Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon - USA
This film immediately caught my attention since I am an avid movie goer. Why? First of all it was funny, and here I was laughing my head off at the Hamburg Film Festival which normally doesn’t have that many comedies in their program. Secondly this film incorporated a theme of these two guys Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann) and Earl Jackson (RJ Cyler) who had met each other as young kids and until now had made a few dozen clever short parodies. Each short made me laugh since I had seen the original works and the parodies were hilarious such as Eyes Wide Butt or Rosemary Baby Carrots. A Sockwork Orange made me laugh as I watched these sock puppets mimic the characters of Stanley Kubrick’s film. Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon wanted to pay tribute to the directors, who inspired him to make films. That is why we see such works like Senior Citizen Kane and The 400 bros paying tribute to Orson Wells and Francois Truffaut. But that is just the side story of this film. The main story focuses on Greg who has to spend time with Rachel (Olivia Cooke) who is dying of cancer. He is forced to do this, otherwise his mother will kill him. In the process Greg learns what true friendship means, and some very hard lesson on life. Rachel teaches him that he better live his life fully since death is always there waiting for you. You just never know when your turn has come. This film is not only poignant but cleverly done and addresses hard issues with a sense of humor making the themes very accessible to young people who may also face these issues in their lives. By the way, the second time I watched this film it was in an airplane heading to Denver through a storm. It certainly makes you think philosophically about your own life and what you have accomplished.