KCET Cinema Series: “50/50”

Viewed 9/20/11

by Doug Duke

I saw 50/50 almost a year and half ago when its tentative title was still LIVE WITH IT, and even then I loved it! I was so happy that on September 20th, 2011 I got to revisit it! It was just as great, if not better than the first time I had seen it. It was really not much different than the cut; definitely tightened up a bit, but the point is this is a great film! It’s hilarious, moving and about cancer. It’s based on real life experiences about writer Will Reisner. The film really packs a punch and I knew right away that Joseph Gordon-Levitt brought the best performance of his career, as did Seth Rogen! Yup, for all you Rogen haters you just can’t in this one. You’ll love him.

A comedy about cancer — who knew? Will Reisner, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen have been trying to make a cancer comedy for years, it seems. They also teamed up with one of my favorite directors, Jonathan Levine. ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE and THE WACKNESS are his credits so I knew I was going to enjoy it. This is an all-star team. I didn’t even mention that Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, Phillip Baker Hall & Angelica Huston are in it, too. All-star team indeed. Levine always creates such an amazing atmosphere and his music cues are some of the best. Every film of his moves you at some point with his music and his vision, and everything is on display here. The performances he gets are tough ones, but at times you’re laughing your ass off like you’re watching one of Rogen and Goldberg’s comedies. The film is a great mix of all these different worlds.

The Q&A consisted of Mr. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, producers Ben Karlin and Evan Goldberg and it was hilarious! Goldberg is so funny, it’s like you want to see him in the movies riffing with everybody, but alas, that’s why he’s a great writer (SUPERBAD, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, DA ALI G SHOW). Knowing a bit of trivia about the production, originally James McAvoy supposed to play the lead and Joseph literally stepped in before production began. With the performance he gives, you would have guessed he spent years preparing for this. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure he worked his ass off and it shows, but it also shows just how good he is! Joseph and Seth together are fantastic; their chemistry is great. I would love to see them do something again.

I can’t wait to watch this movie again. Everyone I know that’s seen it LOVES it. What’s not to love? You have all that charm in this amazing cast, a great writer, and Jonathan Levine. You are in good hands, people. Take time and see this film!

We cannot thank KCET, the Johnny Mercer Foundation, the American Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre & Staff, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Karlin, Evan Goldberg, and the man with the mic, Pete Hammond, for always inviting us! We love this series!

★★★★★

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