, is actually her father. That’s going to lead to so much more drama!
  • Rafael’s sister really made a huge mistake and seemingly has made others before. She could get her license revoked, but it doesn’t seem that way just yet. One thing that is for sure though, is that there is a chance for her rekindling the romance with her ex who was a lawyer.

In the end, I am not sure that CW’s scheduling of the show makes that much sense. Putting it behind the vampire drama “The Originals” isn’t exactly the place I would have chosen. However, this show was really fun and charming and I don’t regret at least checking it out. We’ll see how it continues from now on and whether I will stick with it. What are your thoughts?

RED BAND SOCIETY Review

RED BAND SOCIETY (for the sake of this post, this will be the last time I am going to capitalise all letters) airs Wednesdays beginning September 17th on FOX and is a show I fell absolutely in love with. After the hype around movies like The Fault in Our Stars, which deals with teens having fatal diseases, I think it was obvious that some network would opt to explore this topic in a longer format. I highly doubt that Red Band Society will be one of the top Fall shows this seasons, but here are my thoughts on why I still really enjoy watching it.

Red Band Society is about a couple of teens who have to live in a hospital due to having various diseases (cancer, eating disorders, heart failure, …). You might think that it must be a terribly depressing format, but I think it is acutally life-afirming and has a certain feel-good quality to it – after all it is called a dramedy. Of course, there are sappy moments and tear-jerkers, but I don’t think the series would work if elements like these were missing.

The story is mostly narrated by a maybe 10-year-old boy who’s in a coma, but hears and knows everything that’s going on. I like the mix of characters we get, varrying from the bitchy cheerleader, to the troubled smart-girl, the stoner, the leader and so on. Although they are mainly very predictable, I think they made a good decission by casting them with fairly unknown talents. They each manage to pull your heart-strings with their individual stories and set up potenital conflicts for future episodes nicely.

The adults of the show (which here mostly means the staff of the hospital, except for an interesting rich hypochondriac) may just be a tad too heroic and understanding of their younger patients, but let’s face it, those kids need good people in their lives.

Just to drop some names at the end, the cast consists of: Octavia Spencer, Dave Annable, Griffin Gluck, Nolan Sotillo, Charlie Rowe, Brian Bradley, Zoe Levin, Ciara Bravo, Rebecca Rittenhouse, …

Last but not least, I want to say that I really enjoy optimistic dramas and I can’t wait to see more episodes of this show. Check it out and tell me what you think in the comments below!

John Green’s books and movies

I will admit that I am obsessed with John Green‘s books! Currently, I am reading An Abundance of Katherines and before that, I pretty much devoured Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns and The Fault in Our Stars. There is just something in these books that speaks to me and I can relate so darn well to the characters.

I know that a lot of people think that TFIOS (short for The Fault in Our Stars) is overrated, but I don’t care. It’s my absolute favourite book of all times! That doesn’t mean that I’m going to hate on people who don’t like it, but I just don’t understand how you couldn’t fall in love with it. It is funny and heartbreakingly beautiful. I can still quote tons of stuff from the book, because I just love it so much.

I have the same process getting into a John Green book every time. Basically, I don’t want to know what it’s about. The less I know, the better, because then I’ll allow the story to surprise me even more. I knew that TFIOS had something to do with cancer, but I didn’t expect it to be the way it eventually was. Looking for Alaska shocked me even more and … I’ve just deciced that I won’t tell you anything about the books in case you haven’t read them.

Buuuut I will talk about the upcoming movies. Most people don’t like book adaptations for the big screen and I totally get why. Yet, when it comes to The Fault in Our Stars, I have never been more excited for a movie than I am now. From what I could see in the trailes and teasers and music videos (Yes! I watched pretty much everything I could get my hands on!) it just looks perfect! The really tried to stick to the book (and I hope I won’t regret writing this after I’ve actually seen the whole movie), but I think they did a great job with it. Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort are in my opinion the perfect Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters! I don’t even care anymore that they were sibling in Divergent, because they look adorable together. If you haven’t seen the trailer (which I think is highly doubtful) you can check it our here!

I started crying just watching the trailer, I don’t even want to think about how many tissues I am going to need in the movie theatre! I can’t wait!

But there is more to come! I’ve just found out that Nat Wolff (who plays Isaac in TFIOS) will be playing Quentin, or just Q, in the upcoming adaptation of Paper Towns. I really liked the book as well and I think Nat would be a great Q, but oh my stars, he gets to play in two John Green stories. How amazing and yet very strange is that!? I can’t quite imagine a fitting Margo for him. Who would you cast if you had the chance? Let me know in the comments below!

Yet, Nat Wolff isn’t the only one from the TFIOS team who will be working on the Paper Towns movie. John Green confirmed that the script writers, the producers and the studio are also the same as for the TFIOS movie. I think that’s a good sign! Do you agree?