I’ve been contributing some year-end bits to the Film Stage website, including an entry on “This is the End” for a round-up of 2013’s Best Directorial Debuts:
There was no better cinematic introduction in 2013 than the bad-ass, middle-finger-raised, sneering appearance of Danny McBride in Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s directorial debut,This Is The End. And surprisingly, there were few better debut efforts, period. Rogen and Goldberg took a concept that could have failed miserably — real Hollywood celebs find their party interrupted by the apocalypse — and instead crafted a smart, knowing, Backstreet Boys-including, downright emotionally involving romp unlike any other film this year. It helped that the cast included James Franco (never better), Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, McBride, and a note-perfect Jay Baruchel, but as well as a disparate group that included Emma Watson and an unforgettable Michael Cera. But above all else, there was Rogen, ringleader onscreen and co-helmer off, demonstrating that he is a multi-talented entertainer to be reckoned with. – Christopher S.