Isn’t it usually the way it ends?
Doesn’t the emotional payoff most often occur shortly before the closing credits?
I love a movie that ends well …
… and I really get frustrated by movies that make me waste a couple of hours and come away with an ambiguous message.
Which movies have provided you with the greatest degree of cinematic satisfaction as you stood to leave the theater?
Here are mine:
By the way: Please excuse any “spoilers”, but it’s hard for me to make my point otherwise.
Casablanca … A love story for the ages. One where the guy actually loses the girl, but it doesn’t matter. “We’ll always have Paris.” “Here’s looking at you kid.” “Play it Sam … play As time Goes By.”
It’s a Wonderful Life … Okay, so there is just something endearing and irresistable about any movie that has Jimmy Stewart portraying your archetypal “everyman” fighting the “good fight” against society’s evils and WINNING!
12 Angry Men … Once Henry Fonda has torn down the prejudices of 10 other jurors over the course of this absorbing film, the final exorcism of the demons that inhabit Lee J. Cobb’s character allowing him to break through and become a human being is one of the powerful moments in movie history.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington … What I said earlier about Jimmy Stewart …
The Verdict … When that jury foreman asks the judge if the jury is actually limited in the amount they can award the family represented by down-and-out lawyer Paul Newman … the look on the defense team and judge is priceless. And while nobody applauds violence toward women, when the frustrated Newman slugs Charlotte Rampling you had to cheer!
Saving Private Ryan … Some would say with great justification that the most emotional part of this riveting film comes in the first 5 minutes and I would agree that the opening sequence is simply devastating and sets the stage for the real payoff that comes as the flashback fades to the present day and the aging veteran tearfully comes to grips with the tremendous sacrifice made on his behalf 60 years earlier.
Forrest Gump … Forrest’s soliloquy at Jenny’s grave and his subsequent sequence at the school bus stop are so heart wrenching and heart warming at the same time. I’m tearing up just typing this.
Field of Dreams … Oh my goodness … “Dad, you want to have a catch?” … the most powerful father/son moment in any movie ever made? I think so, yes.
Gladiator … Okay … so I’m a sap for movies where the bad guy gets exactly what he has coming to him IN SPADES!