Skip to main content

This is the End


This is the End

Emma Watson makes an appearance in This is the End, and it's to scold Jay Baruchel on his better-than-thouness, and subsequently later to axe off the top of a giant scrotum statue that camps mock-proudly in James Franco's fortress dwelling, as she goes raving femme-fatal on these jumpy boys. She isn't meant to come off badly; in fact the film wants to make it seem like it's deferring to her. But basically she's one who can't be included within the boys' play; and it can, and sorta is, a way of revenging yourself on someone. Like Kate Middleton, she's become too high stature to be other than someone you part your way around, like a school of small fish around a shark, when she's predated herself upon your premises. This film's reminder of this status was probably invisible to her; in fact I think she thought she was including herself in with those expected to bear some of the ribbing, and therefore also part of the fun. But if she wanted the film to force people to make more of an effort to treat her as someone worthy of engaging in some truly respectful, that is, not beyond genuine critiquing and in a less stand-offish way, to have cooperated it wouldn't have used the film's "rapey vibe" joke as a plant to really just set her off and jet her out of the film.

Rather, rather than the safe humor enabled by keeping it to Tatum Channing alone, it would have challenged us to think on why we were so disquieted by how they were willing to show themselves depicted when she ended up following Tatum out on a leash as one of cannibal-leader McBride's zipped-up gimp bitches. Think on it. We wouldn't have fretted because we would have found ourselves thinking – "this could end your film career”; we would have done so because since there is absolutely no way we're ever going to not want to see Watson as film royalty since she's one of those serving as a god-type starlett fully immune to disposal that keeps us feeling small, temporary, and therefore unpretentious, somehow we're going to have to live with an image so much more impossible to chase out of our heads than Middleton's caught-unaware boob shots. How many in the film audience would have thought that if she let herself be shown in this position she's dumbly submitted herself to a further collective pile on? That is, to what happened to actresses caught out in the films before, notably with Elisabeth Berkeley, and as was at issue and palpably for a moment at hand in Seth Macfarlane's assaulting query at the Oscars to all of still-acting Hollywood's accomplished actresses who'd ever for continued relevance bared a boob? And yet regardless we're still keeping you in place, even in a position where hereto cognitive dissonance and upset would meant our immediately needing to chase anyone like you out, is what we could not at some level be aware of. For some of us it'd be a spark to reflect bravely on – why. And from this, some subsequent work toward counting her just as much worth dignity but on the same human level as ourselves.

The film is ostensibly about the end of life, but to me it's about how to best spend time while in an ostensible sort of purgatory. Kind of like Casablanca is ostensibly about that, when in reality they're both about how to spend time in a place that you'd want no way out of. New life comes to James Franco's castle home and ongoing party, just like all newcomers find their way to Sam's suave long-standing cafe, from a world that has become increasingly hostile: Germany has crashed through Paris's gates in Casablanca, but here still, with people taking swipes at Rogen’s film career while greeting Jay at the airport, and with the "mean shopkeeper lady" scaring him from even attempting to buy a chocolate bar while sojourning to a grocery store, things on the outside are making doing anything while exposed to it other than full-immersion buffering it, an increasingly unlikely thing as well. Hosting is left to someone who knows to let everyone come in and find their place and do their business, while never leaving people without someone who still will conduct affairs. There's some underhanded dealings on the outskirts of the place, and, we can assume, some rowdier characters, but the center is the confident host and his robust rotund piano-playing entertainer, keeping things humming, pleasingly tipsy and teased. 

When hell descends, it's rather as if the boys had retreated back to Seth Rogan's place, home for xboxing fun and a lower scale sort of ribaldry – boys wrestling and "I drank my pee" jokes –  in a noticeably confined space. No longer is it so much a place to spend much time in, and the outside world of flames and awful happenings seems to not have much of a fortress wall to give backtalk and bulwark to: the sense you have when one of them steps out, is of someone leaving their pitched tent into a ranging tempest forest fire ... it does feel brave as shit when Craig Robinson ascents to entering it. And so there is a sense that the rest of the film is about dogging towards a mechanism by which a space sort of akin to the lost safe James Franco party-world can be unlocked, while meanwhile entertaining us with the full possible supply of fun and jokes that can be squeezed out by a bunch of quick-witted guys caught in some place quickly being besieged by their own excretions. At the end, when they all ultimately leave it, it feels like they were forced to ...  the “outhouse” had packed brown and was pushing them out.

The relief from leaving it, almost makes once again meeting Danny McBride a thrill, even as we're understanding him as a pack-leader cannibal. And so too even James Franco's being eaten, as after-all this links us back to the party where he actually suggested this happening to him in a sequel to Pineapple Express. Mind you, we were already primed to like McBride. In a movie world ultimately built of people taking pleasure in refuge, he actually exults into a status of someone who isn’t going to let anything from the outside cage him. When he greets his former friends, it feels appropriate that he seems almost to have forgotten them – "You guys are still alive?" He can do the shocking thing of cutting ties when appropriate and moving on, which is a miracle in a world designed to make people want to cling to the familiar. No wonder his peers were shocked that he’d leave them so totally, and no wonder even after trying to shoot them they let him go untouched. However much we get a spell of a great purgatory in this film there's of course no Divine or Fiend, but this was unanticipated and unfamiliar enough to for a moment seem an outerworldly visitation. 


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Superimposing another "fourth-wall" Deadpool

I'd like to superimpose the fourth-wall breaking Deadpool that I'd like to have seen in the movie. In my version, he'd break out of the action at some point to discuss with us the following:
1) He'd point out that all the trouble the movie goes to to ensure that the lead actress is never seen completely naked—no nipples shown—in this R-rated movie was done so that later when we suddenly see enough strippers' completely bared breasts that we feel that someone was making up for lost time, we feel that a special, strenuous effort has been made to keep her from a certain fate—one the R-rating would even seemed to have called for, necessitated, even, to properly feed the audience expecting something extra for the movie being more dependent on their ticket purchases. That is, protecting the lead actress was done to legitimize thinking of those left casually unprotected as different kinds of women—not as worthy, not as human.   


2) When Wade/Deadpool and Vanessa are excha…

"The Zookeeper's Wife" as historical romance

A Polish zoologist and his wife maintain a zoo which is utopia, realized. The people who work there are blissfully satisfied and happy. The caged animals aren't distraught but rather, very satisfied. These animals have been very well attended to, and have developed so healthily for it that they almost seem proud to display what is distinctively excellent about them for viewers to enjoy. But there is a shadow coming--Nazis! The Nazis literally blow apart much of this happy configuration. Many of the animals die. But the zookeeper's wife is a prize any Nazi officer would covet, and the Nazi's chief zoologist is interested in claiming her for his own. So if there can be some pretence that would allow for her and her husband to keep their zoo in piece rather than be destroyed for war supplies, he's willing to concede it.

The zookeeper and his wife want to try and use their zoo to house as many Jews as they can. They approach the stately quarters of Hitler's zoologist …

Full conversation about "Bringing Up Baby" at the NewYorker Movie Facebook Club

Richard Brody shared a link.Moderator · November 20 at 3:38pm I'm obsessed with Bringing Up Baby, which is on TCM at 6 PM (ET). It's the first film by Howard Hawks that I ever saw, and it opened up several universes to me, cinematic and otherwise. Here's the story. I was seventeen or eighteen; I had never heard of Hawks until I read Godard's enthusiastic mention of him in one of the early critical pieces in "Godard on Godard"—he called Hawks "the greatest American artist," and this piqued my curiosity. So, the next time I was in town (I… I was out of town at college for the most part), I went to see the first Hawks film playing in a revival house, which turned out to be "Bringing Up Baby." I certainly laughed a lot (and, at a few bits, uncontrollably), but that's not all there was to it. I had never read Freud, but I had heard of Freud, and when I saw "Bringing Up Baby," its realm of symbolism made instant sense; it was obviou…