Monday, July 11, 2005

Movies that cheese you off

So, Sunday my sister came home from seeing a film -- the French dubbed version of "High Tension". She says, "I liked it up until the point I didn't like it" (I'm paraphrasing).

Essentially her beef with the film was that it was almost brilliant if you could get past the gaping plot hole the size of a Mac truck. It could have been a great 3rd act twist -- it actually was until she said, "hey wait a minute, that can't be right..."

Movie that gets the 3rd act twist right in this vein: The Sixth Sense. Everything in that film lines up and makes sense and on rewatching you half think to yourself, 'how could I miss that??'

This one got close but couldn't reach the bar. And she was there with it. She said it was thrilling, edge of your seat stuff...until the end. So frustrating.

So, any movies that 'had you at hello' but left you before the end of Act III? I'll have to mull over my top pick, but I'll post it soon.


Fun Joel said...

Interesting you mention Sixth Sense. I was just commenting over at Kristen's blog that I really disliked the Sixth Sense, primarily because that plot twist was the ONLY thing they got right. I felt I had to sit through a completely boring movie, and then I'm supposed to suddenly love it because the last 5 minutes were kind of cool and had a clever little twist in them.

Two movies that I think got it much more right, with interesting set-ups AND a clever "big reveal" ending are The Usual Suspects and Fight Club. Though I didn't completely love Fight Club, since it was much of the same crap that Fincher has devolved into as a director -- self indulgently showing off his directing pyrotechnics. Still, one of his better films, I think.

The Constipated Writer said...

It's funny you brought up a plot hole issue. I just posted something about that at my blog. However, I can't think of an example right off the bat, though. I'll get back to you.

The Awful Writer said...

Both my wife and I really loved Secret Window with Jonny Depp until the reveal at the end, then we both hated it.

John Donald Carlucci said...

Amen to Secret Window. I hate braces and corn even more now.


Dave said...

Requiem for a Dream. Nothing to do with twists, but this movie made me so angry. So very, very angry. Your dreams are foolish and they will destroy you? What the HELL kind of theme is that for a movie? You should be ashamed of yourself, Darren.

Electroglodyte said...

Funny Joel should mention Fight Club. I clicked on the comments with the intention of mentioning Fight Club as being great (in parts) UNTIL they got to the end. I didn't even mind the big reveal so much, but the solution to it (the way in which he kills his alter ego, but not himself) was, IMO, asinine and completely took me out of the movie.

I have to say I disagree with fun joel's assessment of Sixth Sense. Yes, it was slow moving, but there were some truly spooky moments along the way (when he goes to the bathroom at night, for example, and the tent in his room). What I thought was great was the little mini-story built in towards the end when the boy uses his power and helps uncover the mother slowly poisoning her own child. A beautifully directed and utterly chilling sequence.

Oh, and I third the opinion on Secret Window.

I doubt many people will agree with me on this, but my opinion of Shawshank Redemption was always marred by it going on too long at the end. There were some perfectly reasonable points at which it could have faded to black and roll credits (when Morgan Freeman crosses the border in the bus, for example), but now whenever I think of the movie, I'm annoyed to have to think about the cheesy shot of Morgan Freeman arriving on the beach and hugging Tim Robbins.

moses said...

Not exactly a movie I thought was great but in Hostage there's a point where the "FBI" show up and I was kinda like well why didn't they just do this in the first place. Made everything before hand seem pointless to me.

Anonymous said...

The end of Pay It Forward, the kid did not have to die...even after all this time that one still sticks in my craw

Erik said...

I'm wondering if Dave and I saw the same movie. I never got that theme from Requiem for a Dream...

But I gotta agree on Pay It Forward.

The Constipated Writer said...

Garden State really tested my patience with that tacked on happy ending nonsense. The movie should have ended with them parting ways with the promise of being together. The ending as it is now is so just stinks.

Dave said...

Erik, the author of the book explicitly states the theme in an interview on the DVD's bonus material.

I thought all of Pay It Forward was horrible, including the senseless ending. Let's throw K-Pax on there too. Never saw much in Kevin Spacey.

There is also a dark, hateful place in my heart for Frailty. "It makes sense...if I'm the other brother!" Uh, no it doesn't.

How about The Bone Collector? There was only one possible suspect, and it turned out to be him. Plus, I didn't believe anybody would be stupid enough to fall for the old come-closer-so-I-can-tell-you-something trick. Sheesh.

City of Angels...BARF. Also, Dragonfly (the last ten minutes were like they were from a completely different movie). Eyes Wide Shut -- like the whole movie was there just for the final punch-line.

Prince of Tides -- just wouldn't end and turned into the Barbara-Streisand-starring-vehicle story, making me want to stab her in the face repeatedly with a cheese knife.

The Mighty -- Sharon Stone ruined the movie with that awful bit at the end, "You see, his heart was just too big..." Again, BARF.

And the all-time, throw-my-popcorn-bucket-at-the movie-screen-and-stomp-out-of-the-theater award goes to: LOST IN TRANSLATION. Murray's whisper at the end was the biggest screenwriting cheat ever perpetrated on a movie audience. Imagine if, in the end of Casablanca, Bogie leaned into Bergman's ear and whispered something completely inaudible, instead of "We'll always have Paris". No sir. Doesn't pass muster.

Bonus classic movie: Our Town (1040). Totally tacked-on it-was-all-a-dream happy ending.

Whew. Had some serious pent-up hostility for those movies. Thanks for the chance to vent.

Erik said...

...the author of the book explicitly states the theme in an interview on the DVD's bonus material.

That's what I get for not getting around to the bonus features. :) I guess I'll have to sit down and watch them.

Shawna said...

All of these are great examples!

I was going to mention "Lost In Translation" too. And, of course, the screenplay sheds no light on the ending. I felt like throwing it across the room.