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Uncomfortable with Happy Endings

Cognisant

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Do happy endings make you uncomfortable?

They bother me, especially ones where everything just neatly works out, the lead couple go off into the sunset together, there's no collateral, no outstanding business, no real consequences of any kind for the events that transpired, except for maybe that one person who died, who has a lovely bittersweet funeral.

I can't stand endings like that, if it's on TV and I can't turn it off because someone else is watching I'll walk out of the room, a few times I've even considered walking out of movie theatres, if it's a book I just won't finish it. But what's worse is when I'm teased with the ending, when it looks like some key character is about to die, for example in "The Avengers" and "The Sorcerers Apprentice" but they miracously get better (don't even get me started on "Terminator Salvation", grrrrr) as if there's some kind of pussy law dictating that a movie must have an untarnished happy ending.

Edit: "The Dark Knight Rises" should have ended with Bruce Wayne in a wheelchair, permanently, it's a reboot they can do that, and it would have been awesome because nobody would have expected it.
 

Duxwing

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Do happy endings make you uncomfortable?

They bother me, especially ones where everything just neatly works out, the lead couple go off into the sunset together, there's no collateral, no outstanding business, no real consequences of any kind for the events that transpired, except for maybe that one person who died, who has a lovely bittersweet funeral.

I can't stand endings like that, if it's on TV and I can't turn it off because someone else is watching I'll walk out of the room, a few times I've even considered walking out of movie theatres, if it's a book I just won't finish it. But what's worse is when I'm teased with the ending, when it looks like some key character is about to die, for example in "The Avengers" and "The Sorcerers Apprentice" but they miracously get better (don't even get me started on "Terminator Salvation", grrrrr) as if there's some kind of pussy law dictating that a movie must have an untarnished happy ending.

Edit: "The Dark Knight Rises" should have ended with Bruce Wayne in a wheelchair, permanently, it's a reboot they can do that, and it would have been awesome because nobody would have expected it.

Perhaps you're so deep in the depression/social starvation that you mentioned earlier that the happiness of a happy ending reminds you of the contrast between what you wish you could have and what you do have.

-Duxwing
 

SpaceYeti

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Honestly, I don't give no shit. It really depends on how awesome something is. I will totally overlook stupidity if the movie compensates with the rule of cool or the rule of funny. Hot Tub Time Machine and The Avengers are prime examples. HTTM has that stupid "Maybe the universe will bring us together in the future" business near the end is stupid as fuck, but everything else in the movie is awesome. And Iron Man not dying at the end of The Avengers, plus CapAm's stupid "Why should we listen to you" *CapAm beats stuff up* "Okay we'll do whatever you want", can be overlooked because everything else was just plain great.
 

joal0503

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me rove them, rong time.
 

JimJambones

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The only Happy Endings I like look like this





(From Friendly's Family Restaurant)

In all honesty, if a movie ending is happy, so what, atleast someone is. I just let the characters enjoy it while it lasts. I like to imagine what would happen a few years later, a "fan film" if you will. It's fun.

I have an idea, lets think of a movie with an incredibly happy ending, one that is so happy that it makes you want to puke and lets pick up where the movie ended and see how we can really make the characters miserable. Any movie suggestions to start?
 

Trebuchet

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After thinking this over for a while, I decided I most enjoy inconclusive endings, which are not happy, nor sad, nor really an ending.

My favorite movie is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which didn't exactly end, and I liked that. The end of the book Catch-22 is similar. King Rat would end happily, except that no one is happy. That book has a great ending.

Contrived endings drive me crazy. I hated the overly-happy ending of the first Harry Potter book, likewise the movie Avatar, which was pretty trite.

A downer is worse than a contrived happy ending. I despise the bummer ending of Million Dollar Baby. She didn't have to win, but I had already seen Whose Life is it Anyway and didn't need a repeat.

But I liked the end of Wreck-It Ralph, where he was happy being who he was, and the ending fit the genre of a family movie. Comedies like The Frisco Kid should end happily and neatly.

JimJambones, I would propose Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (or Sorcerer's Stone if you didn't order your book from the UK) for your experiment, except I don't want to spend that much time thinking about that story.
 

Cheeseumpuffs

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JimJambones, I would propose Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (or Sorcerer's Stone if you didn't order your book from the UK) for your experiment, except I don't want to spend that much time thinking about that story.

How to make Harry miserable after The Sorcerer's Stone?

How about we send Harry back to his abusive aunt and uncle for the summer and then sentence him to six more years of things trying to kill him so much that he never has a chance to actually learn any of the magic he's supposed to be learning at that school so when he grows up he's the world's most pathetic wizard that can't even turn a mouse into a teacup?

Oh wait, that's kind of what already happens (minus him growing up and sucking at magic which, if the story had any logical basis, he should, seeing as he spent far more time being attacked than he ever did learning magic).
 

Cognisant

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I'm not saying an ending has to be unhappy, I just don't want it to be something obviously pulled out of the writer's ass, the everything-works-out ending is such an overdone cliché, it knocks me right out of my suspension of disbelief and frankly I find it insulting that the writer seems to think I'm incapable of accepting anything but a distinctly happy ending like I'm some naive child.

Perhaps you're so deep in the depression/social starvation that you mentioned earlier that the happiness of a happy ending reminds you of the contrast between what you wish you could have and what you do have.
I guess.

*puts on troll face and fire retardant suit* But what inspired this thread was walking past a church and seeing the usual Jesus died for my sins crap, which irked me, because unless I'm mistaken he was only dead for three days, hardly the only person to be crucified, and after those three days he returned to life, said his goodbyes and ascended to heaven, where as the story goes he's been for the past two thousand years.

Wow what incredible sacrifice :rolleyes:
 

Duxwing

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I'm not saying an ending has to be unhappy, I just don't want it to be something obviously pulled out of the writer's ass, the everything-works-out ending is such an overdone cliché, it knocks me right out of my suspension of disbelief and frankly I find it insulting that the writer seems to think I'm incapable of accepting anything but a distinctly happy ending like I'm some naive child.

What if a story had a happy ending that followed from rigorous logic?


:D

*puts on troll face and fire retardant suit* But what inspired this thread was walking past a church and seeing the usual Jesus died for my sins crap, which irked me, because unless I'm mistaken he was only dead for three days, hardly the only person to be crucified, and after those three days he returned to life, said his goodbyes and ascended to heaven, where as the story goes he's been for the past two thousand years.

Wow what incredible sacrifice :rolleyes:

You're preaching to the choir, sir, preaching to the choir. :)

-Duxwing
 

JimJambones

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I'm not saying an ending has to be unhappy, I just don't want it to be something obviously pulled out of the writer's ass, the everything-works-out ending is such an overdone cliché, it knocks me right out of my suspension of disbelief and frankly I find it insulting that the writer seems to think I'm incapable of accepting anything but a distinctly happy ending like I'm some naive child.

I think that it goes even deeper than that. Yes, it does bother me that there are a ridiculous number of writers who find that they can follow some kind of formula for theirs storylines, and continue to make a killing on them, movie after movie. Sometimes a movie full of cliches can be fun to watch, if merely to be mocked and made fun of. But, what annoys me even more than that is the sheer number of people who consume that shit in huge quantities. (It's one thing to like soda, but it's quite another thing to keep drinking the shit until you have to keep buying a larger size pair of jeans every few months and your teeth rot out). Keep drinking your soma people! I enjoy nothing more in a movie than one that is entirely unpredictable, in that you don't quite know how the end is going to end until the movie is mostly over, as opposed to within the first few minutes of a movie.


I guess.

*puts on troll face and fire retardant suit* But what inspired this thread was walking past a church and seeing the usual Jesus died for my sins crap, which irked me, because unless I'm mistaken he was only dead for three days, hardly the only person to be crucified, and after those three days he returned to life, said his goodbyes and ascended to heaven, where as the story goes he's been for the past two thousand years.

Wow what incredible sacrifice :rolleyes:

Yes, I think it would've been a much different world if after Jesus' death, people accepted it and moved on, following his principles instead of trying to make shit up to gain as many followers as possible.
 

Architect

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Yes, in particular the Picardy Third which is so popular in music. Why not end on a minor chord? we can take it.
 

lonew0lf420

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Happy Endings are great if you are lacking a girlfriend instead.

Edit: Pertaining to stories, I dislike them also; I prefer to start developing theories on what I believe will happen next if the story ends in a Canterbury Tales-esque. Stories that end on a happy note really don't interest me, although I do enjoy the optimism.
 

EyeSeeCold

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as if there's some kind of pussy law dictating that a movie must have an untarnished happy ending.
Isn't there ? Maybe the indie film scene would have less of an issue with this, considering commercial movies tend to be produced mainly for profit, following formulas.

What about Pulp Fiction though? It doesn't exactly have a happy ending but the way the films ends makes it seem so. Lawrence of Arabia is kind of similar, the real ending is a tragic beginning and the films ends ambiguously.

*puts on troll face and fire retardant suit* But what inspired this thread was walking past a church and seeing the usual Jesus died for my sins crap, which irked me, because unless I'm mistaken he was only dead for three days, hardly the only person to be crucified, and after those three days he returned to life, said his goodbyes and ascended to heaven, where as the story goes he's been for the past two thousand years.
I thought about this too. Jesus being God himself should have had the knowledge of his future resurrection, so the dramatic portrayal of it seems ignorant and ridiculous. Basically, what was the point? :confused:
 

Puffy

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^ Unfortuately that's market research for you. The only times it really irks me is in films such as Schindler's List. That film is an abomination to me. Taking the Holocaust and making it about the success story of some German Christian. Jesus H bomb Christ.

I'm just like 11 million dead :storks:
but a thousand are saved :confused:
and haven't Christians been a cause of antagonism towards Jews :eek:

Otherwise, it kind of depends on the film. I don't like films that have total closure either, but happy things happen to and I don't have a problem in that being represented.
 

Trebuchet

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How to make Harry miserable after The Sorcerer's Stone?

How about we ...[lots of good stuff]

Okay, yes, Harry was miserable after book 1. You are completely right, it wasn't a good choice. But of all the books with contrived happy endings, that one bugs me the most.
 

QuickTwist

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Honestly, I don't give no shit. It really depends on how awesome something is. I will totally overlook stupidity if the movie compensates with the rule of cool or the rule of funny. Hot Tub Time Machine and The Avengers are prime examples. HTTM has that stupid "Maybe the universe will bring us together in the future" business near the end is stupid as fuck, but everything else in the movie is awesome. And Iron Man not dying at the end of The Avengers, plus CapAm's stupid "Why should we listen to you" *CapAm beats stuff up* "Okay we'll do whatever you want", can be overlooked because everything else was just plain great.

Did I catch a 9er in there?




I too like movies that let you come up with your own conclusion. Its funner that way.

Love that movie.
 

Cavallier

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I dislike happy endings because most of them are contrived. I do not need a falsified happy ending. If something happens to naturally end happily then so be it but I think films are written to make a buck. In order to make a buck the writer has to make people feel good and thus a happy endings are written.
 

Jennywocky

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But what's worse is when I'm teased with the ending, when it looks like some key character is about to die, for example in "The Avengers" and "The Sorcerers Apprentice" but they miracously get better (don't even get me started on "Terminator Salvation", grrrrr) as if there's some kind of pussy law dictating that a movie must have an untarnished happy ending.

You considered that a happy ending? The actual protagonist dies.

Edit: "The Dark Knight Rises" should have ended with Bruce Wayne in a wheelchair, permanently, it's a reboot they can do that, and it would have been awesome because nobody would have expected it.

Well, technically, if they had stopped the movie halfway through. Otherwise, he should just be dead period, considering the last ten minutes of the movie.

I don't mind "happy endings" but they must be honest... which usually means more bittersweet, or a victory that has come with some pain and some cost and that makes sense. not a half-assed "Oh wait, look, deux ex machina!" I prefer the bittersweet ending, actually.

Have you ever seen Source Code? I prefer the ending that should have happened before the tacked-on ending -- about ten minutes before the ending as released. it was perfect (enough that I lost it while watching)... but it seems like the director didn't have any balls or the studio didn't like it.

I like the ending of Pan's Labyrinth. It might have been happy, but only in one sense of the word, and it was paid for with terrible cost.
 

Cognisant

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John Conner didn't die and Marcus had a death wish and was (in hindsight) a cyborg Jesus, think about it, he receives his lethal injections on a cross shaped table, is tormented and tempted (to join the machines) and in the end betrays them to save the humans and in the end sacrifices himself for the supposed greater good.
 

Jennywocky

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John Conner didn't die and Marcus had a death wish and was (in hindsight) a cyborg Jesus, think about it, he receives his lethal injections on a cross shaped table, is tormented and tempted (to join the ) and in the end betrays them to save the humans and in the end sacrifices himself for the supposed greater good.

Yes, and Marcus is rhe protagonist. What's your problem?
 

Duxwing

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Yes, and Marcus is rhe protagonist. What's your problem?

If Marcus is an allegory to Jesus, then Marcus really didn't suffer at all, for if Jesus really were God, then he could just shut his pain receptors off and go back to infinite paradise when the ordeal ended. Ergo, Marcus was essentially not in any pain at all. He won.*

-Duxwing

*At least according to that interpretation and the assumption that what the Bible says is true (the assumption that the writer and director likely intended the audience to take). Otherwise, Marcus got screwed: horrendous pain, no afterlife, no victory.
 

Turniphead

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I'm reading(listening) to "A Series of Unfortunate Events"... as I neve got around to them when I was younger.

So far, no happy endings. Some are sort of lukewarm. It's an interesting reversal of the usual tropes, but I'm not sure it doesn't end up having the same problem.... just on the other end of the spectrum.
 

Jennywocky

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If Marcus is an allegory to Jesus, then Marcus really didn't suffer at all, for if Jesus really were God, then he could just shut his pain receptors off and go back to infinite paradise when the ordeal ended. Ergo, Marcus was essentially not in any pain at all. He won.*

Sometimes you're too damned smart for your own good. ;)

*At least according to that interpretation and the assumption that what the Bible says is true (the assumption that the writer and director likely intended the audience to take). Otherwise, Marcus got screwed: horrendous pain, no afterlife, no victory.

Marcus had a chance for love and a normal life, but he gave it up to validate that he was a good person and still human, despite his partial conversion to a machine. He was doing penance for the crimes he committed in the past. Heaven really didn't matter much, either. He was doing it to specifically make up for his past crimes and prove to himself that he was a worthy person. So he had a shot at survival and happiness in this life, but was stuck in a situation where he had to give that up in order to find peace with himself. It's both a happy and sad ending.

Although I haven't watched it recently, I didn't really see any overt mention of God (aside from the typical prison claptrap in the beginning and I suppose if you read into the title). Let's not get too specific with a general theme like "redemption" which applies to just about any human story out there, or reading in too much specific Christian stuff when it really only swipes a few very broad concepts. Pretty much anything can be labeled a "jesus' figure as long as he sacrifices himself, but the story might have nothing to do with Jesus and Christianity.
 

Duxwing

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Sometimes you're too damned smart for your own good. ;)

:D

Marcus had a chance for love and a normal life, but he gave it up to validate that he was a good person and still human, despite his partial conversion to a machine. He was doing penance for the crimes he committed in the past. Heaven really didn't matter much, either. He was doing it to specifically make up for his past crimes and prove to himself that he was a worthy person. So he had a shot at survival and happiness in this life, but was stuck in a situation where he had to give that up in order to find peace with himself. It's both a happy and sad ending.

That seems like a bit of a disproportionate response-- I mean, if he wanted to suffer, then living on would provide him an exceptional opportunity to devise all sorts of creative tortures. Also, to refute the idea of Jesus "dying for out sins" even if Jesus really were the son of God, neither Jesus's nor Marcus' suffering would undo what anyone had done. They'd only be displacing their internal suffering onto their physical bodies. In essence, that part of the Bible is an exaltation of a maladaptive coping mechanism. *gag*

Although I haven't watched it recently, I didn't really see any overt mention of God (aside from the typical prison claptrap in the beginning and I suppose if you read into the title). Let's not get too specific with a general theme like "redemption" which applies to just about any human story out there, or reading in too much specific Christian stuff when it really only swipes a few very broad concepts. Pretty much anything can be labeled a "jesus' figure as long as he sacrifices himself, but the story might have nothing to do with Jesus and Christianity.

I haven't watched it at all. :D But from the posts above I know that Marcus did die on a cross-shaped table, and I therefore think that it was an intentional Biblical allusion. Otherwise, you're right: Redemption through suffering is an omnipresent (albeit nonetheless disturbing, as I've demonstrated above) theme in art.

-Duxwing
 

Jennywocky

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I haven't watched it at all. :D But from the posts above I know that Marcus did die on a cross-shaped table, and I therefore think that it was an intentional Biblical allusion. Otherwise, you're right: Redemption through suffering is an omnipresent (albeit nonetheless disturbing, as I've demonstrated above) theme in art.

-Duxwing

Now I think we need to host "The Passion of the Christ" movie night -- I'll bring the popcorn, you bring the barf bags!

I've actually had surgery before though, and I think all three times I was on a cross shaped table. The cross is a common useful structure, and just happened to be useful for the device on which people were crucified BECAUSE it's so adaptable. So it's not like they necessarily shaped that table to be a cross specifically for symbolism, the table very likely might have been cross-shaped anyway. (Basically, you have the arms strapped down away from the body, to make everything easier to access and to prevent the patient from moving.)

Either that, or my life has been a Christian allusion. :phear:
 

Duxwing

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Now I think we need to host "The Passion of the Christ" movie night -- I'll bring the popcorn, you bring the barf bags!

If we can bring your ex-hudband's psychotic family to watch it with us, then I can whip up a potent poison, put it in some Kool-Aid, let them meet their makers.

I've actually had surgery before though, and I think all three times I was on a cross shaped table. The cross is a common useful structure, and just happened to be useful for the device on which people were crucified BECAUSE it's so adaptable. So it's not like they necessarily shaped that table to be a cross specifically for symbolism, the table very likely might have been cross-shaped anyway. (Basically, you have the arms strapped down away from the body, to make everything easier to access and to prevent the patient from moving.)

Wow! I never knew that. Thanks!

Either that, or my life has been a Christian allusion. :phear:

Dun dun DUN!

-Duxwing
 

Jennywocky

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If we can bring your ex-hudband's psychotic family to watch it with us, then I can whip up a potent poison, put it in some Kool-Aid, let them meet their makers.

Please, no... not that... please don't make me spend any more time with those people!


Dun dun DUN! -Duxwing

As long as the director of this movie I'm living out isn't Lars Von Trier, I should come out okay.
 

Solitaire U.

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When I was a kid, I remember watching "Little House on the Prairie" on Monday nights. My mother and little sister loved that show, but I hated it with a passion. It followed such a predictable pattern of starting off happy, then turning sad and tragic, then peaking with a 'happy orgasm' at the end. It was so predictable. It was like the writers picked a "Weekly Depressing Situation" out of a hat, drew straws to decide which character to afflict with it, then used the same old formula to inject that same old message of "Overcoming adverse circumstances makes you stronger". It reminds me of the stories in that Jehovah's Witness free magazine, or Reader's Digest.

Anyway, I hated it, not strictly due to the "Happy Endings", but because they always seemed so contrived and unrealistic.

I find well-plotted out, realistic happy endings to be quite satisfying, but my idea of happy endings is, I think, deviant. For example, I consider The Road Warrior to have a very happy ending. *Spoiler* I thought filling the gas tanker with sand, keeping it a secret, and then using it as a diversion, killing and maiming dozens of good and bad guys in the process of trying to escape, was just brilliant. I love that scene at the end where Max puts his hand in the sand falling from the wrecked tanker and laughs. Yeah, it was all a ruse, and his supposed comrades even deceived him to pull it off, but it worked! The bad guys didn't get the precious gasoline. Genius!
 

Jennywocky

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Anyway, I hated it, not strictly due to the "Happy Endings", but because they always seemed so contrived and unrealistic.

I think that is my biggest problem too. It's not necessarily that it is happy (because sometimes good things do occur in life), so a positive outcome is sometimes enjoyable; but that in those kinds of shows everything consistently turns out for the good and seems so contrived and thus FALSE to real life... that's what bothers me.

It's fake. It's a lie.

I like the opening song to Little House because it's so OVER the top happy, it amuses me... pure, sweet, sincere, and almost a caricature of itself, but not ashamed. Yet the show itself... well, it never seemed real. At least it cast Mrs. Olsen, the ESFJ busybody, as the town villain; that was a nice nod.

For example, I consider The Road Warrior to have a very happy ending. *Spoiler* I thought filling the gas tanker with sand, keeping it a secret, and then using it as a diversion, killing and maiming dozens of good and bad guys in the process of trying to escape, was just brilliant. I love that scene at the end where Max puts his hand in the sand falling from the wrecked tanker and laughs. Yeah, it was all a ruse, and his supposed comrades even deceived him to pull it off, but it worked! The bad guys didn't get the precious gasoline. Genius!

Lol. Why is it "deviant" to like that? It was ingenious and there was a positive outcome. :) Sometimes that's the most you can hope for in a particular situation.
 

Duxwing

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Please, no... not that... please don't make me spend any more time with those people!

It's a small pain (nyuck nyuck) compared to having them around, ready to pounce on you and your children at a moment's notice. And they'll need only be around for a minutes before the poison in the cups (of red wine, just for the irony) will take effect.

As long as the director of this movie I'm living out isn't Lars Von Trier, I should come out okay.

Hahaha! :)

-Duxwing
 
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