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March 16, 2005 12:54 PM   Subscribe

David Edelstein's article in Slate on idiotic twist endings should make it easy to score 10/10 on this Guardian quiz. For a more challenging quiz, try this one (answers here).
posted by Armitage Shanks (30 comments total)

 
sledge?
posted by sourwookie at 1:04 PM on March 16, 2005


I object to the Usual Suspects question...

They don't know the answer
posted by bitdamaged at 1:15 PM on March 16, 2005


Typical MetaFilter newbie, I didn't read the FPP linked article first, just went to the Guardian quiz and tried my luck. I loved the critique at the end...

You scored 7 out of a possible 10
You've seen more twists than an Olympic gymnastics judge. But what you've just done wasn't a quiz at all. It was a cat. An alien cat. A half-robot alien cat. In a woman's body. Called Keyser Soze. And you can kill it by throwing water at it. And ... it's your own father.

posted by Sk4n at 1:16 PM on March 16, 2005


nah, The Game's ending was quite good. and Usual Suspects cheated, but it was good anyway
posted by matteo at 1:21 PM on March 16, 2005


How is the Frank the Rabbit in Donnie Darko not from earth?
posted by unsupervised at 1:25 PM on March 16, 2005


Who is Frank and/or the rabbit? Actually, that doesn't help much.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:29 PM on March 16, 2005


Saw had one of the worst, barely sensical, twist endings in film. The only reason I liked the film was because at least they were trying to have some plot, so at least it was brainier than the average low-budget slasher film.
posted by bobo123 at 1:30 PM on March 16, 2005


I was annoyed that he listed a movie that just opened in his top 20 choices. I'm planning on seeing it soon and knowing that there's not only a twist, but one of David Edelstein's 20 worst twists, is going to be a distraction.

How did Usual Suspects cheat?

I like the ending to No Way Out, and I think it holds up if you watch the movie again knowing how it ends. (Dude, he drinks vodka at the party!)
posted by kirkaracha at 1:39 PM on March 16, 2005


nah, The Game's ending was quite good.

I guess that depends on what you define as "good." (I liked it, personally, but I'm not overly critical). But it's really hard to deny that the ending turns on a laughably implausible contrivance. In order to ensure a landing, from that height, right in the center of the airbag (it has to be the center -- slightly off to the side could be fatal), one would have to take into account wind conditions, angle of descent, method of descent, etc. If all that were meticulously calculated and planned for, it might yield a jumping spot with a few inches as a margin of error. Yet we're supposed to believe that "The Game" is set up to have Michael Douglas arbitrarily launch himself off the building in the hope (on pain of death if wrong), that he will jump from exactly the proper location?
posted by pardonyou? at 1:40 PM on March 16, 2005


That FAQ made my head explode.
posted by unsupervised at 1:41 PM on March 16, 2005


The best twist movies are ones that can stand on their own even without the twist. Both Sixth Sense and No Way Out were compelling even before the twist was revealed.

But my favorite twist ending was in Out Of Site when I realized that J-Lo wasn't a totally horrible actress.
posted by sexymofo at 1:57 PM on March 16, 2005


Both Sixth Sense and No Way Out were compelling even before the twist was revealed.

That's why I didn't think the twist in No Way Out really worked. The movie is based on the premise that he's not guilty of a crime, but has to hide a secret anyway. The secret he has to hide seems irrelevant to whether or not he's actually a S****t ***. It doesn't seem like it changes your perspective on the story at the end so much as it makes you feel like you've been watching the wrong story.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:06 PM on March 16, 2005


RE: The Game. But it's really hard to deny that the ending turns on a laughably implausible contrivance.

You mean, like the entire film up to that point was entirely logical? Did we see the same movie? I liked it, but not a second of it really strikes me as plausible.
posted by goatdog at 2:13 PM on March 16, 2005


Would it be too picky to point out that the central twist in The Crying Game wasn't at the end of the movie? It did have a pretty satisfying end, though.
posted by alumshubby at 2:25 PM on March 16, 2005


Worst twists: Existenz, House of Flying Daggers, and any M. Night whatever movies.
posted by knave at 2:25 PM on March 16, 2005


I love me a good plot twist; Dead Again and Sixth Sense both struck me in that jaw-dropping Holy shit! kind of way. I'm not sure I can think of any other twist endings which were so successful, just off the top of my head.... there's a kind of logical thunk which takes place when a twist works, a sense of things fitting into place, of a narrative being perfectly solved. And as a narrative device it fails far more often than it succeeds.
posted by jokeefe at 2:35 PM on March 16, 2005


I don't understand the reader complaining about Usual Suspects: "Who is Kaiser Sose? We'll never know! Wow!" I knew exactly who Keyser Soze was at the end of that movie; I thought everyone did.
posted by pmurray63 at 2:55 PM on March 16, 2005


The Game's ending was great precisely because it was so ridiculous. However, Fight Club's ending was the lamest thing about an otherwise classic flick.
posted by fungible at 3:42 PM on March 16, 2005


The correct answer for "her penis" is of course (mouseover me for spoiler).
posted by nicwolff at 4:02 PM on March 16, 2005


Probably the best thing about The Game is the two part Harvey Birdman episode it inspired.
posted by drezdn at 4:18 PM on March 16, 2005


Well who is Kaiser Soze?

I guess the easy answer is that he's made up completely but then again he could be Verbal and the story was made up. Or he could have even been the Indian fellow.

But none of that is ever made clear.
posted by bitdamaged at 6:00 PM on March 16, 2005


Keyser Soze is Keyser Soze. There is no Verbal Kint.

We know there's a Keyser Soze because the burned-up Hungarian guy in the hospital talks about him. We know Keyser Soze uses a gold watch and a gold lighter, because we see him using them in on the ship. We know "Verbal Kint" is Keyser Soze because we see him get the watch and lighter back from the police when he's released. Also, we see him lose his fake limp and hand deformity. These all take place outside of him telling the story to the police.

Maybe we'll find out for sure in the sequel.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:29 PM on March 16, 2005


Worst twists: Existenz, House of Flying Daggers, and any M. Night whatever movies.
posted by knave at 4:25 PM CST on March 16


I agree on #1 & #3. I don't see how House of Flying Daggers can be considered a "twist" ending. I mean, it wasn't like it was such a huge shock or anything, "OMG He is... but she... and then he.. but.. OMG!"
These days it seems like any movie that isn't 100% predictable is described as having a "twist ending."

Fight Club's ending was the lamest thing about an otherwise classic flick.
posted by fungible at 5:42 PM CST on March 16

I've known people who hated the ending not because of the identity surprise, which I thought was great (although if you've read any Palahniuk, you know he tends to use the same identity gimmick over and over again) but because they felt it didn't give any sort of moral closure.

6th Sense ending struck me as "Huh... that's kind of interesting... I guess... but why did we sit through 2 hours for this? What was with that subplot of the mom who poisoned her daughter? Was there a point to that?"

Unbreakable had the 2nd worst twist ending ever, as it was obvious (to me at least) in the first 5 minutes.

But the worst twist ending ever?

Identity.

It doesn't help that it was a bad ending attached to a worse movie. But man, you could tell from the previews what the big surprise was. Bad bad bad.
posted by papakwanz at 6:48 PM on March 16, 2005


kirkaracha-
that link scares me. A sequel to The Usual Suspects is a baaaaaaaaad idea. Some stories need to retain their mystery.
posted by papakwanz at 6:49 PM on March 16, 2005


We know Keyser Soze uses a gold watch and a gold lighter, because we see him using them in on the ship

How do you know that's Keyser Soze?
posted by bitdamaged at 10:15 PM on March 16, 2005


I felt like House of Flying Daggers was twists for the sake of twists. It didn't feel natural or reasonable after the 2nd or 3rd time... Not that the ENDING was a twist but that there were several in the plot that were simply unnecessary.
posted by knave at 10:22 PM on March 16, 2005


If Verbal Kint is Keyzer Soze, then why and how did he get himself into such a pickle of being interrogated by the police? Wouldn't the real Keyzer Soze be resourceful enough to avoid such a situation?


Another one I haven't seen mentioned so far is Matchstick Men. (Warning, Spoiler ahead!!!) What an unbelievably complicated plot to get the main character's money. Couldn't they just have abducted him and beaten the password for the safe-desposit box out of him? I guess that would have made a somewhat different movie, but...
posted by sour cream at 10:45 PM on March 16, 2005


And here I had forgotten all about Identity, papakwanz. Thanks for reminding me of that abominable piece of shit.
posted by picea at 5:39 AM on March 17, 2005


I would nominate Usual Suspects for "worst twist ending" because it *invalidates* most\all of the movie that came before. It was the "It was all a dream!" ending, updated slightly.

A good twist ending has to be a logical existension of the movie. And should have been hinted at in such a way that you feel like it was obvious. I hold Fight Club in high regard because of this - you can NOT say Fincher didn't telegraph it a million different ways. He just kept you distracted, like a good magician, so that you didn't think too hard about it.

And check out how Marla goes from being an unsympathetic bitch to being the most good-hearted, noble character in the film. I will always be in awe of how he pulled that off.
posted by InnocentBystander at 7:35 AM on March 17, 2005


InnocentBystander-
I don't think the end of Usual Suspects invalidated anything, although the detective's epiphany (looking at the corkboard, realizing all the names and stories had been taken from it) does raise the possibility that Kint/Soze made it all up.
But, I like to think that apart from the names and some of the details(his personal stories), Kint/Soze was telling the truth, simply for the fact that he knew he could lay it all out, they probably wouldn't figure it out, and he could get away with it all. I'm sure you could argue the opposite quite easily, though

Existenz & Identity are two movies where the ending totally invalidated everything that came before, since both were, almost literally, "just a dream." Sixth Sense & Unbreakable didn't invalidate the movie beforehand, but rather just made it all kind of stupid.
posted by papakwanz at 3:24 PM on March 17, 2005


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