Just as the fears of global cataclysm at the end of the last century fueled films like Deep Impact and Armageddon, the ticking clock to December 21, 2012 has led to more end-of-the-world movies that rely on something larger than a zombie outbreak or a deadly contagion (although those have been recently popular as well). The latest entry into Hollywood’s obsession with the Earth’s last days is the apocalyptic rom-com Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and if the Mayans were right, that might very well be the last one made.
Film School Rejects responds to your concerns about the end of the world, as evidenced by the Apocalypse Soon feature currently running on this site. While you’re catching up on these films to see before the end of the world, we wondered who would be the best people to spend that time with. Steve Carell’s character gets to spend the end of the world with Keira Knightley, and here are some cinematic characters with whom we’d like to spend our last days.
Of course, since the end of the world is such a traumatic event, hearing news about it would likely cause anyone plenty of grief. So, to keep things scientific, here are the folks from the movies to help you through your five stages of grief, from denial to acceptance of the end of days.
STAGE 1: DENIAL
Agent K/Agent J
The first thing we would do if we found out the world was indeed ending would be to deny it. It is in our nature to do so, and that makes sense. Who wants to know the world will be destroyed by global warming, nuclear apocalypse, a 70-mile-wide asteroid, or the arrival of Snooki’s baby? This is why we would want Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) from the Men in Black series to step up with their trusty neuralizers and make us forget such a terrible thing is happening.
When faced with such traumatic news, one would be tempted to delve into fantasy or love to escape or avoid such an event. If only all of us could muster the deep emotional devotion that Scott Pilgrim had for Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Being forced to battle seven evil exes for the love of the quirky multi-colored-hair girl who rollerblades through your dreams is a great way to keep your mind off the thought of impending death.
STAGE 2: ANGER
The realization that the world is ending, and the fact that there’s nothing you can do about that, will make you angry. You’d be angry at God, angry at the world, angry at Swiss cheese, and angry at society in general. In short, you’d be just like the scar-faced villain of The Dark Knight. You might not be able to orchestrate a kick-ass bank robbery or have devoted legions of followers willing to bury explosive cell phones in their bellies for you, but the Joker (Heath Ledger) would surely help you channel that anger into something destructive and potentially anarchistic.
After laying waste to Gotham, you might want to channel that anger to the real villains of the world. Whether you join forces with the lean and cut John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) from First Blood or start ripping the throats out of slave masters in Southeast Asia, you can now have a focus and bring yourself back from the chaos. Not only would Rambo help you make the last days on Earth a safer place, he could also teach you some awesome scream therapy as you riddle a local sheriff’s office with machine gun fire.
STAGE 3: BARGAINING
Once you’ve gotten back from your violent anger spree, you’ll likely slip into the bargaining stage. Even though only a handful of humans have made it past our stratosphere, you’ll be looking for a way to escape the apocalypse. What better way to do this than playing a game of sabacc with your old chum Han Solo (Harrison Ford) from the Star Wars films? After all, he’s got a ship that’s fast enough for you to take you off this rock. It made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs… which means absolutely nothing, but at least it has a hyperdrive.
If things don’t pan out with Han Solo and the mighty Chewbacca, you might be able to bargain your way out of the end of the world by traveling inward. Hook up with Don Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his dream warriors from Inception. Even if there is only a few hours left in the world, with the right drug cocktail, you should be able to travel down to the raw dreamscape of your mind and spend decades, growing old and eventually wanting to come out and embrace your fate.
STAGE 4: DEPRESSION
Maria von Trapp
With bargaining over, it’s time to get depressed. You realize that you can’t escape the end of the world, but you’re not ready to completely come to terms with that. The only thing that can cheer you up right now is one of the best mothers in movie history and a nice tune. Maria von Trapp (Julie Andrews) from The Sound of Music could make you feel comfortable at home, and maybe a song or two about your favorite things might actually cheer you up a bit.
Whether the musical stylings of Maria von Trapp does it for you, you’ll still need a good cry as you face the end of the world as we know it. And with a good cry, you’ll need a shoulder – or a trunk – to cry on. The cinematic mother who was always the best at making a child feel special and important is Mrs. Jumbo from Disney’s Dumbo. She would cradle your weeping body in her sturdy trunk and rock you to sleep, comforting you throughout the night.
STAGE 5: ACCEPTANCE
Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion
After you emerge from the depression stage, you will accept the fact that you – and everyone you know in the world – is going to die. It’s a depressing thought, but you will have accepted it by now, and you might find a tiny spot of comfort knowing that the rest of the world will share your fate no matter who they are or what they’ve done. The apocalypse is, if anything, the great equalizer. However, it’s not a time for mourning. Instead, it’s a time for celebrating with friends. Who better to “ha ha ha,” “ho ho ho,” and “tra la la” with as you laugh the day away? Dorothy (Judy Garland), the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), the Tin Man (Jack Haley) and the Cowardly Lion (Burt Lahr) from The Wizard of Oz will make your final days happy and fun.
The Teenagers from Project X
As awful as Project X is as a film, it is filled with characters that know how to party. As the clock approaches the zero hour, you’ve made your amends with the world and accepted your fate. Now it’s time to cut loose and enjoy the last few moments in this realm. It is at this point, and at this point only, that the hedonistic kids from Project X become heroes. Whether you’re sucking up ecstasy tablets from a shattered lawn gnome or jumping in a bounce house with topless teens who look like professional models, there is truly no consequence or responsibility any more. Drive a car in a pool, put a midget in an oven, or dive off the roof. Have some fun and let this world go out with a bang!
Which cinematic character would you want to spend your final days with?