Kicking things off this month is Me and Earl and The Dying Girl (September 4), based on the best-selling novel by Jesse Andrews.
The film starts when emotionally-crippled teen Greg (the ‘Me’ of the title) is forced by his mother to hang out with a classmate, Rachel (Olivia Cooke), who has been recently diagnosed with cancer. When he appears at Rachel’s house she unsurprisingly tells him to scram. Then, for the purposes of plot furtherance, she relents and they become friends.
Soon, Greg and his friend Earl (whom he refers to as “my co-worker”) – who spend all of their free time filming low-budget, pun-based remakes of classic movies (A Sockwork Orange, etc.) – decide to make Rachel’s cancer all about them by using it as an excuse to do another crappy movie, under the guise of a ‘tribute’. Yay! What better way to spend your remaining time on this planet than as the inspiration for the creative journey of some slacker stranger you met 5 minutes ago?
On a side note, why are there so many books about teenagers with cancer? And why are there so many movies based on books about teens who have cancer? Is cancer-lit a genre now?
Next up, Ricki and the Flash (September 18), starring Meryl Streep, directed by Silence of the Lambs’ Jonathon Demme and written by Diablo Cody of Juno fame. With such an impeccable pedigree how could it go wrong, right?
The story is thus: Ricki (Streep) ditches her family to become a rock star (spoiler alert: she doesn’t make it). Fast-forward a couple of decades and Ricki is working a Telecaster by night and a supermarket checkout by day. When she gets a call saying her daughter, Julie (played by Streep’s real life daughter, the unfortunately named Mamie Gummer) is suicidal following the break-up of her marriage, she drops everything and heads home do to a bit of parenting (finally).
There are no yellow ribbons flapping in the breeze upon her return though, and her estranged offspring are furiously resentful after years of neglect. However, her eccentric ways and cavalier attitude towards child-rearing eventually wins Julie over enough for her to be fine with having a failed marriage under her belt.
Ricki and the Flash is predictable in parts, sure, but less clichéd than many of its contemporaries. Also, it stars Meryl Streep! “Meryl Streep could play Batman and be the right choice,” says Eric Stonestreet’s character Cameron in an episode of Modern Family. And in this case, he’s totally right. She’d make a better Batman than Beige Affleck any day.
Finally this month, The D Train (September 18), starring the ever-tenacious Jack Black, and that little elven prince, James Marsden.
The story is thus: Dumpy dork Dan (Black) is attempting to organise a 20-year High School reunion but is unable to secure any RSVPs owning to his aforementioned ‘dork’ status. When he spots former classmate and school heartthrob Oliver Lawless (Marsden) in a TV ad one night, Dan realises that Oliver’s handsome visage would be the biggest enticement possible for the planned reunion, and designs a convoluted plan to get him to attend. But – spoiler alert – all is not as it seems.
Can Dan persuade Liz Lemon’s Elf Prince his popular fellow alum to attend the reunion? There’s only one way to find out!