This week, I’m going to be talking about endings. Now before you gasp and exclaim, “Not you too, mydangblog!” let me clarify that I am NOT talking about giving up blogging, although I just realized that I’m almost at my 6 year anniversary of posting EVERY SINGLE SUNDAY and isn’t that something to celebrate? I might just have to have a glass of wine or two. No, when I say ‘endings’, I mean movie endings. Normally, I leave the movie reviews up to my good friends at Assholes Watching Movies, Often Off-Topic, Silver Screenings, and Geek Cred, but lately I’ve had some very unhappy movie experiences that I feel compelled to rant about. Because frankly, it seems like the film industry, and television too, has gotten damn lazy and I’m fed up with picking a movie for Kate and me to watch and then 2 hours or more later, turning to each other and saying “What the f*ck was that?” I pay good money for Netflix and Prime, so I expect better. Also, I have a film degree, (Sidenote: once, when I was 20 years old, I had to sit through Michael Snow’s Wavelength. I fell asleep and when I woke up 20 minutes later, the scene hadn’t changed. It was still better than the movies I’m going to talk about), so I’m going to be using some very technical terms like ‘stupid’, ‘ridiculous’, and ‘ridiculously stupid’.
First, before you read on, I’m warning you that there will be several spoilers pertaining to my most recent, dire viewing experiences regarding Sons of Anarchy, Hereditary, Midsommar, and appropriately, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, so if you really feel that you absolutely must watch any or all of these examples of the stupidest endings I’ve ever seen and you want to go into it without any bias—well, I’ve given you the heads up, so you can’t blame me later. So here are the subjects of my complaints in chronological order:
1) Sons of Anarchy
I recently rewatched all seven seasons of Sons of Anarchy because I remembered it being a pretty good series. I mean, Charlie Hunnam is no DeNiro, but he’s still pretty convincing as Jax Teller, the president of a very naughty motorcycle club. The whole series is purportedly based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and as a former English teacher, I can attest that it does follow the plot of a Shakespearian tragedy very loosely. It would be hard to follow more closely since Hamlet was five acts long and SOA is seven YEARS long, but still, I could see the parallels more clearly this time, right down to the end. If you know anything about tragedies, the big thing is that the death of the hero restores the moral order. So in the last scene, our hero Jax is on his dead father’s motorcycle, flying down the highway being chased by an army of police cruisers. He sees a transport truck coming in the other direction; close-up on Jax as he smiles beatifically and takes his hands off the handlebars, holding them out like he’s flying. It’s perfect, in all its self-sacrificial glory. And then—the worst f*cking green screen I’ve ever seen in my life of Jax slamming into the front of the truck. It was so unrealistic, it was laughable, and the tears I’d been crying moments before turned to snickers. Could you imagine Shakespeare ending Hamlet by shooting a mannequin dressed in a jerkin and tights out of a cannon with Horatio yelling, “And flights of angels sing thee to thy death, dude!!”? Exactly.
I give this series 2 Tragic Flaws out of 5 because the series was pretty good, but that last scene was appalling.
And I think SOA started the curse of bad endings for me, because these next three are even worse.
A group of American 20-somethings take a vacation in Sweden to visit the commune where their friend grew up. And yes, nothing about that premise makes any sense. What American vacations in Sweden? Do Swedes even live in communes? At any rate, the main character, Dani, has nothing to lose because her family all dies at the beginning of the movie in a very nasty way. Then she tags along with her boyfriend of several years who’s been trying to dump her for a while, as they go to their friend’s weird-ass village. One of the first things that happens is that they witness a ritual where this old couple jump off a cliff, which is incredibly gory. And they don’t immediately leave, so how much sympathy should we have for them? Personally, the first red flag for me would have been being told I had to sleep in a single cot in a communal bedroom full of snoring men and screaming babies. “I’M ON VACATION!” would have been my reaction as I stomped away to find a Marriot somewhere. Anyway, a lot of people die, it’s super-creepy and nonsensical, then Dani’s cheating boyfriend is paralyzed by some drugs and sewn into a dead bear carcass, and he’s left in a hut with a bunch of other carcasses, and the hut gets set on fire, and apparently this is so there can be a good harvest. You want a good harvest? Instead of murdering people, you could always just water and fertilize your crops, but I guess ritual homicide is more fun. The last shot is a close-up of Dani wearing a flower hat, smiling as she watches the hut burn down, and according to the internet, there is an explanation for this, but I’m going with “My boyfriend was a jerk, so I’m very happy that he died in agony dressed as a bear”. At any rate, this movie was a direct rip-off of Robin Hardy’s 1973 film The Wicker Man which is actually a much better film with a very good ending.
I give Midsommar 0 Magic Mushrooms out of 5 because you had to be stoned to appreciate it and I don’t do drugs, although Kate pointed out that she FELT like she was stoned while watching it.
Imagine my shock a few minutes ago, when I was looking up “What was the name of the girl in Midsommar?” and discovered that Hereditary was directed by the same guy? So it makes sense that this movie was also ridiculous. It started off really well, with the creepy little miniatures and whatnot, but the pivotal scene that begins everything revolves around the older teenaged brother, Peter, being forced to take his thirteen-year-old sister to a party that he tells the mom, played by Toni Collette, is a “school barbeque”. First, what Mom forces her little girl to go and hang out with older teenagers that she doesn’t know, especially when the kid wants to stay home? Kate’s 22 and I’m still like “Stay home with me and we can watch crap movies together”. Second, the little girl has a fatal nut allergy—we know this because early in the movie, she’s very obviously asked by the mom if the chocolate bar she’s eating has nuts in it. Still, the sister with the fatal nut allergy is sent out without an epipen or even a warning not to eat anything that might have nuts in it. Then, at the party, there’s a very obvious shot of people chopping a HUGE quantity of walnuts and making cake with them, cake that the brother tells her to eat, which she does, because they have BOTH seemingly forgotten that she has a fatal nut allergy and neither think to ask if the cake HAS NUTS IN IT. She has an allergic reaction and that leads, obviously, to her accidental decapitation. Yes, I said ‘decapitation’.
Long story short, it becomes really super-weird and it turns out that it was all a plot by some bizarre cult to turn the brother into a demon prince with the sister’s spirit inside him. The last shot is a close-up of Peter wearing a paper, or maybe human flesh, who the hell knows, demon crown, surrounded by some other decapitated corpses, staring at the camera while the cult yells “Hail Paemon!”
I give this one 0 Walnuts out of 5 because it was stupid.
4) I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Ugh. The first 45 minutes was great, kind of like a Get Out for white people. Toni Collette was in this one too, and she was pretty good as the unhinged mom, which seems to be her wheelhouse these days. The premise was a woman and her boyfriend going to meet his parents for the first time. The first part of the film was from the perspective of the woman, who had a bunch of different names by the end, but initially she was called Lucy. They meet the parents, who are weird and keep appearing older and younger in different scenes which was cool because Kate and I would yell at each other, “Wait, his hair is gray now? WTF!” and she wasn’t allowed to go into the basement. At first anyway, then she went down to do laundry later. Then suddenly the whole thing changed once they left the house and there was a snowstorm, bizarre ice cream servers, a high school janitor, interpretive dance, the musical Oklahoma, and the whole thing now seemed to be from Jake, the boyfriend’s, perspective. At which point, I turned to Kate and said, “Is it almost over?” and she replied “There’s still over an hour left.” Thankfully, we finally came to the last shot which was of the janitor’s pick-up truck in the snow. So maybe Jake was the janitor, maybe the janitor was Curly from Oklahoma, who the f*ck knows or cares? Apparently, the director of this film, Charlie Kaufmann, is willing to explain it all to you. Frankly, if I need a User Manual to understand a movie, then maybe the director should have worked harder to make it clear. This movie is also based on a book, which is now on the bestseller’s list again, because people are dying to know if the book explains things any clearer than the stupid movie.
I give this 1 Tulsey Town Ice Cream Cone out of 5 because the beginning was good.
And now I’m going to rate this blog post by giving it, and myself, 3 1/2 Glasses of Wine out of 5 because it was a bit long and ranty. The End.