Spread it or skip it?
Zoe Lister-Jones and Daryl Wein’s How it ends – now on VOD – dubbed itself an “apocalyptic feel-good comedy,” which, you know, ha ha ha? Lister-Jones also stars as a lonely woman looking to solve a few interpersonal issues within 24 hours before a meteor tears apart Earth, killing all of its inhabitants with hideous explosions and fires and collapsing stones. and fall and various geophysical upheavals and stuff like that, one presumes. Making things even stranger, the film was shot on unpopulated streets of Los Angeles during pandemic shutdowns, which could explain why Lister-Jones’ character never even kisses his mother on Planet’s last day. ‘not being entirely on fire – which only adds to the abundant (deep breathing) quirkiness of the film (exhaaaaaaalllllllllle).
HOW IT ENDS: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
The essential: Liza’s (Lister-Jones) (Cailee Spaeny) young person pulls her out of bed, makes her a huge pile of pancakes, and pours her a good glass of maple syrup – the good one, not just fructose shit from Butterworth. Yes, its young me. Usually Liza is the only one who can see and interact with young Liza, who appears to be maybe 13 or 14, but it’s an inexplicably special day when others can do the same. It’s different from every other day in the sense that it’s the last on Earth as I and you and everyone we know know as a flaming ball of space rock slices through the sunny blue California sky. , ready to murder billions of people and probably all mammals, fish and insects too. We imagine it would suck and not very fun, but we would surely prefer not to imagine it.
Today, young Liza will help her make amends with some people the best she can – her ex-boyfriends, a former best friend, her parents – before bidding farewell to all-existence such as us. know it. party, where she plans to get high and eat until she throws up. They come out to see that Liza’s car has been stolen, so they’ll have to walk. They meet a guy named Gary (Nick Kroll) who bought the local dispensary, but gives them some of his weed because hell is very, very near. They visit their father (Bradley Whitford) and mother (Helen Hunt) and an ex (Lamorne Morris) and friend (Olivia Wilde) whom she lost because she warned Liza against the aforementioned ex, and joke with the occasional stranger on the street, including Jet (Sharon Van Etten), who sings a beautiful song, a stand-up comic (Ayo Edebiri) who tells jokes to anyone, a guy who reveals that he is the newly invisible young self of an elderly man (Fred Armisen), etc.
Notably, everyone here is pretty jaded about being force-fed by a god or a cruel and cold universe. There is no anguish or despair. They are so funny about it, having apparently come to terms with their plight and have come to the conclusion that this sunny day should be enjoyed – except maybe for this guy who says the meteor is a hoax, to which Liza responds. , hey, don’t you believe in science, and then he tells you science is bullshit. Anyway, all of Liza’s encounters are (deep breathing) eccentric (exhaaaaaaalllllllllle), and one has to wonder what she’s doing here, if any.
What movies will this remind you of? : Melancholy and Me and you and everyone we know.
Performances to watch: Spaeny – who we saw in Eastown mare and Dev – founds this ironic film by playing the key role with a more serious touch than the rest of the cast.
Memorable dialogue: Liza: All my life I have been terrified of dying alone, and tonight I am literally dying alone.
Young Liza: You are not alone. You have me.
Liza: You don’t count. You are metaphysical.
Gender and skin: The fact that we don’t see people in this movie set at the End of the World is due to the fact that during the near real-world apocalypse, one actor getting too close to another actor would have violated COVID protocols.
Our opinion : OK, maybe that’s not fair, the effing thing. Liza’s goal isn’t to get some just before / as existence goes kablooey, although it wouldn’t be so bad if she enjoyed a physical cue with this handsome ex with whom she has astronomically blown him, and who we meet as he flips his luscious hair and holding an adorable little puppy in each arm. Its goals are a different cliché than blazing a trail into eternity; maybe she wants to find a bit of happiness before being cremated. Who can blame her? While true closure seems like a myth, the quest for it is noble.
The problem with How it ends, however, goes beyond its curvy episodic structure, which is essentially a small-scale parade of celebrity cameos. The characters’ flattened response to almost immediate death sounds like a highly calculated, fanciful irony. The basic idea is fun – saving the world is moot, you might as well dive into your navel and find some personal truth – but the execution is a bit mundane and never elevates fun situations and interactions to big bursts of. to laugh.
There’s a scene in which Liza and young Liza stumble upon a road sign that would usually say DO NOT ENTER but instead says YOU ARE ENOUGH, and Liza jokes, “It’s a bit on the nose.” This is the most consciously (deep breathing) shifted (exhaaaaaaalllllllllle) moment in a movie full of shifted characters (exhaaaaaaalllllllle) consciously (deep breathing), although Hunt’s turn as a mum with regrets is her most momentous moment. grounded and emotionally realistic. Such self-awareness works best when Liza realizes that she just needs to come to terms with young Liza, which living with and accepting herself is perhaps more meaningful than any attempt to right the wrongs of the past – you. know, you do and the rest will work on its own. outside, even though you and the others will soon cease to exist. That’s the sincere and meaningful heart of a film that’s otherwise full of people sticking together until they’re just dead.
Our call: STREAM IT, because How it ends has just enough marginal charm to keep it afloat. But maybe wait until it’s free on a streaming service before you shell out $ 10 for it.
John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more of his work on johnserbaatlarge.com or follow him on Twitter: @johnserba.
Where to stream How it ends