I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that the end of a film is the most important part. Only the climax can completely alter what you’ve just seen. Fight Club would be an entertaining story without the twist ending, but with it, it completely changes everything that has come before it. There of dozens of movies that are just good, but then turn great when the ending reveals itself. Though for everyone one of that type of ending, there are probably three or four shitty endings. Pretty good movies, trucking along and being respectable, then derailed and killed by a shitty ending.
I could (and one day will) complain just about bad endings. Unnecessarily sad endings. Endings that want to make a point but end up making no real impact or sense. One example, for me, is Man on Fire, a badass movie that gets to the end where Denzel “Baddest Mother in the World” Washington, who has crushed and killed his way up to this point, just lays down his cards so that the movie can have a sad ending. Just because an ending is sad (aww, did the guy trying to reconnect with his son die unexpectedly in a mudslide? Must be a great movie!) doesn’t mean its good. Sometimes the sad ending is good though. If it makes the story. If it strengthens it. Then it’s the right ending. With Halloween recently over, some of you may have watched I Am Legend. This movie falls into the category of “The ending made it suck.” Really, the entire movie was pretty good, until the end, then it blew balls and made the whole movie bad.
I’m going to get a little spoilery here. I Am Legend is a strange title, but in the story, which has a twist ending, it makes perfect sense. I’m talking about the written story, not the filmed one. You see, in the written version, the entire world has been over-taken by vampires and Neville spent his nights being terrified and his days killing vampires. But in a world where everyone is a vampire, the boogey-man you don’t know is real that kills you in your sleep is some sort of mythical demon. So at the end, Neville realizes that he was the “legend” or myth – the tables had turned. He was their equivalent of a vampire, something strange, foreign, and possibly imaginary. Brilliant. But the the Will Smith movie comes along and, not wanting a sad ending, can’t have Neville, and humanity, lose and die. So they change it. And make it worse.
This boiling point has gone left and right, but now we go down the center. This “end game” is about changed endings. They most often suck. I mean, what were they thinking with I Am Legend? Not only did the new ending suck balls on its own, it made to fucking sense. Grammatically. “I am Legend.” “He was legend?” No, he was on par with Louis Pasteur or somebody – guys we don’t really call legendary. Plus, that’s the completely wrong kind of legend – definitely not what the book meant. For me, that ending ruined the entire movie for me. Just needed to get that off my chest, because otherwise it was a good movie. Good trip, shitty destination – makes the whole thing sour for me. Are you the same? Every time I think about I am Legend I know that I am Past My Boiling Point.
What stories have had their endings changed for the worse?