Self-defeating movies

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I kind of want to say every Dennis Villeneuve movie. I mean, I won't because I haven't actually seen every Dennis Villeneuve movie. But every time I watch one, it always starts great, it looks great, then there's some weird plot point or inauthentic character action that just makes it go off the boil a bit.
Do you mind me asking for an example? Just curious since I've pretty much loved, or at least liked, all of his films (still haven't seen his first two, though)
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"How tall is King Kong ?"
Ah, a terrible example I had forgotten :

The Hateful Eight starts as a great atmospheric paranoid one-location thriller, with all the sleuthing of whodunnits and spy-like plays on identity. Thrilling, tense, beautiful, and it really gets your mind racing, until
WARNING: spoilers below
everything is ditched in favor of a general shootout where none of the deductions matter. Just the randomness of whose head explodes or not. Essentially, a buildup to nothing but a dice roll.

So, again. Half a good film. and half generic style-over-substance. A total waste of something that could have been brilliant. It's like Tarantino's attention span only goes half a film.



Ah, a terrible example I had forgotten :

The Hateful Eight starts as a great atmospheric paranoid one-location thriller, with all the sleuthing of whodunnits and spy-like plays on identity. Thrilling, tense, beautiful, and it really gets your mind racing, until
WARNING: spoilers below
everything is ditched in favor of a general shootout where none of the deductions matter. Just the randomness of whose head explodes or not. Essentially, a buildup to nothing but a dice roll.

So, again. Half a good film. and half generic style-over-substance. A total waste of something that could have been brilliant. It's like Tarantino's attention span only goes half a film.
I didn't mind the last act of The Hateful Eight that much, but then again, I didn't seem to mind about the whole film that much either. I saw it about a year or two ago and it has pretty much vanished from my mind, and that is usually not a good thing.

On the other hand, the last act of Django Unchained did manage to put me off. Haven't seen it in a while as well, so I don't remember specifics, but I do remember not really liking it.

Anyway, I don't dislike the films but they're at the bottom of my Tarantino ranking.



I'm probably the only person here who likes the endings of High Tension and Sunshine, but that's okay. I will wear my crown of thorn with honor.

I remember finding the final act of The Dark Knight to be a huge misstep, but I have a feeling I'd like it more if I were to rewatch it, whenever that may be. As for The Dark Knight Rises, yeah, I suppose, but I think the entire film missteps a bunch of times, so I'd say the final act is about as good as what comes before it.

I had an issue with the final act of PK as well. It started out as some effective satire and I was excited to see where it would lead to, but I was disappointed with how
WARNING: spoilers below
the final act pushed the satire to the sidelines in favor of an underdeveloped romance sub-plot that felt so thematically off from the rest of the film.

I also had an issue with the final act of Nomadland. I've written about it a couple times here, but while I enjoyed it, it ultimately left me emotionally cold. While I appreciated the two main themes (the celebration of the lifestyle of nomads and Fern's state of isolation and grief),
WARNING: spoilers below
they felt at odds against each other and didn't come together in a way I found compelling. Fern was in a state of isolation at the start of the film and, instead of being lifted out of this state due to her involvement with the nomads, she remained in her state of grief at the end.



Nearly every movie I've seen ends in an over-the-top, disappointing way....Disappointing for me that is, but I'm guessing someone must like all those grandiose, big, big endings or they would not have be done.



I remember also being put off by the last act in Sunshine. However, I feel that a rewatch might be kind to it. I haven't seen it since it was released.

The Dark Knight, on the other hand, I've seen multiple times and the more times I see it, the more times I'm reaffirmed that the last act is a huge mess. Not that I didn't think it was when I first saw it, but rewatches have made it stuck out more.


But anyway, my vote is for Haute Tension, which I was extremely into it until the big reveal which pretty much ruined it for me.
Yeah, Sunshine is
WARNING: "sperlah" spoilers below
2001 for the first two acts and A Nightmare On Elm Street for the last one.
It's so jarring but more than that it's just such a letdown on the promise of the first two acts.

TDK I just couldn't agree more with you. I don't watch the movie anymore because I just... well, I just don't enjoy movies with a bad third act even if the first two are really good.

Oddly, as I've said so many times before, not only did Haute Tension not bother me at all, I actually really, really liked it and did not find it self-defeating at all. I know I'm on an island on this but it never even occurred to me there was a problem with the film until I joined a movie forum and got blasted with all the vitriol.



I didn't mind the last act of The Hateful Eight that much, but then again, I didn't seem to mind about the whole film that much either. I saw it about a year or two ago and it has pretty much vanished from my mind, and that is usually not a good thing.

On the other hand, the last act of Django Unchained did manage to put me off. Haven't seen it in a while as well, so I don't remember specifics, but I do remember not really liking it.

Anyway, I don't dislike the films but they're at the bottom of my Tarantino ranking.
I found The Hateful Eight just a pointless, meandering self-indulgence. Not bad, mind you, just pointless and meandering. And I'll never forgive Tarantino for letting that 1860s Martin guitar get destroyed. Never.

But man, do I agree with you on Django. What the hell? Just made me think Tarantino had reached that point where no one will tell him no or that something is a bad idea. The movie should have been 20 minutes shorter, all off the back end.

Both would be very low on my Tarantino list.



I'm probably the only person here who likes the endings of High Tension and Sunshine, but that's okay. I will wear my crown of thorn with honor.
Well, I'm with you on the former but against you on the latter.



Well, I'm with you on the former but against you on the latter.
Works for me

I agree with the backlash insofar as I think the film could've used another round of editing to fix the couple plot holes the ending brought to the film (the dream at the beginning and the woman's head being thrown out of the truck). Overall though, I thought the twist was handled well enough. I would've preferred if the film didn't end the way it did, but I wasn't as bothered with it as some people were. It's a super creepy reveal and I didn't mind having a bit of suspension of disbelief to help me appreciate it. In addition, most of the plot holes happen near the beginning of the film, so I'm okay with getting that out of the way fairly early on and appreciating what I consider to be a top-tier slasher.



I'm probably the only person here who likes the endings of High Tension and Sunshine, but that's okay. I will wear my crown of thorn with honor.
I've been meaning to rewatch Sunshine, mostly because I've read lots of analysis and takes on how it shifts (some of them in RT/Corrie) that I think I might appreciate it a bit more now.

I remember finding the final act of The Dark Knight to be a huge misstep, but I have a feeling I'd like it more if I were to rewatch it, whenever that may be. As for The Dark Knight Rises, yeah, I suppose, but I think the entire film missteps a bunch of times, so I'd say the final act is about as good as what comes before it.
Yeah, The Dark Knight Rises was never that tight, so I had no big issues with the last act in contrast with the rest. It was a bit of a mess all through.

I also had an issue with the final act of Nomadland. I've written about it a couple times here, but while I enjoyed it, it ultimately left me emotionally cold. While I appreciated the two main themes (the celebration of the lifestyle of nomads and Fern's state of isolation and grief),
WARNING: spoilers below
they felt at odds against each other and didn't come together in a way I found compelling. Fern was in a state of isolation at the start of the film and, instead of being lifted out of this state due to her involvement with the nomads, she remained in her state of grief at the end.
I disagree with this one because

WARNING: spoilers below

although there isn't a big bombastic change in her, we did see her come to terms with certain things in her life. Like finally getting rid of all the stuff in her storage unit which, from the start seems to be like a fallback to her past life. But finally giving it all up seemed like her letting go of all those things that tied her to her past. Same with that final visit to her old home. I don't see her as being in a state of grief. It's a cathartic moment for her, and that visit and the way she walks out of the backdoor of the house and towards the mountains goes back to a line she had previously where she was describing her home and how it was "just desert, desert, desert, all the way to the mountains. There was nothin' in our way." Fern is always better and happier when "there is nothing in her way", and her visit to her old house and then heading out towards the mountains is a symbol of her reclaiming that happiness as she heads out into the unknown, "nothing in her way".



Sunshine (minor spoilers in this post)...for me is a prime example of a self-defeating movie. I'm sure the derided third horror act, was included for maximized ticket sales based on analytical metrics of movie goers...I.E. horror films make money! To bad though because Sunshine could've been the equal of 2001 but blew it with a 'please everyone inclusion in the third act'.

Excerpt from my review
Besides the dangerous mission, Sunshine presents a fascinating idea that maybe there's something spiritual within sunlight. The scenes in the sun observation room where a crew member opens the huge sun viewing window, thus blasting himself with intense sunlight, were emotionally powerful. The film has a subtle metaphysical idea that within the deadly sunshine is a hidden truth. It's a truth so worth knowing that a person would risk their life by staring into the intensity of the sun, just to get a glimpse of that truth.

Sunshine has a sub plot twist which involves some graphic horror like scenes, though that's not what the film is about and it's a small part of the film in the third act. I'll rate the decision to include the horror elements a 0. But the rest of the film is amazing.



Do you mind me asking for an example? Just curious since I've pretty much loved, or at least liked, all of his films (still haven't seen his first two, though)
Even though I love the movie, I think this sort of applies to Prisoners.
WARNING: spoilers below
It is a little convenient that Holly (Melissa Leo) ended up being the villain considering how well the story builds the mystery up to that point.
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minds his own damn business
This must not be my thread because I'm an unapologetic fan of AI, Prestige, Tenant, Prince of Darkness and every movie from Denis Villenueve, and all for almost precisely their thrid acts or how they wrap themselves up. Talk about frames, I think that the ending of AI, especially, is anything but tacked on.


I will go a bit deeper on Prestige though as I think
WARNING: spoilers below
it's more about the contrast in how this pseudo-Tesla magic is used between the two magicians that is most intriguing. I think the entire value of the film can be placed on the overall contrast of these characters, and their particular methods, in order to seemingly acheive the same, um, prestige.
So this plot twist doesn't defeat the film in any way in my estimation.
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Oh, wait. Yeah. Prisoners is pretty self-defeating. Forgot about that.

The end of Enemy is still a scream though.



I've been meaning to rewatch Sunshine, mostly because I've read lots of analysis and takes on how it shifts (some of them in RT/Corrie) that I think I might appreciate it a bit more now.
Overall, it changes the tone a lot and I can definitely see this choice bothering someone.
WARNING: spoilers below
However, I think it serves as a good culmination to the mystic power the sun was shown to have. For example, Searle stared at the sun the most and, as the film went on, his face began to show cracks and some wear and tear and there was an implication that the sun was what made Pinbacker go insane. Is it realistic? No, but I don't know how else I would've ended the film, tbh. I think the final act brought a great layer of suspense and thrills to the film that made it as memorable as it was.


I disagree with this one because

WARNING: spoilers below

although there isn't a big bombastic change in her, we did see her come to terms with certain things in her life. Like finally getting rid of all the stuff in her storage unit which, from the start seems to be like a fallback to her past life. But finally giving it all up seemed like her letting go of all those things that tied her to her past. Same with that final visit to her old home. I don't see her as being in a state of grief. It's a cathartic moment for her, and that visit and the way she walks out of the backdoor of the house and towards the mountains goes back to a line she had previously where she was describing her home and how it was "just desert, desert, desert, all the way to the mountains. There was nothin' in our way." Fern is always better and happier when "there is nothing in her way", and her visit to her old house and then heading out towards the mountains is a symbol of her reclaiming that happiness as she heads out into the unknown, "nothing in her way".
That's a good take and another viewing might get me to appreciate the film more.
WARNING: spoilers below
With that being said though, I would've liked another scene afterwards which showed her reconciling with her sister, Dave, or even a scene of her having a good time with the other nomads. That way, it would've been clear that the nomad lifestyle had a positive impact on her. Since we didn't get to see any of that though, what will happen to her afterwards is ambiguous. Looking at the Wikipedia summary, it seems like the film starts to develop her character in the final 15 or so minutes, but only shows the starting stages to her arc and it ends before we can see the impact her visit to her home has on her mental health.



That's a good take and another viewing might get me to appreciate the film more.
WARNING: spoilers below
With that being said though, I would've liked another scene afterwards which showed her reconciling with her sister, Dave, or even a scene of her having a good time with the other nomads. That way, it would've been clear that the nomad lifestyle had a positive impact on her. Since we didn't get to see any of that though, what will happen to her afterwards is ambiguous. Looking at the Wikipedia summary, it seems like the film starts to develop her character in the final 15 or so minutes, but only shows the starting stages to her arc and it ends before we can see the impact her visit to her home has on her mental health.
But I think we get parts of that...

WARNING: spoilers below

I don't think there was a need to "reconcile" with her sister further. I think the conversation they had in the bedroom, which was one of the most emotional moments of the film for me, was enough. Her sister accepted who Fern was, and although there was a bit of "reproach" in her statement that she "would have loved having [her] around all these years", I don't think it was "angry" reproach. What I really got from that scene was that she was sad for it, but had accepted her for it, and still loved her, which is emphasized by her body language and closeness. It was a really powerful scene.

Same with Dave, to a lesser extent. Their last conversation in the baby's room was a good way to know where they both stood, and I think Dave knew and accepted it.

As for the nomads, she did go back for the funeral of the other nomad, and even though it was for something "grief" related, it also showed that the connection with these people and this lifestyle remained. And of course, there's also that excellent conversation with Bob, which is another really powerful moment.


I really loved this film.



But I think we get parts of that...

WARNING: spoilers below

I don't think there was a need to "reconcile" with her sister further. I think the conversation they had in the bedroom, which was one of the most emotional moments of the film for me, was enough. Her sister accepted who Fern was, and although there was a bit of "reproach" in her statement that she "would have loved having [her] around all these years", I don't think it was "angry" reproach. What I really got from that scene was that she was sad for it, but had accepted her for it, and still loved her, which is emphasized by her body language and closeness. It was a really powerful scene.

Same with Dave, to a lesser extent. Their last conversation in the baby's room was a good way to know where they both stood, and I think Dave knew and accepted it.

As for the nomads, she did go back for the funeral of the other nomad, and even though it was for something "grief" related, it also showed that the connection with these people and this lifestyle remained. And of course, there's also that excellent conversation with Bob, which is another really powerful moment.


I really loved this film.
That all makes sense and I'll have to revisit it soon to see how I respond to it. Thanks for sharing your interpretation.



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Sunshine (minor spoilers in this post)...for me is a prime example of a self-defeating movie. I'm sure the derided third horror act, was included for maximized ticket sales based on analytical metrics of movie goers...I.E. horror films make money! To bad though because Sunshine could've been the equal of 2001 but blew it with a 'please everyone inclusion in the third act'.

Excerpt from my review
I would've thought that the third act reveal is of a piece with this idea and acknowledges that spirituality has its dark side (and that the only thing separating Searle's minor obsession from Pinbacker's murderous mania is just a matter of time spent in contact with the sun - the former had months, the latter had years). I could concede that the execution is flawed, sure, but I don't think the entire third act is completely incongruous with what's come before (as for 2001, could I not also argue that HAL going rogue during the second half is a similarly transparent attempt to inject a whole new external conflict with life-or-death stakes into what had previously been a rather sedate and philosophical sci-fi venture?)
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"How tall is King Kong ?"
But the Sun in Sunshine doesn't
WARNING: spoilers below
simply make people crazy, it also turns them into magically indestructible superhuman flame mutant thingies.



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In fairness, nobody's ever been close enough to disprove it.