If you forgot to flip the page on your Mayan calendar this month, we have some bad news. The world is coming to an end on Dec. 21 thanks to the preordained Mayan Apocalypse. At least, that's what dubious sources have spent the past few years alleging. But if the apocalypse means widespread fear and panic to the average person, it means something else to Hollywood: Great entertainment. So just in case tomorrow isn't the last day Earth exists, here are six recent movies that will let you the enjoy the end of the world vicariously:
1. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)
It's probably too late for you to find your own new friend for the end of the world, but you can revel in this underrated, underseen romantic dramedy, which stars Steve Carrell and Keira Knightley as neighbors spending their last weeks together before an asteroid destroys Earth.
2. Melancholia (2011)
If the thought of Earth's complete obliteration bums you out, you'll feel right at home with Melancholia. Kirsten Dunst plays a deeply depressed young woman whose life is altered by the announcement that a mysterious planet, dubbed "Melancholia," has emerged from behind the sun — and may be on a collision course with Earth.
3. The Road (2009)
Doomsday enthusiasts can't agree on the form the so-called "Mayan Apocalypse" will take, which makes The Road — a post-apocalyptic film in which the cause of the cataclysm is never explained — ideal viewing. Viggo Mortensen stars as a man trying to protect his son from cannibals, scavengers, and thieves.
4. 2012 (2009)
If you prefer your apocalypses of the big, stupid, Hollywood-blockbuster variety, your best bet is Roland Emmerich's 2012. John Cusack leads a cast of slumming stars as they face an apocalyptic wave of earthquakes and mega-tsunamis.
5. Wall-E (2008)
If you decide to spend the immediate pre-apocalypse with your children, you may be seeking a doomsday film that's a little more family-friendly. Luckily, Pixar created Wall-E, a film about an adorable robot who falls in love with another adorable robot, as they explore an Earth that was abandoned by the humans who devastated it.
6. I Am Legend (2007)
The cosmos ordains the Mayan Apocalypse, but man triggers the apocalypse in I Am Legend — by genetically engineering a virus intended to cure cancer that somehow mutates into a virus that turns people into zombies. (Who said apocalypse movies had to make sense?) Will Smith stars as the last man in an all-but-abandoned New York City, attempting to reverse the apocalypse by developing a cure.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- The best places to find love — and lust — according to science
- Sex can't explain the culture war
- How the battle for religious freedom became a nonsensical free-for-all
- Why GOP reformers are bound to fail
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why you should really take a nap this afternoon, according to science
- Ukraine's fraught relationship with Russia: A brief history
Subscribe to the Week