When I first heard of the movie This is the End, I was intrigued. The premise is that a bunch of actors that are playing themselves, like Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, and Craig Robinson are at a party at James Franco’s house when the Rapture, the literal Biblical end of times, starts.
The movie sounded interesting and after listening to Seth Rogen’s interview on Fresh Air back when the movie was initially released with Evan Goldberg, who he wrote and directed the movie with, I put it on my list of “Movies I want to see but shouldn’t watch in the theater because I’m pretty sure there’s inappropriate content in there that I don’t want to watch on the Big Screen so I’ll wait until it’s available for rental to check it out”.
So I checked it out this past week.
I really liked it. Yes, there was stuff in there that I wish I hadn’t seen or heard and I’ll be unable to shake the actors’ onscreen personas with how they are in real life, but I thought it was a good movie because, and I’m not sure if this was the intent of the filmmakers, I got an actual message watching the movie: It’s never too late to rectify one’s behavior and be a good person.
When the apocalypse begins, Seth and Jay are in a convenience store a short walk from James Franco’s place (I feel like I can say “Seth” and “Jay” but just saying “James” doesn’t feel right so I’ll be addressing James Franco by his full name), taking a break from the party. At the moment the end of times starts, Jay witnesses some of the patrons in the convenience store being “beamed” up in blue light. Essentially, they were part of the “good” people taken while the rest of humanity was left behind – a look outside the window of the store confirms that people are being taken from all over.
When Seth and Jay make it back to James Franco’s place, everyone is still there. Long story short, a lot of them eventually fall down a fiery pit that opens up right outside James Franco’s house and there are few guys left to stay in the house and survive.
Not everyone bought Jay’s theory about the end of times. One of the reasons that Jay’s suggestion that the destruction was the Rapture and he saw people being “saved” doesn’t jibe well is because to suggest that would be to suggest those that weren’t beamed are essentially not good people who deserve to be saved.
Slowly, they all realize that maybe they aren’t the nice people that they would hope to be because of some of the awful stuff they’ve done in their lives.
In an attempt to escape the house, Craig Robinson offers himself up as a sacrifice to distract one of the demons flying around so the rest of them can get to a car to get out of there. He knows he hasn’t been the best person and he really feels doing something like this, sacrificing himself for the well-being of his friends, will help make up for the fact that he hadn’t been living his life the way he should have been. His plan works and the demon is completely distracted by Craig. As it swoops in to devour him, something happens – a beam of light takes Craig away. He is now officially saved.
Just because he wasn’t taken in the first go around doesn’t mean that he didn’t stand a chance. He righted himself, proved himself worthy with a selfless act, and it was all good.
I loved that.
We all have those moments, the ones where we have a lot of self-doubt and wonder if we’re good, good enough, and maybe not so what’s the point of anything. Why even try if we’re never going to be where we need to be. As I was watching the film, I couldn’t help but think of all things I still want to do in life. I’ve been feeling a bit stagnant these days, like I’m not putting enough effort into learning all that I should about my own religion, how I need step up the good deeds, and that I still have a lot of reading and writing I want to do. I shouldn’t wait to get started on all the things I have on my mental list of “stuff”. It’s not too late for me to be the person I want to be, just like Craig, Jay, and Seth. Whether or not I believe in the end of times as depicted in This is the End doesn’t matter. I may never be where I want to be but that’s okay – I should at least try. For me, this movie wasn’t about a bunch of celebrities trying to cope after the beginning of the apocalypse, it was about coming to terms with reality, understanding one’s shortcomings, and figuring out how to grow from there.
Maybe not the intended message of This is the End, but that’s what I got out of the movie. I’ll take it!