October 4th, 2013


Review: Why I hated This Is the End

Seth Rogen and his friends team up to bring us This Is the End, and if you're one of Seth Rogen's friends I guarantee you will almost piss yourself with laughter.

And if your experience watching this movie was one of mirth and wonder, you can go ahead and stop reading now. You're able to see more than I.

Okay, are they gone now?

This movie was an opulent turd. I've never had to endure something so pointless in my life that was also so polished. The movie bears resemblance to a good, healthy bowel movement that leaves no mess. But it's a bowel movement that I didn't want to make time for.

Perhaps Seneca would say I'm a dangerously optimistic person, and that's why I'm angry at this movie – it falls short of what I expect to see in other people in every possible way. Instead of laughing at the sociopathic goofballs, I hated them.

It's a shame, because the movie started out so promisingly. Just Rogen and his Canadian friend Jay Baruchel. Jay blasting Rogen's cleansing and gluten-free brainwashing. Jokes about pot. It's setting up to be the perfect stoner movie! Actually, let's ask my friend Mailliw to comment on that.

“Hey, Mailliw, you were high when you saw this movie, right? I'm a Respectable Law-Abiding Citizen™ and never touch that stuff because it's Illegal™, but can you tell me what it was like to see this high?”

“It was rough, man! It started out good but then it bugged me how the people kept doing things that were thoughtless and inconsiderate instead of smart and pro-social. It made me hate them! Plus my friend kept stopping the movie, prolonging the agony. And then later we were stopped for someone else and he said with no hint of a joke 'I hate it when I have to stop the movie for other people.' But he'd stopped it on us for an hour on aggregate! We're cool now, but while the movie was going I just wanted it to be over, but it just refused to end. It was a bad trip, dude.”

“Thanks, Mailliw!”

But yeah, it looked like it was setting up to be a great movie – I might have written “comedy with good hard laughs” – and then the party happens. A party with a bunch of people who you don't care about (unless you are way deeper into pop-entertainment culture than I am), acting like jerks, thinking they're funny. It's like a high school film with a budget.

Maybe if the actors had been pro athletes and there were a bunch of sports references, I might have liked this movie more. I'm not saying sports culture is better than pop-entertainment culture; they're equally banal. It's just that I'm into sports, whereas I'm not into pop-entertainment culture. Actually, to be honest, I actively dislike pop-entertainment, like a disgruntled failed actor would. So my hate-on for this movie isn't entirely the fault of the movie. I hate pop-entertainment like one of my cousins hates sports – I don't know why she hates sports, but at least now I understand her feelings.

The conceit of this movie is that celebs making fun of themselves is funny. Because they're celebs, you see? Everything celebs do is funny, or at least fascinating. So this movie must be a slam dunk, because it's celebs, who are funny, making fun of themselves, who are funny – I mean, it must be funny squared or something!


It's not funny. They're assholes. Just assholes. And they're not laughing, “Ha-ha, you asshole,” like real friends do. The characters all get on each other's nerves. They also got on my nerves. They were so good at pretending to be a waste of space that they were a waste of space. Even Jay, who has a hint of maybe being a soul-searching character, is in the end difficult to root for. He whines, but during the first half of the movie at least I agree with him. It's still whining, though. He bugs me like this review is probably bugging you, if you liked this movie.

I wanted most of the cast to be eaten so the movie would be over. Emma Watson is in this and you're now allowed to say outside of LiveJournal that she's as hot as all get out, but she's wasted on a throwaway gag.

Severe spoilers follow. If you want to see this movie without them, stop reading here.

It's the apocalypse, so inevitably the characters end up bargaining their way into Heaven. Lesson: If you're good when God's watching you, you'll go to Heaven! No, you nicompoops! It's being good when people aren't watching you! I'll see your real ethics if I can see what you do when you don't know you're being watched. Anybody will sacrifice themselves if they know that it's an automatic on-ramp to Heaven. That diminishes the meaning of the sacrifice, since it's no longer a sacrifice at all. It's not bad... I mean, it's an integrative solution if it's good for you and you also save your friends, but there's nothing really noble in it.

Some of them get to Heaven. Several things will strike the thinking person:

Why are they all wearing clothes? We ought to be naked and free!

Why are they smoking pot? Hopefully they have steel lungs or something.

Why the fuck do they have the Backstreet Boys?! Or why not, I guess. This must be Pop-entertainment Heaven. I think I'd rather go to Dog Heaven.

If Seth Rogen had set out wanting to lampoon apocalyptic ideas, he should have followed the source material more closely. Instead we get a threadbare pastiche with a dash of his personal wish fulfilment. (“Everybody loves the Backstreet Boys! Only squares don't love the Backstreet Boys!”)

That's enough. I think I've made my case against this movie. In my Twitter review, I gave it 2.5. Even though I know more of where my hatred is coming from, the fact that this movie paints a depraved caricature of us is offensive enough to me that I'm not moving that needle very far. 2.51