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Author Topic: 5 GREAT Films Made Even Better by Starting Later or Ending Sooner  (Read 1698 times)

1SO

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The trick is you have to think these are great films as they are, but you've seen them enough to know that with a different start or end point you'd be even more enthusiastic about them.

The LOTR: Return of the King Memorial List


5. Here Comes the Groom (1951): I'm still sorry that I didn't warn Sandy about this. I didn't realize it until she brought it up, but the start of this Bing Crosby/Jane Wyman musical rom-com directed by Frank Capra drags for almost 30 minutes. Mrs. 1SO and I have watched it in full 3 or 4 times, but since then we always start it with the Fade In onto a plane where Bing and celebrity guests sing "Christopher Columbus". You wouldn't even have trouble figuring out what plot is missing since it's repeated once the plane lands.

4. Dances With Wolves (1990): I still like this film a lot, but I never understood starting it with two goofy/crazy characters, Maury Chaykin as the Major who gives Dunbar (Kevin Costner) his assignment before announcing he's pooped his pants and Robert Pastorelli as a guide who seems to be amusing himself. Once Dunbar arrives at his destination and is left alone, the film soars.

3. The Ninth Configuration (1980): I want everyone to see this movie. I also warn everyone that the first few minutes are baffling. One of the great screenplays of all time starts with 5 minutes of images in slow motion set to a folk song. Best to start right after the credits.

2. Carlito’s Way (1993): I think the opening scene is meant to hang a cloud of fatalism over everything, but the film begins with a death and it undercuts everything that follows, especially the excitement of the otherwise brilliantly executed chase scene.

1. The Devil’s Advocate (1997): After successfully and ingeniously beating the devil, the film gets cold feet and tacks on an extra ending as if they were worried that nobody would believe you could win against the Prince of Darkness. Again, there's a clear definite end point, so this isn't a spoiler, just a warning that a pretty great film steps wrong at the one-yard line.

Antares

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Re: 5 GREAT Films Made Even Better by Starting Later or Ending Sooner
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2021, 05:12:29 AM »
Can think of one right off the bat, The Right Stuff. After Alan Shepard goes sub-orbital, you can stop there, the rest of the film is complete shit after that. Especially the character assassination of Gus Grissom.
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jdc

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Re: 5 GREAT Films Made Even Better by Starting Later or Ending Sooner
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2021, 08:51:20 PM »
AI: everything up to the point they leave the boy in in the woods was amazing, the next 3/4 of the film could have been cut
The Abyss: in either the original theatrical cut or the Special Edition, everything after Ed Harris’s character defuses the nuke could be cut.  I struggled with how much I loved the film the first time I saw it only to hate the ending.

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1SO

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Re: 5 GREAT Films Made Even Better by Starting Later or Ending Sooner
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2021, 11:50:40 PM »
AI: everything up to the point they leave the boy in in the woods was amazing, the next 3/4 of the film could have been cut
If you have to cut 3/4 of the film, do you think the film is Great as-is? I do think the film goes from Great to not-so-Great when the giant moon shows up, but A.I. is a great pick because the film has a definite ending that's ambiguous but way better than the final section that concludes the film.

Eric/E.T.

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Re: 5 GREAT Films Made Even Better by Starting Later or Ending Sooner
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2021, 12:58:06 AM »
I mean, giving it the alternative title referring to LOTR: Return of the King, just takes the one film that so obviously needed to be ended a good deal sooner. It'd be my #1 regardless. Finding the other four is hard, because when I really like a movie, I find value for every scene and generally don't want it to be more efficient.

Let me try:

1. LOTR: Return of the King - It just goes on and on with the goodbyes, some forever, some just for a time. Needs a much leaner conclusion where Frodo and Sam's struggles were still fresh in the mind, a meditation on little, out of the way things stepping up to the biggest challenges. If we did want such a long third act, it should've been with the changing of politics in the shire that took place in the book before the heroes returned home.
2. Sound of Music - The getaway just had to have a few guns and a few showdowns, all kind of silly. Then, the shots of them traversing these huge mountains as a family. They're about to be found or freeze at some time in the near future.
3. Fish Tank - Still an all-time favorite, but the women doing that that dead-serious dance, mirroring each other, is kind of a corny way to end this off. It could've been cut, no problem. The film is already fairly profound, it didn't needed that contrived moment.
4. No One Knows about Persian Cats - Not sure our two leads needed to die, if we're being honest. This is a very melodramatic turn to a film about young musicians trying to find their way out of Iran. It also is about the anxieties of young people in the country, who are seeing their opportunities be erased one by one. Would've been more interesting if they were there until the end, trying to figure out how they'd get known in Iran while trying to get out of the country.
5. Honeyland - A real nitpick here, but I can't stand the establishing shot(s) here, it sets this up to be something much broader or larger than what it is. We should've started in a far more intimate manner, in Hatidze's little hut, or with Hatidze working with her bees. It's just a small portion that would have to go, and maybe a slight reworking of what Htidze's doing when we see her, but would've made the film all the more better.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2021, 10:37:36 PM by Eric/E.T. »
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jdc

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Re: 5 GREAT Films Made Even Better by Starting Later or Ending Sooner
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2021, 01:02:19 AM »
AI: everything up to the point they leave the boy in in the woods was amazing, the next 3/4 of the film could have been cut
If you have to cut 3/4 of the film, do you think the film is Great as-is? I do think the film goes from Great to not-so-Great when the giant moon shows up, but A.I. is a great pick because the film has a definite ending that's ambiguous but way better than the final section that concludes the film.

I was being a bit sarcastic, I loved the setup but then it went down hill, it isn’t a great film given everything that happens afterwards.  i am not sure I could even revisit it though I never mind watching the beginning again.
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Antares

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Re: 5 GREAT Films Made Even Better by Starting Later or Ending Sooner
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2021, 06:48:41 AM »
If we did want such a long third act, it should've been with the changing of politics in the shire that took place in the book before the heroes returned home.

Most definitely this. When Jackson announced that they weren't including The Scouring of the Shire in the film, it took the wind out of my sails. It's the best chapter in the entire book and omitting made the whole film series a subpar effort in my eyes. But not only what preceded their return, but how they dealt with it too.
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Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: 5 GREAT Films Made Even Better by Starting Later or Ending Sooner
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2021, 07:27:49 AM »
The Return of the King being too long always cracks me up because the book has even more stuff that happens after the climatic moment. And most of it is actually super good but I guess it's less egregious in a book you can pick up and put down whenever.

1SO

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Re: 5 GREAT Films Made Even Better by Starting Later or Ending Sooner
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2021, 06:24:34 PM »
Babes on Broadway (1941)
Directed by Busby Berkeley and starring Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland, this is my Discovery of the year, but the film ends with a full-on 14-minute Minstrel Show. I read that when this airs on TV, they cut out that finale, which is for the best.

smirnoff

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Re: 5 GREAT Films Made Even Better by Starting Later or Ending Sooner
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2021, 12:40:47 PM »
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp - I've only seen it once but this film opens with a prolonged sequence that only introduces Clive Candy at the very end, after 5 or so minutes of needless shenanigans amongst characters which never appear again and don't matter at all. It's just too long of a set up. It's all there just to cue up a monologue for Clive, but could be so much shorter. I almost stopped watching the film because of it and would have missed all the greatness that came after. Awful awful way to start a film imo.