Some movies save the best for last. One last quote that just sums up the whole experience like a combination exclamation point/kick in the dick. Today I thought we'd count down the ten best ones that were laid out just before the credits and left an audience strumming with genius.
10. Doom Generation (1995)
You want a Dorito?
How do you sum up an evening that included rape, neo-Nazis, murder, and castration? Greg Araki did it with one of the most bizarre incidences of product placement ever.
9. Back to the Future (1985)
Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads
The ending of Back to the Future is one of the most influential endings of all time. How many movies have you seen try and set up enough interest to film a sequel by having you're plot-driver show back up with a mysterious warning and lay out a forced cliffhanger? Happens all the time, but none nail it with the style of Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown.
8. Shock Treatment (1981)
The sun never sets on those that ride into it
As someone that performed in Rocky Horror for a solid decade, let me assure you that the pseudo-sequel where an entire town is trapped in a television studio is a much better film. Our unseen narrator lays down this final gem just as Brad, Janet, and their friends managed to hotwire a care and flee the entertainment madness into an unknown darkness, singing all the way.
7. Chinatown (1974)
Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown.
The thing that separates Roman Polanski's film from other gangster flicks is its terrible, bleak message that bad men sometimes do get away with doing terrible things and sometimes there just isn't much we could do with it. You'll excuse me. I left the irony on.
6. Clue (1985)
Okay, Chief. Take 'em away. I'm gonna go home and sleep with my wife.
Why this movie isn't recognized for the comedic genius it is is completely beyond me. A blu ray finally came out, but still no one has bothered to put together a featurette or a commentary. Of the three endings, this one tops off the one where everyone but Mr. Green is the killer, and it's the final fuck-you to the assorted misfits he's spent the evening watching for the FBI.
5. The Usual Suspects (1995)
And like that, he's gone
When it all comes together at the end of the Usual Suspects and Kevin Spacey just sheds his crippled persona to turn back into Keyser Soze in mid-stride is one of the greatest, "Oh shit" moments in all of movie history. Every little detail that pointed or hinted to the revelation comes rushing out at the audience in a cacophony of understanding that stops with one final, inarguable line.
4. Casablanca (1942)
Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Obligatory Casablanca reference. Moving on.
3. The Lost Boys (1987)
"One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach, all the damn vampires."
A classic grizzled line that only a drunken grandfather could say. If there was a zombie outbreak tomorrow you could easily imagine Joe Biden busting out the appropriate variant.
2. Kill Bill vol. 1 (2003)
One last thing, Sophie. Is she aware that her daughter is still alive?
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I am willing to bet that there will never be a cliffhanger ending like the one that David Carradine utters near the end of the first Kill Bill chapter. I can't speak for the rest of you, but I did not see that plot twist coming at all, and as I left the theater all I could think of was, "There is no way I can wait until the next installment. Better freeze myself."
1. The Breakfast Club (1985)
Dear Mr. Vernon,
We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it is that we did wrong. But we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms and in the most convenient definitions.... But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain. And an athlete. And a basket case. A princess. And a criminal. Does that answer your question?
The Breakfast Club
How can you top one of the greatest and most concise paragraphs on the existentialism of high school set to Simple Minds as John Bender struts across the football field and punctuates Brian's bitch slap to Principal Vernon with a raised and defiant fist? You can't. It's iconic for the simple reason that it's the best.