Whether it’s an awesome movie or a terrible movie, nothing leaves you miffed like a crappy ending. If it was a great movie, then a ridiculous ending just ruined what should’ve been a cool two hours of your life. If it was a stupid movie, then a stupid ending is like adding insult to injury. Like a drunkard who just crashed your party and pissed all over the Tupperware, a bad ending kills everyone’s buzz. Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
by Nathan Bloch
The following article does not represent the opinions of Spike TV or its affiliates.
Stephen King’s It – the movie, directed by Tommy Lee Wallace – didn’t really get the cinematic adaptation it deserved. The book was terrifying, but the movie was like a really long after school special on why you shouldn’t take candy from clowns. But the ending of this movie was really the rotten cherry on this stinker of a cake.
Basically, Pennywise the Clown is the manifestation of a demon that came to earth millions of years ago and spends most of his time in Derry, Maine. Apparently evil prefers a chilly, northeastern climate. He appears to seven kids in various horrific forms, but his final act is transforming into a huge spider. In the book this was scary. In the movie this was more evidence of why stop-motion really didn’t have much more of a future in visual effects.
Word on the street is that there’s a remake of the movie underway. This is one of the first times that the announcement of a remake has caused me joy. The first movie just didn’t cut the mustard, and the ending basically summed up all the silliness of the last 3 hours.
Contact is, by and large, a really solid, thought-provoking film. Despite questionable casting choices like Matthew McConaughey as a spiritual leader and adviser to the president (I can’t really imagine any president asking McConaughey’s advice about anything other than tanning or smiling), the story is great and the acting is solid. The build up to the climax of the film is extremely suspenseful and exciting.
And then we get to see what these aliens really are: they’re Ellie’s (Jodie Foster) dead dad. Wait, no, they’re whisps of light on a beach. Wait, no, they’re…we have no idea what they are, because their plan was to make a big stink about building their little space machine and then reveal absolutely no edifying information about themselves, where they come from, or what in hell they want, other than to make…Contact. Houston, we have a title.
I mean, seriously? Director Robert Zemeckis traded in a really cool, sci-fi, creepy ending for a sentimental sob-scene with Ellie and her dead dad. Give me a frickin’ break. Not cool, man, not cool. Audiences walked away feeling ripped off, and I think they should have to put a sticker on the DVD cover that warns: BEWARE: GIRLY ASS ENDING.
Dang, two Zemeckis films in a row. Once again, Cast Away is a mostly great film, and Tom Hanks proves for the umpteenth time he can single-handedly steer a movie with no supporting cast other than a volleyball and an out of control beard. It’s an impressive feat of filmmaking.
And then Hanks’ character, Chuck Noland, gets rescued. We spend what feels like an hour watching as Chuck shakes hands and smiles sadly and fails to rekindle his relationship with long-lost girlfriend Kelly (Helen Hunt). It’s just all so…sad.
What the hell happened?! When did a tough-as-nails story about survival and self-reliance in the face of adversity become a tear-jerker of a romantic tragedy? Who made that choice? And if they really had to bring Chuck back to civilization, why not show him spearing squirrels in his back yard and eating the mail man? Now that’s how you end it.
7. King Kong
Peter Jackson certainly knows how to make big films, for better or worse. With King Kong, it was definitely worse. After all this business on the island – the best part of which involved an unlikely battle involving a Tyrannosaurus rex and, well, King Kong – we get back to New York, where King Kong is on display. Soon, though, he’s on the ice, and then climbing a building, and then dying.
And it’s all retarded. Why, Jackson, why? Did King Kong really need to be remade? The answer is no, it did not. We all paid the price of admission, and we all paid the price of having to watch one of the most ridiculous endings ever. This movie should’ve been called, King Stupid Monkey Face.
Danny Boyle made a really entertaining first and second acts to Sunshine, and then I guess his screenwriter, Alex Garland, got sick of writing the movie and inserted a psychopathic manifestation of Apollo, God of the Sun, to finish off act three. And, yes, this is as stupid as it sounds.
Whose idea it was to end what could have been a modern day 2001 with a B-horror movie murder/chase sequence I can’t say, but the fact that Boyle went with it meant that everyone definitely ran out of ideas. And everyone who watches this movie runs out of fondness for an otherwise cool film. If it had been my call, I would have put the astronauts on the surface of the sun and had them come back as walking nuclear furnaces, living gods able to supply their planet with the energy it needed. Why? Because then you’ve got yourself a sequel where the sun gods do battle and destroy the solar system.
Ok, so my ending sucks too, but I’m not being paid $10,000 a word. This movie definitely needed a better ending, and just about anyone could have come up with a better one. The proof is in the blogging.
5. Planet of the Apes
Seeing as just about everything in Tim Burton’s remake of Planet of the Apes was ridiculous, one could make the argument that he was simply being consistent by ending the movie ridiculously. One could also make the argument that at no point during the production of this film did he or anyone else know what the hell they were doing.
So we’ve got Mark Wahlberg and he finally escapes the apes and goes…back to the future! Or, uh, no – the past! Or, uh, a future version of the past! No, it’s, uh, the present, but it’s been affected by the past, which will now be his future! Aaaaaaaaaa!!!
If the screenwriter or director figured out what logically happens at the end, they didn’t bother communicating it to the audience. Burton kind of out-did himself by finishing a terrible movie with an abominable ending, and, since he hadn’t yet died, Charlton Heston went out and dug a hole in his backyard so he could roll in his future grave.
4. What Dreams May Come
For being a pretty dang funny guy, Robin Williams sure has a knack for being in downer films. Whether he’s playing a clown/doctor who entertains dying kids, or a kid who’s aging too fast, or just a plain old psychopath who stalks people, he really knows how to pick ‘em. It’s pretty safe to say What Dreams May Come is the end-all-be-all of Debbie Downer movies, and it boasts an ending that is more ridiculous and depressing than just about anything out there.
One day Chris Nielsen (Williams), whose two children have already died, dies in a grizzly pile-up on the road, leaving his wife, Annie (Annabella Sciorra) all by her lonesome. After spending his Saturdays haunting her and driving her nuts, he finally decides to make like a banana and get out of there. But not before he’s driven her so crazy she decides to kill herself. At which point he has to rescue her from hell. Then, all four family members reside happily in heaven…but dead. The whole family is dead.
And that’s the end. I mean, heebus jeebus, that’s some deep shit. You go into the movie thinking it’s going to be a fanciful tour of heaven with Peter Pan, and you come out feeling like you just took Philosophy 101 with Schopenhauer and Camus. This ending combines silly, sad and stupid into one noxious potion of putrescence.
3. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
When all else fails, blame it on the aliens. Can’t come up with an ending? Aliens. Can’t figure out the plot? Aliens. Can’t make sense of the improbable sequence of events? Yes: aliens. You can almost hear the producers and filmmakers squealing with glee as they realize they’re going to be able to make it home in time for the game after all. They thought they had a stupid story without an ending to tie up the two hours of loopholes, and then…epiphany! Crystal alien skulls that turn into aliens that drive the space ships. Perfect! Genius!
2. Artificial Intelligence
Did I say that What Dreams May Come was the end-all-be-all of Debbie Downer movies? If so, I must retract that statement and say that it's the penultimate Debbie Downer flick. A.I. most definitely takes the cake for most depressing movie ever.
David (Haley Joel Osment), a loveable little robot child, is thrown out with the rest of the garbage by his parents/owners and left to fare for himself. Somehow by the end of the movie he winds up at the bottom of the ocean for, like, thousands of years, in some kind of robot child hibernation. Fortunately for him, thousands of years in the future an alien race (why is it always aliens whenever Spielberg gets near a movie?!) hits the defreeze button and releases him from his little ship. Like a bunch of ethereal genies, they grant him one wish before they reverse engineer him for parts. He chooses to spend a day with his owner/mother. Perversely, he can only spend one day with his wish/owner/mother in this tragic rehash of Pinnochio, ‘cause after a day the aliens’ magic doesn’t work. Or something.
Few movies can induce anger, confusion and depression to the degree A.I. does, and to that end Spielberg gets props. He really knows how to rile us up, even if it winds up costing us $10. A.I. was the beginning of a long line of sub-par movies to come from Spielberg this decade, and it was a bad sign that, just as it began, it ended very, very badly.
The tragedy of Signs is that it’s quite possibly the best movie M. Night Shyamlan has made or ever will make. There are some who would contend The Sixth Sense was better, but that’s neither here nor there. Signs was a really cool, entertaining, creepy movie, and proved how much a filmmaker could – like Hitchcock – do with good acting and suspense.
And then we saw the ending.
Somehow a race of aliens (Shyamalan has compared himself to Spielberg, go figure) has managed to travel light years across the universe in space ships that cannot be seen by us; they’ve infiltrated our planet; and they have destroyed our society’s infrastructure in a matter of days. BUT: they cannot open locked doors, and they all failed freshman biology, seeing as none of them managed to figure out that their bodies react to water like it was concentrated acid. Which means Earth is as hospitable to them as, say, a vat of spent uranium rods would be to us. Everything from the air we breath to the stuff that falls out of the sky to the physical makeup of our bodies is made up of: water.
But these aliens are allergic.
On top of all this, little signs from God have been piling up to the point that Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) finally sees at the end how each of his family members have led him to finally defeat these scientifically disabled space invaders. So we’ve got a loop-hole wider than the Large Hadron Collider plus fifty coincidences (“signs”) that equal the stupidest, most unbelievable ending ever in the history of cinema. It’s too bad that it didn’t snow, or that none of these aliens stepped in a puddle or tried to invade a water park, because they would’ve discovered their weakness a lot faster and saved everyone a lot of time.
Sigh. The really sad thing about this ridiculous ending? The fact that it’s possibly the best ending of the past four movies Shyamalan has made. Now that’s ridiculous.