This is the End
I somehow talked my husband into going to see This is the End before Man of Steel. I'm glad we did, because it was the perfect amount of absurdity after a long week.
If you're thinking this film maaaaybe looks good and maybe looks stupid, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Self, do I think Seth Rogan is a huge douche?
Self, did I think Pineapple Express was a waste of film?
Self, do I get offended easily at comedic violence/swearing/drug use?
Self, do I hate self-referential humor?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, stay the eff away. You probably won't like this. On the other hand, if you're a fan of these guys at their silliest (Seth Rogan, James Franco, Jay Baer, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Jonah Hill, etc) in movies like Superbad, Pineapple Express, Hot Tub Time Machine, this film is frigging hilarious.
I think this film is probably best seen with absolutely no idea of whats's going to happen, so if you're going to see it, I would skip the rest of this review until you come back to agree with me. Otherwise, read on.
Like I said, it's totally absurd. The actors play themselves. James Franco throws a party in his new house, the apocalypse happens, and these guys have to learn to survive together. The main plot is the friendship between Seth Rogan and Jay Baer. They've hit a rough patch where they've realized they've grown apart and they're trying to keep it together...while the world is ending. For a film that takes place almost entirely in a house, it has a really good, full story with just enough resolution.
The film jumped around a lot and I legitimately had no idea if it was the biblical apocalypse or an alien attack or what. When it became clear that it was going into the Left Behind sort of theme, I started to get a bit meh. But then I realized the utter absurdity of everything was hilarious, yet exactly how it's written in the Bible. So you can't really complain either way, it's funny stuff.
I mean, it's not like it's preachy. There's a battle/argument between James Franco and Danny McBride that really eliminates all the preachiness that could ever happen, ever.
It also had some great musical cues and great lines. And Michael Cera playing a sex-crazed coked up douchebag. Tons of hilarious cameos. The clips released ahead of time are only the beginning. In an interview, Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg said about 50% of the film ended up being ad libbed.
And definitely the award for the most WTF ending I can think of in the last couple of years. I WTF'd so hard. Some people didn't like it, but if you know me, you'd understand why I almost died watching it. That's all I'm gonna say about that. And I'd also argue that it works really well to end a film like this, but I'll only get into it if I have to. Must preserve secret ending.
Anyhoo, I'm curious if anyone else went to see this. Dunno who among you would. I'm counting on you, Scott.
I did see This is the End over the weekend, and I think it's probably my favorite film of the year so far!
Is it weird that I couldn't help but feel a little sentimental while watching This is the End? If I think about it, Seth Rogan and the rest of the "Apatow crew" kind of shaped my perception of what was funny movie comedy in my twenties. And now as I approach the end of my twenties, This is the End almost feels like a celebration of everything that these six guys have done over the last few years. Because they totally couldn't have made this movie five years ago. It was only through the climb from "Hey aren't those the guys from Freaks & Geeks?" to becoming certified A-list comedy talent (and two of them have even become Oscar nominated) that we could appreciate the hilariously fictionalized versions of themselves that they created for this film. It was years of getting to know these people through their on-screen and off-screen behavior that anyone could accept this movie for what it actually is, which, to be honest, is a self-congratulatory pat on the back for all of these actors. Luckily, they do it in such a self-deprecating way that the self-congrats don't feel gratuitous, and basically just results in us laughing at their expense, BUT at an expense that they intentionally created themselves. I don't know if what I wrote just made sense, I'm not going to reread it and just hope for the best. [gets nosebleed, loses vision in right eye]
And the "characters" in this movie were definitely great; from Franco's sexually ambiguous artist, to Rogen's selfish conflict avoiding wuss, to Jonah Hill's holier-than-thou nice guy celebrity, to uh, well, Danny McBride being Danny McBride. I think the only guy who pulled the unlucky burnt match in this one was Jay Baruchel, who was reduced to the straight man in a group of hilarious people. But we sort of needed a grounded character; a normal person with which we could identify with. But *if* Baruchel told a single joke in this movie, I don't think I could tell you what it was. Maybe my only criticism of the movie is that some of the "be nice people to your friends" stuff was a little forced, or maybe just got injected into a few scenes in order to set up the ending, but it wasn't bad enough to damage the film overall. Everything Seth Rogen and Even Goldberg write about always ends up having some sentiment about being nice to your bros, anyway.
I can't think of a better blend of comedy and action than what I saw in this film (well, maybe Hot Fuzz [OK, probably Hot Fuzz]). While near the end of the movie you can finally start to tell what's going to happen right before it does, I don't think you can predict what actually happens in the third act when you're still in the first and second. The third act was absolutely nuts, and I loved it. I liked that this was a movie that wasn't hesitant to kill off some of the main characters, as long as it was in a hilarious way. These guys didn't mind not making it to the end of the movie, or having the maximum amount of screen time possible, as long as they went out on a laugh. And that's not even getting into the amazing amount of cameos, almost all of which don't mind succumbing to death for the sake of comedy as well. Coked-up-Michael Cera steals every scene he's in. That's another guy who wouldn't have been as funny in this movie if they made it five years ago.
I think the joke in the first scene of the film (which Rogen wrote AND directed, btw) sums up the self-awareness throughout the film, when a paparazzi dude gets in Seth's face and says "So, you play the same role in every movie, right? Why don't you do something different? Hey, give me your laugh!" These guys know who they are, and they let us laugh both with and at them. Or more so, laugh at the public perception of who we think they are. Except Danny McBride, I'm pretty sure he's just being himself.
Rogen was on the Howard Stern Show last week to promote the movie (who is always a great guest, even if Howard always fixates for too long on Seth's weed habits), and he told a funny story about how he was pitching Superbad to people a few years ago and almost every studio turned him down initially. Then after it was a hit, he went to pitch Pineapple Express to the same people, and studio executives say "Damn, I wish I hadn't passed on Superbad...!" But then still turned him down for Pineapple Express. Then when he was pitching This is the End, he had a talk with the same executives again, and the people were yet again like "Man, I was pretty stupid for not making Pineapple Express with you...!" And then STILL turned down This is the End. It was a comically sad story of just how bad most studio executives are at learning lessons in their business. It's so weird how a studio will give Will Smith an inflated budget for a pile of crap like After Earth without hesitation (MORE CGI BABOONS PLEASE!), but won't give Seth Rogen any money to make R-rated comedies, which always end up profitable, because it's something people actually want to see. It's probably because of Will Smith's international appeal... Stupid rest of the world, you're why After Earth got made the way it did. Then again, American audience approval isn't so great; we made Delta Farce with Larry the Cable Guy because of it. Anyway, Sony Entertainment keeps picking up Rogen's films, and we should all be thankful for that.
This is the End delivers some of the most consistent laughs throughout a film that I've seen in a long time. And not just "through the nose" chuckles, but full on laughs. At one point during a scene when the guys are just walking outside to another house, and nothing particularly funny is actually happening, I noticed that I had a huge smile on my face, because I knew something funny was about to happen, and I didn't know what. And that's a great achievement for a comedy; making people smile during the moments when they aren't even trying to be funny.
[Kylee Wall] "I mean, it's not like it's preachy. There's a battle/argument between James Franco and Danny McBride that really eliminates all the preachiness that could ever happen, ever. "
100% serious here, I think that may have been the most genuinely emotional Danny McBride has ever been in anything. It was the perfect mix of his trademark dickishness, and complete and utter frustration. He was a real actor for a minute there. But in typical McBride fashion, it was about something relatively disgusting.
Last night I watched a RedBox double feature of Iron Man 3 and This is the End. Ok to clarify, I watched This is the End until I fell asleep but it was like 1am and I was very tired from forcing myself to watch all of Iron Man 3.
There is an Iron Man 3 thread so I'll only say here that it was better than most Part 2, but not very exciting. Yeah the Air Force One rescue was amazing and the endearing friendship between Tony and the little boy in Tennessee was cute, but it was just kind of silly in many ways.
This is the End intrigued me because I like seeing actors making fun of themselves. This Apatow crew, although missing a few Freaks and Geeks alum, make a great ensemble. How they convinced Emma Watson to appear in a movie in which there is a scene about sexually assaulting Emma Watson must have made her agent cringe but she did a great job. While it was basically a movie full of cameos, once the main characters started acting like movie versions of themselves they made it work.
I enjoyed the heck out of this for no good reason. Lots of random crap, like Danny McBride -- who nobody knew was there, right? - woke up and cooked all the food at once, thinking he was being nice. The Emma Watson thing was out-of-control awesome. I'm sure she demanded to be part of this, especially for her second appearance. She probably would have paid to be in it if they didn't pay her. She's not gonna get naked a la Dan Radcliffe, but crashing the party with an axe? Yep, she's in.
There's a great gif set circulating on the web of Rihanna clocking Michael Cera. He asked Rihanna if it was okay if he REALLY slapped her butt, and she said, absolutely. She asked, would it be okay if she REALLY slapped his face? Needless to say, he said of course.
When they shot it, they were both pretty pleased with the butt slap, but he kept telling her to hit him harder. HARDER. Finally, she hit him so hard that he couldn't stand up, and he had to go lay down. LOL It's a fantastic gif set, well worth tracking down. Seeing him play evil and come to an end similar to Chef on South Park was immensely satisfying.
As was Franco's bromance for Rogen. I loved that. The sequel to Pineapple Express that they acted out was hilarious.
Taking it in the spirit it was intended, I think they entirely stuck the landing. Of course, if you weren't pretty well bought in from the beginning, the end is over the top distasteful, but in context, couldn't have been more perfect. I probably won't watch it again on purpose, but I sure wouldn't have wanted to miss it.
I actually think I liked this movie even more the second time. I didn't really want to watch it again but I did anyway, and laughed even more than I did in the theater.
I've come to the conclusion that Danny McBride is a national treasure. The intense verbal altercation about...personal habits...yelled between he and Franco will live on in cinematic history forever.
Also, I really really want to see Pineapple Express 2.