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This Is The End & The Lone Ranger

“This Is The End” (2013)

This is the End

This is the End

Columbia Pictures. Comedy/Action/Adventure/ Horror.

Cast: James Franco (Himself), Jonah Hill (Himself), Seth Rogen (Himself), Craig Robinson (Himself), Michael Cera (Himself), Jay Baruchel (Himself), Danny McBride( Himself), Emma Watson (Herself), Channing Tatum (Himself). 

(R) Running time: 107 minutes. Directors: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen. Set just outside of Los Angeles James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Emma Watson and Channing Tatu

All friends–play themselves in one big fraternal playground. All of them are having a party in a house in Los Angeles when cataclysmic events level the city and most of the surrounding areas. As the earthquake wrecks havoc, partyers scatter along with other Los Angelos.

Not unlike most comedies today ‘This Is the End” is crass–and gross at times–this bunch of guys manage to spawn quite a few laughs. Do not get me wrong, Goldberg and Rogen’s 107 minutes of a movie is lightweight and defective.

Before, during and after the apocalyptic events in Los Angeles, Franco, Hill, Rogen, Robinson make references to other movies – “Pineapple Express,” (Franco and Rogen), “Terminator 2,” “Flyboys,” “Green Hornet,” “Harry Potter,” “Where the Wild Things Are” I think the six men may see themselves similar to the cast (Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Mickey Rooney, Ethel Merman, Jonathan Winters, Peter Falk, and so forth) in Stanley Kramer’s 1963 comedy “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World”.

The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger

 “The Lone Ranger” (2013)

Walt Disney. Cast: Johnny Depp (Tonto), Armie Hammer (John Reid), Tom Wilkerson (Latham Cole), Ruth Wilson (Rebecca Reid), James Badge Dale (Dan Reid), Bryant Price (Danny), Barry Pepper (Fuller), William Finchter (Butch Cavendish), Helena Bonham Carter (Red), Sagina Grant (Chief Big Bear).(PG-13) Running time:149 minutes. Director: Gore Verbinski. 

Like other baby boomers of the 1950s growing up as children, I watched Jay Silverheels, a real Native American, as Tonto and Clayton Moore, as The Lone Ranger, on black and white television sets was a real treat. One of my favorite westerns (“Lone Ranger”) growing up when Ovaltine commercials were as common as rabbit ears on television sets.

To be honest, watching Gore Verbinski’s “Lone Ranger” is an indication the movie is geared toward those audiences having little or no knowledge of the grand “Lone Ranger” movies of roughly six decades ago along with the television series (the radio series goes back to the to the 1930s). Verbinski, to put it bluntly, does a such a slipshod job to “Lone Ranger” with such bastardization of the beloved western is an embarrassment too hard to ponder.

Johnny Depp plays Tonto, a character passes as a Native American, strangely chiseled in caricature rather than a serious, intelligent character. Tonto passes as the “Noble Savage” something I’m puzzled about in Depp’s caricature, to me, borders on racism toward Native Americans.

Armie Hammer’s “Lone Ranger” is not even remotely close to Clayton Moore’s “Lone Ranger.” Hammer’s version is confusing, with or without the mask (he reluctantly wears), he’s a pacifist lawyer from the East who looks like he’s afraid to get his fingernails dirty. Hammer’s known as John Reid when he’s without the mask. He doesn’t like guns (sounds like many of our gun control people today) which is weird since his beliefs the Wild West is dying to be “tamed”–but it is not.

Perhaps the white horse (one of the few things true to the original) named “Silver” who Tonto believes (and I guess Lone Ranger, too) has metaphysical powers beyond their nemeses corrupt railroad boss and Lathan Cole (Tom Wilkerson)and lunatic Butch Cavendish (William Finchter).

To make matters worse, director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer drown themselves in making Lone Ranger and Tonto a bad version of Cheech and Chong.I’d take the white horse and leave the rest.

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