Well, it was time for the annual trek to Knott’s Halloween Haunt in Buena Park. Typically we head down around 1PM (to check into the hotel by 3PM), which means the morning is basically sitting around, waiting to go.
So, I looked around the park and found a bargain theater nearby showing three second run films we hadn’t seen: The Boy wanted to see The Conjuring (one of the best reviewed films of the summer), and The Flower wanted to see Despicable Me 2 (one of the other best reviewed films). The Boy talked The Flower (who’s not into horror movies) into The Conjuring to “get hype” for the night at the park.
On the way down my phone/GPS burnt out and we ended up arriving late, and so only had time to see This Is The End, which is really what I wanted to see anyway (primarily on the basis that this was going to be our only chance).
And I thoroughly enjoyed it, though the kids weren’t crazy about it, not too surprisingly.
I thought this was a movie where the various actors (Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel and Craig Robinson, primarily) believed the end of the world had come and therefore acted like asses in their attempts to save their own skins.
In fact, the premise is that The Rapture has, in fact, come, and they, being the narcissistic assholes that they are, get Left Behind in the demon-infested wasteland of Los Angeles.
That’s a pretty funny premise, really. Especially given that they’re playing themselves. They’ve noted that they started with the actors “playing themselves” and then put in some completely off-the-wall not them part.
For example, one ongoing thread is that Jonah Hill is really, really nice, especially to Jay Baruchel. Later, he prays to God to suggest that Baruchel was His biggest mistake. (Praying to God in an evil fashion is probably not something you want to do during the Apocalypse: News you can use!)
At the same time, Baruchel has commented that scenes occasionally got intense because the actors were saying things to each other that they had been holding back in real life. (N.B.: Actors are insane.)
So, yeah, I was very favorably impressed by a lot of things in this movie. The very fact that they made it about an actual apocalypse, no Scooby Doo-ing out of it, for one. That it shows when a group of actors tries to survive the apocalypse, the first thing they think of to do is…make movies. (These guys are completely incompetent at anything even remotely like a survival skill, which may be an exaggeration, but then again might not be.) That some pretty big actors do little cameos where they’re killed or debased. (Channing Tatum being my favorite, probably, but also Paul Rudd, Mindy Kaling, Michael Cera, and all the guys you’d expect to be hanging out with this crowd.)
Emma Watson shows up in a bit that was (obviously) written for Mila Kunis; Watson does a good job.
It drags a bit in the middle. The fact that they’re actors and have no clue is both essential to the story and kind of an anchor to it. There was a lot of improvisation done and it’s not bad, but it doesn’t rise to, e.g., the “know how I know you’re gay” bit from 40 Year Old Virgin, for example.
Lotta enormous demon penises (penii?). This is theologically correct, I should point out, but it’s also weird.
While a very Christian take on the Apocalypse, potential salvation comes through sacrifice, not through accepting Jesus. That would’ve been odd, to say the least.
Of course, some people are offended at the very notion of Heaven and Hell and going to one place or another based on what you do, and probably even moreso that they’re not the sort of people who’d make it to Heaven.
These people are insane, and should be shunned. Many of them post to IMDB.
Overall, though, kind of a gutsy film. Funnier if you know who the players are, which I think accounts for the kids not liking it as much as I did. Probably not funnier than Despicable Me 2 nor scarier than The Conjuring.