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I don't know what you're referring to, but maybe if certain older, wiser people hadn't acted like such little babies, and gotten so mushy, then everything would be ok..
May 17, 2011 12:40 PM   Subscribe

Alexander Payne's 1999's movie Election originally had a much more awkward and true to source material ending that was shot and then discarded after testing poorly. It remained a rumor until someone found a VHS copy at a Farmer's Market in Wilmington, DE for $5
posted by The Whelk (75 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
The video got a takedown notice. Too bad, I'd love to see it.
posted by Mcable at 12:43 PM on May 17, 2011


Wow, that was fast. Four minutes to video take down.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:44 PM on May 17, 2011


It was working three seconds ago!
posted by The Whelk at 12:45 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, that was fast. Four minutes to video take down.

It's been up for a few days.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:45 PM on May 17, 2011


Paramount lawyers are reading Metafilter! Oh noes!
posted by Thoughtcrime at 12:46 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]




Jezebel works for me.
posted by oddman at 12:47 PM on May 17, 2011


If that stays stable I'll ask the mods to change the link. Argh.
posted by The Whelk at 12:47 PM on May 17, 2011




My first date ever I took a girl to see Election. Protip: not a good first date movie.
posted by kmz at 12:48 PM on May 17, 2011 [14 favorites]


Any version of this movie that doesn't end in an unnecessary caveman schlong is a bad version of this movie.
posted by phunniemee at 12:48 PM on May 17, 2011


Wasn't there supposed to be a sequel made to Election?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:50 PM on May 17, 2011


[Replaced the link.]
posted by cortex at 12:52 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was in Omaha when this film got made. All the kids were convinced it was a sequel to Ferris Bueller -- even the kids who were in it. Alex Payne had already established himself as an unusual talent with "Citizen Ruth," and I had his number and called him a few times about the movie. I called him when I heard the ending of the movie was the be changed, which seemed to irritate him. He told me, no, it wasn't a happy ending that was being forced on him by the studios, and the new ending was much better than the earlier one.

Seeing the original now, yep, he was right. I prefer Matthew Broderick whipping the shake at her and then fleeing in terror.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:53 PM on May 17, 2011 [8 favorites]


No Alexander Payne film is as good (and I love me some Alexander Payne) as 14e arrondissement.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:54 PM on May 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


All the kids were convinced it was a sequel to Ferris Bueller -- even the kids who were in it.

I am now interpreting the movie this way, thank you.
posted by The Whelk at 12:55 PM on May 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't know, I kinda like this ending, too.
posted by oddman at 12:57 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


NOW WITH ENGLISH
posted by shakespeherian at 12:57 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wargames, Ferris Bueller, and Election comprise the Matthew Broderick high school trilogy.
posted by kmz at 12:59 PM on May 17, 2011 [22 favorites]


I always saw it as a sequel to Ferris Bueller.

I guess that means Cameron is in a coma somewhere, having let his imaginary friend Ferris talk him into something mortally dangerous, and is getting his comeuppance on Ferris by putting him through all of this.
posted by cmyk at 1:00 PM on May 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow, I see why that one was relegated to the Deleware flea market bargain bin next to ET for Atari!

I thought Hiding Out was the Ferris sequel?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:04 PM on May 17, 2011


Both endings work for me, honestly. I just recently re-watched Election, and it definitely holds up.
posted by defenestration at 1:05 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've never seen election (but know the story). Is the significance of the long glances by Mr. McAllister on Tracy's home, and drab view, meant to show her in a new light in some way? As in living poorer than Mr. McAllister might have thought or something?).
posted by dabitch at 1:09 PM on May 17, 2011


Election was one of my favorite movies in high School (OH boy that's not too telling is it?) and while I love seeing this alternate ending, I think it plays it too subtle. The movie's tone had been escalating farce and the Broderick character doesn't get any kind of closure. Him throwing the milk shake and then running away while also being a completely dorky tour guide, is more in tune with the rest of the movie.
posted by The Whelk at 1:10 PM on May 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


That was my interpretation, dabitch. He had a perception of her—the know-it-all, super-ambitious, over-achiever—and seeing where she came from put things into a new context.
posted by defenestration at 1:11 PM on May 17, 2011


Also, with this ending, do we miss out on Tracy storming out of her dorm room in curlers and a nightgown, looking all the world like her Mom, shouting out the people who have the audacity to have fun? That that is seriously my favorite Tracy scene. So much characterization in 5 seconds.
posted by The Whelk at 1:13 PM on May 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


Looks like Tracy's house is on Hascall St, within a block of S 36th St. Folks in Omaha always talk about tearing down that old grain elevator, which sits right off the interchange between I-80, I-480, and US-75. The elevators were recently spruced up with large banners by local artists, and the neighborhood is now a little less gloomy.
posted by Sfving at 1:14 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like this ending. I remember when this film came it, it was also the same year Rushmore was released so it was hard not to compare the two films. At the time I preferred Rushmore because it was the end of the 90s and I was all done with the cynicism that plagued that decade.
posted by cazoo at 1:17 PM on May 17, 2011


I thought I'd prefer this newly discovered ending, but upon watching, I think the one they ultimately decided to go with is much more in keeping with the tone of the movie.

And shakespeherian--I agree about "14e Arrondissement." It's funny and sweet and melancholy all at the same time.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:17 PM on May 17, 2011


My first date ever I took a girl to see Election. Protip: not a good first date movie.

I would contend that this very movie was one of those that resulted in me getting lucky in college. Others include Super Troopers, Monty Python's Meaning of Life and Ghostbusters.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:28 PM on May 17, 2011


One night I'm sitting at home when I get a call from my parents...Mom is laughing so hysterically, she can barely speak, my father is laughing in the background -- they are just HOWLING with laughter. I'm irritated. Dude. Chill OUT before you call me. Finally, Mom spits it out: "we're watching this movie... and YOU ARE TOTALLY IN IT."

Me: ???

Mom: [more laughing]

Finally, I find out what the movie is, and I rent it a few days later. And then I want to smack my parents.

-- fin --
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:28 PM on May 17, 2011 [32 favorites]


Anybody here ever read the book? I once briefly skimmed a copy of the novel, after seeing it on a remainder table at a Barnes & Noble. I seem to remember that the character of Tammy was a lesbian high school cheerleader, instead of the brooding high school lesbian secretly yearning to go to Catholic school for some hot femme action that we see in the film.
posted by jonp72 at 1:30 PM on May 17, 2011


And then I want to smack my parents.

Predictably.
posted by The World Famous at 1:31 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


This seems like a much more warm & fuzzy afterschool special kind of ending. I haven't seen the movie in years but what I recall of the used ending seems a lot more fitting with what went before.

But as far as the typical 'ending changed due to audience testing' scenario this seems to kind of flip the script. I can't imagine you usually get cars back saying "that happy ending was totally unearned and inauthentic. Give us something ambiguous and misanthropic!"
posted by anazgnos at 1:31 PM on May 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


cars

= cards
posted by anazgnos at 1:33 PM on May 17, 2011


Oh man, I think my subconscious hid the memory of watching this. Cause I watched it with my parents. All I remember was that it was awkward!

Not as awkward as if I'd seen Spanking the Monkey with my parents, but still awkward anyway.
posted by not_on_display at 1:41 PM on May 17, 2011


I was raised by hippies, The World Famous! HIPPIES. Hippies who met in ART SCHOOL. I mean, come on, of course they weren't down with my overall crazypants Type A bullshit.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:42 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


The preview audience was right, the ending in the released version is much better.
posted by octothorpe at 1:54 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's all been downhill for poor Reese since.
posted by blucevalo at 1:57 PM on May 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I agree with octothorpe. The hurled milkshake moment is so cathartic, I've considered permanently carrying one when I'm a pedestrian to enact instant karma for distracted and careless motorists.
posted by activitystory at 1:57 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, this ending seems kind of jarringly maudlin compared to the rest of the movie, and I'll join the chorus in being grateful that they didn't use it. It'd be like if there was a sappy coda to Terminator 2 where Sarah Connor plays with her granddaughter 30 years later.

Well, maybe not exactly like that, but I wanted to share the link
posted by Johnny Assay at 2:06 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was raised by hippies, The World Famous!

I was just joking.
posted by The World Famous at 2:07 PM on May 17, 2011


It's likt the original ending to Little Shop of Horrors, they shot it and audiences hated it , partly cause Don't Feed The Plants is kind of weak song to end on and also cause the movie trended much sweeter and earnest then the stage play, which is usually a more out and out farce.
posted by The Whelk at 2:09 PM on May 17, 2011


I didn't see the "!" so I thought you were saying THE WORLD FAMOUS HIPPIES, like they were the only ones.
posted by The Whelk at 2:09 PM on May 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


Ha! Well, you know...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:20 PM on May 17, 2011


I watched this with my dad and his wife a couple of years after it came out because I was visiting them in Omaha and thought, hey, I remember watching the movie and thinking it was hilarious and you know, Omaha! I did not remember enough about it though, and hello AWKWARD! This is NOT a movie to watch with your dad.

That was the last time I watched it though, and I can't remember the theatrical release ending at all. I guess it's time to go watch it again.
posted by Kimberly at 2:21 PM on May 17, 2011


This is how Tom Perrotta's novel ended. The book was fine, but I think Payne's ending helps to make the movie one of the all-time great film adaptations.
posted by EmGeeJay at 2:40 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think I actually like this ending. You have to understand that Tracy Flick was shown as an antagonist throughout the entire movie; somebody to be annoyed by, reviled, despised. And for what? Seeming perfect? Ambitious? Being a know-it-all?

This alternate ending punctuates the point: Mr. M tells Tracy that he was in a bad place during the election, and he took it all out on her. During this ending, we see Tracy as the good, thoughtful and truly sweet person that she is; as a lonely person; as somebody with more than two dimensions. Now that Mr. M is in a good place, we don't see Tracy as the horrible person that she appeared to be when he was in a bad place. She's just a person trying to get along in this world as best as she can.

The alternate ending also hints toward the latent sexual tension between them. They look at each other like former lovers who have moved on with life, and have happened upon each other by chance. Understand that by the time the election rolls around, Mr. M was tired of his routine, tired of being the cool teacher, tired of being lost. He wants a girl like Tracy, a resolute, ambitious person that knows what she wants in life. He secretly wants to taste that kind of lifestyle, instead of the tedious day-in, day-out of being an easygoing guy. In fact, Mr. M is never more resolute about anything until he meets her and seeks to sabotage her election, emulating the evil Tracy that he had built up in his head.

The milkshake scene is good, and is among the best milkshake scenes in cinema. But that ending lacks catharsis; instead, it continues the farce. It ignores how any character might have grown or become a better person from the incident. But, I guess that became the point of the movie.
posted by jabberjaw at 3:10 PM on May 17, 2011 [15 favorites]


I think since the movie was escalating the farcical tone throughout, it makes more sense to just cap it then confuse the tone with last second pathos. Seeing Tracy get everything she wants just nails the political satire side the movie was taking.
posted by The Whelk at 3:14 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The milkshake scene is good, and is among the best milkshake scenes in cinema. But that ending lacks catharsis; instead, it continues the farce. It ignores how any character might have grown or become a better person from the incident. But, I guess that became the point of the movie.

I don't know about that. I always assumed it was a $5 milkshake from Jack Rabbit Slim's and that it was, therefore, a huge sacrifice to destroy it, thereby making the gesture far more meaningful. By willfully destroying what was declared by no less than Vincent Vega to be a "pretty fuckin' good milkshake," he demonstrates that he has grown as a character.
posted by The World Famous at 3:19 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The main thing I wonder is why this wasn't in the DVD. Stuff like this is what makes DVDs great. Same with the original Little Shop of Horrors ending; why sit on that stuff? Does it somehow tarnish the image of the actors/directors/studios?
posted by roll truck roll at 3:27 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


What was the release ending? I can't recall.
posted by bonaldi at 3:28 PM on May 17, 2011


Mr. m moves to D.C , lives as an impoverished docent giving tours until he notices Tracy getting out if a town car with lots of important looking politicos. He has a good little monologue on "why should she always get what she wants?!" and he throws his milkshake at the car, pauses, and then breaks into a run.
posted by The Whelk at 3:33 PM on May 17, 2011


I watched this movie on tv in a George Washington U residence suite that I shared with a couple of Republican State Rep summer interns. "Oh I've heard good things about this film!" I said. One of them tried watching for a while. She announced, "This movie is WEIRD" once, twice, three times, and yet again, and putting two and two together I finally clued in that she meant the scenes featuring the lesbian character. She got up and left about halfway through.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 3:33 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


jonp72: "Anybody here ever read the book?"

I have, but I honestly don't remember very much about it. The thing I remember liking most was the multiple-narrators element.
posted by roll truck roll at 3:35 PM on May 17, 2011


Protip: not a good first date movie.

Better a first-date movie than one to watch with your parents at age 19. (oh, you already said that ...)

Not as awkward as if I'd seen Spanking the Monkey with my parents, but still awkward anyway.

Flirting with Disaster was actually less uncomfortable than Election. Realize my mom had a very hard time figuring out just what Mr. M. didn't like about Tracy... oh yeah, and then there's that scene where he's fucking her. :D

Both endings work for me, honestly. I just recently re-watched Election, and it definitely holds up.

I agree. I didn't really like the movie that much. I would have preferred this bittersweet ending as opposed to the farcical one, but both work OK.

I like this ending. I remember when this film came it, it was also the same year Rushmore was released so it was hard not to compare the two films.

Perhaps that was it. I'm not a huge Rushmore fan, but it's much better than Election, imo.

I would contend that this very movie was one of those that resulted in me getting lucky in college. Others include Super Troopers, Monty Python's Meaning of Life and Ghostbusters.

You were in college a looooong time. ^_^

Anyway, I prefer this ending, though I think the epilogue in general should be pretty short. The movie should basically end at the discovery of the election fraud. The rest of the ending is pretty obvious, i.e. Broderick and Tracy both move on, but with lingering questions/concerns.

I like that in the original ending, Tracy still cannot fathom that Mr. M. would cheat and let the result stand. "You mean that you would let [boy x] be president. All year long?!"

I love the character of Tracy Flick (the girl who embodies the Protestant ethic but everyone absolutely hates for that very reason). I wish the movie was better overall.

Also, I don't think Mr. M. ever really hates Tracy as much as he hates the idea of her. That's why the release ending sorta works, as does this one.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:40 PM on May 17, 2011


Sorry: in the release ending, he gets to continue his hate for the archetype; in the second, he acknowledges that the archetype is a real person with vulnerabilities.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:41 PM on May 17, 2011


Mr. m moves to D.C , lives as an impoverished docent giving tours until he notices Tracy getting out if a town car with lots of important looking politicos. He has a good little monologue on "why should she always get what she wants?!" and he throws his milkshake at the car, pauses, and then breaks into a run.

Actually he moves to NYC and lives in a tiny apartment in Manhattan. He visits DC as a tourist and then comes across Tracy Flick with a Senator getting into a limo (or town car).
posted by Bwithh at 3:54 PM on May 17, 2011


Oh right! Natural history museum.

Okay I get the hint, I'll watch it again.
posted by The Whelk at 4:03 PM on May 17, 2011


I like this ending better. My big problem with the movie was always that Tracy was presented as an unalloyed villain, and I spent the whole time thinking, "Um ... she's a teenager. And the teacher who had sex with her is NOT ACTUALLY A VICTIM."
posted by kyrademon at 4:03 PM on May 17, 2011


I like the original ending better, so futile so perfect to throw the shake.

The first movies I saw with Reese Witherspoon were this and 'Freeway' so what the hell happened to her? I mean other than the usual; fame, money, etc.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 4:39 PM on May 17, 2011


so what the hell happened to her?

Legally Blonde is better then people give it credit for, for fluffy comedy, it's got it down.

Hmm lots of "trying to be America's Sweetheart" roles. Does that ever work out? Casting her as Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair would have been brilliant if any other part of Vanity Fair made any sense whatsoever.

But look! Such good turn outs in interesting movies. I can say she was one of the better Cecilys I've seen in the most recent Importance Of Being Earnest, which is actually a really good, slick version and she does nail that mix of haughty and naive.
posted by The Whelk at 5:07 PM on May 17, 2011


Wow, what an amazing find! Election has got to be one of my favorite movies. Thanks for this.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 5:29 PM on May 17, 2011


That was surreal and uncomfortable. Much like the original.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:46 PM on May 17, 2011


In the novel, the all-girls school turns out to be not quite the utopia the lesbian sister had imagined.
posted by brujita at 7:22 PM on May 17, 2011


It's likt the original ending to Little Shop of Horrors, they shot it and audiences hated it , partly cause Don't Feed The Plants is kind of weak song to end on and also cause the movie trended much sweeter and earnest then the stage play, which is usually a more out and out farce.

Yeah, but even the movie ended with a baby Seymour in the garden, implying that Earth is still doomed, after all.
posted by emjaybee at 7:47 PM on May 17, 2011


Dammit. Baby Audrey II.

/fail
posted by emjaybee at 7:47 PM on May 17, 2011


Yeah but it's not EVERYONE IS DEAD RIGHT NOW DURING A SONG WHERE WE CALL THE AUDIENCE JERKS.
posted by The Whelk at 7:54 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


> My big problem with the movie was always that Tracy was presented as an unalloyed villain...

I haven't seen it in a while (although I think it's one of the best films of the '90s), but I don't remember her being presented that way. I thought there were a number of scenes where we were set up to identify or sympathize with her, which is very much in keeping with the ambiguous tone of the film. Even the one referenced earlier in this thread where she's at college and gets upset with people partying in her dorm wasn't just her yelling at the kids who were having fun; knowing what she's gone through to get there, you can understand why she'd be so upset when they interrupt her studying...and I say this as someone who spent most of university as one of the goof-offs.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:32 PM on May 17, 2011


This ending has more to say. The ending they went with was more fun.

I love this movie. I like both endings.
posted by mazola at 10:01 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anybody here ever read the book? I once briefly skimmed a copy of the novel, after seeing it on a remainder table at a Barnes & Noble. I seem to remember that the character of Tammy was a lesbian high school cheerleader, instead of the brooding high school lesbian secretly yearning to go to Catholic school for some hot femme action that we see in the film.

I read it a year ago, and from what I remember Tammy wanted to transfer to Immaculate Heart to get closer to a girl she fancied, who then turned out to be straight. The cheerleader part I don't remember - wasn't she a non-conformist generally?

I haven't seen the film for a good ten years so I don't remember whether the sexuality element was glossed over.
posted by mippy at 4:15 AM on May 18, 2011


The World Famous:
I don't know about that. I always assumed it was a $5 milkshake from Jack Rabbit Slim's and that it was, therefore, a huge sacrifice to destroy it, thereby making the gesture far more meaningful. By willfully destroying what was declared by no less than Vincent Vega to be a "pretty fuckin' good milkshake," he demonstrates that he has grown as a character.
Or, the milkshake was symbolic of his own manhood, his "natural resources" if you will. Instead of letting the conniving Tracy pilfer it using a longer straw, instead of letting her drink his milkshake, DRINK IT UP, he hurls it at her in an act of impotent defiance.

Again, a symbol of his latent sexual feelings toward her.
posted by jabberjaw at 8:43 AM on May 18, 2011


>It's likt the original ending to Little Shop of Horrors, they shot it and audiences hated it , partly cause Don't Feed The Plants is kind of weak song to end on and also cause the movie trended much sweeter and earnest then the stage play, which is usually a more out and out farce.

Yeah, but even the movie ended with a baby Seymour in the garden, implying that Earth is still doomed, after all.


I think it's been pointed out elsewhere though that the structure of the original story does not present Seymour's acts as moral, and therefore the whole thing as originally written builds up to his and Audrey's death, whereby he pays for his misdeeds. I think the movie softens this a bit as far as his motives, but not all the way. Earth-doom or no, letting Seymour kill all those people and still have a nominally happy ending is very morally problematic from a storytelling standpoint.
posted by anazgnos at 11:35 PM on May 18, 2011




"In a stage play, you kill the leads and they come out for a bow — in a movie, they don't come out for a bow, they're dead. And the audience loved those people, and they hated us for it."

Dear Frank Oz:

I provide the following suggestion in the most respectful manner possible, as I am a huge fan of yours and I really do think you're a genius. Nevertheless:

Please go back and watch the closing credits of the numerous movies that have had the cast including dead characters - reappear to basically take a bow. You can start with Buckaroo Banzai, which came out two years before your movie did. You could have done this with Little Shop of Horrors, but you chose not to. So don't complain about it now. It was your own choice.

Yours very truly,

The World Famous
posted by The World Famous at 11:23 AM on May 19, 2011


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