Movies on my Mind: 50/50

Let’s think about the movie 50/50.  Based on a true story by the screenwriter Will Reiser, this movie is about the struggle to live life as normally as possible after being diagnosed with cancer.  It’s a film about life, filled with tribulations, friends, family and humor even in the gloomiest of situations.

The movie starts with Adam and Kyle on the way to work living their regular lives.  They live normal everyday lives and we get to know their personalities.  Adam (Joseph Gordon-Lovitt) mentions having back problems to his friend Kyle (Seth Rogen) while waiting in the coffee shop one morning.  He decides to check it out with a doctor.

As it turns out his unusual back pain is because of a type of rare cancer he has with a survival rate of “50/50.”  Darn. And all he wanted to know was if it was stress or if he could take meds for a quick fix.  Who could blame this guy that, as the doctor keeps yakking away about fancy words and options he has, the only thing Adam can do is sit in a state of shock totally ignoring the doctor who really doesn’t show very much emotion, either.  

Now we notice and we can begin to put ourselves in his shoes as we follow him trying to live his life as normally as possible.  

He first tells his girlfriend, Rachael.  Emotions of dread and sadness come across her face with a hint of confusion what to do now or how could this happen.  I blame the mood lighting.  His girlfriend says she’s not going to leave him, but throughout the rest of the movie her excuses become more frequent.  The best thing she did was adopt a retired race dog named Skeletor that definitely lives up to his name, but Skeletor grows on you throughout the movie.

The second person he informs is Kyle, his best friend.  He has a mini spasm, holds back crying, and even learns that Patrick Swayze is dead.  You’ll have to see it for yourself.  Kyle sticks alongside Adam better than the girlfriend does, but that could be partially because his friend having cancer is a convenient way to hit on ladies.  He even throws a huge party for Adam, but while the party thrower, Kyle, hits on women the rest of the party lines up to chat with Adam like it’s his own funeral procession already.

Lastly, he informs his mother and father about the cancer.  Not to sound like a bad guy, but I don’t find it a bad thing that he tells his parents last about the cancer.  The problem I have, though, is the way he waits to tell them both.  If I remember right, he waited three days.  To top it off, he invites mom and dad over for dinner with his girlfriend without telling them what’s going on.  His mother believes that he’s going to propose…  Whoops. Sorry about the bad news, mom.  His dad cannot really react too well. Because of his severe Alzheimer’s, he doesn’t quite know what is going on.

After he tells mom what is wrong, she goes ballistic and she tells him, “I’m moving in.”  Adam tells her he is fine and he can take care of himself.  Besides, he has Rachael to take care of him.  This strikes a huge blow at his mother, but she relents as long as he calls her, which, for the longest time, he does not.

Adam’s cancer therapist, Katie, is an organized mess. She goes straight by the books and is not quite sure what she’s suppose to do with this being only her third patient in her career.  After a rough start and some odd choice of meditation music, Adam still goes to Katie for guidance because he needs someone to talk to about his problems, or because he wants to help her out, or just because she’s cute.

The remainder of the movie follows Adam as he struggles with the cancer and life.  He dumps his girl, flirts with girls, destroys a painting with his best friend that his ex made for him, does weed with old timers from the hospital, makes mistakes, and more as he gets closer to his chemo date.

I am still unsure of how much of the movie is based on the true story and how much of it is clearly Hollywood.  Either way, it’s a very interesting drama with bits of comedy that easily places the viewer into the shoes of the main character as his entire world is turned upside down.  

Definitely worth watching for anyone who wants a movie with a great story and is not in the mood for an action movie.


Final Grade: A-