Friday, April 17, 2009

20 Great Movie Plot Twists Of The Day

From Premiere. With only 20, of course, they left some off the list. A few that come to mind are Vertigo, The Conversation, The Crying Game, The Manchurian Candidate, Witness For The Prosecution, Primal Fear and The Spanish Prisoner. What others?

Oh, by the way, spoiler alert. Duh.




CHINATOWN (1974)

DIRECTOR: Roman Polanski


THE SETUP: Private dick Jake Gittes is hired to investigate what he thinks is a routine case of corruption and adultery. It turns out to be a tad more complicated.


THE TWIST: Evelyn Mulwray's sister — slap! — is her daughter — slap! — her sister and her daughter! — slap!


FUN FACT: During the climactic reveal, Faye Dunaway asked Jack Nicholson to really slap her. He did.




THE SIXTH SENSE (1999)


DIRECTOR
: M. Night Shyamalan

THE SETUP
: A very sensitive, and kind of creepy, little kid tells his psychologist that he "sees dead people."

THE TWIST
: His psychologist is actually one of those dead people.

FUN FACT
: Though he's actually left handed, star Bruce Willis learned to write with his right hand so viewers wouldn't notice his character's missing wedding ring.



THE PLANET OF THE APES (1968)


DIRECTOR
: Franklin J. Schaffner

THE SETUP
: A group of American astronauts crash land on a world where apes talk and rule, while humans are primitive slaves with no voting rights.

THE TWIST
: The planet is actually Earth; the space ship traveled in time instead of space. ("Oh my God, I was wrong/It was Earth all along" - The Simpsons)

FUN FACT
: The script was actually written by twist-loving "Twilight Zone" creator Rod Serling.



STAR WARS: EPISODE V -- THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980)


DIRECTOR
: Irvin Kershner

THE SETUP
: After blowing up the Death Star in 1977's Episode IV — A New Hope, Luke Skywalker trains to become a Jedi while Vader and the Empire strike back, frequently.

THE TWIST
: Darth Vader is Luke's father. Though as we learned later, he was also Princess Leia's father and, in a way, C-3PO's father. Which kind of makes him the Sith version of K-Fed.

FUN FACT
: In an attempt to keep this twist a secret, the scene was originally shot with actor David Prowse — the guy in the Darth Vader suit — saying to Mark "Luke" Hamill, "Obi-Wan killed your father."



THE USUAL SUSPECTS (1995)


DIRECTOR
: Bryan Singer

THE SETUP
: After a group of criminals are caught during a heist, one of them, a crippled man named "Verbal" Kint, reveals that the entire plot was the work of master criminal (and urban legend) Keyser Söze.

THE TWIST
: Verbal is Keyser Söze.

FUN FACT
: Soze is actually Turkish for "talks a lot."



PSYCHO (1960)


DIRECTOR
: Alfred Hitchcock

THE SETUP
: After stealing money from her boss, Marion Crane checks in the Bates motel, where people check in but they don't check out!

THE TWIST
: The murderer is the inn's owner, Norman Bates, who thinks he's his own mother, even though Mama Bates is dead … and kind of ripe.

FUN FACT
: Among the women considered for the role of Marion Crane, which ultimately went to Janet Leigh, were Eva Marie Saint, Lana Turner, and Shirley "Mrs. Partridge" Jones.



JACOB'S LADDER (1990)


DIRECTOR
: Adrian Lyne

THE SETUP
: When Vietnam veteran Jacob Singer starts hallucinating demons and his dead son, he thinks it has something to do with post-traumatic stress from combat.

THE TWIST
: Jacob actually died in Vietnam, and everything he sees is a deathbed vision.

FUN FACT
: Jacob's doctor was played by Lewis Black, who's now known for being a comedian, a Daily Show regular, and kind of twisted.



THE GAME (1997)


DIRECTOR
: David Fincher

THE SETUP
: Nicholas Van Orton is a tightly wound executive who eventually chucks himself off a building when his life goes to hell.

THE TWIST
: Instead of being killed in the fall, Nicholas lands in one of those big air stunt pillows because everything that has happened — including being kidnapped and left for dead in Mexico, and accidentally killing his brother — was part of an elaborate game paid for by his brother (Sean Penn) as a birthday present.

FUN FACT
: While doing such a game may have looked far-fetched 10 years ago, similar A.R.G.s (alternate reality games) have since become popular (and commercial) and have been used to promote things like Nine Inch Nails's Year Zero album, the TV show "Lost," and the upcoming Batman movie The Dark Knight.



CITIZEN KANE (1941)


DIRECTOR
: Orson Welles

THE SETUP
: The story of newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane is told by a reporter who's trying to find out what Kane meant when, with his last dying breath, he uttered the word "Rosebud."

THE TWIST
: Rosebud was his childhood sled.

FUN FACT
: Kane was inspired by real-life newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who was so "flattered" by his thinly veiled portrayal that, when the film opened, he decreed that no Hearst paper mention it. At all. Ever.



FIGHT CLUB (1999)


DIRECTOR
: David Fincher

THE SETUP
: On his way home from a business meeting, a normal shlub befriends a far more interesting guy named Tyler Durden, leading the two eventually to form an underground boxing organization.

THE TWIST: Tyler Durden is all in the narrator's head.


FUN FACT: According to Variety, Fight Club was one of the first DVDs to be overseen by the film's director, which might explain why it was, and still is, one of the better movie DVDs ever made.

For the rest, check out the full list on Premiere.com.


19 comments:

  1. Bah. I had The Sixth Sense figured out in about 5 minutes (or however long it took for Bruce Willis to be ignored by his wife at dinner).

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  2. Bruce Willis was dead? Huh. Need to watch that one again.

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  3. Frank, I did the same thing with Titanic. As soon as I saw that huge ship, I said to myself, that thing's gonna sink, I bet.

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  4. I had Sixth Sense figure out early on too, but it was still fun watching how it all played out since I wasn't sure I was right. I did like that movie.

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  5. it was Danny Aiello, not Lewis Black, who played the chiropractor in "Jacob's Ladder". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob's_Ladder_(film)

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  6. i just saw wild things for the first time. it has more twists than lombard st!

    also don't anyone forget soylent green. seen it once, wont ever see it again.

    yea i can't believe primal fear wasn't on this list, an excellent movie as were most of these. loved fight club!

    i never saw it coming in the sixth sense but had it pegged right off the bat in the movie, the others.

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  7. Uhh how about hotel for dogs?

    that shit had me on the edge of my seat.

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  8. Sixth sense totally sucks. Anything Shyamalan makes Shyamasucks. Secret twist to his next movie: IT WAS NEVER MADE!

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  9. anonymous @ 2:06

    Aiello played the spine cracker, Lewis Black played a physician.

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  10. The Sting always comes to my mind when you talk about movies with a surprise twist. It's been around quite a while, of course, but then so have I. :)

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  11. I do not remember the reason why, but we watched The Sting as an assignment in high school...

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  12. The Others has a great twist.

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  13. Would 'Se7en' be considered a twist movie?

    That ending was so freaky & mind-numbing.

    But I would put 'Planet of the Apes' up higher.

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  14. Cary you might wanna re-check the site.
    "The crying game" is #1 on the list...

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  15. I didn't go to the site but I love a twisted story. A few that aren't on this list but could be are:

    "No Way Out"...the script was terrific...the acting notsomuch.

    "Volver"...and about a half dozen other Pedro Almovodar flicks that most Americans have never seen.

    "The Others"...I figured out what was u before the big reveal but that didn't make it any less enjoyable to watch.

    "Memento"...a brilliant piece of non-linear storytelling that kept me guessing for two hours. Christopher Nolan also directed "The Prestige" which is kinda cheesy, IMHO, but it has a twist in the final act that surprised a lot of folks in the theater with me.

    Great list, Cary. It was fun catching up with your blog this morning. Thanks for the laughs....and the memories.

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  16. Voronya - Yes, Wild Things just became annoying after a while.

    Anon - Hotel For Dogs! Yes. All their hard work negated by a simple gas leak.

    Anon 2 - I'm with you on Shyamalammading dong but The Sixth Sense wasn't bad.

    Daisy - I always forget about The Sting. I don't even remember what the twist was, but I do remember being surprised.

    Hutch - Yeah, Se7en - that ending, wow. The Lemonheads have a song called, "Here Comes Gwyneth's Head In A Box."

    Scope - thanks. Memento was great, and, like you, I did not care for The Prestige. Figured that one out early on.

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  17. When I got to the Star Wars item's reference to K-Fed, I actually had to stop for a moment and work to remember who K-Fed is. Baseball player? TV cop? ARRRRRGGGHHHH, no, THAT guy. Glad to realize I had put him out of my mind for awhile, now that the omnipresent celebrity media have moved on from all-Britney-all-the-time.

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  18. I agree about The Others. I loved that movie. The kids were fantastic and Nicole Kidman didn't look like a freak back then, so I could pay attention to her acting.

    List was good. I Figured out The Sixth Sense about halfway through, but it was still a great flick. And Primal Fear really should have been included.

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