“Sometimes (read: once) my obsessive reading of IMDB pays off. That’s how I found out about the sneak peek of 50/50 that I just returned from. It’s yet another reason why I love Boston because this sorta shhhh-stuff woulda never happened back home. Because I absolutely adore Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I broke my dont-watch-trailers-online-because-I’ll-see-them-a-million-times-at-the-theater rule when he tweeted the link for it a couple months ago. Just one watch, and I knew September 30 could not come quick enough. Thankfully, I didnt have to wait that long.
I loved it! In short, what I loved was how real it felt. And for good reason too because it actually was based on reality. The details were different, but writer Will Resier took his own experience of being diagnosed with cancer in his late 20’s and wrote a screenplay about it. I think what most established the reality was some of the awkwardness, just in dealing with the situation, early on. Normally when you have awkward in a comedy, it’s uncomfortable and it drags down the whole film. Here, it grounded it. I feel like some of those less than comfy scenes played out just how they would in real life.
The film also got me thinking about so many different things. Early in the film, my messiah complex kicked into high gear. That’s where you really feel the need to rescue someone. When I see a broken character on screen who needs taking care of, I want the job. Especially when I saw how the girlfriend was treating our boy, I wanted so badly to intervene.
Then there was the relationship our protagonist (Adam played by my boy regular Joe) and his relationship with his mother (played by the delicious Anjelica Huston) reminded me so much of my relationship with my mom. She too worries endlessly (my God, how many texts did I get about the non-hurricane). Given the way my mom reacted when I had to have my gall bladder out last year, I can only imagine what she’d do if God forbid I had something worse. Needless to say, I’m steering her away from this film. She doesnt need any ideas or encouragement.
As the film went on, and Adam started to deal more head on with his disease, I thought about my daddy. He passed away from cancer about a year and a half ago, and I realized I didnt really know too much of what he went thru. For one, he was far away the whole time. Because of that, he and my mom purposely kept a lot of the details from me so that I wouldnt be uselessly worrying. On top of that, he kept a lot of it to himself, and my mom didnt even realize how bad things were until it was all over. While a lot of the details would have been different since they were in such opposite stages of life, I feel like it did give me some insight into their thought process. I spent a good third of the film on the verge of tears because of it.
Enough of the depressing. On the flip side, the 50/50 was also quite funny at times. It def got a few big laugh out loud moments from me (a rarity in a packed auditorium). There was just this nuanced brilliance in how some of the funniest and most clever one liners were thrown into some of the toughest, otherwise heavy scenes. The comedic timing of everyone involved was spot on.
Much of the credit for the success of the movie goes to the cast. Again, adore Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I’ve been a fan of his since 3rd Rock From the Sun and I watch every movie of his I can get my hands on (yes I’ve even seen Mysterious Skin and Latter Days). This has to be the meatiest role he’s had, and he executed it flawlessly.
Seth Rogen was the one who really impressed me this time around. As I often find with some of my favorite comedians, second in command is such a better fit than leading man (see also: Will Ferrell). He stole his scenes, just pushing the boundaries of obnoxiousness without getting annoying, but then out of nowhere his character presented this great depth that made you see him in a whole new light. And that light looked good on him. I may be what he attempted to do with Funny People, but he pulled it off with flying colors here.
Props to our ladies as well: Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, Anjelica Huston, especially Ms Kendrick. All around, fantastic ensemble cast.
Anways, I very much encourage ya’ll to check this out when it’s released. I couldnt be happier to have gotten to it early, so I’m paying it foward and trying to give the flick some positive buzz.
50/50 – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/