‘Me, Earl and the Dying Girl’ inspires


Anne Marie Fox/Fox Searchlight Pictures via AP

This photo provided by Fox Searchlight Pictures shows, Olivia Cooke, from left, as Rachel, Thomas Mann as Greg, and RJ Cyler as Earl, in a scene from the film, “Me and Earl and The Dying Girl.”

Erik Calderon, Staff Writer

‘Me, Earl and the Dying Girl’ started off in the most boring way possible: narration and a dolly in on Greg, played by Thomas Mann, typing on his computer.

These days I’ve been paying particular attention on the very first 10 minutes of a film. Does it grab me? Do I get so deep into the story that I don’t want out? Am I totally mesmerized? The first minutes of this film were none of the above.

How boring to start off with narration. Films are supposed to be action heavy. An Auteur tells a story with pictures not words. And this one started off with nothing but words, then backed up those words with type on a computer screen. How lame can you get.

The story went on, and what I began to notice is that this filmmaker, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, is not only telling a story through dialog, but he’s also breaking a bunch — not just one or two — but a bunch of cinematography rules; the rule of thirds, camera angles, and direction.

OK, so I’m really getting into this story. I’m listening, watching, and hearing and feeling. This guy is breaking all the rules, and getting me so into what’s going on that I don’t want out.

I’m laughing. I’m crying. I’m really getting to know the characters and I’m relating to them.

This film is about Greg, Earl, played by RJ Cyler and Rachel, played by Olivia Cooke. Rachel is diagnosed with cancer. Greg and Earl are filmmakers. Together they’re going through life, and that’s about it. That’s the whole story, like a coming-of-age flick. It’s so simple, so grand, so creative, so amazing. I walked out of that theater wanting to make a film just like it, but with a different story.

Chung-hoon Chung was the cinematographer on this film, and this film was so stunning visually that I had to look this person up. Who is he? What other productions has he been a part of? His images are amazing. His use of camera movement, angle and choice of focal length add incredible amounts of dimension to the film.

What was missing in the beginning of the film was totally made up for with the visual. Everything about the cinematography was amazing, even when rules were broken and awkward angles were employed. This is the man to hire for your next film project!

So, the opening narration was all about dialog, and this film is dialog heavy. I even wondered during the film, how in the world did this writer come up with all this amazing dialog? If you are an actor, or are a student of acting, then watch this film!

It’s almost like a series of monologues stringed together to make a whole film, except of course when they are having conversations together. The director, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon did an amazing job picking this cast; each actor was perfect for the part and added an incredible dimension to the story. We didn’t need much back story, just seeing them told us all about them.

The soundtrack was life changing. Each song, each tune adding so much emotion to the scene. I could feel the sounds coming out of the speakers. And what a mix of sounds they were, from retro to modern, to ‘I’ve never hear them before’.

And, yea, I’m a wannabe filmmaker, and just so connected to this film, but it wasn’t so much because Greg and Earl are filmmakers, it’s the detail in the production design. The set provided me with a glimpse of the length of detail that they went into to make everything look so inspiring. If you’re not a filmmaker, I bet you that this film will inspire you to make your very first film with your iPhone!

Written by Erik Calderon of HCC MovieMakers Academy. Watch their reviews at YouTube.com/HCCMovieReviews