Seriously, we need to talk about this. I actually can’t understand why more people aren’t. As of late, Michael Cera has been portraying a (supposed) exaggerated form of himself at parties full of random groups of celebrities in movies written and directed by his fellow actors. Case in point: Writer/director Mark Webber’s indie film The End of Love and writer/director Seth Rogen’s film This is the End. This will forever to be known as the This is the End of Love analysis.
The End of Love (2013)
Synopsis: When the mother of his two-year-old son suddenly passes away, struggling actor Mark is forced to confront his shortcomings. With his fate and his son’s now intertwined, he grapples with his ability to grow up – stuck between the life he once knew and the one waiting for him. When he has a meaningful encounter with a young mother, Mark is no longer able to live in the comfort of denial. Set against the backdrop of Los Angeles,this is an intimate and honest slice-of-life portrait of a father and son in transition.
I screened this film at Sundance 2012, and as a whole, I really liked this half-home movie, half-fictious film created by Mark Webber using his own son and some of his own experiences as a struggling actor for content. I found the movie really sweet in the way that it showed us a man who is trying to balance being a great father and a successful actor, all with the best intentions but not quite getting there.
But let’s talk about how Webber uses other actors (Jason Ritter, Amanda Seyfried… and yes, Michael Cera) to play “themselves” and give us an unauthorized, behind the scenes glimpse into the lives of those associated with the film industry. In the movie, Webber shows the irresponsible side of his character, leaving his son with a babysitter to go party with his friends at Michael Cera’s house in the Hollywood hills. And guys, this Michael Cera is a little crazy…. and drugged out… and touting a handgun, daring his party guests to shoot themselves in the face (see the trailer for a teaser). I really wanted to ask Cera at the post-screening panel whether this was a common occurrence at his parties. I dared not, just chalking this up to being a plot device done for laughs (as it was really effective). I mean, this is a half-weight that looks 15 at all times. That was until…
This is The End (2013)
Synopsis: A comedy that follows six friends trapped in a house after a series of strange and catastrophic events devastate Los Angeles. As the world unravels outside, dwindling supplies and cabin fever threaten to tear apart the friendships inside. Eventually, they are forced to leave the house, facing their fate and the true meaning of friendship and redemption.
Yeah, we are talking about Seth Rogan’s hilarious directorial debut where he and his pals, including James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson, play themselves trying to survive a fictitious apocalypse. The strength of this film is the foul-mouth, infantile interplay between the actors and the often off-the-wall antics of everyone involved. It is everything you think it would be, and I think it will end up being one of the funniest movies of the year.
–> Read Filmophilia’s film review of This is the End here.
The movie starts off with a party of sorts with… you guessed it… a hodgepodge of movies, TV, and music all together at James Franco’s house (I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how some of them could possibly know the others while watching). Of course, Michael Cera is there too in creepy mode, all coked out (and blowing coke), barely clothed at times, and coming on to every girl at the party (i.e. slapping Rihanna’s ass). Was it funny? Oh yes, it was.
Interestingly for This is the End there seemed to be a focus on exaggerating the little personality quirks of each character that they are known for. I think there is a pattern starting to emerge here. While I don’t think Cera is THAT crazy (he just can’t be!), I’m starting to think that he truly has a reputation in the backrooms of Hollywood to be a little off-the-wall at parties and it is being hinted at in movies. What do you think?
Shala is a lover of films, especially independent cinema, and have carried this passion over to blogging, attending film festivals, and connecting with people in the film industry. You can follow Shala (@shalathomas) and this site (@Filmophilia).