Bad movie endings. Spoilers ahoy.

Just to reiterate for the sake of those sensitive about such matters, if this thread lives at all, spoilers will probably sprout like fungus all over it. That applies especially to my post, particularly the script.

I just recently finished viewing Arlington Road. I can’t say that the ending ruined a great film, since there was no great film to ruin there. The twist at the end was a neat idea in theory, but in execution, hoo boy! When I thought about the sheer absurdity of the logistics behind the terrorists planning it, I believe it caused actual damage to the part of my brain that handles suspension of disbelief. Before those neurons committed apoptosis for the well-being of the rest of my brain, however, they did present me with this script of the terrorist’s diabolical planning session:

Shadowy conspiracy: Right, now, Fennimore…
Oliver Lang: It’s Lang, now, boss.
SC: Oh, that’s right. Now, Oliver, that was a lucky break, your son just about getting his hand blown off and stumbling all alone down a street completely deserted except for that single car that Faraday fellow was driving.
OL: <shifty eyed> Yesssss…lucky. Accident. Very much so.
SC: <knowing wink> Right. Now that you’ve suddenly befriended your neighbor that way, what’s the next step?
OL: Well, first I need to make him real suspicious. I figure a single glance at a blueprint that’s not a mall will make him duly paranoid. He’ll then very quickly determine my past, especially when I have a couple pieces of mail accidentally delivered to his house.
SC: Good, good.
OL: Along the way, he’ll send his son off with mine to Nazi Camp, despite his misgivings. I’ll then do something very suspicious in a parking garage, like, ohh, switch vehicles, while amazingly not noticing his girlfriend is standing and watching not a stone’s throw away in the otherwise empty garage.
SC: Brilliant!
OL: She’ll trail me to that delivery company, and I’ll only notice her as she’s leaving, even though she was always following directly behind my van.
SC: You’re a crafty one, I’m glad you’re on our team.
OL: I figure I’ll have my wife surprise her after she makes a phone call to Faraday, because she really does get pissy if she doesn’t get to have a scene to act evil.
OL: <breath whooshes out in a pained gasp as aforementioned wife drives an irritated elbow into his ribs> Then we’ll kill her, erase the messages from his machine, and tap his phone lines while we’re at it. Then we’ll befriend him again to comfort him. But he needs to get paranoid again, but luckily his FBI friend will call him again, that should be all it takes.
SC: Logical.
OL: We’ll let him see someone very suspiciously playing with his phone junction box, and in order to be more secure, he’ll call his FBI pal back immediately from his cellular phone. He’ll be okay with that because cell phones are very secure, and never mind the fact that he’s calling right from his own driveway.
SC: I’ve always admired your ability to just get inside someone’s head. It’s eerie.
OL: Thank you. He’ll be determined to get real evidence, and to do that, he’ll go talk to the father of our previous patsy, knowing he can get results where thousands of man-hours before him have utterly failed. He’ll then see a picture of myself and my boy in Nazi Camp, and then have the shocking realization that sending his son there was a bad idea. Faraday will go get a rental car and drive like heck to get his son from Nazi Camp, but we’ll already have picked him up. He’ll drive back, and we’ll reveal our true evil during a party, along with blackmail about his son’s life. Instead of evil this time, my wife will just act sort of goofy. <is elbowed again> Oof!
SC: Hmmm…and that won’t paralyze him with fear? Remember the goal.
OL: Way ahead of you, Shadowy Conspirators! We’ll go ahead and put the bomb in the trunk of the car he’ll be driving. He’ll pick up the trail of the van his son will be in, and we’ll have a tense chase through the city.
SC: He won’t crash his car or total it by running against traffic and through red lights and such?
OL: No, there’s no danger of that.
SC: Ummm…
OL: <hurrying on> We’ll have to change the van he’s chasing in midchase, so we’ll lead him into a parking garage, and I’ll stop his car by crashing into it.
SC: Er…
OL: That’s right. Don’t worry, I’ll specifically crash so it stops dead but with only cosmetic damage that won’t stop an even higher speed chase later.
SC: Ooookay.
OL: We’ll beat each other up for a few minutes, then I’ll let him pound me bloody and get back in the bomb car to drive off and continue the chase. He’ll pick up the decoy van with some even more reckless driving…
SC: You’re sure he won’t total his car doing that kind of thing?
OL: Oh, it’s a calculated risk, but college professors are almost always highly trained stunt drivers. It’s part of getting tenure, I think. And at that point, victory’s assured. He’ll get right into the FBI’s parking garage…
SC: All the armed agents won’t shoot him even though he’ll be crazy-eyed and raving?
OL: Certainly not. As I said, he’ll get down there, and then we’ll remote-detonate the bomb in his car. I think it’s our most flawless plan yet.
SC & OL: <evil laughter, and then they make a toast>

What other movie endings, not necessarily even twisty ones, have made Dopers boggle at the implausibility/incoherence/WTF-factor?

Well, it’s neither a particularly great movie nor a particularly wretched ending, but I’ve never been too thrilled with the ending of The Hunger. At least, not the second ending. It has a decent first ending in which pretty much everyone dies, but then literally as the credits are rolling it is revealed that, gosh, some of them lived after all! Sheesh. I can only imagine that the final scene was tacked on (and is that ever the right term) in response to focus-group comments or something.

S P O I L E R S !!! Do not read if you have not seen “Enemy at the Gates” or “Other People’s Money” and plan to.

Enemy at the Gates Jude Law is a great, but inexperienced Russian sniper, who is confronted by a great, experienced German sniper. They have several confrontations in the movie. Every time, Jude Law has a partner, two of which get killed by Ed Harris, one manages to escape unharmed.

They both know where the other will be at the end, so they set up and wait for the other to reveal his position. Ed Harris is sequestered in an underground bunker, and Jude Law is in a building overlooking the area. A frend of Jude’s shows up and exposes himself, knowing he will be killed, thus revealing Ed Harris’s position, enabling Law to kill him. So far so good. Friend pops up, Harris fires, killing him, and revealing his position. Logical ending: Law fires a split second later, killing Harris. Does this happen? No. Despite knowing that Law always works with a partner, Harris assumes he has killed Law, and within a few minutes leaves his bunker and starts walking around in the open. Logical ending at this point: Law kills Harris from his vantage point high above. Does this happen? Again no. Law, a sniper, sneaks around behind Harris so that he can kill him face-to-face. Both snipers completely abandon everything they knew about their profession solely so that the screenplay could have Law kill Harris face to face. I liked the movie until this utter absurdity.

Other People’s Money: Penelope Ann Miller and Danny DeVito are lawyers in a proxy fight for control of the company owned by Miller’s father. The entire movie they fight tooth and nail, Miller wanting the company to be kept intact, De Vito wanting to break it up and sell off the pieces at a profit. There is a wonderful scene in which Gregory Peck and De Vito both give a speech before the shareholders, and De Vito blows Peck off the screen. De Vito wins, which should be the end of the movie, but no, just when we think it’s time for the credits, De Vito gets a phone call from Miller. Miller has information for De Vito that changes his mind about breaking up the company, information that would have prevented the entire conflict had she just given it to him at any time earlier in the movie. It’s a deus ex machina, and what’s worse, one that makes it obvious that Miller was holding back a key piece of information that would have won her the case, yet she reveals it only after she has already lost. Absolute stupidity.

The Pledge the ending of which I won’t reveal here, really left me wondering if there was any point at all to this film. I mean really, after watching it, I was thinking, why did they even bother making a film that concludes with such a wholly, unsatisfying splat of an ending. Beats me.

Battlefield Earth actually has a good ending, but getting there is terrible. I just found something worse: L. Ron is working on an animated series! Here’s hoping it won’t get past pilot stage.

Well “Fast and the Furious” was generally a craptastic film but the ending… So is this guy a cop or a sap? You have the perpetrator in your hands and you just give him a vehicle and let him go???
What a toyboy!!

Final Fantasy: TSW

I was quite enjoying the movie till the end. and then it just finished. I was really confused.

Spike Lee’s “School Daze.” Guy just turns to the camera and says, “Everybody. Wake up.” Roll credits.

Looks like he just ran out of money and stopped the film in the middle!

I utterly despised the ending of Pay It Forward. It was as if they simply couldn’t figure out how to go through the last thirty minutes or so of the movie. The third act felt like it was written by a completely different writer than the previous two acts. They had a reasonably interesting premise, but marred it with an attempt at turning the movie into a shameless, unjustifiable tearjerker towards the end. Insulting.

My friends and I have a term for movies that started out strong and then completely fell apart at the very end - they’re movies that have “Abyss endings”.

“The Abyss” was a pretty good movie, right up until the very end. I can’t help but think that the writers were on a deadline, and at the very last minute threw together the idea of “Ed Harris will dive down, and then we’ll have the big pink Barbie city come up out of the ocean!” Roll credits, the movie ends. Granted, the Director’s Cut makes a lot more sense, but I don’t count it since it wasn’t the theatrical release.

Oh, and I agree with Atreyu about “Pay it Forward”. They went with the “killing the protagonist will pull at the audience’s heartstrings” move. Bleh.

This is actually pretty consistent with Sean Penn’s other movies (“The Indian Runner”, “The Crossing Guard”). I wouldn’t advise anyone to go into a movie directed by Mr. Penn expecting a conventional, ties-up-all-the-loose-ends ending. “The Pledge” isn’t about what it seems to be about for most of the movie. You’re supposed to think, for most of the movie, that it’s about Nicholson’s search for the killer. It isn’t. The ending points us to the real subject, which is how Nicholson’s obsession, despite the fact that he was right all along, destroys the solid relationship he has developed and any chance for happiness.
The ending is ironic; Nicholson is right about the case, but he has done some reprehensible things as a result, and being right has destroyed his chance at happiness.

The one ending I always think of as spoiling an otherwise great movie is “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. What, they couldn’t come up with ANYTHING better than that?!?!? The movie doesn’t END, it just STOPS.

I have heard that the Pythons actually ran out of money for the film, so it had to “just stop”.

Sometimes I think it has to do with your perception of how a story should end.

For example, I thought the ending of “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels” was brilliant, considering the tone of the whole film.

My girlfriend thought it was horrible because it resolved nothing.

I agree with Drastic on Arlington Road. What a terrible ending. It turned a mediocre movie into a dreadful one.

Spoilers for The Pledge follow…I’m warning you, it’s a great movie, if you haven’t seen it you’ll ruin it…

I also want to join Number Six in defending The Pledge, which I think is an extraordinary movie. The fact that there is no “resolution” in the traditional sense is part of the point. Nicholson’s character can’t handle the fact that there is no resolution, can’t get on with his life, and that’s what leads to his unfortunate decisions, and ultimately, to his insanity.

Oh, I forgot to mention…I don’t think L. Ron is working on anything these days. Unless you count his little worm-feeding project. :slight_smile:

Well, the ending to the new “Planet of the Apes” isn’t neccesarily bad, just too damn confusing to figure it out!

(so far, the only explanation we can come up with is alternate universes.)

Read this (or the original piece at Slate) for an alternative that doesn’t involve more universes.

I don’t want to “out” Josh Daniel if I’m correct, but reading through Ebert’s answer-man, I could have sworn I saw that exact same thing posted on our boards a few weeks ago. Am I way off base here?

And, not to resurrect the dead horse with a 50,000 volt cattle prod, but I didn’t like A.I.'s ending. I understand it’s significance. I understand it’s deep meaning. I didn’t like it. I thought it was, at most, completely unnecessary and, at least, poorly written and extremely hokey.

I thought ** Unbreakable ** was a cool movie, until it hit the ending. The ending was remniscent of a bad made-for-TV movie, with the little white subtitle things explaining exactly what happens to the characters. The ending itself wasn’t bad, but the subtitles killed it.