50/50

Finally, a movie about cancer worth watching!

Photo courtesy of http://www.filmofilia.com

All too often, I find myself disappointed by movies about cancer*.  1 in 3 Americans are diagnosed with the disease, so why can’t screenwriters and directors get it right?  Among other critiques, I don’t understand how medical inaccuracies and wildly unrealistic timing get past the screenplay let alone onto the big screen.

With the past disappointments in mind, I was cautiously optimistic about the new film, 50/50.  “This one looks different,” I thought.  Here was my rationale:
1) The film is actually based on a true story (Will Reiser’s story)
2) The main-character in the story wrote the screen play (Will Reiser, again)
3) One of the lead actors in the movie plays, well, himself (Seth Rogen)
4) It’s not marketed as chic-flic but as a comedy.  No one jokes about cancer unless they experienced cancer.

So off Donny and I went to the theater via the cab ride of our lives, thanks to our cabbie and to the small fire in the Park Street T station that rendered the entire Red-Line worthless.  And after 100 minutes of laughing, crying, and laughing while crying, I can say hands-down, the movie was amazing!  No, it didn’t have the special effects of Star Wars or the twists and turns of Inception.  It didn’t need that.  It was real-life.

Will Reiser provided us with a glimpse into the world of young-adults with cancer.  It’s not a documentary about cancer or about his life with cancer.  It was a film where the audience routed for Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who played Will Reiser) to kick the crap out of his neuro-fibroma-sarcoma-schwannoma, walk his dog, Skeletor, and deal with his crazy girlfriend (a great reminder that crazy girlfriends are still around even after a cancer diagnosis).  

In summary, Watch This Film!  You don’t have to see it in theaters, in fact if you don’t like to cry in public, I wouldn’t recommend it (the restroom was filled with women reapplying makeup- I kid you not).  But, you should make the time to watch it, sometime.  And, of course, don’t forget the waterproof mascara!

*Major exception to the disappointing cancer movies: Crazy, Sexy Cancer.  Blog post to follow.
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