Photo from Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
You may have noticed that I have a (*cough*) minor interest in dystopian, apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic stories. When it comes to books, I try to stick to the more literate* of the bunch--Jim Crace's The Pesthouse, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Margaret Atwood, Justin Cronin, etc. However, all bets are off when it comes to movies. I tend to take the broad view and consume pretty voraciously. This runs the gamut from the '83 cult classic The Day After to Armageddon (love) to made-for-TV originals like the 12 Disasters of Christmas (a real low point...even for me). The only movie genre I may get more excited for is a good dance movie!
You can imagine the giddy thumping of my little doom and gloom heart when the summer previews started hitting the streets. I began preparing my mental list of all that I'd try to see. I have to say that I didn't do too badly given how busy the summer was. As of this week, I've managed to see the following (in order of viewing):
Hands down, for me, the surprise of the summer was This Is The End. I went into this star-filled movie (headed by James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson) with massive amounts of skepticism, pretty much assuming I'd find it boring and stupid. I didn't expect to be laughing, loudly, throughout the entire thing. Yes, it was silly, but I enjoyed the premise of the stars playing themselves as portrayed by the media. I also didn't mind the heavy-handed nod to Revelations.
World War Z and Pacific Rim were kind of no-brainers for me. I'm a big fan of the book by Max Brooks (World War Z) and love robots and Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim)...sold. The World's End was also one of the movies that I eagerly anticipated. It's the third in a very loose trilogy, known as the Cornetto Trilogy, by Edgar Wright, which includes Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead. While I think Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead are better, funnier films, The World's End was the perfect cap to Wright's loose of thread of the man-boy who finally pulls it together and accomplishes life-saving feats.
I always feel like I have to justify why I'm into these kind of movies. I feel like most critics focus on the disaster porn angle and assume the public pays to see bigger explosions, cooler effects. These people don't speak for me. I find a bit of beauty in the fight for survival. I need to believe that there is a good to humanity and that, no matter how depraved things may get, there are those who will risk themselves to help the weaker among us. The struggle to survive, to persevere, is why I keep watching.
The last film on my summer list was Olympus Has Fallen. I'd heard from a couple of friends that it was pretty awesome, but after the folks (my people) on Pop Culture Happy Hour derided it with such vim and vigor, I began to question myself. Luckily, I moved past the doubt pretty quickly and tracked down the movie. Believe it or not, it was a bit of a hunt. Basically, Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down are the same movie. Hot guy saves the president, a child, and America from bad guys of foreign origin while the White House is destroyed around them. Were they the BEST THING EVER? No, but I enjoyed them. They were pretty effective, brainless entertainment at the end of a long week.
Linda Holmes, I think you're awesome (and am pretty sure we'd be fast friends), but you can keep your Deadly Spa and Hallmark Channel romance movies. I'll take triumph of the human spirit any day.
*This isn't always 100%.