Numbers and Inspiration – ‘This is the End’

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Holeee-shit. Have you seen This Is The End yet?

I know that last week I said we were going to talk about fast cars. But every once in awhile, something comes up that preempts everything else. That’s what happened this weekend when I caught This is the End in the theater.

I don’t even know where to start on This is the End. So, let’s just go with…

The Numbers

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This is the End has made almost $75M at the domestic box office so far. And there are legs on this one, to be sure. The theater I was at this weekend had about a dozen people in it, and by my take the screen it was relegated to only had space for about a dozen more. (It was one of those teeny tiny side rooms at the multiplex, you know?) Too bad those remaining seats weren’t filled. Because everyone at my screening, weeks after initial release, were having a ball with this movie.

We laughed, we cried…and then we laughed some more. This is the End is without a doubt one of, if not the funniest film I’ve seen in the last five years. It’s instantly quotable, but I have to be honest…I laughed so hard I can’t remember a single quotable line. I hope this film makes $100M at the box office, and then makes another $100M from DVD sales. It’s that good.

And the chances of it hitting $100M are high, because it hasn’t even been released internationally yet. At a budget of $35M, This Is The End already a moneymaker.  And DVD sales will be high, because this is the type of movie you used to watch with your friends once a week, mostly when imbibing in your choice of muscle relaxer.

The Inspiration

Talking about inspiration with This Is The End is a tough call, because to be honest, while I normally venture into spoiler territory in my weekly column, I do not want to let any of  the many, many comedic cats out of the bag for people who haven’t seen it yet. (Site owner Shawn Lealos, I’m looking at you.) But we certainly can point to a few big topics of inspiration that are woven throughout this crazy tapestry to give everyone an idea of why this is such a unique film.

To do so, I do need to talk slightly about the overall story of the film. Don’t worry, no specific plot points will be revealed. As many already know or can guess by the film’s title, This Is The End is the story of the end of days and how it affects a group of actors attending a Hollywood party. The first thing that’s unique about This Is The End is that all of the actors Michael-Cera-This-is-the-Endplay themselves. James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride and many other are simply partying away when the Apocalypse strikes. (Look for an especially hilarious turn by Michael Cera. I know you don’t believe me, but trust me…he will make you guffaw.) Sure, most of these actors are often accused of basically playing themselves in all their movies, but here it’s the interaction between friends, acquaintances and colleagues that sell the piece. As fire and brimstone spew from the hills of L.A., there’s plenty of time for all these guys (and some gals) to question their worth and existence as part of the Hollywood machine. That alone inspires, because if we sit back and think about the time and money spent on the entertainment we love to follow, we certainly can scratch our heads. The movie also manages to overcome some of the outlandish aspects of Hollywood to remind us all exactly why entertainment is so important. Everyone needs some escape sometimes, and chances are if you’re reading this movies are one of your go-to methods of doing so. This Is The End does a great job of highlighting the necessity and occasionally inherent absurdity of the film industry.

The other point of inspiration that bears special mention is the insanely entertaining craziness on display in This Is The End. I’ve no idea where some of these ideas came from, or how they found their way into a script to be realized onscreen. The only theory I have is that the high levels of weed usage in the film were derived form actual research session methodology. Sure, most movies about the end of the world give their creative partners a lot of free reign to paint imaginative landscapes, but I’ll be damned if I’ve seen one this crazy in a long, long time. Crudeness, heart and actual horror and action beats blend together to create something truly special.

To try and describe This Is The End any further without jumping into spoilers is a bit of a lost cause, and as I’ve already said, I’m very reluctant to give away anything else about the movie if you haven’t seen it yet. I’ve seen a few negative revithis-is-the-end-demonews calling the film self indulgent on the part of the actors, directors and writers, but that’s kind of the point. They’re saying something about what they do for a living, how much they like and and (gasp!) how much they sometimes hate  the bullshit that goes along with Hollywood productions. And they manage to poke fun at themselves and the system in the process, but not in a spiteful way. It’s simply a fascinating, entertaining exercise. One of my Renegade Cinema colleagues, Derick ‘d-rock’ Dotson, told me that This Is The End is already in his top 10 for the year, and is one of the ballsiest comedies made in the last five years. I couldn’t agree more. Give it a look, because chances are high that you will too.

Thanks for reading. Tune in again next week; maybe we’ll get to those fast cars.

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About the Author

Rick Tym
is an industrial equipment marketing professional by day who catches up on television and movies at night (well, mostly weekends). He has a love for all things horror and geek culture related, and also appreciates that comedy is the hardest genre of all in which to succeed.
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