Let's start with the book. I wasn't a HUGE fan...it was one of those, it's good, but I don't necessarily LOVE it, especially coming right off of The Fault in Our Stars, kind of books. I'll be honest. I kind of forgot about it a few weeks after reading. It didn't stick. (See review here :) After re-reading said review things started to come back. The relatively absent "dying girl", the cool setup of social classes that seemingly disappear, cancer. But now, having watched the movie, I realize I kind of missed the point. So, yeah, pretty cool when the movie gives you something the book didn't. Doesn't always happen.
In my book review I mention the awesome Greg Gaines as one of my favorite parts. The everyman teenager who is self-deprecating and observant. And it is that character that makes the movie spectacular...and in my own opinion, better than The Fault in Our Stars movie. Greg Gaines is real. He's a kid that's lost. He's a kid that's scared. He's a kid that loves when he doesn't realize he loves and tries when he doesn't realize he tries and is far more than he'll ever realize he can be. And actor Thomas Mann kills it. For a character that goes to lengths to fit in with everyone, this guy totally stands out.
And then there is "co-worker" Earl (RJ Cyler) who would make a great best friend, Mr. Gaines (Nick Offerman) who might just be the craziest person on the planet, Mrs. Kushner (Molly Shannon) who creeps you out at first but shows a vulnerability in the end, and Rachel (Olivia Cooke) who withers away before our eyes in a sort of beautiful way. But it's not Rachel's story. This isn't a story about cancer. It isn't a story that ends in romance. This is a story about a boy who finally figures out what group he belongs in.
Oh! They also work in the cool chapter titles which was awesome and gave the film a very Wes Anderson feel which is never a bad thing. And the soundtrack was pretty awesome. And the dialogue was fantastic. "Respect the research!"
Now excuse me while I go plan a summer program where teens make spoofs of their favorite films and books. Because that would be awesome.