The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl starts off really good. I was prepared to laugh and I knew I was in for a bit of a cry at the end. So I settled in for what I thought would be a good movie. But It lost its way some where in the middle. And also annoyed me with the stereotypical black friend in the white school. I think the thing I hated most about the movie was that it had no second act. The first act was awesome. I was in all the way. Touching. Funny. Beautiful. And the third act, we already knew what that was. It was given away in the title. But the second is non-existent. Something about making movies and a prom or some shit. Wow what a waste of a fantastic beginning.
First things first. If the two characters grew up together they would sound the same. Here’s the deal. Black people don’t sound like that just because their black. If those two grew up together and went to the same schools they would sound a lot the same. That’s annoying. But whatever. The annoying black friend who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks (yet close enough to walk by his house on your way to school) cliché is not the only thing wrong with this movie.
The character of Earl is not the only thing that is wrong with Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. The main problem with Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (besides the title, Giving away the ending and that Earl rhymes with Girl) is that the book’s author wrote the screenplay. That rarely works out (with a few major exceptions). A good movie and a good book are two completely different animals. Books should not read like they’re movies and movies should not play like they’re books.
Vladimir Nabokov and Charles Bukowski (two of my favorite writers) are the best examples of authors adapting their books for the screen. Both divorced themselves from their original work and created screenplays that were barely recognizable as being based on their books except for themes and characters and the fact that they’re both amazing movies but that’s just it. They were both able to take a torch to their most popular book. While most authors can’t do that and you end up with crap like this.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl suffers so much from having no idea what to do in the second act that it does everything. It throws every High School cliché in a bowl. It introduces characters and conflicts that have little to no impact on the main story. There’s a whole thing with some little movies they make. And the movie titles are funny. Sophomoric puns but still funny. However there is as little substance to those short, one joke, films as there is to this one.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a lot like those little films. A title that gives away the premise. A premise that’s actually pretty promising. But there’s no story. And I’ll reiterate. All those little stories in the middle, make a book a book. You put those little stories in a movie without giving any of them a chance to develop, it’s what makes a movie a bore. And I loved the voice-over up until the point when he started to lie to us. And I loved the cast (especially the parents: Molly Shannon, Connie Britton and Nick Offerman) The movie just loses its way along the way and turns into a bit of a let down.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl with its great cast and great chemistry between its romantic stars, let me down. It let me down horribly… and not only because the black friend Earl was so annoyingly and stereotypically the movie’s “black friend” when he didn’t have to be. It’s more than that. But it also feels like the filmmakers didn’t grow up around any black people. And only saw them in the movies.
That’s right I said it, you jive turkeys.