A new street drug that sends its users across time and dimensions has one drawback: some people return as no longer human. Can two college dropouts save humankind from this silent, otherworldly invasion?
Character actor Michael Shannon has been nominated for his second Oscar for his role in the 2016 thriller Nocturnal Animals. "No Small Parts" takes a look at some of the other characters he's played in the past.
It's a drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit. On the street they call it Soy Sauce, and users drift across time and dimensions. But some who come back are no longer human. Suddenly a silent otherworldly invasion is underway, and mankind needs a hero. What it gets instead is John and David, a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs. Can these two stop the oncoming horror in time to save humanity? No. No, they can't. Written by
John's full name, John Cheese, is a reference to Cracked.com comedy writer John Cheese (real name Mack Leighty) who co-wrote "John Dies at the End" and the sequel "This Book is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It" with David Wong (real name Jason Pargin). In the end of "This Book is Full of Spiders," David Wong claims that John demands "at least one scene per book in which he 'ramps something,' along with a flat payment for each time I [Wong] use the name in print." See more »
When David meets Arnie in the Chinese restaurant, Arnie takes out a notebook. He opens it on the first page, with several ripped out pages. In the next scene, when he starts writing, the missing pages are gone and he is writing somewhere in the middle of the notebook. Later, the notebook is again shown with ripped out pages. See more »
Solving the following riddle will reveal the awful secret behind the universe, assuming you do not go utterly mad in the attempt.
Say you have an ax - just a cheap one from Home Depot.
[slow zoom in on man chopping]
On one bitter winter day, you use said ax to behead a man. Don't worry, the man's already dead. Maybe you should worry, 'cause you're the one who shot him. He'd been a big twitchy guy with veined skin stretched over swollen biceps, tattoo of a swastika on his tongue. And...
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At the end of the credits there's a warning that 'any unauthorized duplication and/or distribution (...) may result in civil liability, criminal prosecution and the wrath of Korrok'. See more »
Frustratingly Fractured Plot but It's Got Some Laughs
I'm not even sure where to start with a movie like JOHN DIES AT THE END. It's one of those movies that just seems destined from the start to be a cult classic, but I'm not so sure. I love a good WTF movie that I can share with friends over a few beers, but a good WTF movie does more than baffle the audience with the bizarre. A good WTF film will have an awesome story (e.g. cyberpunk Nazis on the moon = IRON SKY) and an engaging hero/protagonist (e.g. Rutger Hauer in HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN). Keep in mind, my examples are just movies that I personally enjoy in the WTF genre but the same principles still stand. I can't really agree that JOHN DIES AT THE END has either (much less both) of these qualities. I am a huge fan of Cracked.com and I've been following the site since I first stumbled across it while searching for a time-waster while I worked tech support. Their content is most often hilarious and generally a bit informative too. I'm totally down with supporting their writers in whatever endeavors they pursue if it means more of their excellent product. JOHN DIES AT THE END (written by senior Cracked editor David Wong) is on my shortlist of novels I'm planning on buying from Amazon, but I was excited to find out that a movie would be released in the meantime and that it would be directed by Don Coscarelli. BUBBA HO-TEP is another great WTF film, so naturally I was expecting great things with the movie. The ultimate reality: it falls short of being the movie I wanted, but it has inspired me to move a little faster on picking up the novel.
To start, and you'll probably hear this from anyone who's seen the movie but not read the novel, JOHN DIES AT THE END doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It feels like there's a plot in there somewhere. I just can't find it. I've uncovered bits of it and pieced it all together but there are still a lot of holes. I've pretty much given up on figuring out the plot in its entirety until I read the book. For now, I only know what I've seen in the movie. David Wong (Chase Williamson) and John (Rob Mayes) are a couple of stoned losers who encounter a new drug known on the street as 'soy sauce.' Soy sauce has the ability to give its user supernatural abilities that I don't quite understand. Communicating with the dead and the future and other dimensions, I think. And inexplicable knowledge. Anyway, David and John discover an evil plot involving body-snatching white bugs/fuzz and plans of an entity of pure evil from an alternate universe to dominate our world. See what I mean? I'm not even sure. And everything I've read tells me it's explained 100 times better in the novel, so I haven't given up hope. But, as a movie, it's lacking. Honestly, my interest waned around the time David was kidnapped by an annoying ghetto white kid (Jonny Weston) and the detective investigating the weird goings-on (Glynn Turman) went totally mental.
And that's the big problem here: weirdness without any sort of context becomes dull real fast. For the first 45 minutes of the movie or so, I was loving it. The meat monster, the ominous Jamaican, the messed-up/dark sense of humor to the whole thing it was great. But once the "story" kicked into gear, I lost it. The best way to describe JOHN DIES AT THE END is this: it feels like a 100-minute trailer for a really awesome six-hour movie. There's a lot of interesting stuff going on here and the whole movie feels like it's on the verge of greatness but it never pays off. There's a lot of cool stuff that's introduced or mentioned and never fully explored. What was the deal with Roger North (Doug Jones)? And what about the alien slug with teeth that appeared three times in the movie? Was it a tool of good or evil? How exactly did Korrok's plan (Korrok being the ultimate evil entity from an alternate universe) involve the body-snatching bugs? If Dr. Marconi (Clancy Brown) was so awesome, why wasn't the movie about HIM saving the world? Seriously. Marconi was probably the coolest character in the whole movie and he's the most wasted. Brown gets higher billing than Paul Giamatti in the movie but he's only in it for about 5 minutes. What's the point of his character? He's stone-cold awesome in the few instances we see him in action, but we send David and John to help save the world? Where did the soy sauce come from? Is it a creation of Korrok? Did it have anything to do with the white bug swarms or not, because I'm getting mixed signals.
More questions than answers with the plot, but at least some of the humor works well. Chase Williamson is pretty decent as David Wong and Rob Hayes did a great job, but I think a lot of fans of Cracked might agree that this movie would've been exponentially funnier if Daniel O'Brien and Michael Swaim had been cast in the lead roles. People who aren't followers of Cracked won't know who those two are, but it couldn't have hurt the movie's success seeing as how the release was so low-key to begin with. JOHN DIES AT THE END is a mildly entertaining distraction that will frustrate anyone in the market for a solid story but there are some good laughs to be had. If anything, I can say it's got me that much more interested in reading the book.
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