Sunday, May 5, 2013

I'm really glad I got to know you.

My dad reads a lot of news. I do not.
He seeks stories from outside of the mainstream media. I do not.

So whenever we talk, which isn't all that often, we always run into the same problems. Initially, it's all-too apparent that I'm an uncultured swine. So, there's that. But the real conundrum? His quest for news leads him to countless stories about all the atrocities, shady dealings and humanity-damning events that seem to point toward some inexplicable event that will send mankind hurtling toward some awful doomsday. I imagine myself holding onto a chain link fence, watching children play, then screaming, as my body is eviscerated by a nuclear explosion and only my skeleton is left dangling. Bummer. But, the hardest part about his end of the world lectures? The ill-timed follow up questions.

So, how's your son? And your wife? Her and the baby okay?

The end of the world genre used to amuse me. It did. My wife on the other hand? Not a fan (and never has been). As we fired up Seeking a Friend for the End of the World the other night, she instantly rolled her eyes. Not another end of the world movie. But once she saw Steve Carell, instant relief. And despite hearing how this movie wasn't really that good, as the credits rolled, I was relieved, too. For an ultimately bleak flick, it's actually kind of sweet. So much so, that it made my wife cry. Though, it doesn't take much - she's all kinds of pregnant.

That, and the fact that our son is an incredibly goofy three-and-a-half, have certainly skewed the way we digest these types of movies. Yeah, I know, that's kind of absurd. But watching two people examine both the lives they've led and the lives they'll never lead, elicits something unforeseen in most romantic comedies. I cared about the characters. I put myself in their shoes and I wanted them to be okay, even if all signs, like my dad sometimes suggests, were blinking, flashing and screaming that they wouldn't be.

Like Melancholia [review], except fun and full of characters you don't want to violently shake, Seeking a Friend... tells the story of the indisputable end of humanity as Earth is officially on the clock. With about three weeks left before everything's over, Dodge (Carell), watches helplessly as his wife literally runs out on him. His world is ending in every way imaginable. Living in the same building, is Penny (a slightly subdued Keira Knightley), a young woman who is going through a break up as well. Somehow these two connect, almost by default. Together they hit the road, both to escape the dangers of the city they live in, and also to help each other out. Penny is going to play wingman/wheelman on Dodge's quest to reconnect with an old love. Dodge, in exchange, is going to get Penny home to the U.K. Because, well, he knows a guy. 

The more I've gotten away from this movie, the more it's grown on me, surprisingly. What I'm becoming less attached to, however, are the Yays and Boos. At some point, you've just got to let go and accept the world as we (more like I ) know it, is in fact, ending. In fact, there's even an official date: July 28th.

This pic represents 40% of the time my wife and I spent in college.
  • I swear this flick starts off with what could be a thinly-veiled Armageddon reference. Excellent.
  • Rob Corddry is the jerk he usually is - which is a good thing here. He's kind of enjoying the end. Not only does he get drunk off his ass all the time, but so do his young children.
  • Patton Oswalt shows up for a (hysterical) minute. Turns out, women's standards have plummeted. The sky is falling...and it's raining p-ssy!
  • Seth Cohen from The O.C. makes a solid appearance as well. Though drinking Windose from the bottle and using his girlfriend as a human shield may suggest otherwise. (love me some Adam Brody)
  • Dodge's reaction after the burial is so great. No one does quiet rage like Steve Carell.
  • The Air That I Breathe by The Hollies was pretty much the perfect song. Clutch.
  • Friendsy's. Now I know where I'm having my next birthday party. I mean, not only can you bring a wolf with you, but it turns out that the we've had the post-dinner thing wrong for years. Screw dessert. At Friendy's, they're thinking orgy.
  • The ending. Unsurprisingly, it's pretty abrupt. But it was also very sweet, too. Not a bad way to go when you think about it. 
  • And finally, it turns out there are some major benefits to the end of the world:
    • Casual Friday? Let's go ahead and extend that indefinitely.
    • Speaking of work, promotions abound! CFO, anyone?
    • You can curse much more freely. Even on the news.
    • You get to watch all the American Gladiators you want.
    • When you choose an outfit, do whatever you want. Same goes with food. And everything else.
    • You get to play a pretty sweet game listing the things you will and won't miss. That sounds rad.
    • And maybe the best thing ever? Free dogs. D'ya like dags?

This picture, however, represents 40% of our married life.
  • Depressed or not, there's no way I'm turning down Warren's wife. Or as she's known in Dillon, Texas, Coach Taylor's wife.
  • I guess it could potentially happen, but way too many people stick to their routines. I'm not sure if it's honorable or pathetic. Maybe both?
  • What was with Speck? Other than getting a car and Penny making that (heartbreaking) phone call, that whole bit was lame. I mean, this dude's impossibly ready.
  • Not really a Boo, but that beach interlude was weird.
  • Now, I realize that up there, I said I liked the ending - which is true. It was very sweet. But...I also didn't exactly buy it, either. It made perfect movie sense, just not actual sense.
  • And finally, for the sake of balance, turns out the fiery end of the world can be a real drag, too.
    • All flights? Cancelled.
    • Riots? Well, those are pretty frequent.
    • Guys all killing themselves on your windshield could potentially get old after a while.
    • With an outright shirking of the rules, some things regrettable get on the table, where before they were completely off. Heroin and incest, come to mind.
    • Windose is $8.50 a bottle? Huh? Even with days left in existence, greed consumes decency. What is the shopkeeper going to spend that money on?
    • And, worst of all, spiders crawl into your mouth when you're sleeping. Gross. I mean, fiery death is one thing, but spiders in your mouth? I'd rather lay down in front of my own ride-on mower.
Well, Dad, and anyone else reading this, Matty's doing great, my wife is big, but doing well, and the doctors say that the baby is progressing right on schedule. For now, it seems, the world is actually okay. Well, at least mine. Hopefully yours, too.

But, I haven't turned on the news yet.


  1. It had it's touching moments, but I didn't enjoy this one as much as you did. I don't know why I was so bummed out by the ending when I knew that was going to happen all along. Weird.

    1. I went in to this one not really expecting much. But for whatever reason, I liked it a lot. Maybe it was the leads of Carell and Knightley, maybe it was the fact that my wife stayed awake. Maybe both.

      Even if it was inevitable, I was still crossing my fingers that they were gonna make it. Though, sadly, that probably would have bummed me out more.

  2. I just watched this for the first time last weekend, and I think you and I are more or less in full agreement. I liked it (and it has grown on me a little since seeing it), but I didn't really love it.

    Also, yes, there is no way in hell you turn down Tami Taylor. That's just foolish.

  3. Tami Taylor, indeed. And as she got older, their daughter was all kinds of fine, too. Hell, that whole town was full of beautiful women.

    Glad you enjoyed it as well. Maybe hearing bad things allowed me to enjoy it more than I would have normally, but regardless, I can think of plenty of people worse than those two to spend the end of the world with.

    Like Buddy Garrity, perhaps.

  4. Uneven to a fault, but still sweet and to the point. That's what you need in a rom-com about the end of the world. Nice review M.

    1. Thanks, Dan. I'm still surprised how much I liked it. Damn charming Michael Scott.

  5. I want to see this movie -- I just haven't gotten around to it yet. While it may not be one of the most spectacular films of all time, it sounds like there is some solid storytelling and engaging characters.

    1. Setting a the typical atypical romance flick during the end of the world is likely interesting enough to warrant a viewing. Throw in an always charming Steve Carell and you've got a good time.

      Let me know what you think!

  6. I liked this movie, though the script was a bit messy. I agree that whole sequence with the dude who had a shelter was weird. I loved Steve Carrel's performance here - he was so honest and sweet and his acting really made the romance believable. The ending to the movie was so beautiful, I cried like an idiot when I saw it.

    1. Yes! He really was the best. He was the perfect choice to play Dodge.

      Oh, my wife was a wreck. And I'm usually the one utterly devastated by movies like this. I was actually happy.

      For once.