Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Spoiler Alert

I’m in a bitchy mood today, so I’m going to spread the darkness around by wrecking the endings of popular (and not so popular) movies I’ve seen. This is your warning. If you don’t want a movie you haven’t seen yet ruined, go click on a different blog NOW.

For the rest of you, it won’t be as bad as you think. I’ll be sticking to the classics, and movies that have been around long enough you’ve probably seen them already. The reason for that is I don’t go to many flicks in the theater any more. Last year I only saw the three biggies (Jurassic World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and overall I was disappointed. Not that the movies were bad—they weren’t—they just didn’t knock me out of my seat the way all the advertising promised. Here are the spoilers for those: the main characters survive and escape the dinos; the Avengers beat Ultron; and popular opinion says Ren is Luke’s daughter, but nothing’s been proven yet. Basically, it’s a high-energy, high-tech retelling of the original movie. I won’t tell you who gets killed. By now, since everyone in the world has seen it, you probably already know.

All rightie, then, let’s get to it. HERE COME THE SPOILERS. IF YOU DON’T WANT YOUR MOVIE-VIEWING ENJOYMENT RUINED, BAIL NOW. You have been warned.

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The Sixth Sense—Bruce Willis is a ghost. He is dead people. To give the movie credit, it plays fair all the way through. The clues are there, but you have to know what you’re looking at. Here’s an additional spoiler: M. Night Shamalamadingdong’s subsequent movies never matched the impact of that first one. I didn’t see The Last Airbender, but I’ve heard enough to recommend you skip it and binge watch the original cartoon version instead. That show is awesome.

In a similar movie, The Others with Nicole Kidman, all the characters are ghosts. The only living people in the film don’t appear until the last fifteen minutes. Again, sufficient clues are provided throughout so the surprise doesn’t come out of nowhere. For those who were wondering, yes, the actor who plays Kidman’s husband was also Doctor Who, but only briefly, right before David Tennant took over, which is probably why nobody remembers him.

The Usual Suspects—Kevin Spacey’s Verbal Kint is really Keyser Soze. You have to look harder to spot the clues because Verbal’s the one telling the story. Everything we see on screen is the dramatization of a lie. For any writers reading this, The Usual Suspects is probably one of the best examples of the use of unreliable narrator you’re liable to see on film.

That reminds me, Agatha Christie wrote a mystery in which the narrator turned out to be the killer. I’d give you the title, but I forgot it, and I don’t feel like looking it up. I was never a Christie fan. I will spoil Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express for you, because they made that into a movie back in the ‘80s. The whole cast of characters did it. The victim was a killer himself. The twelve suspects were connected in some way to the killer’s victim, so they acted as a jury and dispensed their own justice. Due to the circumstances, Hercule Poirot lets them get away with it.

I’m relating this story because at the time I worked at a second-run movie theater (remember those?) and saw it for free. One Saturday the crowd was waiting in the lobby for the 9:00 show when a kid came out from the 7:00 show and announced, “They all did it.” If looks could kill … Hope that kid never took a train ride.

Animal Farm—the livestock revolts and drives off Old MacDonald, only to discover at the end it’s still the same slop, different pigs. That’s how the book ends. Hollywood spoiled it by tacking on a happy ending in which the animals take back control of the farm. Every adaptation I’ve ever seen has this upbeat ending. Clearly nobody learned from history, or from high school Lit Class. Animal Farm is an allegory, a retelling of Russian history following the expulsion of the Tsar. It was written after Stalin came to power. On the other hand, now that the Soviet Union’s disbanded, maybe the Hollywood version fits. Let’s prank-call Putin and see what he thinks.

Gone with the Wind—Scarlett finally realizes Ashley never loved her, but hubby Rhett leaves her anyway. She vows to get him back. I think she does in the sequel, which I neither read nor saw. When I heard the Mitchell estate was looking for a writer to continue the story, I was hoping Stephen King would get the job. I envisioned a tale of Scarlett turning to dark magic to recapture Rhett, evil forces swirling around Tara and the ex-slave girl who saves the day. In a movie version there would be zombies and loads of CGI, and Scarlett would either melt or explode. Somebody write that, please.

Wasn’t there a parody book written from the servants’ point of view? The Wind Done Gone? I’ll bet you can get that on Amazon. I’ll have to check that out.

The Harry Potter series—Harry defeats Voldemort. It takes him seven books and eight movies. The real spoiler is the actor who plays Neville, who grew up from a pudgy kid into a hunk. Oh yeah, and Snape was a good guy all along. I miss Alan Rickman already.

Despicable Me—Gru adopts three little girls and becomes a good guy. Because this is a kid’s movie, that’s not even a spoiler. I’m only including it because I love this flick. Go watch that one, but be prepared to sit through it several times if you have kids.

I’m still deciding if I want to go see Deadpool. Now that it's made a ton of money, will Marvel’s superhero flicks start aiming for the R? That would spoil it for a lot of kids, even though Wolverine could really, and literally, cut loose with an R rating. Happy viewing!

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