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Me, Earl and the Dying Girl

After viewing this work I had mixed feelings.  I know I never want to spend another 105 minutes watching this film again but somehow I’m glad that I came across the DVD.  Before sitting down with this film I knew that this was an indie film and I knew before being released it won a few very prestigious awards at the Sundance film festival in 2015.  I also knew that creator of the story and screenplay writer was Mr. Jesse Andrews, raised in Pittsburgh and an alumni of Schenley High School, where part of the movie was filmed.  Another thing I knew was that the house used as the main character’s home was in fact, the house that Mr. Andrews grew up in.  Production cost about 5 million dollars. That sounds like a lot of money to me but let’s get real, for a feature film that a very small budget.

The film deals with changes that our main character is experiencing.  While it can be said that every high school senior is dealing with change, Greg (that’s “me” in the title) appears to be the type of kid who would benefit from almost any change.  This awkward, confused, goalless product of an unusual family and a strange sense of social interaction achieved his biggest school success by giving the impression to everyone in his school that he is probably a fairly important guy in someone else’s group. His largest success outside the academic halls of Schenley High School are the forty-some short films he’s made with Earl.  A few notes about the films they made: They are all short films that parody famous film titles, nothing that can be considered an original work; he won’t show them to anyone; Greg and Earl make the short films but Greg doesn’t call Earl his friend. He refers to him as his co-worker.

The best elements of this movie are the cinematography of Mr. of Chung-hoon Chung’s and the direction by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon.  Some of the strained teenage decisions shown in this film reminded everyone that has gone thru adolescence and the movie watchers that are currently making the journey that at times young people (especially guys) just don’t know how to handle new situations real well.  A few of these clumsy moments would give a sense of realism to the story. But when overdone, the story suffers.

After a few minutes you’ll really know who Greg is and in knowing who he is it makes no sense for his mother to tell him it would be a good thing for him to visit a girl that he barley knows who has a life-threatening disease.

It felt very unrealistic for someone that is in a fight for her life to get involved with a new friend.  The beginning of their relationship is rocky, but a friendship develops. The film asks us to believe that an extremely talented young lady willingly decides to spend what might be her last days on earth giving a pep talk about the importance of his future to this constantly pouting brat who may care for people but has always done his best to keep those feelings hidden.

The story drowns in chaos and stereotypes, but the real weaknesses of this movie are a weak plot and a lead character who just doesn’t connect. As the movie “finally” ended I just didn’t care if Greg had a future or not.

Filmed in Pittsburgh but only those who really know the city are going to be able to identify many of the locations filming took place.

 

I gave it one perogie.

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