Me Before You Review

Took me awhile to write this review because I’m a lazy slug. If Me Before You is still playing when I post this, great! If not, consider this a review of the forthcoming DVD/Internet download.

Me Before You

Me Before You is the first romance of the summer, at least that’s what I thought before going to the theater.

It turns out that the romance portrayed in the trailers is only a small part of the movie. The real conflict is assisted suicide.

Our main character is Louisa Clark, played by Emilia Clarke, who is let go from her waitressing job and must find something else to help support her poor family.

Louisa finds work at the wealthy Traynor estate taking care of the Traynor’s adult quadriplegic son, Will.

Will was once an investment banker with lots of wealthy friends, a hot girlfriend, and a thirst for adrenaline-pumping activities like skiing, skydiving, and parasailing.

Will becomes a quadriplegic when a motorcycle hits him while he was jaywalking and talking on his cell phone.

Two years later Will is able to talk and move his fingers a little but that’s it. His friends have abandoned him. He lives in constant pain due to the complications of his condition. He is routinely hospitalized with life threatening pneumonia. All of this leads Will to the decision to undergo assisted suicide.

Will’s mother is against this for obvious reasons. Will agrees to give her six months to convince him otherwise and if she can’t, to say her goodbyes.

Enter Louisa! Will’s mother hires her not to take care of Will, he already has a nurse for that, but to cheer him up and show him that life is worth living.

Louisa develops a friendship with Will that grows into love.

The movie is unfortunately lacking in a lot of the things that make a good romance though.

First of all, romances are often framed as a choice between the audience’s favorite and the “wrong person.”

Louisa’s choice of Will over her old boyfriend is practically ignored. Will is just so clearly better except for the disability that its no contest.

Will’s choice is a little harder to turn into a romance. Will can be in a relationship with Louisa or he can commit suicide. How romantic…

The romance is also lacking in physical passion (obviously). There is no consummation of their love beyond a kiss. It’s simply not possible for Will to go further.

The movie was, however, a good drama and dealt with suicide in a realistic way.

People commit suicide for a number of reasons, but I believe the unifying reason is that they’d rather be dead than be in their current situation, whether that’s feeling sad, or empty, or terrified, or, in Will’s case, trapped.

Will explains that he wants to end his life because he cannot bring himself to change who he is.

He is Will the Investor! Will the Skydiver! Will the Snowboarder! Will the Daredevil!

If he can’t be those things, then he’s nothing.

Louisa and Will’s family hope that Will can change his perception of himself. Maybe he can be Will the Dictation Writer, or Will the Quadriplegic Advocate, or even return to being Will the Investor.

And ultimately Will decides…

HAHA! Just kidding, I’m not going to spoil the ending for you.

Having some personal experience with the topics explored in Me Before You I think its fair to say that it accurately portrays why someone would consider suicide and how that open decision could affect that person’s loved ones.

If you’re looking for such a cathartic exploration of this topic or just want to see Emilia Clarke waggle her eyebrows around like a crazy Chinese lunchlady, then this is the movie for you. If not… I’d recommend skipping Me Before You. It is many good things, but it is not a romance as the trailer might have you believe.

-GoCorral

Inside Out Movie Review

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My wife agreed to go to see Inside Out with me after I begged (she usually doesn’t like animated movies).

As far as plot, there isn’t much to tell that isn’t in the trailers. The main character, a preteen girl named Riley, moves to a San Francisco with her parents and misses her old life in Minnesota.

Inside Riley’s head are five emotions that guide her life, Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust.

The emotions guide what Riley does using a control panel in the headquarters of her brain. They try to align Riley’s actions with her core memories which define Riley’s interests, Friendship, Family, Hockey, Goofiness, and Honesty.

The move to a new state stresses Riley out which is symbolized by Joy, Sadness, and the five core memories being locked out of headquarters for a few days.

Riley is left without the parts of her personality that define her and she can’t feel happiness or sadness. Sounds an awful lot like how some people describe chronic depression, doesn’t it?

Inside Riley’s head Joy has to deal with how depressing Sadness is while finding their way back to headquarters.

The two of them experience a lot of fun explanations for why the human brain works the way it does.

Why do stupid commercial jingles stay stuck in your head? Because the janitors who manage memories send them to your headquarters as a prank.

Why do you remember some things, but not others? Because your emotions leave the memory.

That last one is actually true. It’s represented in the movie by the memories losing the color of the emotion that defines them.

The movie has a ton of cool visualizations of things. Riley’s mother has a set of five emotions running her head as well, but they clearly have Sadness as their leader. Riley’s dad is run by Anger.

The emotions have a control panel to interact with the world. Riley’s control panel is switched out for a larger one by the end of the movie with new buttons for puberty stuff. Her parents have even larger control panels with seats for the five emotions, emphasizing that the adults are set in the way the react to things.

Abstract thought is represented by a sort of abstract art gallery. Dreams are made by a cast of little creatures in the brain with scripts inspired by events from Riley’s day.

The end of the movie has a good moral, that all emotions are important, not just Joy; and that change isn’t always bad.

I’d recommend the movie to anyone who knows a little bit about how the human brain works. The description of emotions handling memories is visualized and explained in a pretty accurate manner and is enough fun on its own to warrant seeing the movie.

The story itself isn’t half bad either. It’s a kid’s story, but it’s Pixar! The always know how to pull at your emotions, espeically in a movie about emotions.

There’s also a good short before the movie called Lava. You could go for that or you could watch it on YouTube. It’s a nice little Hawaiian folk tale-esque love story.

So check Inside Out out if you like Pixar movies or the human brain (or love stories about volcanoes).

-GoCorral

Annie Movie Review

Annie Movie Poster

I went to see the new Annie movie recently with my wife. She’s a big fan of one of the previous movies, the 1982 Columbia Pictures version.

As my wife’s a fan of the 1982 version we spent most of our time comparing the new 2014 movie to the older one.

There’s some rather obvious changes they made to adapt the movie to the modern world.

The original was set during the Great Depression with Daddy Warbucks earning his money by selling weapons. The new movie replaces Warbucks punny name with Will Stacks and his stacks of money he earned from his mobile phone company.

Annie used to be in an orphanage with dozens of other girls. Now she lives in foster care with four other kids.

Roosevelt is removed from the movie. A political element is still present as Stacks is running for mayor. He takes over Annie’s foster care as a PR move for his campaign instead of the nonspecified reason that Warbucks does in the first movie.

A few of the songs are missing, but the originals are joined by a few new ones such as “Opportunity” which you can hear on Youtube.

The song performances themselves are good with the exception of Cameron Diaz who plays the evil foster caretaker, Miss Hannigan. “Easy Street” and “Little Girls” are much worse than their 1982 versions, but how could anybody compete with Carol Burnett and Tim Curry?

The new Rooster character is a lot creepier than how I perceived the Tim Curry’s comical performance. I’m unsure if that was a decision made by the director or just that when the character is updated for a modern audience his creepiness comes out in a way that I can appreciate.

The movie has a few problems with lip syncing which is… odd. You’d think that’d be something they could’ve worked out by now with software.

There’s tons of other new additions to update the movie, Annie has a Twitter account run by her fans for example. There are still plenty of homages and jokes to please people like me who liked the original. If you enjoyed the 1982 Annie then I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy this new version as well. Quvenzhane Wallis and Jamie Foxx are just as cute as Aileen Quinn and Albert Finney.

-Mister Ed

The Fault in Our Stars

I read The Fault in Our Stars next to my cat, Carmelita.
I read The Fault in Our Stars next to my cat, Carmelita.

This weekend I read a popular young adult fiction book, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

The book is written from the point of view of Hazel, a teenager with lung cancer (15% survival rate, likely higher for her specific case) who is always hooked up to a respirator.

She begins attending a support group for teenagers with cancer. At the support group she meets Isaac and his friend, Augustus.

Hazel begins dating Augustus, who has a a less lethal type of cancer than her (osteosarcoma, 80% survival rate).

The book explores how teenagers react to their own terminal illnesses, how their families and friends react, and what a cancer patient might want to be remembered for.

One of Hazel’s struggles is that she doesn’t want to only be known for having cancer.

She loves poetry and reading. The book acknowledges that she is even smart enough to be attending community college for some type of English degree.

Unfortunately, all of Hazel’s friends from before cancer only see her as a sick person, not someone who loves literature.

Sick of pity from her old friends, Hazel has withdrawn from public life and only interacts with her family and her new friends from the support group who personally understand her illness.

Hazel also withdraws because “she is a grenade.”

She fears her eventual death and doesn’t want to hurt anyone who gets attached to her. Thus, she avoids making such attachments.

I’d definitely recommend the book. It’s a quick read, well written if predictable, and on a topic worth learning more about.

There’s also a movie adaption coming out on June 6th 2014 in the USA. The book wasn’t enough, so I’ll be going to the movie to get more even if the story is the same.

I’ll probably check out more of John Green’s work too.

-Mister Ed