The World's End

June 22nd, 1990, was the highlight of Gary's life, and yes, his friends do think that's pretty sad, since he was only 17 or so at the time. But that was the night that he and his friends attempted to finish the Golden Mile -- a massive pub crawl through their hometown of Newton Haven, featuring a pint at each of twelve pubs. I'm not sure they were old enough to be drinking, but no one objects, at least, and they make it through nine of the twelve before finally giving up because most of them have passed out cold.

Gary is Simon Pegg (Star Trek Into Darkness), and the friends are Andy (Nick Frost, Snow White and the Huntsman), Oliver (Martin Freeman, aka Bilbo Baggins), Steven (Paddy Considine from the Red Riding movies, and also of Hot Fuzz), and Peter (Eddie Marsan, also of Snow White and the Huntsman). I think that's the most past credits I've ever wedged into a single sentence. Sorry about that. Anyway, more than 20 years later, Gary decides to get the gang back together to relive that night, and hopefully reach their goal this time. And again, his friends think this is a pretty sad sort of goal to have, but through a combination of doubtful charm and emotional blackmail, he persuades them all to give it a try.

At first it's all about as awkward as you might expect. Gary is the only one who doesn't seem to have grown up one bit, so he has little in common with the rest. They all have regular day jobs and wives or girlfriends, while Gary still runs around in a black trenchcoat and a Sisters of Mercy T-shirt, talking about "getting the band back together". He also thinks that Oliver's sister, Sam (Rosamund Pike, Wrath of the Titans) is still pining for him after a (very) brief fling they had as teens. (Shockingly, she isn't.) While he can recall vast amounts of detail from his younger days, he seems to currently have the short-term memory of a fruit fly, and it's frustrating at times, to say the least.

But there's more than awkwardness to come. Around pub number four, The Good Companion, they start to think that something Very Strange is going on. Very few people remember them, and while that's not such a surprise after 20+ years, given Gary's impressive track record of causing trouble it is a little odd. Also, crowds tend to drink and stare in unison. Only a few people like crazy old Basil (David Bradley of Harry Potter, and also the aforementioned Hot Fuzz) seem to recall the group, and Basil is pretty disdainful of most of them. He is a fount of information, though.

Things get increasingly weirder (and more drunken) as Gary insists on continuing the pub crawl as they try to figure out who or what has taken over their old hometown. They have to look normal and blend in, he says, and tries to drink pints in the middle of bar fights. There are lots of bar fights, as you might imagine, and though I'm hardly what you'd call a drinker, it was still fun to be along for the ride.

Then there was the last five minutes or so, which seemed to have been tacked on as an afterthought and really wasn't all that good. I understand that they were looking for closure, but I think they went about it the wrong way. That little hiccup aside, it was, as implied, a fun movie, and has certainly earned its three and three-quarters out of five rating. You feel a little sorry for Gary even when he's being pretty awful, and the scene where the group confronts him (in the men's room, of all places) about a particularly awful thing he's done is great. It doesn't quite have the charm of Hot Fuzz, perhaps, but it certainly gives new meaning to the concept of going out drinking and getting annihilated.

Image: 
The gang at the Trusty Servant. Or maybe the Two-Headed Dog. It's hard to tell.

Comments

Post new comment

  • Allowed HTML tags: <abbr> <acronym> <address> <bdo> <blockquote> <del> <hr> <img> <ins> <pre> <q> <sub> <sup> <dl> <dt> <dd> <ul> <ol> <li> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <table> <caption> <col> <colgroup> <tbody> <td> <tfoot> <th> <thead> <tr> <b> <big> <cite> <code> <dfn> <em> <i> <kbd> <samp> <small> <strong> <tt> <var> <u> <br>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options