Friday, March 18, 2011

The 20 Worst Movie Endings Ever

From Cranky Pants Betsy and the Times Online (UK). Contains spoilers -- as articles about movie endings often do. I don't agree with a lot of their choices, but you know what they say about opinions.

Cast Away
Robert Zemeckis, 2000

Being stuck alone with Tom Hanks on a desert island for 90 minutes is itself a test of patience, but at least there is the whole “will-he-escape?” question. He does . . . but things don’t stop there. In a turgidly anticlimactic homecoming, he discovers that his girlfriend is married to their dentist. He looks sad. Time passes. Just when things threaten never to end he finds himself standing at a crossroads. Like we don’t get it.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, 1975

They changed the face of modern humour, but the Python boys, moving away from standard sketch construction, often left themselves with no punchlines. In a half-hour TV show, that’s acceptable. But on the big screen, after some of the most hysterical comedy moments in cinema history, to have King Arthur and his knights arrested by contemporary policemen is, literally, a cop-out.

Blade Runner (original release)
Ridley Scott, 1982

The studio-tampered original has much to recommend it, including Harrison Ford’s noir-style voiceover, the perfect complement to Scott’s dark, rain-drenched hellhole. What really sucks is the decision to remove all ambiguity from the ending, leaving Deckard (Ford) and Rachael (Sean Young) driving in sun-drenched mountains that look as if they were torn from another movie. They were. From the outtakes of the opening minutes of The Shining.

Paul Thomas Anderson, 1999

How do you tie up the loose ends in an ambitious comedy-drama? Answer: you introduce a freak meteorological event, a rain of frogs that falls on your characters, interrupting suicide attempts and causing havoc on the highway. Biblical imagery? Or a desperate attempt to plug plot holes with amphibians?

Alfred Hitchcock, 1960

“Matricide is probably the most unbearable crime of all!” And so begins an agonisingly dull lecture from know-all Dr Richmond (Simon Oakland) that explains the psychopathology of Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) in painfully literal terms, and brings the formerly thrilling proceedings to an undignified splat.

Saving Private Ryan
Steven Spielberg, 1998

Spielberg opened his war drama with one of cinema’s most visceral combat scenes. But he added on a coda in the style of a Werther’s Original ad, in which Ryan, now a grandad, reflects on whether he was a good man. Spielberg at his gloopiest.

Randal Kleiser, 1978

Olivia Newton-John’s overnight transformation from virginal moppet to leather-clad vamp might have stretched credulity, but Kleiser’s musical at least conformed to the laws of physics. Until the final shot, in which John Travolta’s hotrod takes flight and soars away into the clouds. Why, oh why?

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Peter Jackson, 2003

Overegging the pudding in epic style, Jackson wraps up his nine-hour saga with no fewer than four endings. The coronation of Viggo Mortensen’s king was euphoric, but the dockside farewell and Sam’s return to Bag End were unecessary, and don’t get us started on the scene in which Frodo and friends laugh like stoned schoolgirls.

For the rest, see the full article at Times Online


  1. Oh, come on, Monty Python and the Holy Grail? That ending is perfectly absurd, just like the rest of the movie!

    Totally agree on the stupid flying car in Grease, though. Especially since Greased Lightning was KENICKE's car, not Danny's!

  2. I agree. Monty Python was a bad choice.

  3. Can't say anything bad about my LOTR movies. Nope. Not listening.

    Saving Private Ryan tops this list for me. Loathe that ending so much.

  4. Yes, it was terrible. I liked the idea of it, but the execution was embarrassingly bad.

  5. The Perfect Storm.. especially cuz I didn't know the story going in.. I was mad as hell that they all died.

  6. Anyone who wouldn't include "The Last American Virgin" on this list has to be crazier than I am... And that's saying a lot -- HAHAHAHAHAHA

  7. Matt, how right you are. Terrible ending, although I remember my buddies and I cackling at the utter PWNage of poor stereo-hocking wussy guy.

    Marta, we don't know that for sure.

  8. Hmmm...kind of a random list. Don't really agree with a lot of the movie choices - and I can honestly say I never really cared to ponder whether the ending for "Grease" was sub-par or not.

  9. Their inability to end sketches was always a gripe of mine about Monty Python's Flying Circus, and the movie was no different.

  10. I just thought of another movie with a bad ending to it -- "Network" (1976).

    The main character ends up... Well, you'll have to see it to know what I mean.

  11. "The Mist" based on the Stephen King story. Worst ending EVER.

  12. The perfect storm...just watched it and quite enjoyed it until the end!!!! They battle the storm all film, brining together a bunch of guys then just as they seem to have made it...they suddenly capsize, the ship sinks and they all die!!!

    To top it off the last 10 mins is of all their close ones crying..omg

    : )



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