When it all ends, what will you be watching?
The end is …
We’ve heard it all before. If not from Nostradamus or the Mayans or some other Psychic Friends Network associate who lost their connection to the mainframe, then it was likely that we’ve seen the end unspooling before us onscreen. But what if the Mayan calendar is right and our big blue orb is about to split in two on Dec. 21 (which, of course, means this column is a bit past the end of the world deadline, but you’ll just have to forgive me because I was stuck in a movie theater in Cincinnati, which means I’ve still got an extra few years, since as we all know Cincinnati is behind the times)?
I’ve got a few beefs with how Hollywood has presented the end game in the past. My main concern has always been how, if the world is about to blow up or be destroyed by alien forces, the odds were 50-50 that the President of the United States might be black. When was Morgan Freeman leader of the free world? In “Deep Impact,” when we had a stray asteroid on the horizon, not when we needed a wise, levelheaded speaker who could broker world peace (the only real chance we might have had to solve the whole Middle East crisis situation that has been going on since the beginning of time). When crazy aliens were training lasers and other weapons of mass destruction at us in Luc Besson’s “The Fifth Element,” who was the man in charge? Tiny Lister. And let’s be honest, there’s no other instance when anyone would ever consider the astronomical odds of Mr. Lister being even a billion billion heartbeats away from that seat. And let’s not forget who was sitting in the White House in Roland Emmerich’s “2012”? Danny Glover. Oh, no!
I know, I know, I’m just being paranoid. Bill Pullman was the Commander-in-Chief during “Independence Day,” but guess what, he was also a fighter pilot who led the attack and made the key assist to help save the day. What were the black presidents doing in their dire straits? Hiding and praying.
But, I digress.
Because this time, it doesn’t matter who is in charge (well, it kinda does since, in reality, who happens to be in the White House currently? A brotha – I’m just saying). If the Earth’s core is unstable and ready to break up, instead of hiding and praying, I hope you’ll join me either in our neighborhood theaters or better still, you’ll curl up with the ones you love on your couch and pop in a DVD or Blu-Ray of something good.
What might that be?
Well, for me, I have to say that I’m thinking about a recent pick, a film that came out earlier this year in fact and addressed just this very issue. “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley was about impending doom and what regular folks might do. There are no gods of thunder, men in flying armored suits or shield wielding supermen battling with all their might to save the day. Scientists don’t have one last ditch plan to nuke the space waste about to bash the planet or save the unstable core.
In the end, all we’ve got is each other and that famous song line – “love the one you’re with” – rings so true, which is why it makes such perfect sense when Dodge (Carell) winds up with Penny (Knightley), his downstairs neighbor after the news is announced and his wife leaves him high and dry. It doesn’t matter who’s in charge because you don’t need leadership or a tax break. You want human comfort, someone to share a last supper at your local TGI Friday’s and maybe to settle down next to you in front of your flat screen TV. Seeking a film?
You can’t go wrong with “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.”
Reach DCP film critic T.T. Stern-Enzi at Film@DaytonCityPaper.com