Jay and Seth Versus The Apocalypse

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Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have written some great films together, including Superbad and Pineapple Express. My favorite aside from Superbad is probably 2013’s This Is the End, a hilarious film about Rogen and his actor friends – James Franco, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Jonah Hill, and Jay Baruchel (playing hyper versions of themselves) – as they are barracked in Franco’s house during the apocalypse.

I only recently discovered that the concept was originally utilized as a short nine minute film written solely by Goldberg titled Jay and Seth Versus The Apocalypse. It employs the same idea, but on a smaller scale – Rogen and Baruchel arguing while locked in their apartment during the rapture. For a short, the production values are pretty damn good. The basic idea is the same, but the feature film is quite different, which, according to Wikipedia, “frustrated many fans, who expected to see a feature closer to the 2007 release of the trailer online.”

I’m sure the rest of the Internet has known about it since it was made in 2007 (and was included on the Blu-Ray of This Is the End), but I just found out about it so it’s new to me, dammit. Carve out nine minutes and watch it now:


Christopher Pierznik is the author of eight books, all of which can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. His work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business Insider, The Cauldron, and many more. He has been quoted on Buzzfeed and Deadspin. Subscribe to his monthly reading review newsletter or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Quentin Tarantino’s Amateur Film

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Quentin Tarantino is a genius. We can argue the details, but as a filmmaker, he is almost unmatched. Pulp Fiction alone changed cinema forever. He can work in any style and deliver a fantastic film. Nearly every film is not only good or even great, but spectacular. Even his weakest effort (and the fact that no one can agree on what one that is) is better than nearly every filmmaker’s best work.

All of which makes My Best Friend’s Birthday a fascinating viewing experience. Co-written by Tarantino and Craig Hamann and directed by (and starring) Tarantino, the film was made from 1984 – 1987 on 16mm for an estimated $5,000 while Tarantino worked at a video store. (The Clerks parallels are pretty astounding.)

It was originally a 70-minute film, but due to a fire only 36 minutes of the film remains, and this cut has been screened at several film festivals. If you’re interested, the screenplay can be found online. Tarantino never attended film school, but he considers My Best Friend’s Birthday to be his coursework:

Tarantino has referred to this film as his ‘film school.’ Although the film was by his own admission very poorly directed, the experience gained from the film helped him in directing future films. Some of the dialogue would go on to be used in Quentin’s script True Romance.

It’s a bit of a mess and not just because only half of the film survives. The music is often louder than the dialogue and the editing is far from smooth. Unlike Clerks, it is not a great film on its own, but there are certain scenes and camera angles that show a window into a budding auteur  that would soon go on to change the game and the dialogue is unmistakably Tarantino:


Christopher Pierznik is the author of eight books, all of which can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. His work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business Insider, The Cauldron, and many more. He has been quoted on Buzzfeed and Deadspin. Subscribe to his monthly reading review newsletter or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Rewatching “Between Two Ferns”

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It doesn’t seem like it, but we are approaching the eighth anniversary of the premier of Between Two Ferns, the online interview show hosted by Zach Galifianakis. Although it has been airing since 2008, there are only a few episodes per year, totaling in just twenty episodes of the show on Funny or Die as well as one special on location in New York that aired on Comedy Central. In fact, there hasn’t been a new episode in over a year. The show is critically acclaimed – winning the Emmy for Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program in 2014 and 2015 – and also a massive hit.

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