I know that there are plenty of Pandas here who simply adore movies just like me. So here’s a question for you, folks: what matters more in a film—the journey or the destination? Does a film have to have a decent ending in order to be good? And does a bad, cliched, and tone-deaf ending necessarily ruin what was otherwise a perfectly decent flick?
Well, these people over on Reddit certainly think so. In a viral thread created by Minecraftplayer48, these redditors shared how, in their opinion, some film endings went disastrously wrong and spoiled the entire experience. How bad can things really be? We’re about to find out.
Potentially huuuuge spoilers up ahead, dear Pandas, so read on at your own risk. (Or just, you know, shut your eyes really hard and scroll down blindly as far as you need to go.) Remember to upvote the opinions that you agree with and let us know why you think so in the comments.
I reached out to writer and Bram Stoker Award-winning editor Doug Murano from South Dakota to get his take on what it takes to create a good story and how to craft a great ending. “As strange as it may sound, writing and piloting an airplane share an important similarity: taking off and landing are the parts that are most fraught with peril. These are times of transition and uncertainty. Most competent writers can write a solid middle, but hooking the reader (taking off) and delivering a satisfying ending (landing) often separate the competent from the good and the good from the great,” he told Bored Panda. You find the rest of my interview with writer and editor Murano below.
You’re telling me that this alien species that is vulnerable to water was trying to invade a planet that is 70% water?
Lucy. I hate that movie.
It’s a really good concept and movie until the very. It tells the story about a girl that is kidnapped and used as a drug mule for this new drug, but the bag inside her leaks and she gets overdosed. This doesn’t kill her though, she’s now able to use more than 10% of her brain (which I know is complete bullsh*t cuz we use 100% of our brain but not at the same time) and gets superpowers. Then for some reason she needs to take more of the drug to reach complete usage of her brain and, when she does, she becomes a flash drive. A FLASH DRIVE. SHE BECOMES A FLASH DRIVE
“At the risk of mixing metaphors, good writing places the variables in view and requires the audience to do the math in order to reach full understanding,” Murano said.
“When it comes to endings, specifically, I think a lot of writers give into the urge to say too much and do the math for the audience. There’s no fun in that—and it’s especially disappointing to see it happen when the rest has been well executed,” the writer and editor explained to Bored Panda that when writers trust that their audience will be able to put some things together themselves, instead of having everything handed to them on a silver platter. Your readers are smarter than you might think! Give them the chance to prove it to you.
City Of Angels, where Meg Ryan (human) dies in a bike accident right after Nicolas Cage (angel) decides to give up immortality to be with her
Indiana Jones and crystal skull. Big bloody spaceship just coming out the ground like that. That whole film was a farce actually.
I Am Legend.
Stupid test audience approved happy ending
Superman (1978), he reverses time by flying backwards around the earth.
Ready player one
the guy is the gameworld every day all day long because his life sucks and that’s understandable
the movie ends with him getting the company, and one of the rules he implements is that the gameworld gets shut of 1 or 2 days every week… AFTER HE GOT A GIRLFRIEND! what an unbelievable ass that guy is, he was literally online every single day when his life was [miserable], but now that he has a girlfriend he shuts it off so people can ”enjoy life” you didn’t seem to enjoy it in your abuse household earlier in the movie…
Downsizing. Great concept that could’ve been done without the forced love story.
The ending of any creative project, whether it’s a movie, a book, or a play, is important because it sets the mood with which the audience goes back into their daily lives. End the movie with the fabled Hollywood happy ending and your audience will feel picked up. (Though according to some researchers, there are various types of happy endings in films and we can’t just mix them up into one single blob.)
Meanwhile, ending the film on a sad or depressing note will leave your audience feeling deflated. Surprise surprise! And, well, from a business perspective, that’s not what you really want, is it?
You want your viewers to keep coming back for round two of the silver screen (Netflix during the pandemic, but you know what I mean), instead of wistfully looking out the window, thinking philosophical thoughts.
Spielberg version of War of the Worlds, somehow Robbie is still alive and waiting for them in Boston. Not only did the circumstances make his survival virtually impossible, but his character was so annoying that the twist of him being alive just destroyed all my previous satisfaction in him being deceased
The Aladdin remake. I was beyond disappointed to not see a battle between Jafar as a snake and Aladdin. Nobody asked for the giant nameless parrot to chase them through the city. No one. Give me a snake battle
The Circle…seemed to be a film warning of the dangers of sharing too much online, only to do A COMPLETE 180 on the message at the end!
So there’s a certain amount of pressure that moviemakers feel to make audiences feel happy. Of course, this doesn’t happen in every single case (the viral Reddit thread alone proves that), however, some films really do feel as though they’ve had happy endings shoehorned in, no matter that the tone of the project was very different, to begin with.
At the end of the day, what viewers really want (besides a bucketful of popcorn nom nom) is to be entertained. And one of the ways this can be achieved is by making the story immersive. If the viewer forgets they’re watching a film and feels like they’re inside the story and that it’s real, you’ve got them: hook, line, and sinker.
However, immersion means believability. And believability means consistency. Or rather, a certain amount of consistency in the plot. The audience has to believe that the inner workings of the story and the world make sense. There must be a logical consistency to how all the pieces interconnect.
Frozen II. I don’t think it was nice of Elsa to miss her sister’s coronation! She wasn’t even doing anything important
Hancock. Loved the premise and seeing Hancock start as this sarcastic, alcoholic, and bitter hero who’s hated by everyone and then turn into an actual hero who people look up to and respect is touching. The PR angle for a superhero movie was interesting and unique. But then all of that is ruined by the lovers twist. I’m fine with either the superhero PR angle or the tragic lovers angle, but they’re way too different and the latter is introduced too suddenly. Hancock really feels like two separate movies stitched together
Batman v Superman was pretty weak. Hyped up a big fight throughout the movie which was fizzled out to some other bs.
And that respect for the inner logic of the story applies to all films. Yes, even fantasy and sci-fi films! For example, you can’t be adding dragons willy-nilly to a story where dragons have been extinct for thousands of years or one where there are giant flying whales instead. You also wouldn’t add someone who speaks in a modern dialect, unless it’s a comedy or you’re doing it on purpose for whatever other reason.
So if an ending doesn’t match the tone or the inner logic of a story, the audience will notice and (odds are) won’t like it very much. There’s a bond of mutual respect between the audience and filmmakers that gets cut if the latter don’t abide by the laws of the story they’ve created. Or, in other words, it’s simply not polite to invite others into a world you’ve created only to pull the rug from under their feet (unless it’s a slapstick comedy or the twist is really, _really_ gosh darn good).
The Breakfast Club.
The premise of the whole film is, “teenagers can be judgy and awful to each other, but everyone is fighting their own battles so we should try to be nicer to each other”
Then they give the weird quirky girl a makeover to look more like the normal girl, people partner up in order of attractiveness and the nerdy dude is left on his own…
Passengers. It could have been an amazing sci-fi movie where Jennifer Lawrence was forced to make the same decision Chris Pratt’s Marvel character Star-Lord did. Instead they went for a happily ever after
If for some reason you’ve accidentally spoiled an ending to a movie that you really wanted to watch, there’s really no reason to get upset. At least, according to psychology professor Nicholas Christenfeld, whose research has shown that spoilers don’t ruin a story. Rather, they make you enjoy it even more.
“What we found, remarkably, was if you spoil stories they actually enjoy them more,” Christenfeld said, who repeated his experiment with mystery stories, ironic twist stories, and literary fiction. “Across all three genres, spoilers actually were enhancers. The term is wrong.”
My Sisters Keeper. Especially since I read the book. I very nearly threw my remote at the TV I was so pissed
The very last moment of The Crimes of Grindelwald. Hey let’s upheave tons of established lore in the last 30 seconds! The [hell] was that?!
The ending of the horror movie 1408 where he dies. The version I saw was way creepier where he lived and they were going through the box of stuff and found the tape recording he had used while in the hotel room and they heard his daughter on the tape. That was a damn good ending
The expert pointed out that we don’t always watch movies for the ending. Case in point—we’re more than happy to watch the same films over and over and over again. As someone who rewatches The Lord of the Rings trilogy twice a year, I think he might be on to something.
“The point is, really we’re not watching these things for the ending,” Christenfeld said. “I point out to the skeptics, people watch these movies more than once happily, and often with increasing pleasure.”
So, dear Readers, which movies do you think are brilliant but have truly awful endings? What endings would you have loved to see instead? And do you know of any awful movies that have actually well-written endings? Let us know what you think below. The end. That’s it, we’re done. It’s the ending that you wanted, right? Oh, fine, let’s end things on a wrong (but thematically really correct) note: here’s a list of wholesome pics to boost your mood and make you enjoy life way, way more.
A Simple Favor. It was all mysterious with some good twists, then she just gets hit by a car and the moms group is like, ‘Don’t mess with moms’ or some sh*t? The ending felt like it was meant for a different movie
Click. A fantastic movie about how life can pass you by if you let it and the consequences of your actions. If they ended it in the hospital as he was dying, it would have been a fantastic, insightful movie. But no, let’s let him rewind and live happily ever after.
Allegiant. I was actually tempted to break my (rented) DVD in half. Literally everything after like the first 10 minutes was completely made up by Hollywood. The book ending is completely different and so much better.
Why does everything have to have a happy ending hollywood? WHY?!?! Can’t we just have a good story with a fitting ending?
Turns out it’s just a bunch folks that can’t handle living in the real world. Also, what happens if a jet airplane were to fly over a supposed farming village from the 1700s?
Justice League, Superman gets resurrected and immediately beats the sh*t out of Steppenwolf. The conflict was just gone, the heroes had no difficulty after he came in
I hate the ending of a classic 1940s film called Gentleman’s Agreement. Gregory Peck plays a journalist who pretends to be Jewish in order to write an article about antisemitism. His girlfriend knows about the ruse and as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that she’s a closet antisemite. They argue about this but in the end he stays with her.
Bridge to Terabithia broke me as a child. No one can watch that movie/read the book more than once. I went into the theater as an 8-year-old expecting a fun fantasy movie and that is not what I got.
Zootopia. The teeth for all the animals had been spot on (appropriate and detailed morphology for each taxon) but the final bit where they have Flash open his mouth revealed they gave him additional and inappropriate teeth for a sloth. As a slothologist and mammalogist, this was a huge letdown and betrayal.
Note: this post originally had 53 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.