Like a good beer after a long day of being stuck at home during a pandemic shutdown, apocalypse movies offer a chance to step back, zone out and maybe ponder an alternate big picture.
Reality is scary and feeling off the rails right now, but consider:
As far as we know, there’s not a rogue planet on a collision course with Earth, as in “Melancholia,” a movie that is not joking, at all, about that title.
We’re (hopefully) not 48 hours from sudden climate-pocalypse, as forecast in “The Day After Tomorrow.”
And we’re not living out the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad “End of Days,” an excellent example of the cinematic plagues visited on humanity when hypothetical Armageddon gives too much of a heads up.
“End of Days” came out on the eve of Y2K, capitalizing on anxiety about the big rollover and spicing it up with a book of Revelation-inspired storyline that, on the upside, gave viewers a clear villain they couldn’t help but root against. And I don’t mean the devil, played by the usually excellent Gabriel Byrne. I mean the movie.
I’ve walked out on two big-screen releases. The first, when I was 15, was “Hannah and Her Sisters,” a film I have since come to love. The second was “End of Days.” Twenty years of on-and-off cable TV subscriptions have led to enough accidental partial viewings to confirm I made the right decision.
But these are extraordinary times. Last Sunday, the Arnold Schwarzenegger-helmed horror/action milquetoast biscuit had an IMDB popularity rating that had spiked 549 points over the previous week.
Maybe folks are looking for a reminder that some apocalypses are worse than others, and “Contagion” and “Outbreak” hit a little too close to home. Maybe they’re just running out of better things to watch.
Either way, today we’re revisiting this 1999 dud and washing it down with a to-go crowler of Smiling Toad Brewery’s Commando Queen, an American hazy IPA whose name hearkens to another nuanced classic in the Schwarzenegger oeuvre.
In “End Of Days,” Arnold plays private security guard Jericho Cane, a disgraced and depressed former detective who has turned his back on God after a family tragedy. Cane and his partner are assigned to protect an investment banker (Byrne), who turns out to be Lucifer masquerading topside to celebrate the new millennium, sire the Antichrist and fulfill a prophecy that will bring about the titular doomsday.
Realizing he’s up against supernatural forces, Cane sets out to protect the object of the devil’s desire, a 20-year-old woman destined from birth for a nonconsensual sexual relationship with Satan, in whatever form he chooses to inhabit, and ... ew ... really? No.
Now I’m remembering it wasn’t only the plot and the acting that made me walk out.
You know what? Forget “End of Days.”
Let’s just enjoy a good beer together (virtually) ... and maybe see if “Commando” is on.
Update: As of Monday, the IMDB popularity rating for “End of Days” was down 1,089 points. So at least some things are making sense again.
What are you watching, listening to, doing or drinking to fill the craft beer social void? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your stories and suggestions, and send a selfie if you can.