End of Daysi is set just days before the ball drops in New York City for the new millennium.ii As a piece of art, it lacks all but the briefest glimmers of flair and joie de vivre. As guilty entertainment, it has a few exposed titties and a handful of quotable one-linersiii but ultimately muddies the Furious Formula with half-baked arcana wrapped in too many layers of superstitious tin foil. Anyways, here are a few notes on it :
- Why are there 8 doctors and nurses for one rando woman’s labour ?iv
- Awoken from a 1`000-year slumber, The Devil possesses a dark-haired fellah (Byrne) in the restroom of a fine New York restaurant. Upon exiting said restroom and returning to the dining area, the first thing the Devil does is walk up to a hot blonde, whip out her tit, and make out with her right in the middle of the place. Despite the gawking derpy dinner partner’s meek objection, the Devil continues to play tonsil hockey for another few seconds before leaving the ravishingly satisfied bombshell to burn (literally) as he blew up the entire resto in his wake. Now that’s how you make an entrance.
- It’s a buddy action comedy movie in the 90’s sense of the term. Like Rush Hour, Lethal Weapon, Wild Wild West, and MIB, except without the essential funny black guy (and no, an Austrian bodybuilder doesn’t cut this mustard) and instead limply taking a crack at being ‘darker’ and more ‘mysterious.’ This works about as well as Arnold on the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show runway.
- At one point, Christine (Tunney) is advised to “Take another Xanax to relieve [her] anxiety.” Properly known as Alprazolam,v Xanax was the go-to for sleep disorders before Ambien (Zolpidem)vi hit the scene, though the former remains more popular. Broadly speaking, both function by promoting GABA binding.
- Overall, the film represents the brief period in US history where it had no Eastern foe – neither Russian nor Chinese nor Muslim – so it turned back the clock to find its Christian roots in order to find an enemy in Satan. It’s kinda lulzy looking back at it now, even though it was only 17 years ago. It might for some of you beg the question why USG.Hollywood needed an enemy at all… Why can’t we all just get along, right ? Well, for the same reason that everything alive needs an enemy : for definition.
- Not surprisingly, the film lost money at the box office. While Arnold’s effective and competent as the quipinart muscle machine, he can’t quite compensate for the cheesy predictability of the mainstream gore and the underwhelming shallowness of the kindergarten voodoo.vii
That’s about it. “End of Days” isn’t really worth the bother. I walked out midway.
You have better things to worry about.
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- 1999, directed by Peter Hyams, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne, Robin Tunney, an aged Rod Steiger and Kevin Pollak. [↩]
- In the opening flyover of skyscraper-dotted Manhattan, the narrator/radio broadcaster says ominously, referring to the coming NYE, “Three more nights until every computer fails” and I’m not sure any other movie quote could quite so perfectly encapsulte the smug satisfaction I and others like me derived from the glory days of Apple. “What’s that Winbloze boi, your Dell only has two year digits instead of my Apple’s four ? HARDYHARHAR!!” Oh those were the days. [↩]
- eg. Father Kovak (Steiger): Satan’s greatest trick was convincing the world he doesn’t exist. [↩]
- To shine some light on the director (and society’s) obsessions with children (and lyf), let’s tag in a couple relevant bits from rightfully self-ashamed Tory MP Rory Stewart :
In a way, he says, ordinary Afghans are far more powerful than British citizens, because at least they feel they can have a role in one of the country’s 20,000 villages. “But in our situation we’re all powerless. I mean, we pretend we’re run by people. We’re not run by anybody. The secret of modern Britain is there is no power anywhere.” Some commentators, he says, think we’re run by an oligarchy. “But we’re not. I mean, nobody can see power in Britain. The politicians think journalists have power. The journalists know they don’t have any. Then they think the bankers have power. The bankers know they don’t have any. None of them have any power.”
And this from a man who only two years ago attended the Bilderberg conference, a highly exclusive and secretive gathering of the world’s most powerful bankers, politicians and businesspeople?
“Well there we are, you see,” he smiles. “I can tell you, there is nothing there. It’s like the wizard of Oz. This is the age of the wizard of Oz, you know. In the end you get behind the curtain and you finally meet the wizard – and there’s this tiny, frightened figure. I think every prime minister has sort of said this since Blair. You get there and you pull the lever, and nothing happens.”
Stewart continues on the theme on his own blog :
People who might once have been public figures, deeply invested in their work, are instead busy serving their children. Ours is a culture not of ancestor worship but of descendant worship. Children must sense that nothing an adult does is more important than their own desires. All political questions seem to come down to the interests of “the next generation”.
I am reminded of the philosopher who was informed by a lady that the world rested on a turtle. When asked what the turtle rested on, she replied it was “turtles all the way down”. Our purpose is our children, whose purpose is their children. And so on. Each generation more important than the one before. Generation after generation, all the way down.
This seems a self-defeating, infinite regression. I’d prefer our opium to be the struggle to create a living civilisation, which might daunt even our descendants. We should seek to emulate previous generations. Our obligation cannot be uniquely to the young, and those yet to be born. It is also to the living, and to the dead.
Go figure, then, that the “newborn chosen baby” is so appallingly animatronic it could’ve been cast in the OG Jurassic Park. Recall, the Pixar-Toy Story bleed out into the rest of the filmmaking industry had only just begun four years prior. There were early days for CGI
- C17H13ClN4 [↩]
- C19H21N3O [↩]
- You want to see cult worship ? I’ll show you cult worship. [↩]