Dead Caterpillar

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“This is The End” was a good time

Sunday, Jun 16th, 2013

Okay, this movie is not for everyone. Especially asthmatics. Seriously, my ribcage still hurts from last night. I struggled to catch my breath in between cackles of laughter during the Whitney Houston scene (if you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I’m talking about). This one’s up there with “Anchorman” and Monty Python’s “The Life of Brian.” I didn’t think you could fit so much funny in 107 minutes. In one scene, James Franco and Danny McBride engage in a pedantic argument over the proper etiquettes of masturbating in someone else’s house… You don’t need to hold a degree in funny to know that scene was funny. You don’t even need to watch the scene to find the humor in it, you can just read my banal description again.

James Franco and Danny McBride engage in a pedantic argument over the proper etiquettes of masturbating in someone else’s house.

Pfffft Hahaha! It’s spit-your-drink-out funny!

In another scene, Jonah Hill is possessed by a demon and his friends are forced to perform an exorcism but end up lighting him on fire instead. Channing Tatum becomes McBride’s bitch  and mad props to Tatum for having the balls to tuck in his balls for that scene.  Oh yeah, and Michael Cera plays a coke-snorting asshole in a jacket.

Who would have guessed, in a million years, that Michael Cera would play a coke-snorting asshole in a jacket? That’s exactly what is so god damn brilliant about this movie. It completely dispenses with any form of convention. At first you think all the actors play themselves but when Jonah Hill goes full on fruity with a strange  Mr. Rogers-type persona, you don’t know what to think.

Michael Cera’s Stupid Asshole in a Jacket persona is perhaps the funniest because it creates this odd sort of cognitive dissonance when you realize Cera is playing a character contradictory to his typecast. We’re used to seeing Cera as a mild-mannered, quirky  and endearing boyish figure. But in “This is The End,” he snorts coke and slaps Rihanna in the ass. Comedy gold! I found this sparkling gem on the IMDB page.

Initially Michael Cera wasn’t really slapping Rihanna’s butt, but rather making the motion and stopping right before touching her. As a result, the scene wasn’t working on camera because it looked too fake. Eventually Cera asked Rihanna if he could really slap her butt, she said yes but on the condition that she be allowed to really smack him across the face each time. Cera agreed.

Ha! By far the funniest sentence in that paragraph is the last: Cera agreed.

“This is The End” is a satire of everything:  the Hollywood lifestyle, the Apocalypse genre, the dick joke genre … shit, even religion! At one point, the characters come to the realization that they are in the biblical End Times and everything they are experiencing is foretold in the book of Revelation. This leads to a curious discussion about God. At some point in the very cheeky discussion, the actors stumble into the doctrine of the trinity. In an attempt to better explain the concept of God being three in one, James Franco makes the analogy that God is “like Neapolitan Ice Cream.”

Neapolitan Ice Cream. I fucking lost it.

The movie takes a lot of passes at religion but in a very smart, subtle way. It certainly doesn’t take any potty shots. Writers Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg don’t make fun of End Times Christian theology by explicitly telling us how absurd it is. Instead, you whisper this is so absurd to yourself when you watch an almost literal interpretation of the book of Revelation play out.

Okay, so, bad guys go to Hell, good guys go to Heaven. Sounds good in theory, but what about the logistics? Is there some kind of threshold of good deeds you need to cross before you can be beamed up? And what are you going to do when you get there? Surely if it’s any fun it will have roller coasters and weed… The movies explores those ideas and I think those ideas are at the core of its utter hilarity.

Also, Michael Cera snorting coke and slapping Rihanna in the ass. Nobody saw that coming!

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