Undercurrents: Seeking a movie for the end of the world

Published: Friday, December 14, 2012 at 10:51 AM.

If you believe the hype, the Mayans thought next Friday marked the end of the world; if you believe the less exciting truth, then the Mayans just knew they could recycle their calendars after Dec. 21.

But in the event that we have only seven days left, indulge me as I provide a list of the doomsday movies you might want to consult before the week is out. Think of it as a gift-giving guide for the Debbie Downer on your Christmas list.

Note: You’ll find no post-apocalyptic films (“Road Warrior” or so on), nor the inevitable zombie apocalypse, no alien invasions or disease outbreaks. Because, like the film “2012” itself, those are generally about people surviving after something cataclysmic happens (or managing to somehow reduce the level of the anticipated disaster).

These movies, however, are about the world ending:

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012, Steve Carell and Keira Knightley): An asteroid named Matilda is going to hit the Earth, and sad sack Steve takes a road trip with a young neighbor to try to reconnect with his high school sweetheart. Through misadventures, love blossoms in the shadow of death.

The Bed-Sitting Room (1969, Dudley Moore and Peter Cook): A few years after the atomic war, several insane folk wander the rubble of London, slowly mutating into furniture because of the radiation. Although it ends with hope — full-body transplants — the idea they will live on is as absurd as everything else.

On the Beach (1959, Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner): The last survivors of a global atomic war wait out the coming radiation cloud in Australia. The government hands out suicide pills. Racing enthusiasts compete in one final deadly race, and a committed Navy officer who won’t accept that his family is already dead in the U.S. falls in love.

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