“This is the End”…unless you’re good enough?
Disclaimer: This is the post in which I write about a totally crass R-rated movie I saw last weekend. A movie I’m not promoting but found intriguing. So please don’t gather your small group and plan an outing to see this film. My goal in writing this “review” of sorts is to bring God the glory He deserves through engaging a culture desperate for hope.
Have you heard of the new movie, “This is the End”?
I looked up the Twitter account for the movie and found 14K followers. Tweets about the movie repeatedly included: “ridiculously funny”, “never laughed so hard in my life”, “made it to my top 3 movies, ever”.
I have to admit I laughed a lot during this movie (also cringed a lot…).
If you did a search for official reviews on this new Seth Rogen movie, you’d read:
- “I’m sick of the apocalypse. I wish it would actually happen so we could stop getting post-apocalyptic movies, TV shows & video games…but this movie gets props for originality due to the actors playing fictionalized versions of themselves during the apocalypse.” –Petey Oneto
- “It may not be the smartest humor with lots of bathroom jokes but it still had me laughing.”-Petey Oneto
- “this post-modern filthy farce, at times, will likely make a porn star blush.”-David Blaustein.
Given those words, you may be asking, “Why in the world would Heather see this movie?” and “Why is she telling us about it?”
I saw this movie because it intrigued me. The actors play fictionalized versions of themselves (which is rarely, if ever done). James Franco played James Franco. Seth Rogen played Seth Rogen. I applaud actors willing to make fun of themselves and their celebrity position (and even jabs at their meaningless pursuits).
What’s it all about?
To summarize in a sentence: During a big Hollywood party at James Franco’s house the world ends.
And not just the version we see in a lot of movies, with aliens or a meteor. In this movie the “end of the world” begins with… the rapture.
Similar to the popular “Left Behind” Christian novel series, in an instant a select few are taken up into the sky in blue streams of light. Drivers sucked right out their cars through the roof.
And everyone else is left to suffer earthquakes and giant sinkholes and fires and destruction.
Five (+) friends find themselves boarded up inside James Francos “fortress” of a house. Valuable art serves a new purpose, covering windows to keep out looters and evil.
Since they no longer have phones, TV or internet to learn about what’s going on outside their walls they begin to develop theories on why this is happening and why some people were taken up in a blue light & others weren’t.
This is what intrigued me enough to write about an R-rated movie on the God Centered Mom site.
One character, Jay, pulls out a Bible and begins reading from the book of Revelation. He is convinced the words in this book are coming true. Even citing the prophecy of a seven-headed demonic figure.
Of course, his friends think he is ridiculous (it is a mainstream comedy after all). Until each of them comes in contact with extreme evil…including Jonah Hill being possessed by a demon). Once they stare evil in the eye they begin discussing what the current reality means.
Seth Rogen says, “So I guess this means there really is a God.” To which Jay retorts, “Yeah, and like 95% of people believe in Him”.
Listening to these guys in a desperate situation discussing the validity of God’s existence and their response…in a R-rated, stoner comedy? Amazing.
They kept going back to why the first people were taking up in the blue light. Was it because they were good?
Your goodness, your sacrifice, your pleasure?
And they each claimed to be “good” and gave testimony to each other’s goodness. But they hadn’t been taken up to heaven in a blue light. So maybe they had to be more than just “good”. Perhaps going to heaven meant following the 10 commandments?
After a failed exorcism of Jonah Hill resulting in a house fire, they find themselves face-to-face with a winged demonic creature. Craig Robinson offers to provide a distraction so the three others can escape. Suddenly as he takes on the demonic creature a blue light shines down and takes him up to heaven.
The friends watch and decide that perhaps the key to heaven is sacrifice. But unfortunately they believe it is their own sacrifice that gets them into heaven…not Christ’s sacrifice for them.
The only time they really mention Jesus Christ was as a curse word (although in that moment Craig shares that one of the 10 commandments is “Do not take the Lord’s name in vain”. Seth replies “I’m not talking about the Lord I’m talking about Jesus”, which leads to a mention of the Trinity. And James Franco’s analogy of the trinity, “It’s like Neapolitan ice cream”).
I appreciated Seth and Evan writing a mainstream comedy that even addresses and wrestles with the idea that there may be more to life than partying and drugs.
But my heart broke as I watched the characters wrestle with “how to get to heaven”. Was it being good? Was it sacrificing self for others? Could you lose salvation? (as they watched James Franco’s light go out when he started bragging about his salvation). Could your personal salvation transfer to others? (when Jay tried to grab Seth’s hand and save him too).
Lastly once they get to heaven we get to see their interpretation of eternity.
Is heaven only about all our favorite things in one place? For them it meant drugs, girls in bikinis, Segways, roller coasters & the Backstreet Boys. Is heaven only for our personal pleasure?
Of course, I wouldn’t have expected these guys to display the same version of heaven I imagine, one in which we praise God and serve Him forever. But their interpretation of salvation and eternity were both self-centered. They saved themselves from evil so they could spend eternity in personal pleasure and comfort.
So that’s why God Centered Mom is writing about a R-rated movie–because this movie made me thankful.
Lord, thank you that it is not in my “being good” or “my sacrifice” that saves me from evil or gets me into heaven. Righteousness is not from self or following a set of rules.
Thank you for sending Jesus as the sacrifice I didn’t have to make. His righteousness makes me right with You.
Thank you that Jesus is God and his name is set-apart, holy and honorable.
Thank you are God, you are real and a majority of the world believes you exist.
Thank you for the hope you give us that we can be saved from the evil in this world (even the evil of my own bad choices).
Thank you Lord that heaven is more than a party where I get whatever I want. An eternity to sing Your praises…yes, Lord.