Welcome loyal readers to the final posting concerning the many wonderful films of the current Millennium before I announce my final Top 15 List. Today I'm looking at endings. Now, when I made my picks this time, I decided to go for mostly crappy or otherwise forgettable movies saved by incredible endings. Think of this as the "Best Endings to Crummy Movies" entry.
This is also basically my chance to expiate many movies that I absolutely loved from this Millennium, but really have no place even on my own dubious lists. Many of these are comedies that ended really really well, that I am now able to read a lot into and make outrageous philosophical stretches with. Shine on, my friends. Shine on. You can also scroll down to see a half-legitimate list of the Best Endings to the Best Films. Of course by its very nature, this list is full of spoilers. In fact, it's nothing but spoilers. Let's get going:
#10: Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)
I'm a big unabashed Apatow fan, naturally, and I absolutely loved Walk Hard, but I'll admit I feel like you had to be in on the joke to actually get it. Dewey Cox is not dissimilar to Spinal Tap, in that his songs work because in part they're genuinely good within its genre. The ending to the film is sweet because its a constant counter to the terribly jaded rock star life Dewey had lived, while he slowly becomes relevant as a legendary musician without even realising it. The final song, like most of the dialogue elucidates the plot as its unfolding, more making fun of the faulted biopic genre than rock itself. There's a lot going on both on the surface and within the general metanarrative, but the film makes sure not to take itself too seriously, killing Dewey three minutes after his performance.
#9: Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
This list is getting stupid fast. Stay with me. At first glance nothing happens during the course of Napoleon Dynamite. Napoleon is still in school, unpopular, Grandma's back to health, Uncle Rico back to the prairie. On a second (seemingly obvious) evaluation though, Napoleon's entire world changes, but more importantly, he affects all those around him. Rico and Kip get some interracial babes, Pedro becomes El Presidente and Summer Wheatley has to pout and cry. The crushing ennui of Idaho High School life is broken and Nappy D finds a probable soul mate in the little girl from Waterworld (1995). Bangin'. There is actually a great deal of change in the mental attitudes of each character, while maintaining strong character relations, which is all done with incredible subtlety. Ending of the Millennium? Maybe, but let's stick with No. 9 for now.
#8: Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)
"I want that feeling. The feeling that comes over a man when he gets exactly what he desires. I need that feeling."Harold and Kumar's quest isn't just for little delicious patties with flavour crystals that explode in your mouth. It's a quest for respect, dignity, freedom and manhood.
Not unlike Napoleon, Harold and Kumar are often derided by their peers, parents and other authority figures (Kumar's speech to the cop on the corner gives some great insight towards this). Their quest for burgers isn't about satisfying the munchies, it's about getting exactly what they want for a change and not taking shit for it. It's about controlling their destiny (also see Kumar's family's pressure to go to med school), standing up for themselves (Harold both denouncing his co-workers and getting to first base with Maria) and finally not kowtowing to social pressures (stereotyping). The entire movie is basically Calvinist, as the universe unfolds as it should. Maybe.
#7: Team America: World Police (2004)
I think some shit that Team America took when it first came out was its expectation to be a complete denouncement of Bush Politics (premiering weeks prior to the 2004 election). Not only was Bush not mentioned at all, but the ending justifies some American World Policing through the greatest speech ever put on film. I understand this speech better than any Political Science textbook I've ever read. For that, it gets some honour, giving pride to a country that, while full of dicks, are necessary to fuck a world full of assholes. America does a dirty job (see The Dark Knight 2008 for an approximately identical closing speech by Gordon) that someone's gotta do.
#6: School of Cock (2003)
Err...Rock. That embedded vid is in German, which is decently funny. Anyway, School of Rock is the kind of movie that people kind of throw to the side, but if it's ever on TV stick around to watch it. The final song is legitimately good (see the Dewey Cox/Spinal Tap effect) but also serves to not only justify the talents of most of the kids as well as Jack Black (Haha, I think his name is also Dewey) and is a way to not compromise the spirit of Rock and Youth while filtering it into a very productive and justifiable medium. Brilliant.
#5: Blades of Glory (2006)
Something about this ending in particular works for me. I didn't even really care for most of the movie, but like Chazz Michael Michaels, it sucks for most of the run, then sticks the landing. The video above centers well on the difficulty of the Iron Lotus stunt, which the ending features prominently as the epic move to clinch the Doubles Figure Skating Championship. I've never been able to put my finger exactly on it, it just works. Maybe it's something in-between Ferrel seeing the Virgin Mary or Poehler's Scowl but it's solid.
#4: Constantine (2005)
Constantine was a shitty movie essentially nothing like its genuinely awesome source material that featured among other things a whiny, Pre-Bumblebee owning Shia LeBeouf as well as our Lord and Saviour Keanu Reeves. I dig the ending, though. It works out neatly that Keanu summons Satan as the Deus Ex Machina, but only because Satan's the only one that would claim Keanu's soul itself (I have a feeling the real world also works like this). The self-sacrificing shit can be seen a mile away, but I love Constantine's rugged bird he gives Hell's Tyrant as he's lifted off to heaven. Remnants of the comic character coming back into the fold.
#3: Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny (2006)
I've already talked about and posted the ending here, but Beezleboss rules and fits as another Satan-battle ending. I didn't think Pick of Destiny was funny at all and was pretty willing to forget it until this crucial scene. In a way, it sums up what both the band and film are all about, blasting the Forces of Evil with Righteous Rock 'N' Roll. Party on, Wayne.
#2: Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Fucking hated this movie. It's just way to whiny and quirky for me for most of the shitshow, but the ending is stellar beyond belief. Going through this video, first of all, the revelation that her now-dead grandfather (Academy Award-Winning performance by Alan Arkin) taught her these ridiculously dirty moves is hysterical, as is her childlike innocence in performing them. The cool thing about the ending is the family's final acceptance that they are real fucking weird and have no place at a Pageant like that, but that's okay. A lot of Simpsons episodes are like this. Families are weird and scary and oftentimes only other family members can understand that. The key though is that that's alright and accepting your family and your own weirdness is the only way to find some happiness. Let your freak flag fly.
And the best part of the whole film (nay the decade) is the final dude in the crowd LOVING it cheering at the end. In general this movie is probably the only reason I really made this post. Hated the whole movie and loved the ending. Let's move on.
#1: Step Brothers (2008)
"You got it, dragon." I watch this scene probably at least once a week, if not more. Everything about this movie is legendary, this is clearly one of many scenes and songs that are incredible (second favourite is Ferrell's "Let's Give Them something to Talk About" over "Boats 'N' Hoes"). The song works for its instant oddity to the stunning effect it has on all the main characters, giving them positive thoughts, memories or fantasies. Other highlights are John C. Reilly's Yoda shirt, Rob Riggle reduced to tears and Lumberjack Ferrell's massive boner. All really incredible items here.
"Rock the fuck out of those drums, Dale!"It's an important scene that showcases Brennan's natural but shy singing talent as well as both step brothers need for juvenilism over the professionalism that just suffocates their spirits. It's an emotional high point that not only brings the main two characters down to earth but also puts every other character into a greater frame of mind. Basically the song is powerful enough for Ferrel to Deus Ex Machina the entire cast. Spect-fucking-acular.
Now for a slightly legitimate list of what probably should be the greatest endings of this Millennium in no order with absolutely no explanation: The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003), The Dark Knight (2008), No Country for Old Men (2007), Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Brokeback Mountain (2005), The Departed (2006), Training Day (2001), Gladiator (2000), Iron Man (2008), for kicks, Memento (2000) and A History of Violence (2005). Let that simmer for a while.
I was reading a lot of different articles trying to come up with this list (clearly I used none of them), but one of them mentioned Batman Begins (2005). Now, while this is a very good ending, I want to take a moment to distinguish this sort of "Blueballs Ending" from an actually legitimately good finale. This is the kind of cliff-drop ending that really only tricks you with anticipation for the next film in the franchise, leaving you only with the impression that the movie you just saw was good. Hence the following: The Matrix Reloaded (2003), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006), X2: X-Men United (2003) and the first two Spider-Man films ('04 and '07).
So only a month left then we have a whole new Decade to sink our dicks into! Let's hope for more of these astounding knock-out endings. Then I woke up.