Greg Gaines is a quirky teenager trying to coast through high school while making hilariously mediocre film parodies with his “coworker” Earl. But when he is forced to spend time with a terminally ill classmate at the request of his meddling mother, Greg embarks on his most ambitious project yet: to let his guard down and connect with those around him in ways he never imagined.
As you can tell from the title of the film you already know that this isn’t going to end well so I began to prepare myself emotionally. The film takes a look at the unlikely relationship between these three people and how the two boys cope with their new friend having Leukemia and how the “dying girl” copes with the time she has left. I don’t recall ever seeing a teen dramedy before so it definitely grabbed my attention and was great at balancing such a sad situation with jokes and the typical teen angst. Greg has a problem with opening up and letting people in his life as friends and seeing his journey throughout the film was an interesting one. What started out as Greg being forced to spend time with a very sick young girl end up with the young girl helping him let people get closer to him in life. He needed that too. He even had trouble calling his closest friend a friend. I thought the aspect of Greg and his “corworker” Earl’s parody films were a really nice touch that were surprisingly a big part of the story. My favorite one of course would have to be the final one that they made. It wasn’t a parody, it was a simplistic look at her family and friends that was sweet yet super sad at the same time. It was a great way to round out the film and give some closure to a story that I couldn’t help but get emotional about. Thankfully there’s always a bit of humor there to lighten things up. Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler and Olivia Cooke gave some of the best performances that I’ve seen from young actors in a very long time. All three have a really bright future ahead of them but the only thing that I do want is to see Cooke in a role where she isn’t heartbreakingly sick. This definitely is a film that I would recommend but if you’re super sensitive to this sort of subject then grab a box of kleenex. I really wouldn’t be surprised if this was an Oscar contender. 9/10
Deleted Scenes – A handful of scenes with optional commentary from the director.
Abstract: Movie for Rachel – The full short film that was made for Cooke’s character. This really is one of the best things on this disc. I loved it!
This is Where You Learn How the Movie Was Made – A great and fairly lengthy behind the scenes feature with a lot of insight on the film.
A Conversation with Martin Scorsese and Alfonso Gomez-Rejon – A great conversation between the two directors.
Greg’s Trailer – A trailer for the film that was edited by Greg.
Greg Gaines and Earl Jackson Productions – A really cool look at the collection of films that the duo made.
The Complete Jackson/Gaines Filmography – A quick list of all of the parody films of the two “co-workers”.
Audio Commentary by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon