Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of film critics two questions and publishes the results on Monday. (The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?”, can be found at the end of this post.)
This week’s question: Inspired by a tweet from Matt Zoller Seitz, what widely despised (and/or financially disastrous) movie from the last few years will eventually be considered a classic?
Carlos Aguilar (@Carlos_Film), Freelance for MovieMaker Magazine/Remezcla
“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”
The curios case of “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” evidences how critical consensus can shift in strange ways from festival premiere to theatrical release, and how easy it is for people to jump on the backlash train. Clearly, not everyone has to love Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s adaptation of Jesse Andrews’ novel as much as I do, but it was shocking to see how a film that was so instantly beloved at Sundance, where it received both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award, could enlist so many detractors in the months that followed.
Fox Searchlight bought “Me and Earl” for a massive $12 million in Park City thinking it was poised to become a hit, but the disappointing grosses at the end of its run didn’t even make them that money back. It’s likely that both the marketing campaign and the less favorable reviews that appeared closer to its opening day were to blame, and, undoubtedly, the fact that it was up against Jurassic World did not help its cause.
But despite the indifference the world showed towards it, “Me and Earl” remains one of the most sincere, charming, and formally audacious teen dramedies amongst an ever growing list of similarly themed projects. The scene near the end when Greg (a perfectly cast Thomas Mann) shows Rachel (Olivia Clarke), who is in her dying bed no less, the movie he and Earl made for her, wrecks me every time.
Set to Brian Eno’s music, this specific and silent moment elicits incredible vulnerability from both actors and its designed to be as visually enticing as it is moving. Such heartfelt imagery might derive from Gomez-Rejon’s own grieving process given that he made the film shortly after his father had passed. That honesty sets “Me and Earl” apart and infuses it with a real directorial voice. On a lighter note, the team’s dedication to creating a large number of the …read more