End your movie with an exclamation point, damn it! Not a period, not a question mark, and certainly not an ellipse. I wanted to pay tribute to some movies that end their running times with an additional bout of escalating action instead of a tidy, quaint utterance of "Let's go home" before the picture fades to black. I'm talking about the kind of ending that gets you leaving the theater hooting, hollering and pumping your fist. Strap yourself in for a look at some flicks that end with a bang and not a whimper!
7. Where’d that tape go in Escape from New York
Truth be told, this was probably the only badass thing Snake actually did in the movie. For all the times he selectively hisses at people to “Call me Plissken,” he sure gets his ass kicked a lot. Still, there’s no denying that the image of Snake crushing a tape in his hand while limping down some disregarded alley--and possibly dooming the whole world to nuclear war out of spite--is a killer way to cap off all the mayhem in the city-sized jail that was New York.
6. Alex can dream again in Clockwork Orange
A lot of times, badassery entails you rooting for the bad guy. We’re admittedly on some slippery ice when describing anything involving a dirtbag as loathsome as Alex DeLarge as a cause for rooting. That said, setting the outrageous scene above to a glorious bit of “the old Ludvig Van” is not just a hell of a way to illustrate a psychopath coming out of his bit of the ol' brainwashing; it’s one a hell of a showstopper.
5. Carving a masterpiece in Inglourious Basterds
Maybe more than any filmmaker working right now, Tarantino understands what amount of cathartic release is due to properly bring a revenge story full circle. And there may be no more satisfying comeuppance than a smooth operator finding himself in a bind that no amount of talking will get him out of. Indeed, after all the cruel interrogations Hans Landa officiates through this flick, it was positively exquisite to see him get a taste of his own cruel, unfair head games courtesy of Aldo Raine and his knife.
4. Captain Supermarket from Army of Darkness
Like I said in my write-up of the Evil Dead trilogy, this may be the only case I can think of where a studio-mandated “happy” ending is infinitely better than the “sad” ending the director originally had in mind. Do any of you really want to close out the most macho quotable action-adventure of all time with a sad vision of the future? Or do you want to tie it up with the most jacked-up, self-agrandizing power fantasy any department store clerk could imagine in his wildest fever dream?
Yeah, that's what I thought.
3. “Who are you?!” from Casino Royale
Taking Bond back to basics made him more sympathetic than he’d probably ever been. We were all feeling so sorry for the guy when he got hit with the triple whammy of finding out that his girl had a boyfriend and had possibly sold him out right before the bad guys offed her. Short of some macabre tea party psycho drama with a corpse, there’s really no outlet for a guy's frustration in that situation is there? The bad guys won. Deal with it.
Wrong. Bond gives one of those sons of bitches a taste of his own medicine and coins his killer origin catchphrase in the doing of it.
2. “I’m finished!” from There Will Be Blood
Just as with the Inglourious Basterds ending, it is so satisfying to see a twerp get what’s coming to him after an entire movie’s been invested in making you hate his guts. What I love about this film is that it’s an art film without any of the constipated hang-ups Oscar nominees typically have. It also doesn’t really moralize or tack any kind of “message” by the end. Events simply unfold as they would, and it’s up to you to infer your own subtext. Thus, for all the character flaws write largely in Daniel Plainview, it’s refreshing that he’s allowed to win in his own twisted way. Plus, the whole bit about "after-birth" has to be some of the nastiest shit talk I’ve ever heard.
1. “I’m nobody’s bitch!” from the One
Sure, the One could’ve benefitted from indulging in a few more moments of self-aware guilty pleasure like this. Still, I can’t quite convey the elation I felt, watching this scene with my Dad on an inauspicious Sunday afternoon in 2001 and realizing I could no longer write this flick off as a serviceable, but not all-too memorable, genre flick. Evil Jet Li lands in a prison dimension, declares every single one of its inmates to be his bitch and begins his stay in his own nightmarish paradise by kicking the shit out of hundreds of scumbags who’re literally lining up for a beat-down.
Watch it below and understand why Rosebud at the end of Citizen Kane hasn't gotten shit on this...