Movie Review: “50/50”

Comedy. Drama. Emotional. Quirky Indie. Dark. Humor. Drama Based on Real Life.

These are the tags Netflix delivered me with for its latest offering in “Top 10 for You”. All relating to one movie; “50/50”.

Really!?!? If that were not simultaneously ambiguous and oddly sinister enough for you, the cover shot appeared to be of Joseph Gordon-Levitt shaving his head with Seth Rogen watching in the background. Oooookay.

Well, I though, my cousin said it was good and it’s got to be better background noise for studying than Sorority Row, right?

And so, with uneasy trepidation, my finger plunged the left mouse clicker down on that big black triangle.

As it transpires, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made recently.

As much trouble as many people seem to have with Netflix and their often confusing and illogical categorisation of movies that seem to have absolutely no relation to one another, for one, it seemed they were not having an enthusiastic case of label-vomit; ’50/50′ encompassed every one of those claims.’50/50′ tells the story of an otherwise healthy young man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who is diagnosed with a rare form of spine cancer – and is slapped with a 50% chance of survival. Witness how his perceptions of life change when he has no idea how long his will last.

As a general rule I will gladly watch anything and everything if I am to be gifted with the acting of JGL, but the addition of Seth Rogen was for me, an immediate warning flag – would an actor more cohesive with American slapstick comedy really be a fitting co-star for a man who has to only so much as look at something for it to become bittersweet or science fiction?

The definitive answer, I can now confirm is yes! As was inevitable when faced with those thick-lashed baby blues there is an emotional pull towards JGL’s character that means he portrays the change that overcomes him more through little actions and subtle changes in habit than from long winded, emphatic speeches. He is just a regular guy to whom a thing has happened and now he must learn to adapt to that.

We see this overly cautious, wouldn’t hurt a fly, tea-totaller through the break-down of a relationship, the build of a better one, how to rely on others when they need you rather than when you need them, and what you might really feel if your life was suddenly slapped with such imbalance and uncertainty.

Seth Rogen adds a level of entertainment as the extrovert contrast laddish best friend who shows us how learning to deal with a possibly dying friend is in itself a process of adaptation. He becomes fiercely protective of JGL and seems determined to ensure he lives every moment of his life to its fullest, possibly with underlying sentiments of “just in case”.

As well as exerting an inappropriate amount of effort towards getting laid using “he has cancer” as a pick-up line, he delivers some stunning one liners, my favourite of which has to be “I have night blindness“. This was an excuse for a prescription for medical marijuana. Excellent!

Prepare to have your heart strings tugged and to laugh and cry as they yank you every which way. It’s therapy, it’s mental break-down, it’s that fear you have of losing your mind – but it also helps you find it again.

This will change your mentality. Just as the characters complete their journey to “getting” why people change, you will too.

Highly recommend!!      9.5/10



Sympathy For Those (Bleeping) Call Center Operators

Packed Call Center Floor

Does anyone else find those poor souls in call centers irritating?

Well maybe you shouldn’t.

Here’s why… (I can already tell this isn’t going to be popular lol)

So here’s my thinking; maybe we shouldn’t be so hard on them. Sure, hardly a day goes by when the phone doesn’t ring and, sure enough, there will be that long, suspicious pause before the voice answers my “Hello?”. That pause that is just long enough for the penny to drop like a cold pill down my throat. There is no mistaking what it precedes.

When that crackle starts before the voice on the other end calls, just a little too loudly, “H-He…Hello? Hello.” To which I sigh a deep sigh of disappointment and dejectedly continue the pointless exchange with “Yes. Hello. What do you want?” I won’t be the only one who gets annoyed when they wait before replying again. To me this pause is almost as irritating as when a friend or someone you genuinely know calls you and then waits on the other end for you to say something – dude, you called me! What the hell’s with the silence!? – I feel that the ball falls to their court to decide the topic when it is them getting in touch with you, wouldn’t you agree?

Nevertheless. When the pityful connection finally gets through, the result is a forgone conclusion for an experienced cold-call operative – they will either be hung up on or given duggs abuse and then be hung up on. How do they know this? Because they will probably receive the same type of call the moment they get home.

Calls asking if they want double glazing – as if they didn’t already have it; a little hint to call centers, windows are not a new idea, people already have pretty good ones, the technique has been refined quite impressively these last hundred odd years and we tend to not go without them now. Then again, it would be an impressive estate agent who could sell a property lacking them – or a new, overpriced mobile phone with more features than will ever be needed on a contract they’ll be paying til they die.

Forget the whole issue of not agreeing with call centers being placed abroad by big companies to cut down costs – the corporate fat cats have got to find the money for their company funded holiday to the Maldives somehow – that’s a separate issue entirely. That is more a moral dilema.

And you thought you were having a bad day… She just got yelled at by an 85 year old woman!

But consider this. If we all find them so irritating, how do you think those people feel? To know the hate and frustration being blasted at them in waves down thousands of miles of electrical cable, every one of us hoping to fry their brains as efficiently as they are numbing ours while they simply try to do their jobs must be one of the most depressing workplaces it is possible to find! The loathing the recipient feels must be felt ten fold by the unfortunate operative.

This thought came to me when I received a call from what was possibly the most dejected sounding voice I have ever heard in my life. She seemed to take everything I have said here and express it in just her tone. With an utter hate for what she was doing, she had practically hung up before I had.

Sound harsh? That I still hung up on her even though it was clear she hated her job as much as I did?

Well, I hadn’t had this epiphany yet, so in my eyes, she had it coming 😉

The one nights’ experience I have as a phone operator for a charity event was enough to quell my conscience. 😀

So next time you’re getting ready to scream down the live about what a (bleeping) (bleep) that (bleep) who bothered you the minute you got home from work/got in the bath/sat down to dinner/started watching that show you’d been waiting for, think for a second; do you really hate them more than they hate themselves?