“I’m still not quite sure how I feel about this movie. There was a lot to love, but it had trouble keeping my attention, and I can’t quite figure out why. Let’s break it down.
The “”Me”” is Greg. Greg is in high school, where he generally plays nice with the various cliques without being part of one, and he spends his time watching obscure movies and filming his own parody versions with Earl. “”Earl”” is his best friend, though Greg prefers to think of him as a coworker, from the other side of the tracks as they say, who spends his time hanging with Greg. The “”Dying Girl”” is Rachel, a classmate that Greg never paid much attention to, but after Rachel receives her ominous diagnosis, Greg’s mother forces him to go and be friendly with Rachel.
Stuff I liked: the movie parodies, obviously. Although I didn’t always get them. They’re not straight up parodies like the ones in Be Kind Rewind. Moreso they’d be a pun or wordplay off the title, not necessarily following the plot, and just highlighting the one joke. I did like that this kid knew his stuff when it came to movies, from the 400 Blows poster in his room to the Dawn of the Dead patch on his jacket, to the references he incorporated into his dialog. (My personal favorite was “”Captain Phillips pirates, not Pirates of the Carribean”” which is exactly the kind of thing I’d say).
More stuff I liked: the cast. Specifically Thomas Mann as Greg. Here was a high school kid that I could actually stand, and who was just the right level of indie movie quirky (he kind of had a Juno vibe, with less quotable dialog). Actually both Greg and Rachel were incredibly tolerable for high school kids, and they had a couple of intense scenes that they handled with aplomb. There were a couple fun adults in the mix, including Nick Offerman, Jon Bernthal, Connie Britton, and Molly Shannon.
So what didn’t work? Something was off with the pacing. I’d be into things as a whole, but the pacing of individual scenes was awkward and slow (the adults were particularly awkward). The ominious tone surrounding Rachel’s illness didn’t help that much. Still, I’d take a story of friendship in the wake of illness over one of romance during illness *cough**cough*Fault-In-Our-Stars*cough*
Ultimately there was more to like than not, and I applaud how fearless it was in tackling some heavy themes. Sure, there were some things that could have been done better, but for a nice summer indie, it was fun.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – \m/ \m/ \m/”