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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
by Shelly Schoeneshoefer

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.