50/50: Odds are you’ll love it

50/50As with any other Joseph Gordon-Levitt movie, I was compelled to check this one out. There’s something about the scripts this guy picks that produce great movies, and 50/50 was no different.

The gist of the film is Gordon-Levitt’s character, Adam, finds out he has a rare form of back cancer and that because of the difficulty of the operation, there’s a 50/50 chance that he’ll survive. Obviously it’s a traumatic experience for him, but thankfully his best friend Kyle, played by Seth Rogen, is there to lighten up the situation. Because of his situation, his relationship with his mother, wonderfully played by Anjelica Houston,  becomes stronger as he opens up to her, and conversely he begins to see the true colours of his girlfriend, Bryce Dallas Howard.

Writer Will Reiser does an excellent job of mixing some serious subject matter with comedy, which lead to a roller coaster of emotions throughout the movie. Of course, since the story is based on Reiser’s own experiences, it came across as very realistic. You could feel Adam’s emotional struggles as he tries to deal with his cancer, his flaky girlfriend, his semi-hysterical mother and even Kyle who, in trying to make him feel better by getting him to use his illness as a way to hook up with girls.

The scenes with his therapist Katherine, played by Anna Kendrick, and the relationship that develops between the two is where I’m mostly torn. As a young therapist she seems way out of her element in dealing with a patient – she has very little experience – and when you add on her acting on her feelings for Adam, she is in no way qualified to work in the profession. I like the chemistry between the two once it gets over the initial awkwardness, but it’s totally unrealistic (though I’ll admit, not improbable).

50/50 will make you laugh, but just as quickly you may find yourself tearing up, so be prepared to deal with an emotional drama with great comedic timing. Gordon-Levitt steals the show once again, and has made it possible for me to give the movie a 5/5.

The Household Guide to Dying – Reviewed

It’s been over a month since my last book review. The Household Guide to Dying by Deborah Adelaide caught my eye on the bookstore shelf, as I’m sure it has for many, with that title. It is a bout Delia, a copywriter-turned-novelist, who writes household guide books to everyday things, like laundry, for example. The difference with this one is a bit more serious. Delia has cancer, and it has pretty much spread throughout her body. She came up with the idea to write The Household Guide to Dying, since she was now an expert on it.

The book, while somewhat sad at some points, generally pokes fun at societies thoughts of dying. One chapter, when Delia is researching for coffins, she pokes fun at the fact that the funeral home representative kept referring to them as caskets, and dying as passing on (and other variations).

Delia also travels back in time to try and resolve some of her issues from her past, like saying good bye to her first child, who she had over 20 years prior that died from the result of a car hitting him. She closes old wounds and revisits old friendships as well, so there are some more serious memories that she has to deal with, just done with a bit of humor for the most part.

It took me quite a while to get into book 16 of my 26 for the year, which is why I suppose it took so long to read. I ended up enjoying it, though it probably won’t be making a “Top X” list of mine. I give The Household Guide to Dying a 2.5/5

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