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10 WTF Movie Endings
"Oh man, I don't believe that happened"
By Dirk Sonniksen
April 23, 2010
Straying from genre films can be tough, but it is necessary in this case to point out some truly remarkable endings to some really fantastic films. Some of our endings are truly WTF, while others border on sheer brilliance. We tried not to ruin the endings for these films for those of you that have yet to see them, but, well... it didn’t really work, so beware, there be plot spoilers! For your enjoyment, here are 10 of our favorite WTF movie endings.
10. A Serious Man (2009)
A Serious Man at first seems like a fairly straight-forward film, although it is the Coen Brothers, and nothing is ever really as it seems with these guys. This tale centers around a Jewish community in Minnesota and is based loosely on the Biblical figure of Job, a guy who can’t catch a break and is continually crapped on by God. In addition to having a relatively un-Coenesque cast, A Serious Man also has one of the most abrupt endings of any of their films. This is an ending that could potentially leave you pissed off that you spent an hour and 45 minutes waiting for some kind of cohesive outcome to explain it all.
9. Orphan (2009)
Sweet little nine-year-old Esther is actually a raging bitch who terrorizes the family that adopted her. The lesson in Orphan is that everyone should listen to Kate, the only one in this twisted horror fiasco that has the sense to see through Esther’s BS. Our WTF moment comes when we learn that Esther isn’t really Esther... and she’s not nine-years-old either, but a 33-year-old psychopath with serious pituitary gland—and temper—issues.
8. The Mist (2007)
Grocery shopping will never be the same after a strange fog rolls in and monsters of all shapes and sizes descend on a small-town supermarket. David, our main character in The Mist, manages to escape the supermarket with his son, two old people, and a love-interest of sorts. Trapped in a car, they soon realize they are not likely to escape the clutches of the monsters, and they make a pact—which ends up being the worst-EVER timing for a pact. Based on the novella by horror-master Stephen King, the ending of The Mist was actually changed for the film, ultimately giving The Mist more box-office success, and helping it on to many WTF lists.
7. Burn After Reading (2008)
Quite frankly, if you take drugs, the ending of many of the films by the Brothers Coen will only help to heighten your trip. Enter Burn After Reading, a manic little tale of blackmail and murder that appears to be going somewhere, but ends up with a totally WTF ending. In addition to the truly bizarre finale, in which John Malkovich brings down a hatchet on an unsuspecting Richard Jenkins, Burn After Reading also takes top honors for featuring one of the best sex toys ever in a film.
6. The Departed (2006)
With an all-star cast, including Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Mark Wahlberg, it is our opinion that The Departed rivals all of Scorsese’s previous endeavors. A gritty crime drama, The Departed follows Billy Costigan, a police academy cadet recruited to go undercover to infiltrate the South Boston crime scene. The Departed kicked ass at the 2007 Oscars, taking home a statue for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Director, and Best Picture. Had there been a category for biggest WTF/surprise ending, The Departed would have surely won hands-down for the unexpected end met by DiCaprio’s character.
5. Being There (1979)
Being There is a masterful piece of filmmaking from Director Hal Ashby, with actor Peter Sellers giving the best performance of his career. The film follows Chance the gardener, who has lived as a complete introvert his entire life, tending the garden of one of D.C.’s wealthy. When Chance is forced to leave, he enters a very different world simply by “chance,” and events unfold that transform him into Chauncey Gardiner, a man’s whose simple words are mistaken for brilliance. The ending of the film is a brain-twister, with Chauncey literally walking on water. There is much debate concerning the intended meaning of the ending, but we’ll let you watch it and judge for yourself. If you haven’t seen Being There, you’re missing out on a classic film.
4. Old Boy (2003)
Old Boy is an in-your-face WTF movie from South Korea that not only seriously messes with one’s sense of time and place, but puts an entirely new spin on the love between a father and daughter. What lesson can be learned from Old Boy? First, if at all possible, do not allow yourself to be hypnotized. Second, do not allowed yourself to be hypnotized again to erase the effects of the first time you were hypnotized. While the entire flick is entertainment squared, the ending is the tastiest morsel of the dish.
3. Layer Cake (2004)
Layer Cake is one of our favorite British crime films, which features a stellar cast, including future James Bond, Daniel Craig. Craig’s character is an unnamed cocaine dealer who is trying to make his mark, but as he makes more big scores, his world slowly becomes more complicated. Eventually XXXX (as credited) will climb to the top of the heap, essentially by screwing a lot of people that would have probably screwed him anyway. The ending is sudden, when XXXX, finally reaching his goal of retirement, is taken out in a serious WTF moment.
2. The Thing (1982)
The Thing is a brilliant horror film, with one of the most original monsters to ever grace the screen. Set against a bleak Antarctic backdrop, Kurt Russell and a motley group of scientists discover they are not alone when an Alaskan Malamute morphs into The Thing. This creates a series of events that will leave MacReady and Childs freezing their asses off and wondering if they have defeated the monster, or if one of them will wake up to a big surprise instead. The ending of The Thing leaves us pondering not only the fate of the only two men left standing (or sitting), but also that of the rescue party that will eventually arrive. The Thing had sequel written all over it, but ultimately, we’re pleased that John Carpenter (and the studios) left this one alone.
1. The Usual Suspects (1995)
The Usual Suspects is another Oscar winner that deserves the top spot on our list for a great twist ending. A band of thieves are assembled to pull off a heist that will make them all rich men. They think they’ve got it made, until the enigmatic Keyser Soze enters the picture, and all is suddenly not what it seems. One by one they fall, until there is a lone suspect, a gimp named “Verbal” Kint, who ends up in police custody. As Verbal weaves his tale of the heist, we begin to slowly see signs that he has made up the entire story while sitting in the police station, using various odds and ends he sees in the room to describe the tale. In the end sequence, we are treated to another twist, when Verbal Kint turns out to be the real Keyser Soze!
If you enjoy WTF, check out 6 WTF Moments In Movies. If you are looking for the comic flavor, check out 5 WTF Comic Book Character Origins. Both of those articles were written by Dirk Sonniksen...WTF???
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