Today's Movie-by-the-Numbers is: "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World," (2012). I might have commented on it before - (maybe even "reviewed" it, forgetting to tag). This is a dark comedy starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley. With only a few weeks until the end of the world, Dodge (Carell) finds himself alone and queasy. A frenetic woman (Knightley) pops into his life, and together they go on a somber road trip to reacquaint with past family members, and such. Needless to say, they fall in love with old LPs playing in the background, and everything is quaint, up until they die together romantically, because asteroids will do that to you.
This movie has several drawbacks. It isn't a sci-fi work of profound genius. It isn't hysterically funny. The entire third quarter, where the theme switches from frantic gallows comedy to the discovery of romance, completely drags. Nevertheless, these are two heady actors/comedians who are fun to follow, and the deeper emotions are still salvageable in the fourth quarter. There is no real heavy social commentary, other than some people riot, and some people find friends or meaning, when the world ends. Written and directed by the same person who screen-wrote, "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist," Lorene Scafaria, this movie can be described as another frolicking, "mixed tape road trip." This dear little movie speaks to me about the sadness of existential life, contrasted with the drive to find meaningful love. At the same time, it takes us to the end of the road - the tape is over - which is something the world is rather confronting today. The rude awakening.
The newsman begins: "The final mission to save mankind has failed... The 70-mile wide asteroid known commonly as, "Matilda," is set to collide with Earth in exactly three weeks time, and we'll be bringing you up-to-the-minute coverage of our count-down to the End-of-Days, along with all your classic rock favorites. This is Q 107.2."
Cue Beach Boys, "Wouldn't It Be Nice?"
Now, that's sardonic humour.
(Note: I think my fav 'joke' in the movie is where Knightley does the kooky whistling thing while being pulled over by the cop, (that is minute 49:34).
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World," (2012).
"Wouldn't it be nice?" la la la...
9:11 - guy falling onto car - just noting this because it's impossible. No buildings nearby.
10:58 - female friend turns, smiles - funny
14:22 - "heroin!"
21:40-22:02 - she wakes up - you know a great actor by how well they wake up!
41:42 - 41:48 - "everything's awesome" - hilarious
42:11 - 42:15 - "happy birthday!" - also funny
42:49 - she slaps happy and goes for weed - great kooky acting
49:34 - the whistle!
1:15:35 - 1:17:30 - theme mx at the beach, community - touching but kinda weird at beginning
1:22:50 - 1:25:20 - takes sleeping Penny to plane sequence - sad, touching
1:31 - Penny shows up
1:33:10 - 1:33:40 - the end, theme mx "stay with me" - makes me cry!
Note: At the end, Dodge tells Penny, "You're my favorite thing," and, "I'm (really) glad i got to know you!" - both references to old songs. The latter is from, "This Guy's In Love With You," by Herb Alpert and Bert Backache - a killer romantic sweet song. This song comes up again during the credits.
I like how something chaotic often pops in to disrupt the flow, e.g., a brick through the window, and so on. A great device.
Here's a few little flaws I noticed:
bullet hole too high on windshield - impossible
dog out of control - looks at camera, also causes a continuity prob when P. pops into apt.
California beach - right, this is a California beach somehow in New Jersey, lol
fake plane lights
riot didn't harm his apartment - yep, he comes home to a perfectly fine apt. despite the riots
no point in turning power off - right. Why turn off the power? But does give an ominous feeling, so.
Finally, even though this isn't the most evolved movie, I can still relate to being that shy, lonely, stoic guy, who finally finds love in the end, for what it's worth. Lights out.
Also, this movie has partly inspired something I'm working on writing now, on and off.
OK - I hope you had fun. Oh, let's see, just in case you were wondering...
Asteroid escapes NASA’s notice as it skims past Earth
see also, "end of world"