I have been under the weather today, which sucks because it’s a Saturday and I had a lot to do, but with a kind suggestion from my dear and über-talented friend, Hope, I got some needed rest before doing anything else. One of the things I needed to do today was laundry, and while switching back and forth between loads of colors and whites, I watched a movie called SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD, starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley.
If you haven’t heard of SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD, that’s prolly because it was in theaters for just 2 weeks. It was released on July 18, 2012, the 70th birthday of the legendary Roger Ebert, who gave it a positive review and said of the film, “The best parts of this sweet film involve the middle stretches, when time, however limited, reaches ahead, and the characters do what they can to prevail in the face of calamity. How can I complain that they don’t entirely succeed? Isn’t the dilemma of the plot the essential dilemma of life?”
Roger Ebert sadly passed away that following April (2013) and, like many, many films he critiqued over the years, he was right about this one. Those who know me know of my odd affection for apocalyptic-related films, not that I would ever want any of it to actually happen. This film was released on Focus Features, which also released my favorite film of all time, 2004’s ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND with Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, and which won a much-deserved Academy Award for brilliant screenwriter Charlie Kaufman.
I just bought this used DVD copy of SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD, because I was curious about it, not thinking I would really, really dig it. Some of my favorite actors are in it, like Martin Sheen, the always funny Patton Oswalt, and the wonderful Connie Britton. The soundtrack was excellent, too, with some 80s gems from INXS and Wang Chung, and a song I have a huge soft spot for from 1968 – Herb Alpert’s “This Guy’s In Love With You.”
Now, those who also know me know I would try and correlate SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD with R.E.M.’s 1987 gem, “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine),” and use that as my “song of the day,” and it would be a fair bet I would do something like that. Instead, and in a roundabout way, I’m going with one of my all-time favorite R.E.M. songs – “Laughing,” from their 1983 full-length debut studio album, MURMUR.
I can’t exactly remember when “Laughing” became a part of my life. 1986’s LIFE’S RICH PAGEANT is my favorite R.E.M. album of the 80s, and being a Top 40 music fan for several years in my youth, I didn’t start getting into R.E.M. and their music until DOCUMENT came out, and “The One I Love” hit the Top 10 of the BILLBOARD Hot 100. After that, perhaps with a big help from Michael, one of my best and oldest friends, I ended up being well-versed in all things R.E.M. soon enough, and maybe that’s how “Laughing” and I got to know each other.
“Laughing” is a simple song, with simple lyrics and a simple melody. Sometimes that’s all you need to love a song. Plus, I love laughing. And I love “Laughing.” And R.E.M. And the very underrated, beautiful and laughingly lovely SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD…