crank some R.E.M. in preparation for the big send-off, TIFF Bell Lightbox is presenting its Countdown to Armageddon series. It kicks off this week and concludes on the Big Day. Below, our favourite five picks to say “good bye, cruel world!” with.">

Apocalypse soon: five awesome end-of-the-world flicks



Sean Connery and his banana hammock stars in Zardoz

According to those pesky Mayans, we’re headed for that big temple in the sky come Dec. 21. So before you crank some R.E.M. in preparation for the big send-off, TIFF Bell Lightbox is presenting its Countdown to Armageddon series. It kicks off this week and concludes on the Big Day. Below, our favourite five picks to say “good bye, cruel world!” with.

 

Zardoz, 1974

We can’t really explain the plot of this trippy movie, but basically it’s about a diaper-wearing Sean Connery who infiltrates a society of sex-crazed immortals. There’s really no point, except somehow The Wizard of Oz plays a huge role in explaining the role of a giant floating-head-of-a-god called Zardoz. We know — we lost you at “diaper-wearing Sean Connery.”
Dec. 18, 9 p.m.

 

Armageddon, 1998

An asteroid “the size of Texas” headed for Earth is going to end life as we know it (“bacteria won’t even survive”), and who better to solve this pickle but a bunch of dirty oil drillers? This was a big summer blockbuster in its day, back when Ben Affleck was a wannabe matinee idol and Owen Wilson was a “character actor.” Go for Bruce Willis’ ultimate sacrifice, stay for Aerosmith’s weepy wailing.
Dec. 20, 9 p.m.

 

Last Night, 1998

1998 seems to have been a big year for the apocalypse. In Don McKellar’s bittersweet comedy, a group of Torontonians (including a pre-Grey’s Anatomy Sandra Oh) try to figure out how to spend their final hours. And if you think traffic on the Gardiner is bad now, you should see it in a pre-apocalyptic rush.
Dec. 21, 6:30 p.m.

 

Reign of Fire, 2002

Before Christian Bale was Batman and before Matthew McConaughey was shirtless in every movie, they were both dragon-slayers in this fantasy adventure movie where dragons come out of an apparent hibernation in 2020 (we thought they were fictional creatures?) and basically take over the world. The two stars (along with a pre-300 Gerard Butler) give it all they’ve got in this hokey flick (so we say now, but I guess we’ll find out the truth in seven years, provided we live past next week).
Dec. 21, 9 p.m.

The Road Warrior, 1981

Mel Gibson — back when he had a quasi-Aussie accent and seemed a smidgen more sane — is Mad Max, a cynical drifter in a post-apocalyptic world where gas is currency (well, that part isn’t really far-fetched). Max helps out a group of settlers fight off a band of bandits, and in the process, rediscovers his humanity. It’s a reassuring notion since the flick will play way past midnight, and quite possibly, into our ultimate doom.
Dec. 21, 11:30 p.m.

 

 

Countdown to Armageddon, TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., 416-968-3456. Dec. 14-21