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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl [2015] [PG-13] - 4.4.5



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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Afraid of relationships, a high-school movie fan (Thomas Mann) is forced by his mom (Connie Britton) to visit a terminally ill classmate (Olivia Cooke). Slowly, the boy and girl become inseparable elements in a doomed relationship, as he continues to make parody movies with his best friend (Ronald Cycler). Also with Connie Britton, Molly Shannon, Katherine C. Hughes, Jon Bernthal and Nick Offerman. Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. [1:35]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - In a school cafeteria a teen boy hugs a teen girl and grabs her buttocks with both hands (her buttocks are facing the camera). On a large computer screen, a teen boy watches a woman wearing a bra and a tiny kilt writhing and wriggling in a dance (we see cleavage, bare shoulders, arms, abdomen and legs) until the boy's mother enters the room and he turns the screen off. A teen boy is rejected by a teen girl who wears crop tops that bare her abdomen and some cleavage, along with skirts that bare her knees and a couple of inches of thigh.
 A few scenes include teen girls wearing scoop neck blouses and dresses that reveal a little cleavage. A man appears shirtless.
 A teen boy holds a DVD case of a film he made called "MonoRash" and he explains it is about a new STD that comes from mononucleosis causing a rash (we do not see the movie). A teen boy tells a female classmate that his parents would be suspicious if he asked for extra pillows, thinking he would masturbate on them in his room; he says he once had a relationship with a pillow that made him a man, and then he laughs. A teen boy says that he will masturbate onto a small pillow that a teen girl puts onto the lunch table at school (he does not do it). A teen boy tells a male friend that he feels as though he sexually molested a pillow at lunch. A limo driver, leering and snickering, asks a 17-year-old boy who is alone in the back, if he and a girl will have sex and mess up the leather seats and the boy denies it; the driver says the boy will "get some" if he loves the girl and the boy shakes his head. A male teacher tells a teen boy that in the 1970s his father learned to sing all the German pop songs so he could sing to girls in bars in Germany. A woman speaks to two teen boys, saying in a suggestive voice, "Would you two mice like some cheese?". During an interview about her sick daughter, a woman tells a teen boy to never have a baby unless he is committed to marriage and a family arrangement (he looks confused). A teen boy tells his mother that he will go through her stuff if she continues to search his room, and his dad walks in and says, "I hope you like tampons."
 A teen boy is afraid of friendship and girls, but his mother forces him to visit a terminally ill teen girl; captions on screen during his visits say "Day 1 of doomed relationship," "Day 2 of doomed relationship," etc. while a voiceover states that the teen couple will not fall into each other's arms and have sex; they never kiss and in one scene, they lie side-by-side, clothed, on a floor to watch a film and she rolls toward him and he places his arm around her shoulders, and we hear that this is only in his imagination.
 In a short video a teen boy makes, a pillow explodes, three balls of white stuffing twirl, and they become pillows, suggesting sexual reproduction. A drunken woman hugs a teen boy for about two minutes and kisses him on the cheek several times.

VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - The film includes several scenes filmed in tilted angles and a handheld camera is often jittery, creating some possibly nauseating disorientation.
 A teen drug dealer puts a headlock on another teen boy as a third teen boy runs forward, pulls the attacker off the other boy and punches him in the face four times (we see no damage); the principal yells and breaks up the fight. A teen boy argues with his best friend a few times and in one night scene he storms to the other boy's home; the other boy exits his house and a shouting match of cursing occurs followed by one boy getting in the other boy's face and punching him in the stomach (he falls and groans) as the boy's older brother sitting on the steps smiles and says, "We'll whip your ass all up and down the street."
 A teen drug dealer verbally attacks another teen boy at school twice, swearing that he will kill the second boy by many methods including choking, slashed throat, stabbing and breaking his eyes with a hammer. A teenage boy argues with his mother several times with the argument escalating in one scene and the son shouting loudly, demanding to be left alone. A teen girl and a teen boy argue about her quitting cancer treatment; they both cry and she tells him to get out of her house.
 We see a teen girl in a hospital bed in a dimly lit patient room as a teen boy wearing a tuxedo enters, puts a corsage on her wrist, then lies down beside her and shows her a short film; the girl gags and a nurse places an oxygen clip in her nose as the girl's mother panics. We see the progression of a teen girl's chemotherapy treatment, in which she becomes thin, gaunt-faced and bald; a few scenes feature the girl in a chemo chair with a line of medication running into her arm or shoulder and in several scenes the girl appears bald or with short fuzz on the top of her head. A teen girl pulls off her hat to show her bald head from chemotherapy.
 We hear that a teen girl went into a coma and died 10 hours later. We hear that a high school senior girl suffers from an incurable type of leukemia and will die soon, probably missing graduation.
 A teen boy demonstrates how to fake a seizure and how to look dead and a teen girl copies a seizure. In a home movie a masked teen boy slices at another teen boy's neck with a long plastic knife. At school a teen boy has written the words "Romanian poison" on his lunch bag. We hear that a little girl took scissors and cut up all her books when her parents divorced. A teen boy puts a note on a DVD he made that reads, "Warning. The last person who saw this immediately went into a coma and died."
 In a teen boy's mind, a Claymation moose stomps on a chipmunk four times when a teen girl speaks to him and in one scene the moose stomps on the tiny rodent four times very hard and a close-up shows a small leg twitch on the rodent that is belly-up, as if the chipmunk died. In Claymation, a man hangs from his wrists above a pit of snapping crocodiles as a voiceover says that he remembers the bad smell of old milk spilled in a parking lot and that he made a film so bad it killed someone.
 We see a wake, where a teen girl's urn is resting on a mantel with a framed photo of her beside it. A teen boy visits a dead girl's bedroom and becomes tearful as he explores and finds artwork. A teen boy makes his own films, including "Pooping Tom," "The Turdman" and "Eyes Wide Butts"; he says movies should be pointless and confusing, because life is like that.
 A father feeds two young boys fried cuttlefish and a boy remembers this as a teen and said he felt like vomiting (he did not do so). A man gives cooked pigs feet to two teen boys on his porch. A teacher stirs Asian soup in his office and we see pieces of seafood parts. In a sick teen girl's room, a teen boy asks where she puts the barf bucket, since the room is full of flower arrangements from friends; she feels sick and cries. In close-up a man wearing long pajamas and a long robe in a record shop speaks to the camera, describing tarantulas as large, hairy, and having glistening venom filled fangs.
 Two teen boys eat some Asian soup in a teacher's office and begin to hallucinate in their next classes (one boy sees a giant panda toy and a giant pig toy in his classroom during an exam and he stands up and falls onto his face); one teen calls the other teen and says, "The soup was drugged!" and queasy and sweating the two boys walk together to a female friend's house and both say they breathed marijuana smoke while trapped in an elevator for 25 minutes.

PROFANITY 5 - About 3 F-words (one word is bleeped out in close-up, but we see lips form an exaggerated F-word and another is written on a card as "F---"), 9 sexual references, 28 scatological terms, 29 anatomical terms (a teenage boy says in Kindergarten that another little boy pulled down his pants and stuck his fur muckled butt out at a little girl and it isn't clear exactly what that phrase means), 37 mild obscenities, name-calling (crazy, insane, idiot, stupid, irrational, dumb, dumbest, dork, drubes, demon, like a T-rex, ugly, groundhog-faced, disgusting, monster, nightmare, self-hating, loathsome harem, perverted, boy, White boy, creepy, goofy, irrelevant, stupid Jewish girls, LeBron James of nagging, Julian Asange), stereotypical references to men, women, mothers, single parents, college professors, teachers, high school seniors, dying teenagers, best friends, prom dates, cliques (e.g. Jewish girls, nerds, Goths, stoners, rednecks), cat lovers, film lovers, ghetto residents, African Americans, White girls, the Jews, anti-Semites, Christians, exclamations (shut-up, geez), 4 religious profanities (GD), 13 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, Oh God, God, Cancer is all part of God's plan). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - Four teenage boys stand in two bathroom stalls as two of the boys smoke marijuana cigarettes, two teen boys eat some Asian soup in a teacher's office and begin to hallucinate in their next classes and one teen calls the other teen and says, "The soup was drugged!" and queasy and sweating the two boys walk together to a female friend's house and both say they breathed marijuana smoke while trapped in an elevator for 25 minutes, a teen boy hallucinates a man in a panda suit across the street eating a Popsicle, two teen boys argue about marijuana in a teacher's soup (he denies it) and one boy remembers that he ate cookies from a drug dealer called Ill Phil (the cookies were probably marijuana laced), a teen boy tells a sick teen girl that he is like a good medicine that comes in liquid and gel tab forms, an unknown medication drips into the arm of a teenage girl in a hospital bed via a clear line ending in a needle in the back of her right hand, a nurse clips an oxygen line to a teen girl's nose when she gags, a teen girl lies in a chemo bed and a chemo line runs down from the wall (we cannot see where it goes), and a teen boy uses an inhaler. A drunken woman holds a glass of wine in one hand while swaying and giggling in several scenes, we see a woman drinking wine in a few scenes, a woman pours two teen boys each a glass of wine (we do not see them drink), teen boys drink from unlabeled glass bottles that could be soda or beer, and a man carries a drink through a house (he does not drink it). A man smokes a narrow cigar on his front steps, a teen boy smokes a cigarette in a school auditorium, a teen boy walks outside carrying a lighter and a pack of cigarettes (he does not smoke), and a teen boy plays with an unlit cigarette and then a lighter outside a friend's house.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Terminal diseases, death, fear, grief, sadness, pity, movie fans, friendship, cliques, sacrifice, love, respect, acceptance, planning the future, teen drinking.

MESSAGE - Friendship lasts beyond the grave and continues to enrich us.

Special Keywords: S4 - V4 - P5 - MPAAPG-13

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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