Story Endings


I was tempted to title this post, “Story endings: When good stories go bad.” I decided not to. 

But there is something tragic about becoming invested into a good story, becoming attached to the characters, gelling with the setting, only to have it torn away with a bad ending. 

Friends and I watched “Umney’s Last Case,” a TNT production of Stephen King’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes. It is an anthology series of eight one-hour episodes from Stephen King’s incredible book of short stories. Don’t worry, I won’t ruin the ending (though I am very tempted to do so). 

First of all, the story had great potential. It starred William H. Macy, whom I remembered fondly from Pleasantville and Seabiscuit. It started light and funny, with a very believable (and enjoyable) 1930’s L.A. setting. It began as a typical Private Eye story with dames and hardboiled detective quips. A little cheesy, but entertaining. But the story took a nose dive about 3/4 the way through, and continued with both engines aflame to its awful demise.  

(the thought running through my mind, once the ending credits started rolling was, “What the hell was that?” and yes, I imagined little Stewie Griffin uttering it with complete disdain)

The ending was illogical, abrupt, very unexpected. Sometimes this works. A couple weeks ago my church showed No Country For Old Mena brilliant, dark suspense movie about unintended consequences, and the bitter fruit of sin. Not to mention greed’s sadistic drive. It also had an unexpected ending, but it left me satisfied, in a completely unsatisfactory way, if you know what I mean. I wanted it to be different, but I could appreciate what it was saying. This was not so with “Umney’s Last Case.” 

My friends and I spent about 15 minutes attempting to salvage the story,

What if they did this?” “What if they tried that?” 

It was actually kind of fun, but a bit dishonoring to the writers. I don’t suppose they would appreciate knowing that we were trying to do their job for them. But you know what? It was somewhat honoring that we even bothered. They at least got it right to the end, then they just dropped the, actually, they punted it to the other team and let that team plough them into the mud.

So I was wondering,

Do you and your friends ever re-write endings to stories (movies)?

Do you know of any stories (movies) that were great, up until the end? 


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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. SOOO MANY! It’s like the writers or directors just get lazy at the end.
    A recent example:
    “I am Legend” had just about eveything I love about a movie (namely zombies) but the ending SUCKED.
    On the other hand…
    Shawshank Redemption (by Steven King) had such a great ending!

  2. Agreed Sam. I would argue that I Am Legend died once the pseudo-Christian woman was introduced to the story. It got cheesy and boring from about that point.

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