Thursday, June 24, 2010

Top Five . . . Decent Movies with Bad Endings

Obviously, with a title like that there WILL be spoilers. You have been warned.

Nothing is more dissapointing than watching a good movie with a soul-crushingly lame ending. Here are my top five decent movies with bad endings:

5. 1408

In a previous post, I talked about this flick. It's really good, but the original theatrical ending was a let down. The basis for the film is that the room never lets anyone leave, so for John Cusack's character to get out with a few singe marks just doesn't ring true. The director's cut ending seems much more plausible, with Cusack torching the room and becoming one of its resident ghosts. The alternate ending redeems it enough to score the number five spot.

4. Donnie Darko

I know I'm supposed to love and understand the ending of this film, since I consider myself a fan, but I just can't get behind it. If you haven't seen Donnie Darko, you should (and you should skip to the next film to avoid spoilers), but be warned - it's a polarizing film (which means you'll like it or you'll really hate it). I won't bother going into the synopsis because it's a really complicated film, but I will say I was dissapointed in the ending. Donnie starts out as kind of a jerk-off kid with some severe behavioral problems and as the film progresses, the viewer begins to empathize and even like him. To take that away by basically saying "Everyone would be better off if he died" seems like a cop out to me. I get why the flick ends the way it does, but I don't like it.

3. "Memento"

Actually, everyone should see this movie (seriously, add it to your Netflix queue), so I'm not going to give anything away, other than I don't think I've ever been more pissed off at a movie's finale. It's not necessarily bad - it's just really messed up.

2. The Village

Really, M. Night Shymalan? Really?!? We watched this entire movie to find out that they're a cult living in the present?

1. The Happening

I wanted to like this movie, I really did. I like twist endings (for the most part) and I loved Shymalan's The Sixth Sense and Signs. I even liked The Village until the ridiculous ending. The Lady In the Water wasn't really my thing, but it wasn't horrible. The Happening had everything going for it - people killing themselves en masse without warning signs, a small band of people trying to escape the unexplained force, and some pretty cool scares. As soon as they started bringing up the plants, however, I started to get anxious. I sat there thinking, "Please, don't let it be the plants. Please, please, don't let it be the plants." And you know what? It was the f-ing plants! What started out as an awesome R-rated feature length "Twilight Zone" episode (probably more like "Outer Limits", but I like "TZ" better, so indulge me) was reduced to a pithy, didactic "protect the environment" PSA . . . maybe it is more like "Twilight Zone" after all!

Want to rant about a movie ending? The comment section is all yours . . .


  1. I always thought the whole reason Donnie dies isn't so much that "everyone is better off without him", but to save Gretchen, isn't it?

  2. That is true. I get why the movie ended the way it did, and I can't come up with an ending that would work better, but it's always bothered me for some reason. It definitely has more to do with personal feelings than it does with quality of the film (which is excellent).

  3. ^Agreed. It's especially good to watch it with someone who's never seen it. "Is that Drew that Noah Wyle?...IS THAT PATRICK SWAYZE?! Why are all these people in this movie I've never heard of?"

  4. It is really cool when that happens, but I've watched it with a few people who just look at me and say, "Why did you make me watch this?" Then I feel sad . . . mostly because we can no longer be friends. :D


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