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Laramie Movie Scope:
This is the End

Hollywood Apocalypse

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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June 13, 2013 -- This comedy about death, destruction and depravity is getting good reviews for some reason. It creeped me out for the most part, although some of it is funny. It reminded me more of a reality TV show than a movie. One thing's for sure, even if I got invited to a party at James Franco's house, I would not go.

This movie is sort of like a gory, stoner comedy version of “Left Behind.” The righteous are instantly transported to heaven, while the sinners, like Hollywood actors, are left behind to be hunted by demons, and each other. The main actors in this movie all play themselves, not made-up characters, and these people do not play nice. One of them turns into the leader of a pack of cannibals and ends up eating one of his “friends.” Another well-known-actor is possessed by a demon and is killed by his friends. With friends like this, who needs enemies?

The others all turn their backs on their friends in need and feud amongst themselves for the most of the film. They are cowardly anti-heroes for the most part. Some get what they deserve, but most do not. They are overly privileged in life, and overly privileged in the afterlife as well.

In one scene, two of a handful of survivors of a huge party at James Franco's house, Craig Robinson (“Pineapple Express”) and Jay Baruchel (“Tropic Thunder”) are on an expedition next door to find food and water. Baruchel suggests they not go back to Franco's place because he doesn't like the people there, including Franco (“Oz: The Great and Powerful”) Jonah Hill (“Moneyball”) Danny McBride (“Pineapple Express”) and Seth Rogen (Rogen, of “Pineapple Express” also directs this film and co-wrote the screenplay).

I'm with Baruchel. I would not go back to Franco's place, either. Emma Watson (“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”) also shows up briefly. There are many cameos by many other famous actors in the film.

In one comedy scene, a stranger sticks his head in the door of Franco's house and asks for asylum, while the actors debate the request, the man's head is ripped off and the actors kick the bloody head around on the floor like a soccer ball for a while. Very funny. In other scenes, people drink their own urine when they run out of water. There are a number of scenes like this in the movie that creeped me out. I know I was supposed to enjoy this “edgy,” no-holds barred comedy, but a number of these jokes did not strike me as funny. The characters were more repellent than appealing.

There is a lot of redemption going on near the end of the film, but I didn't really buy it. The awful way these people behaved in the rest of the film, most of them are far beyond redemption, just as this film is. Parts of this film were so repellent I could not bear to look at the screen. At the same time, I did laugh, too. Some of the jokes are funny.

What puts me off is the unwieldy mixture of comedy and horror, in a film peopled with mean-spirited, self-centered, privileged characters. Of course, these are comic exaggerations of the real people, but since these actors are playing themselves, you have to wonder just how close these portrayals are to the truth. Comedy is based on truth. As Sid Caesar said, “Comedy has to be based on truth. You take the truth and you put a little curlicue at the end.”

Too bad this film comes across more like a reality TV show (you could call it “Big Brother Celebrity Apocalypse”) than a movie. That is O.K. if you happen to like reality TV shows, and lots of people must, or there would not be so many of them. I hate reality TV shows, hate them, hate them, hate them. It is this reality show aspect which leads to the troubling thought that these actors could be remotely like the awful people they seem to be in this movie. That helps to make this film an unpleasant experience. This film rates a C.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2013 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)