This Is the End (2013)


Take Yo Panties Off!

This Is the End (2013)Based on the poster alone, I had no interest in seeing today’s movie.  I liked the people I saw on the poster, but I’ve seen them all in movies that were both great and awful, so the poster alone couldn’t really capture my attention.  But that’s why they make trailers.  When I started seeing the trailers for the movie, my desire to see it took to a sharp incline.  The trailer wasn’t laugh out loud funny, but that could be a good thing in this case.  The trailer should just show the potential for the movie; not spoil the best jokes.  And that’s what this trailer did.  Plus, the premise seemed fantastic.  But Friendboss Josh already had an appointment to see this movie with his girlfriend, the Whitney-Bird.  So we went down to the theaters to catch Man of Steel instead.  But that shit was sold out.  Good thing for me, Friendboss Josh values his friendshipbossship with me more than he values vagina, so we went to see This Is the End, written and directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and starring Jay Baruchel, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Emma Watson, Michael Cera, Jason Segel, David Krumholtz, Paul Rudd, Mindy Kaling, Martin Starr, Channing Tatum, Kevin Hart, Rihanna, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Aziz Ansari.

Jay Baruchel goes to Los Angeles to visit his friend Seth Rogen.  After a celebratory day of smoking weed and playing video games, Rogen suggests that the two of them go to a party at James Franco’s house, but Baruchel doesn’t want to go because he doesn’t know or like anyone at the party and worries about being left alone there.  Sure enough, upon arriving to the party Rogen goes off on his own, leaving Baruchel in uncomfortable conversations with people like Michael Cera, Emma Watson, and Rihanna.  Rogen and Baruchel walk down to a store to pick up some snacks, but their shopping is interrupted when blue beams of light grab some of the shoppers and drag them up to the heavens.  Then the fuckin’ apocalypse happens, instantly killing many of the celebrities at Franco’s party, leaving Rogen, Baruchel, Franco, Craig Robinson, and Jonah Hill alone in the house to fend for themselves.  They ration out what little supplies they have and go to sleep for the night.  When they wake up, they find that Danny McBride had crashed the party and fallen asleep in a bathroom upstairs, and had come down and prepared all of their food for breakfast.  How will this group of sheltered celebrities be able to survive the reckoning?

I feel like I won’t have very much to say about this movie.  What I will say is this: this is probably the best comedy I’ve seen in a very long time.  I just can’t think of very many funny things that I could put in a review about something that was keeping me laughing super consistently for the greater majority of the movie.  There was a moment to make me laugh out loud at least once every five minutes.  That’s one hell of a ratio!  I barely ever laugh in movies, so that should tell you just what I think about this movie.  I would say that it could be easily argued that the story was a little underwhelming.  It was mainly just an excuse to get these really funny people into situations they could improvise jokes about.  But a comedy doesn’t really need to blow you away with story.  One of my favorite comedies is Airplane! and that’s really all that movie is.  I’m not going to come back here and write a review about the fact that its story wasn’t spectacular when all it was trying to be was a comedy and it kept me laughing.

The cameos in this movie are crazy.  They have ridiculous celebrities in this movie.  I liked most of those people and was tickled to see them in this, and I even really liked the celebrities that I don’t normally like.  Rihanna had a funny moment with Michael Cera, Channing Tatum had an amazing joke, and even though I don’t like them, the Backstreet Boys reveal was pretty awesome, albeit unnecessary.  Jay Baruchel was a little whiny in the movie, but he was also plenty funny.  Seth Rogen was hilarious.  I did think that it didn’t make sense for people to act like he wouldn’t get into heaven if he used Jesus’ name in vain.  He’s Jewish!  They don’t care about Jesus!  James Franco had plenty of funny moments as well.  I especially liked the story he told about Lindsay Lohan thinking he was Jake Gyllenhaal and him telling her to call him the Prince of Persia.  Danny McBride is always a strange character for me.  He never really plays anyone likeable, but he’s really good at playing that character.  And he made a great joke about Franco being gay.  I would say if there were anything bad to say about the cast of this movie it would be that Emma Watson had too small of a part in the movie.  She was great in the movie, and the parts she was in were pretty hilarious, but I want to look at her at all times, and I also want to have a little resolution to what happened to her.  After she leaves, we never see her again.  I assume there’s no way she could go to heaven because she portrayed a witch in 8 movies, so that’s means she’s for sure Hell bound, but the movie never said for sure.

I really can’t do much in a review of This Is the End.  I cannot add funny to the funniest movie I’ve seen in a long time.  This movie was created by a bunch of professionally funny people, and I do this for free.  The story was an interesting idea, but a little simplistic, but who cares because it was mostly there to set up some really funny people being funny.  This movie kept me laughing all the way through, giving me only brief pauses to catch my breath so I wouldn’t die while watching it.  You definitely need to get out to see this movie as soon as you can.  I can’t imagine you’ll regret it.  This Is the End gets “The power of Christ compels you!” out of “I’d be pretty bummed if I don’t at least get a bite of the Milky Way.”

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50/50 (2011)


I’m Peeing Right Now

I have said that I’m not big on drama before, but I’m definitely a big fan of comedies.  I just prefer a movie that will make me feel better to one that will make me feel worse.  So when I started hearing about today’s movie, I didn’t know whether or not I should actually see it.  It’s a comedy, sure.  But it’s also a pretty heavy drama, and one that’s pretty real and something most people can relate to.  I’ve never been put in the position of dealing with someone with a life threatening disease and I hope to keep it that way, but I can still understand the idea of it.  And that’s exactly what this movie is about.  I didn’t know if I wanted to see it or not, but I did because my roommate made me do it.  So let’s see how it went in my review of 50/50, written by Will Reiser (and based loosely on his life), directed by Jonathan Levine, and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Anjelica Huston, Serge Houde, Bryce Dallas Howard, Matt Frewer, Philip Baker Hall, and Andrew Airlie.

Adam Lerner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) lives with his girlfriend, Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard), and works with his long-time friend Kyle (Seth Rogen), who hates Rachael.  Adam starts feeling strange pains in his back and, when he visits the doctor (Andrew Airlie), finds out the pain is caused by a rare cancer in his spine.  He must start chemotherapy right away.  He tells Kyle, who brushes it off, saying Adam’s going to beat this, no problem.  He tells Rachael, who says she’ll be there for him.  He then tells his mother, Diane (Anjelica Huston), who immediately says she’s going to move in and take care of him, but Adam doesn’t allow it because she’s already taking care of his father (Serge Houde), who is suffering from Alzheimer’s.  He also reluctantly starts going to a therapist, Katie McCay (Anna Kendrick), who is taking him as her third patient.  While undergoing chemo, he befriends two old guys, Alan (Philip Baker Hall) and Mitch (Matt Frewer).  The rest of the movie is about Adam dealing with his situation and trying to beat his disease.

This is such a fucking good movie!  There were just as many laugh out loud moments as there were really emotion ones.  I am not ashamed at all to confess to you that I cried during this movie.  I cried even though my roommate was sitting right next to me watching it and I was desperately trying to out-man him.  (It’s okay, that little bitch cried more than me, so I win).  The story is great and instantly real, even if it’s not something you’ve personally dealt with, because the story gives you time to get really close to these people so you feel for everyone.  As much as it’s super real and touching, it’s also really funny.  You never really know what you’re going to feel next.  The best thing about the movie (which could be both a comment on the writing and the performances) is how realistically the people react to the news.  I feel pretty confident that my mom would spaz out and become overbearing like Anjelica Huston did.  I also feel like I would totally react like Seth Rogen did, making jokes and acting like the other person shouldn’t worry about it because they’re totally going to beat it.  I can even understand the Rachael situation.  You know from the start that this relationship may not be going so well, and the news that Adam has cancer would just make you stick with it even if you wouldn’t normally because of how shitty you’d feel for leaving him.  Even though you find out Adam has cancer really early on, the movie doesn’t take it too seriously until around the middle.  That’s when it starts pulling you back and forth violently between emotions.  Seth Rogen says something funny, then Rachael cheats on Adam.  Then more funny stuff, then more sad stuff.  This movie is too good to ruin, but there’s a really sad part in the middle that comes out of nowhere that made my chest feel like my heart literally dropped in my chest.  It wasn’t until the very end that the realism of the drama hit me so hard that the tears started coming.  The stuff at the end was almost too real and caused my brain to insert myself and my nearly-lifetime friend (the crying little bitch) into the roles of Rogen and Levitt, but it was just as sad and real on either side of it.  Whether I had the cancer, or I had to be the friend and he had cancer, it hit me too hard either way and I couldn’t help it.  I cried.  Man Cred gone.  Thankfully, there wasn’t much Man Cred to begin with.  Also thankfully, the movie doesn’t leave you hanging.  The ending is uplifting so that I wouldn’t have to leave it bummed out.

The performances were fantastic all the way around.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt was so real that I couldn’t help but put myself in his shoes from the very beginning.  He handled cancer in the exact same way I think I would.  He just shut himself off from it, told the people he had to tell, and just kind of hoped he wouldn’t have to talk about it anymore.  Near the end of the movie, when he had a breakdown about it, it cemented that this was exactly what I’d do.  I’d have a tough, “I don’t care about this” facade up, but something would cause me to crack and scream really loudly in a car.  Seth Rogen was better than I’ve ever seen him before.  Yeah, he plays it very similar to most of his other performances, but we find out towards the end that he’s actually thinking a lot more about it than he’s letting on.  The scene between him and Levitt in the car before the surgery near the end of the movie is what finally cracked me.  Anna Kendrick was also amazing.  I’d only seen her in Twilight and (briefly) in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World before this movie, so I had little idea that the girl could act.  She was just really awkward and adorable, but trying too hard to put on a professional demeanor for her patient so they would let her help.  I can relate to that need to prove yourself to a patient/customer so that they’ll listen to you.  The introduction to her character was one of the funniest parts in the movie, but she was also involved in some of the more emotional scenes.  Anjelica Huston made me think a lot about my mom, and Levitt kind of being a distant son made me contemplate on my distance as a son.  I probably won’t change, but I thought about it.  Bryce Dallas Howard performed her role very well, but I hope she takes on a likeable character soon.  The last two movies I’ve seen her in made me hate her, but she also seems so likeable that I don’t want to hate her.  Either way, the way she played her character in this movie actually kind of made me understand her reasoning behind doing something shitty.  I didn’t approve of the characters actions, but Howard made me understand it.  Philip Baker Hall and Matt Frewer did not have a lot of screen time in the movie, but the scenes were very memorable because one of their scenes was so freaking heavy that I’m still a little bummed out about it.

50/50 was the definition of an “emotional roller-coaster” to me.  So much funny mixed seamlessly into moments so heavy that this movie became either the fourth or fifth movie that was ever able to make me cry.  It lifts you up with some great comedy and laugh out loud moments, and plummets you back to earth with super heavy, super real moments, then goes right back up again.  All of the performances in this movie are the best that I’ve seen out of any of the actors.  Don’t let the drama scare you off, you’ll leave this movie feeling uplifted if you have a pulse.  Check this movie out ASAP.  I’m buying it immediately, and I really can’t foresee someone not liking this.  50/50 gets “I bet you’d be a good girlfriend” out of “I look like Voldemort.”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

Paul (2011)


It should come as no surprise to the people that know me that I listen to a lot of podcasts. Two of said podcasts I regularly listen to lead me to the movie I’m about to review. Those podcasts are Doug Benson’s ‘Doug Loves Movies’ and Chris Hardwick’s ‘The Nerdist’. In both of these podcasts, they had on one of my favorite comedic actors to discuss this movie. That actor? Simon Pegg. That movie? Paul, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (You SHOULD know them from Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz), with the voice of Seth Rogen (How could you NOT know him) as the voice of Paul.

This movie follows Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as two nerds and aspiring writers who go to ComicCon and then go on a road trip through the most popular alien sighting locations of America. After leaving ComicCon (which you should know happens most famously in San Diego), their next stop is perhaps the largest alien hot spot, Area 51. Shortly after leaving the Black Mailbox (look it up), they are followed by a black car that then spins out of control and crashes. They go to investigate to find that the driver of the car was a small alien who introduces himself as Paul. Shortly after, they stop at a RV park for the night and end up kidnapping super-religious Kristen Wiig. They fix her of her uber-religiousness and she becomes hilarious. They are also chased by 3 law enforcement types (or as they would best be described, Men in Black) played by Jason Bateman, Bill Hader, and Joe Lo Truglio.

The plot of the movie, I’ll say it, is a little haphazard. I didn’t even really know that they were driving Paul to be picked up by his people until like 3 quarters in to the movie. The positive thing I could say about that is I didn’t give a shit. There were many laugh out loud parts to this movie (and, as I’ve said, I don’t laugh out loud to many movies), most of which belonged to Kristen Wiig. Can I tangent here for a bit? I fucking love Kristen Wiig. I would make such a baby for her right now, whether she wanted me to or not. Probably good that I don’t come in proximity to her, I suppose. I would hate to have to get all rapey. Anyway, Kristen Wiig is by far the funniest part of any movie she’s in, the only exception in this case is that everyone else holds their own to a good degree. And there are SO many hilarious people in this movie. I’ve already mentioned Pegg, Frost, Rogen, Bateman, Hader, and Lo Truglio, but there are also small bit parts where Bobby Lee, Jeffrey Tambor, Jane Lynch, and David Koechner did some good. The only problem I found with the casting is that Bateman, as Agent Zoil, was not only a straight man (that he’s usually so good at), but a badass, which I didn’t know he could do. The problem with that is that I felt his comedic talents were kind of wasted. I guess he could kind of take it easy with the rest of the cast being what they were. It’s not like he was playing opposite Jennifer Aniston and a cup of semen.

Another lovely part of this movie is all the nerd service they did, especially the ones that were so sneaky. And for any non-nerds that are watching this movie, here they are for you to look out for and not have to miss out on because you were too busy dating people to know. 1) When Pegg, Frost and Wiig enter a bar, the band is playing a rendition of the famous music from the bar in Star Wars: A New Hope. 2) At the very end, when some old lady knocks out Sigorney Weaver (Oh yeah, she’s here too. And not to go off topic too much, but regardless of age, I’d give it to Sigorney Weaver and/or Carrie Fischer if given the chance). But when the old woman knocks out Sigorney Weavery, she says “Get away from her, you bitch!” which is a line from the movie where Sigorney got to be a badass, Aliens. I think it was Aliens, not Alien. …ummmmmm…. yeah, it sounds right. 3) A smaller one, but the name of the firework they signal Paul’s people with is the 5 tones, and they play the famous 5 tones, made famous by Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I’m only vaguely positive that’s the movie it’s from, but if I’m wrong, I’m sorry I haven’t seen it. And if I’m right, my nerdiness runs so deep, I know a lot about movies I haven’t even seen!

I only bought this movie on a whim, having not seen it in theaters, because if I bought the Big Lebowski on Blu-Ray with either Paul or Your Highness, I got a t-shirt. And I don’t trust Your Highness enough to buy it on a whim. I’ll totally watch it, but I don’t expect much. I didn’t expect that much out of Paul, but Pegg and Frost didn’t let me down. This is by far the worst of the 3 films I know they’ve worked on, but when you’re the worst amongst Shaun of the Dead (arguably my favorite zombie movie ever) and Hot Fuzz (almost INarguably my favorite cop action movie), you shouldn’t feel too bad about being behind a bit.

I won’t promise you’ll all like it, but if you tell me you don’t laugh, I’ll think there’s something wrong with your brain. …out of 5…