Thursday, September 29, 2011

50/50: 100% Great

This review is written about two hours after the we arrived home from seeing the movie.  Its a little scattered, because I'm sleepy and I'm also distracting by watching ESPN's "Catching Hell", a documentary about the Steve Bartman incident in 2003, which by the way, this doc is cotton picking awesome.  Anyway, hope you get the sense of my thoughts of this movie, even though its all over the place. 

Adam works for Seattle Public Radio, working on a piece about a volcano, living a humdrum life, dating the quite stunning Rachael, best buddies with Kyle and is simply enjoying his life as is.

(cue screeching record needle on record)

Until, of course, he discovers he has cancer.  A serious, excessive, painful cancer that will kill him without chemo and ultimately major surgery that may not even work.

And so is the story of "50/50", a film written somewhat autobiographically by Will Reiser, a guy who had, and beat, cancer.  He is also good friends with Seth Rogen, who stars as Kyle, along side of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's portrayal of Adam.

Adam and Rachael are together, but Kyle hates her.  So things
go bad fast.
Adam tries to keep his life in some semblance of order after he gets his diagnosis, which doesn't help when his girlfriend Rachael, makes some pretty bad choices... I truly don't think I'm ruining anything, because from the very beginning, you get an uneasy sense that this isn't going to go well, and Bryce Dallas Howard's performance as Rachael is just great.

Another surprise in this film is Philip Baker Hall (Alan) and Matt Frewer (Mitch), two That Guys that join Adam in chemo, and add humor, warmth and even more heart as they compare cancer notes and issues.  Their scene in the backyard, perhaps off putting by the weed going around, is still awesome.

The Lovely Steph Leann and I procured free passes to a special sneak of this film, meeting up with my buddy Mikey and my other buddy Shawn, and I gotta tell ya, this film was absolutely fantastic.

Kyle (Rogen) has a hard time adjusting too, but turns it into a positive after learning the cancer helps both of them get digits from chicks, get dates and meet lots and lots of women.  Seth Rogen's last leading role was a disaster ("Observe and Report"), but here in a supporting role in "50/50", he's perfect.

The duo of Rogen and Gordon-Levitt works really well, you believe them as best friends, and though you really don't find out how they became friends or how long, there is a line that tells you they've been friends since high school, giving you the indication that its been a while.  When Adam finally has a realization of what is happening to him, and what might happen to him once that surgery happens, its some of the finest acting on Gordon-Levitt's part that I've seen in a while.  Seth Rogen is also brilliant here, because as the dorky, skirt-chasing but big hearted best friend, he doesn't know what to do, he's just speechless.

Anna Kendrick is awesome.  She's no Amy Adams (whom I'm in love with)
but she is still awesome.
The only two predictable moments in the movie to me really was that Adam's relationship with Rachael would go bad, and that when Adam's therapist, Katherine (played by the wonderful Anna Kendrick), enters the picture, you know there is a spark there.  I won't tell you how, or even if, that spark is played out, but you know there is a connection there, predictably.

Adam's father, suffering from Alzheimer's, is being taken care of by his mother, played well by Anjelica Huston, who goes all emotional when she finds out, and becomes the smothering mother that he has to deal with, amongst other things.

The iconic moment of the movie,
or at least the movie poster.
  As Adam starts to shave his
head, he asks Kyle, "What
do you use this for?"  Kyle shrugs.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, in a fair world, would be sniffing an Oscar nomination, at the least a Golden Globe nod, because his performance is awesome.  I love this guy in "Inception", as his character is one of the coolest cats out there, but he tops himself in "50/50".  I enjoy Seth Rogen being goofy in any number of movies, but his semi-serious turn that he couldn't nail in "Funny People" is nailed here.  Bryce Dallas Howard doesn't have a huge role, but does it right, while Anna Kendrick shines as Katherine, just like she does as Natalie in "Up In the Air", a movie which is quickly becoming one of my all time favorites.

Loved this film, one of the best I've seen this year... however, this movie is not for kids, as the language flows pervasive and free flowing, and there is a few uses of the Mary Jane plant... there is one sex scene, though you really don't see anything, and it ends a little different than you would think, almost in a sympathetic fashion.  Its about an hour forty-five or so, maybe a little less, but it is paced really well and honestly, its one of those rare movies that I didn't want to end.

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