October 20, 2012

10 Greatest Movie Endings

Have I really not written about this before? I honestly thought I had, but I think that might just be because I usually rate movies based upon their endings. In my world, good ending = good movie...because really, the ending of a movie is your last impression of it. A good ending can save a mediocre movie, just like a bad ending (ahem, Return of the King) can take a great movie and diminish it's quality.

Sam, I don't give a SHIT that you finally got some

Most of my favorite movies happen to have fantastic endings. Coincidence? If you're familiar with my work, you already know what number one is...and you also know that I hate Casablanca, so no, it will not be on here.

Oh, I guess there will probably be spoilers...so don't be the "WHAT THE HELL? SNAPE KILLS DUMBLEDORE?" person. That book came out 10 years ago, the movie is like 3 years old...really? But anyways...

10. Heathers (1988)

Can I take a second to say how much I love Winona Ryder? Like, I know it's not 1992 anymore but I still think she deserves to be worshipped...even if she is slightly crazy. SHE IS GOING TO MAKE A COMEBACK GOD DAMMIT.

Anyways, I watched it a couple days ago actually, so it's fresh in my mind.  Heathers is pretty under the radar in today's day and age. Not a lot of people I know have seen it, and I'm pretty sure it's listed in Greatest High School Movies. So, legit credentials, right? Believe me, it's a great movie overall but the ending is what really gets me.


Veronia (Ryder) and J.D (Christian Slater) have spent the entire movie killing the popular kids at their high school and making it look like suicide, which in turn has made killing yourself cool at Westerburg High. Veronica decides that she is done with all that bullshit because, well, killing is sort of bad...but J.D is definitely a psychopath (he wears a rapist trenchcoat, Veronica, did you really not see that one coming?) and is like "uh...no baby...i love you" or something.


J.D tries to blow up the school during a pep assembly, but Veronica manages to shoot J.D in the hand and thinks the bomb has been stopped, but when she walks out of the school J.D follows with the bomb strapped to him. J.D gives her a little speech, and she replies by taking out a cigarette and raising it to him in a toasting manner... after the bomb goes off the cigarette is lit from the ashes in the air. It's pretty badass... oh, and there's cheesey 80's music in the background, which definitely adds to the overall amazingness that is Heathers.

Veronica then goes back into the school and confronts the new Heather Queen Bee by taking the red bow out of her hair that belonged to dead Heather, saying "Heather, my dear, there's a new sheriff in town" and then putting it in her hair. She then asks the fat unpopular girl if she wants to watch movies on prom, because what is a high school movie without a popular person becoming friends with the losers? AMEN.

Basically, I worship Winona...I could pick multiple movies with her that have great endings (Edward Scissorhands, Little Women, Mr. Deeds...haha jk on that last one), but I choose this one because who doesn't want to watch Christian Slater die?

Make it stop.

9. Boogie Nights (1997)

Mark Wahlberg in a movie about the golden age of porn? Uhmm...yes! To be honest, I was never that impressed with Boogie Nights. I thought it was really long and kind of depressing. What makes the ending so good is that all the characters lives are that depressing. By the end, after all the bullshit and the rise and fall f Dirk Diggler, they're all living with Burt Reynolds...still trying to make some god damn pornos because that's all they know.

Polyester suit? Check.
The final scene has Mark Wahlberg in front of a mirror getting ready for filming and he whips out his dong, telling himself "Im a star. I'm a star. I'm a star...I'm a big bright shining star". Pitiful? Yes. Expected? Of course. This movie is a classic "the cost of fame and fortune" plot, except there is no redemption. They're still trying to regain their former glory, but they're old and burnt out...and that's what makes Boogie Nights a good movie. Plus, when he zips up his pants it cuts to the credits playing "Livin' Thing" by ELO I smile a little, because that's a great song...and so is the rest of the movie soundtrack.

Note: This is an "edited" version of the end. One that I wish was real, but it's nevertheless inaccurate.

8. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

I had a really hard time choosing between this, and another brilliant Tarantino film, Pulp Fiction. Both the endings are great, but this one gives me a little more satisfaction...plus I sort of hate John Travolta, so he doesn't deserve my praise.

Really? Is there even a movie where you're NOT a "good" dancer?

In case you haven't seen it (and therefore I hate you too...you're on a level with John Travolta, I hope you're happy), Inglourious Basterds is set in WWII Europe involving Nazi scalping, blown up cinemas, mexican stand offs, and a bunch of other shenanigans. Basically, everyone wants Hitler dead (big surprise) and there's a plot to blow him and the high ranking Nazi's into pieces (spoiler, they succeed... proving Tarantino really does think he's god...changing history and what not).

"What? She said she was 18."

The having surrendered to "the Basterds" after cutting a deal with them to escape to America because he knows the Nazi's are toast, the bad guy (WAIT, IT'S NOT HITLER?!) Hans Landa aka "the jew hunter"(played by the extremely talented Christoph Waltz in a Oscar winning role) has a swastika carved into his head by Brad Pitt and that guy from The Office, so that even when he's living in refugee in the US, everyone will still know what he is.

It's destined to be a classic, especially with Pitt's final line...masterpiece indeed.

7. Batman Begins (2005)

The first in Nolan's 98% flawless trilogy, Batman Begins isn't nearly as good as it's sequels but the ending is the strongest. It is straightforward and sets us up for the next movie perfectly, unlike The Dark Knight which leaves us in confusion (wait...they...they don't want Batman anymore? WHY? Fuck you Harvey Dent, you're an asshole!") or The Dark Night Rises which I'm still confused about ("so...is Batman dead...or what? IS JOSEPH GORDON LEVITT ROBIN?! WHY WOULD YOU SET US UP FOR ANOTHER MOVIE WHEN THERE ISN'T GOING TO BE ONE?!").

The events of the movie are over and Commissioner Gordon (IDGAF is he's technically not that yet) is setting us up for the next movie. Armed robbery...theatrics...leaves cards everywhere because he's an asshole who can't clean up after the weekly poker game with the boys...

And then he turns over the card, and the audience is like HOLY MOTHER OF GOD...

Fan boys everywhere were probably jizzing..."HOUSTON WE HAVE A JOKER" Roger that, fan boys, roger that. Little did we know that we were a few years away from one of the best movies of the decade and one of the greatest performances in years. 

Thank you, Batman? Says Gary Oldman... NO THANK YOU BATMAN BEGINS.

6. Toy Story 3

Man, I hate this movie. It made me cry like three times. Why would you do this to me Pixar? I don't even really like this movie to begin with, the only good thing was Ken...besides that I find it somewhat disturbing. However...that ending.

I don't think it's fair that Pixar is allowed to be the master manipulators that they. Take a movie series that came out when a generation was just little kids, and end it just when they're becoming adults. Something about leaving your childhood behind sucks, because who wants to be an adult?

I can tell you right now it's not this guy

Andy goes to college, leaving his best friends behind for another child to enjoy and giving his toys a home that they wouldn't have had when he was gone (until she grows up too and this happens again...oh that, only my heart being ripped out). I think it's a great sacrifice, because he's giving up his childhood...something that is extremely hard. The final montage scene makes me lose my SHIT. I cry like a little bitch just thinking about it. However, it is powerful, memorable, and emotional, and even though I hate it, I can't help but love it too.

5. No Country for Old Men

Oh ho ho ho. Pretty much, you either love the ending to this movie or you hate it. That also depends on what "ending" you're talking about. Is it when Josh Brolin (I love you) is anti-climatically killed, when Javier Bardem gets in a car accident and just walks away, or when Tommy Lee Jones gives a "boring speech"? 

All these parts seem to get everyone's panties in a bunch...I think they're all brilliant. The entire movie Josh Brolin (I love you) is in a game of cat and mouse, trying to escape Javier. There are a few close calls, but he manages to get away everytime...and then BAM! He gets killed, but not by the bad guy or anything...just someone who broke into his hotel room. We don't even see what happened, just that he died. No explanation at all...just that the main guy is now dead and we're all sad and confused.

ahem, sound familiar?

 Now, I can see how that pissed people off...it takes away any satisfaction we have for a conclusive ending. Ah, but my friends, life is not like that...sometimes there is no point. Josh Brolin (I love you) died because shit happens...and I find that kind of bullshit to be more satisfying then a neatly gift wrapped ending. 

Then there's Javier getting what the bastard deserved! Oh wait, nope. He gets in a car accident and I'm sure everyone seeing it for the first time was like "OH HELL YEAH, well at least the bad guy get's what he deserves" uh NOPE. He just dislocates his arm...and proceeds to walk away from the scene, giving hope to hit men and guys with bad hair everywhere. 

"No really, tell me...is it John Frieda?"

Oh, and then there's Tommy Lee Jones's speech about a dream he had at the very end of the film. Yeah...it seems boring to an otherwise intense movie, but there's nuggets of gold in it and if you didn't understand the movie, maybe you would if you actually listened to someone talking instead of just expecting explosions and shit all the time.

Anyways, the ending of No Country for Old Men is so unsatisfying and troubling, but that's what makes it so memorable in my mind. You want the happy ending where the hero is a hero, and the bad guy get's what he deserves...but those lines are blurred in a movie where a man steals millions and some guy is truly just doing the job he was hired for. 

4. Casino Royale (2006)

Casino Royale has grown to be one of my favorite movies. I get transfixed  everytime it's on...I once skipped a party because I started watching it and couldn't stop. IT'S THAT GOOD...plus I have horrible social skills, so I wasn't making that big of a sacrifice.

Casino is supposed to be the Bond movie that takes place before Bond is 007. He's still smooth and get's more ass than then all of NSYNC combined.

LOL @ my early 2000s pop culture reference

We soon find that this is the movie where Bond becomes Bond. Hell, with his lady friend he decides he doesn't even want to be an agent anymore...and they run away together...then he finds out she was double agent crossing him the entire time...and them she dies. Oh, he also gets hit in the balls multiple times with a weight attached to a rope...so this is some heavy (pun SO intended) stuff to handle.

now we know how he has so much sex and no kids

So, how does Bond overcome all this bullshit? By becoming the 007 we all know and love, duh! The movie ends with the him rejoining the agency and using Vesper Lynd's final clue to him to find who blackmailed her...and then this shit happens, and you know a legend is born.

3. Some Like it Hot (1959)

Though it's not my favorite Marilyn Monroe movie (Bus Stop, you'll always have my heart), Some Like it Hot is one of the greatest comedies of all time and definitely one you should see before you die. It's extremely stupid, but I laugh out loud everytime I watch it. The pure innocence of it all, mixed with the innuendo is genius. Plus, it's about two cross dressing guys escaping the mob...so what did you expect?

The ending is the best however, because as as Jerry/Daphne, Joe/Josephine, and Sugar escape on the boat with the millionare Osgood (who wants Jerry/Daphne to marry him),with each couple making plans to get married. Jerry/Daphne tries to object to marrying Osgood for multiple bullshit reasons, finally admitting he's really a man and ripping off his wig, to which Osgood replies "well nobody's perfect!"

Best final movie line EVER. It's just so ridiculous, and then Jack Lemmon's face after is just dumbfounded.

2. Gone With the Wind (1939)

The great thing about GWTW is that the characters Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler are just so unlikable  yet they have one of the greatest unconventional love stories of all time. The whole time you're sort of rooting for them, sort of hating them, sort of loving them, all the while hoping they burn in a fire. At the very end, after all the bullshit, Scarlett finally realizes that she loved Rhett all along, but it's too late. He's all "screw you wench, and I don't mean that how you want me to"

I may have gotten that quote wrong...

So, after over three hours committed to this movie, having watched a war begin and end, Scarlett's multiple husbands biting the dust, fancy outfits, melodrama, etc, etc...the movies ends with the main character so NOT winning. So, you know what our heroine (that's pushing it) does? Well she sure as hell doesn't take that shit lying down, she's going to get her man back...maybe not today, but tomorrow is another day indeed.

 Despite being a bitch, liar, manipulator, and man stealer, Scarlett is who's journey we're on in the movie, and even if her ending isn't happy she still has what's left in her to give us hope.

1. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

What to say about this movie that I haven't already? This movie is my heart and soul, if I had to pick a movie to watch over and over again (sorry The Mummy, you're a close second) this would be it. There are so many scenes of pure gold that I could talk about, but the ending is what always gets me.

The two outlaw's run has finally come to an end. They had their time, but there is no turning back for Butch and Sundance. They're stuck in Bolivia with nothing left, their lady left and the Bolivian police are closing in on them. Are they going to surrender and give up? Hell no, they're going out with a blaze of glory, guns up!

And then the frame freezes in black and white (like the beginning of the movie!) and all that you can hear is gunshots. Of course, we know that they get shot to death and probably have more holes in them then this guy...

Yeah, I made THAT joke

...but there is almost something respectable about the way they went out. I think we all want to say that's how we'd go out too, but 99% of us would go out on our knees begging for mercy. Like all great westerns, Butch Cassidy and the Sndance Kid has furthers our romantic view of the old west, but also is poignant and shows unlikely heroes who we sort of want to be but really aren't badass enough to pull off.