Why you need to watch Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
Forget The Fault In Our Stars.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is the young adult movie that will make you re-think life, love, and loss.
The best part? It won't make you a weepy mess.
Based on Jesse Andrews' 2013 novel, the movie tells the story of Greg (Thomas Mann), a high school senior whose parents force him to hang out with Rachel (Olivia Cooke), a classmate recently diagnosed with leukemia.
That's where any similarities to The Fault In Our Stars end.
The friendship between Greg and Rachel goes from awkward to real as they deal with the progress of Rachel's illness.
The story also focuses a lot on Greg's struggles to fit in at school, trying to be the person he thinks people want him to be instead of trying to be who he really is.
Greg's coping mechanism? Humour and creativity.
Here are five reasons why Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is going to be one of the most memorable movies of 2015.
It's not a weepie
Don't judge a book by its cover, or in this case, judge a movie by its title.
Yes, it's a movie about cancer and there is a death but director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon was very clear he didn't want his film to have any "manipulative" scenes, he told Sydney Morning Herald.
That meant cutting out an emotionally-charged scene where his actors Mann and RJ Cyler (who plays Earl) shaved Cooke's head the day her character starts chemotherapy.
"As powerful as it was, the movie didn't need it, and you never want to put something in there that would make it manipulative," said Gomez-Rejon.
The 42-year-old US filmmaker set out to make a teen comedy and a coming-of-age story in the vein of The Breakfast Club and did his best to avoid cheap sentimentality.
Andrews, who also wrote the screenplay, stayed true to his book, keeping it purely on friendship rather than romance.
It celebrates movies
In the film, Greg and his partner-in-crime - the Earl from the title - spend much of their time making parodies of classic movies such as Scorsese's Mean Streets and Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange.
Their versions? A Sockwork Orange, Eyes White Butt, Senior Citizen Cane, and Rosemary Baby Carrots.
It's a Sundance winner
Sundance Film Festival is the largest and most prestigious independent film festival in the United States, and if an indie flick gets a good review at the annual event, you can trust it'll be worth your time (remember Little Miss Sunshine?).
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl not only received rave reviews, it also won top honours twice -- the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award.
It's endorsed by Martin Scorsese
Winning accolades are good but the icing on the cake has to be a job-well-done praise by Martin Scorsese himself.
Gomez-Rejon's first job following his graduation from New York University was as Scorsese's personal assistant, spending his time on the set of Casino watching “the master at work", Gomez-Rejon told NPR. He went on to apprentice under notable directors such as Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Nora Ephron before working on commercials and TV series like Glee and American Horror Story.
“It’s a wonderful film,” Scorsese tells his former assistant in the above video. “I have an emotional reaction to it, there’s no doubt.”
Gomez-Rejon told Rolling Stone he knew what it was like to feel a profound sense of loss and grief, having lost his father shortly before he'd received the Me and Earl script.
"He was a big influence on me and my best friend. I suddenly found myself at a very difficult point in my life -- which, ironically, was the exact same moment I started getting recognised for the work I was doing on American Horror Story."
His directing on the popular TV series earned him an Emmy nomination.
"I had shut down completely. And with Me And Earl, it was like somebody showed me there could be an outlet for all that.
"I could throw myself into this -- not just because it gave me a chance to celebrate movies, but it's a way to pay homage to my dad."