50/50: A Different Perspective


“50/50? Dude if you were a casino game you would have the best odds.”

So I watched the movie 50/50 this evening. I think that it is proper to first make sure that I preface this posting by saying that there will be spoilers, so read on IF YOU DARE, BWAHAHAHAHA <cough>… so read on below.

The Synopsis:

Adam Lerner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a 27-year-old journalist with a girlfriend Rachael(Bryce Dallas Howard), of whom his best friend and co-worker Kyle (Seth Rogen) disapproves.

Adam discovers he has a rare cancer and must undergo chemotherapy. He sees on the Internet that his chances of survival are 50/50. After Adam reveals his diagnosis, his overbearing mother, Diane (Anjelica Huston), who already cares for a husband suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, is determined to move in with him. He rejects this offer, however, as Rachael has promised to be the one to take care of him.

Adam skeptically begins going to the young and inexperienced therapist, Katharine McCay (Anna Kendrick), and although their relationship and sessions begin with a rocky start, he slowly begins to open up to her about his disease and how it is affecting him. The two develop a rapport both in and outside of their sessions, as the lines between doctor-patient and friends begins to blur. During chemo treatments, Adam also befriends Alan (Philip Baker Hall) and Mitch (Matt Frewer), two older cancer patients who give him perspective on life, love, and illness.

Meanwhile, Kyle attempts to keep Adam’s spirits high, which includes using his illness as a way to pick up women. He also uses his friend’s illness to his own advantage, to Adam’s annoyance. On a date with a woman he met through these means, Kyle sees Rachael kissing another man and tells Adam, who proceeds to break up with her, despite her excuses and protests.

Although Adam at first claims to everyone that he is fine and handling his disease well, his composure slowly begins to unravel as the realities and seriousness of his illness become increasingly sharper. When the doctor informs him that his body is not responding to the chemotherapy and his only option is dangerous surgery, he is forced to emotionally confront his situation, and figure out what and who in his life is truly important to him.

In the end Adam’s surgery is a success and he tells Katharine he will make her pancakes sometime. The film ends with Kyle changing the bandage on Adam’s back before Katharine comes over for dinner.

The Review and my two cents:

While this movie at first was billed as a comedy, I would go so far as to say that not only is this movie really a drama… and to a degree, I would say that it really is more of a think piece.

As I watched this movie I was drawn more and more into the personal themes, and feeling that I had been there before.

See, I will be 7 years this May, and then again in June when my Grandparents lost their respective fights with cancer… and unbeknownst to my family and nearly all of my friends, 4 years since my close call with it myself.

And to top it off, it will be 4 years since the passing of one of my closest friends fathers.

Puts things into a strange perspective eh?

I’ve been out of the woods for quite some time now, but when I saw this movie, I was taken back to the memory of how that fight can go. How one day you are totally fine, and yet at the same time, you can be dying on the inside.

50/50 is not a comedy.

It’s more than that.

It’s a story about how someone that is facing the certainty of death as being a 50% chance, and being a long and agonizing process, can still hold on… if even perceiving that they are alone.

My choice to not tell anyone was motivated by the idea that Ma, had already been through enough with losing her parents… and the idea of her eldest having it would have been too much… especially since it was too early to tell if it was the big deal it sounded like or not.

To my surprise and delight, it was just an anomaly with the tests, the base treatments I underwent were successful (mostly holistic, but my hair did start falling out due to protein and vitamin issues and weight loss, so that is one of the reasons for the shaved head for so long… that and an accident with clippers on a major holiday)

I am ok.

I so wish others were like me, and could only have the close call, and not have to go through the pain and suffering that some have to go through.

Such is life.

Looking at it right now… I think that those out there that are complaining that Planned Parenthood is not getting the extra funds from the Susan G. Komen Foundation for a Cure, can rightly take the piss.

Cancer is a hateful disease, and it destroys lives on so many levels… and while kids can make things complicated, and that while Planned Parenthood does do some good works by helping people that don’t have medical insurance with contraceptives, it is not in the business of saving the lives of both men and women.

Fact: Men can develop breast cancer too.

Fact: Testicular cancer can strike a male before puberty.

Fact: Both Prostate and Testicular cancer can begin in the Vas Deferens itself, and be painless until it spreads elsewhere.

Fact: There are no catchy phrases in the range of “Save 2nd Base”  for the boys to have to deal with.

So yeah… the point of the story is this…

Cancer sucks ass, it kills, and harms the lives of everyone that ever develops it… and the people that love the ones that have it.

But most of all… it is scary to not know that there are other people out there that will have your back, if you ever have to deal with it… I know… I have been on both sides of that fence.

Be well my friends.


I have a great slogan… Ladies… show you care, and juggle our pair!

We have a slogan now… you’re welcome.


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