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The Big Sick

I think we have a new candidate for coolest thing to happen to me since moving to LA: I got to go to a movie premiere! Long story short, I'm on an email list for advanced screenings, and they offered tickets for the premiere of The Big Sick, and I jumped at it.

No, I didn't get to walk the red carpet. That was to the west of the theater entrance, and they lined up us riff raff to the east, out of camera sight. I did see it as I walked to my place in line, where the line turned the corner around the block. After waiting for an hour (during which I kept entertained by reading Anna Kendrick's "Scrappy Little Nobody"), I was handed my ticket and allowed into the lobby. There were stacks of popcorn buckets and soda. I wasn't sure how long I'd have to absorb the atmosphere, so I quickly went in and found my seat.

I stared at the screen in front of me and was practically turning my head around Exorcist style, watching for something or someone exciting to happen. At some point, it did. I saw Jack McBrayer walk in the entrance right behind me, and I sent some excited texts out. This was real. I was at a legit Hollywood event.

Eventually, the rest of the audience filed in. A producer took the stage to announce the movie, and was soon joined by fellow producer Judd Apatow (!!). He cracked a few jokes, and introduced the cast, the majority of which were all there: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano. They talked for a bit and the movie started.

We'll get to the movie in a second, but let's just wrap up the event recap. When the movie was over, I refused to leave my seat until I absolutely had to. Would they really let us common folk potentially mingle with the bright stars who were in attendance? Lord knows I wasn't gonna rush out. Eventually, I did file out of my seat, and started to walk towards the exit. Behind me, I heard someone in a greeting tone say "Mr Middleditch!". My heart jumped as I turned around. Silicon Valley's Thomas Middleditch was directly walking behind me, and Zach Woods was right next to him. I walked slowly, listening to the chatter between Thomas and the greeter dude, desperately trying to figure out something to say. The best I could come up with was "I work in software, and your show is everything" but I didn't think I could pull it off, esp since the guys were clearly there to support their costar and not necessarily looking to get mobbed by fans. I took a very bad stealth shot of him on my camera, and my eyes followed the boys as they walked out. At that point, I noticed that Martin Starr was with them too. Yup, all the Pied Piper boys were together (well except TJ Miller, but he's in a different league).

Okay, I really wasn't about to leave now. I awkwardly waited in the lobby, fiddling with my phone. That's when I saw Judd Apatow (!!) emerge from the hallway. Okay, maybe I couldn't think of something to say to the Silicon Valley boys, but Judd is a god in my eyes, and this had to happen. Besides, as producer of the film, he is supposed to be schmoozing and playing nice. I saw people crowd around him to take selfies and exchange pleasantries. Eventually I made my way to the front and snapped a quick pic (!!). I thanked him, told him I was a big fan, and congratulated him on a fantastic film.

I waited in the lobby a few more min, but they were starting to try and get people out of there. So I hung out just in front of the theater for a bit, and did a quick Stardust reaction, while having an internal debate about whether or not I should be mad at myself for not trying to record video with Judd (!!) to use on Stardust. David Koechner (you prolly know him from Anchorman *whammy*) walked right by me, and I was struck speechless and unable to utter a hello. At that point, it was clear that the whole thing was over, so I practically skipped back to my truck. I couldn't get my Judd (!!) pic up on Instagram fast enough.


Yeah yeah yeah, that all sounds exciting and I'm totally green jello, but how was the movie, you're prolly thinking to yourself if you've read this far. It was fantastic. Easily one of the best of the year thus far. In case you didn't take a sidebar to Google exactly what The Big Sick is all about, it's a fictionalization of the early days of Kumail Nanjiani's relationship with his now wife Emily. After a couple months of a fun romance, they end it over cultural differences. Kumail's family is determined to see him marry a Pakistani girl, and he doesn't want to risk losing them. But then Emily is suddenly hospitalized with a mysterious illness and is put into a medical coma. Kumail ends up by her side until her parents arrive, and finds himself unable to abandon her. He grows closer to her family and realizes that their relationship may be worth risking his parents and culture for.

I know, sappier than I tend to go for. And yeah, it kinda was. But it felt very real. True, it was based on a real story, but that's not what made it real to me. It was the honesty with which it handled the situations, and the balance of the good and bad. Remember how last year I said that Manchester By the Sea was one of the best screenplays I'd ever encountered, mostly impressed by it's ability to weave humor into the darkest scenes? Similar vibe, but this movie was actually meant as a comedy. But that ability to joke in the face of trauma, and using humor to make sense of an absurd situation, felt very human to me. I freaking love that in a movie.

And on top of that, it was just funny. I don't often laugh out loud during a film (I'm more of an inward chuckler), but this movie really had me going. The characters especially really helped that. The ease with which Kumail carried the film was impressive, but I think the real stand out was Ray Romano. I'd never particularly been a fan, but seeing this, I understand why he's a big deal. He navigated his role and the humor with graceful expertise, and it drew me in.

This is definitely one I'll be recommending if anyone asks if I've seen anything good lately. It just checks so many boxes of what I think makes a good film, and it's more unique and heartfelt than the sappy crap Hollywood likes to chuck at us. Very grateful that I got to see the movie in the setting that I did, because it was just that much more magical. This is why I love movies.

The Big Sick - \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/
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