Fifty Reasons Why 50/50 Sucked

I'm not going to waste my time listing 50 reasons why this movie was terrible because I don't need that many to argue my case, but it sounds catchy, so just go with it.

This movie had all the elements, in theory, to be awesome. It had a decent cast, i.e. Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It had balls jokes in the trailer. Finally, it was written by Will Reiser, who had something to do with Da Ali G Show, which led me to believe it might be decent. I was prepared to be inspired by the heartwarming story of JGL overcoming cancer, while giggling at poop jokes made by Seth Rogen. I was sorely disappointed.

The overarching reason I hated this movie was that it tried to show something “true-to-life” in a way that got the details of real life completely wrong. (If you get the details wrong, it pulls me out of movieland and back to reality, where I am then free to judge mercilessly.)

Take the oncologist he sees, for example. The doctor has absolutely no people skills and won’t even look JGL in the eye when he’s talking to him. He only knows how to use extremely complex medical terminology that JGL can’t understand, and on top of all of that he brings JGL into a swanky office, with a desk between them, instead of, oh, I don’t know, an EXAM ROOM like most docs use, to diagnose him with the tumor. I know it’s popular in society to hate on doctors right now for having no empathy or compassion, because doctors are huge assholes who don’t give a shit about their patients, they go into it just to get rich and to have a personal stripper on speed dial, but come on. Think it through. What person would go through four years of medical school, incurring 6 digit debt, followed by 3-11 years of slave labor training just for the money? And explain to me how after that 3-11 years of patient contact (not counting the 2 years in medical school) a person manages to escape without any people skills whatsoever? Hollywood just pisses me off with their portrayal of the medical community in general, and 50/50 did no better than most other films out there at capturing reality.

Jumping off of that, how exactly was his therapist a doctor? She introduced herself as doctor, then proceeded to say she was working on her dissertation and was under supervision (but where the hell was the supervisor) and oh shit, her office was awfully nice for a student. I’m pretty sure (positive, because I’ve seen one) that they just cram “students” or “residents” or whatever into any small crevice available, with old piece of shit furniture and no A/C controls, and you’re lucky if you get a window. I can guarantee that your supervisor would be present with your first patient. They don’t just let you run with it on your own, if they did they’d be personally responsible if that patient hurt himself or someone else. Luckily, JGL just decided to call her up and ask her out ON HER PERSONAL CELL PHONE NUMBER THAT SHE GAVE HIM!!!!!!!!! This probably does not outrage you as much as it does me, but I am married to a psychiatrist and you Never. Give. Out. Your. Personal. Phone. Number. Not to patients. Don’t do it. Horrible idea. They WILL call you, at all hours of the night, for emergencies like I can’t sleep unless you give me more Xanax.”

Ok, enough with the ranting on the medical stuff. Let’s move on.

I really hated JGL’s character in this movie. He was totally spineless before the tumor literally ate up his spine, so honestly I didn’t give a crap if he got over cancer or not. I couldn’t sympathize with him. He let his girlfriend walk all over him and cheat on him with a stinky hippie; his friend had to bitch out his girlfriend for him because he didn’t have the balls to do it himself (did he also have cancer there?). At the end it seemed like somehow the cancer taught him to be more assertive, but if anything cancer would beat you down even more. I don’t buy that his growing tumor also magically grew his self-confidence.

The entire idea of a comedy about cancer is flawed to begin with. It’s an oxymoron. There’s nothing you can say to make cancer funny. Was I supposed to be lol’ing when JGL’s old man friend passed away (in the span of a week, when he previously looked perfectly healthy)? Was I supposed to be LMFAO when he was getting chemo? I just don’t get how the two fit together, and from what I saw, they didn’t. One of the only funny things in the movie was when he shaved his head with the balls trimmer, but the outcome was that JGL had a buzz cut, and all I could think after that was JGL looks really ugly with a buzz cut.”ย JGL isn’t exactly the sexiest man in Hollywood, but I can usually fantasize about making sweet, sweet love to him during his movies. Like in Inception, where he was exceptionally well dressed during the entire film, had witty dialogue, and oh yeah, he had hair. 50/50 really cock-blocked me on this one.

Now my head smells like your balls.

I can’t write this review without mentioning the dog his cheating girlfriend gave him, Skeletor. WHAT THE FUCK? Did you see that dog? Did they starve that dog on set just to make the name Skeletor more fitting? I get that greyhounds are lanky dogs, they are runners, blah blah blah. But you are NOT SUPPOSED TO SEE ALL OF THEIR BONES. If you can, they are too skinny. Someone should call the ASPCA or PETA or something on them. I can’t find a picture to prove my point here but I remember being completely disgusted in the theater. A little ribs showing is one thing; seeing hip bones is absolutely too thin and I distinctly remember seeing hip bones.

I really wanted to like 50/50. Comedy about inappropriate subjects is right up my alley. But while the movie had some funny moments, overall it just didn’t feel real. I could never get sucked in to the movie’s world and get lost in the story. They made too many mistakes, in my opinion, for the movie to have any real heart.

Verdict: Shitty

20 Responses to “Fifty Reasons Why 50/50 Sucked”

  1. January 22, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    “I am married to a psychiatrist”

    BRIK is a psychiatrist??


    blink, blink.

  2. January 22, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    It allows me to see all of the psychopathology in humanity. It’s a curse, really.

  3. January 22, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Oh, and sorry. Didnt want to blow off the post itself.

    Very funny, salient points, I completely disagree – as My buddy pointed out on twitter there is such a thing as “dramatic license”

    Nonetheless, completely humorous in the Awesomely Shitty style. ๐Ÿ˜€ Always enjoy my visits.

  4. January 27, 2012 at 8:18 am

    You know what? I loved 50/50 but your point about the film trying to be a realistic look on life and then not being realistic, especially when it came to the medical things, made a light bulb go off in my head!

    • 7 mrsbrik
      June 26, 2013 at 11:14 am

      Yep, that was my main beef…if you’re gonna do real, then do real. Thanks for the comment! (Belated better than never?)

  5. 8 Ray
    January 27, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    I too saw the errors you describe, I even discussed it with my wife during the movie. However, I still liked the movie. I was more disappointed with the characters lack of back bone, but once again justified it as a symptom of his having cancer. I was concerned going in about it being a Cancer Comedy but overall thought they handled the subject matter well.

    Love the site and will be returning often.

  6. February 16, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Yes, well, OK, I usually hate it when people criticize movies because they don’t have the details right, because movies aren’t life, right? Except as a guy who had a rare cancerous tumor on his spine surgically removed (sacral chordoma, for the cancer aficionados out there), and who is currently seeing a psychiatrist who is a medical school **resident** I was interested in having a sort of emotional experience through the movie and was pretty disturbed by the blatantly stupid and clueless details mentioned above– the swanky offices (doctors only have offices like that in Viagra ads, right?), the totally inept and inappropriate behavior of the counselor which really ought to have become a major theme in the movie; that is, it was like he went in to the therapist’s office and she shot him at point blank range and then we just go on with the movie. Wow. That was stunningly clueless. Wow. But, OK, and again I would just yawn if somebody else said this because who cares about medical details except perhaps a guy who has actually had a cancerous tumor removed from his spine, but the thing is, when they operate on your spine, and you come out and you’re in recovery, you’re not lying on your back. you’re on your side or on your belly, right? I mean, if any surgeons watched this movie, didn’t they just go kinda sheesh? It sucks to have cancer, that’s true. And it’s nice to have a laugh about it if you survive. But really, didn’t they think maybe other people who had some experience might notice stuff? So now I’ve blown my cover, and I will never again yawn with disrespect when say an auto mechanic or a military veteran or someone with personal experience in a thousand other areas claims that his or her personal knowledge of how things go made it difficult to accept the verisimilitude of the movie version. nuf said. Oh, and plus the dog. Right. What was up with that? Was that supposed to symbolize how clueless she was in her half-hearted attempt to be nurturing? How she couldn’t care for another living being? Maybe? Skeletor? So symbolic. Gross. Paid $5.99 to see it on Direct TV. OK, so it was a movie, it had actors and a beginning, middle and end. And Seattle is pretty.

    • 11 mrsbrik
      June 26, 2013 at 11:13 am

      I am a horribly late replier, but thanks for commenting and sorry about your cancer. Hope life is treating you better these days.

  7. March 26, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    The dog WAS way too skinny!

  8. 13 Julia
    June 26, 2013 at 9:10 am

    This is a really long “review” and I haven’t gotten through the first..paragraph but I just wanted to say that I, myself, have been to about 5 or 6 different specialists. I’ve gone to COUNTLESS doctor appointments with my mother, my father, and my brother. I can’t even tell you how many doctors I’ve seen, but yes there ARE doctors out there who give you straight up sad news & no sympathy. I don’t know what kind of doctors YOU see, but I’ve never had a doctor give me bad news & then a pat on the back or a hug or something. They just give the fucking news. And this is a MOVIE. Movies AREN’T real. You can’t take everything seriously. If we did, we’d live in a pretty interesting world. I thought this movie was fabulous and I don’t know a single person that thinks otherwise. Ok I could POSSIBLY see you not liking it but CALLING IT SHITTY? Straight up immature. Get YOUR shit together and be a bit more open minded.

    • 14 mrsbrik
      June 26, 2013 at 11:12 am

      Hi Julia, I’m MrsBrik. Nice to meet you. Now you know someone who thought this movie was shitty.

      I am aware that there are doctors out there with no personality who have horrible delivery with bad news, but in my experience (and maybe I am just very, very lucky) the doctors I have encountered are kind people who would do their very best to empathize with their patients in a moment of bad news. This is not 100% of doctors but I think my comment was more on how popular it is in film/TV to portray doctors as completely incompetent assholes.

      Thanks for stopping by. The blog IS called Awesomely Shitty, so try not to take it too hard when we label something shitty. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • June 26, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      A doctor can show empathy and compassion without hugging a patient. The doctor in this movie is nothing more than a trope. Clearly, they had zero insight from a doctor on this movie.

  9. 16 The Shinning
    July 21, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    I kind of love that Seth Rogen has been typecast as the cancer patient’s best friend.

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January 2012


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