There’s Never Been A Better Time To Revisit THIS IS THE END

Five years on, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen's apocalyptic comedy is better than ever.

Given the dire news regarding the environment and the fact that, y'know, a complete fucking lunatic is running our show, the end of the world seems to be on everyone's minds these days. The human race is long overdue for some type of comeuppance, and that comeuppance has never felt closer to happening than it does right now. If you're not already thinking about how you might navigate a full-blown apocalypse, well, you might consider jotting down a few notes. 

You might also consider revisiting Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's This Is The End. The film's celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, and the subject matter feels timelier than ever. Here's a movie about the importance of friendship, doing what's right because it's the right thing to do, and learning to co-exist alongside people you simply can't see eye-to-eye with. The fact that it's also a riotously funny supernatural horror comedy (the best of its kind since the original Ghostbusters, and I don't say that lightly) is just an added bonus.

Last night, I revisited Goldberg and Rogen's film for the first time in several years, and was delighted to find that time has not dulled This Is The End's razor-sharp edge. The jokes still land, the emotional beats still work, and that ending - which finds Jay Baruchel, Rogen and Craig Robinson dancing with the Backstreet Boys in Heaven - feels just as triumphant as it did upon release.

There's a bit of a time capsule feel to some of the early material in the film, but even that makes a rewatch rewarding: in 2013, for instance, the sight of Michael Cera being brutally murdered onscreen played much differently than it does today, given that it was happening in the wake of a two or three year period where some viewers had deemed the actor "overexposed". In 2018, we are free to focus on the unhinged beauty that is Cera's coke-monster take on himself. Channing Tatum's cameo was always funny, but strikes me as even funnier in 2018, now that Tatum's achieved superstar status (pay attention to how truly committed Tatum is during his all-too-brief appearance as Danny McBride's gimp). The same goes for Paul Rudd, who makes an absolute meal out of his 30 seconds' worth of screentime. Were this movie made today, he'd almost certainly end up with a bigger role than, say, David Krumholtz. 

This is all minor key stuff, though. The rest of the film feels timeless, with elaborate set pieces and recurring gags that were clearly written to be evergreen (the temptation to infuse This Is The End with a number of then-relevant pop culture gags must have been strong, but it's almost entirely avoided; the only possible misstep is a brief sequence scored by Psy's "Gangnam Style", but it's used well in context): the bit wherein James Franco confronts McBride for "jizzing on his magazine", the "Exorcism of Jonah Hill" sequence, the back-and-forth between the six leads and a soon-to-be-decapitated Brian Huskey ("I'll tittyfuck you so good, oh, you'll love it"), and both of McBride's all-timer entrances remain absolutely hysterical. 

I can't quite put my finger on why - maybe I've matured; maybe I'm just feeling more sentimental these days - but this rewatch brought the film's huge heart into sharper focus for me than ever before. The fraught friendship between Rogen and Baruchel (the beating heart of the whole thing) left me reconsidering a few friends I'd written off long ago, and for the first time I found myself really chewing over the film's message of selflessness: if the shit went down tomorrow - and, who knows, it might! - would I get to ride one of those big, blue beams into Heaven? What behaviors would I need to change to get that VIP pass? What could I be doing right now to better the lives of those around me? These are questions we should all be considering.

Anyway, I'm probably preaching to the choir here. You know just as well as I do that This Is The End is one of the best comedies of the past decade, and probably didn't need me to spell out all of the above. But maybe you could use an excuse to mount your own rewatch, and if this has inspired even one of you to do that this evening, I'll feel like I accomplished something today.