This blog is about movies. But not just any movie. And not about whole movies. I am only writing about how movies end. My favorite movie ending happens in "Never Been Kissed." The movie is just all around good. Remember high school and the politics that happen with students dividing into groups based on smarts, athletic ability, musical or theatrical skill, and life attitudes and then the system of judging which of these groups contains the popular people? This movie reminds us of such adolescent behavior, and it's quite funny. But anyways, back to the point of this: the end of the movie. Drew Barrymore's character "Josie" is standing on a pitcher's mound before the start of the high school state championship baseball game. Five minutes is put on the clock and begins to tick down. She is waiting on a high school teacher, "Mr. Coulson" (Sam) played by Michael Vartan, to show up and then they can live happily ever after. It was a classic setup: they both liked each other but then an obstacle got in the way (he found out she was lying about her life) and all hope was lost. Except for this last ditch effort by Josie to win her man. Let's not get into the details of this teacher getting upset about Josie lying about being a student. So he gets upset when he finds out this girl he is totally in love with is not a student in real life? Would he rather her have been a student? Exactly why I don't want to get into the details of that right now.
Ok, so she's on the mound. The clock ticks down to zero and he doesn't show up. Now any hope that was left is completely gone. She drops the microphone onto the dusty mound. When we see her face, she is not crying her eyes out, she's not devastated. There is a look of "OK, this wasn't meant to be. I made myself available and he didn't act on that. Time to move on." She had the look of a person who was totally content with herself, her satisfaction and self-worth completely independent of another person. If the movie had ended there, I still think it would have been a great ending. However, the crowd at the baseball stadium begins to look to a corner of the bleachers. The excitement and chatter build quickly. The Beach Boys "Don't Worry, Baby" begins to play. Sam is energetically descending the stadium steps. He makes his way onto the field and takes Josie into his arms and they kiss. The camera circles around them and everything else fades away except for the two of them hugging and kissing. A phenomenal ending! As if that wasn't enough, Sam says, "Sorry, I'm late. It took me forever to get here." That last line of his dialogue is heavy with meaning and depth! In those few words, he confesses two completely different things: his literal lateness (because remember the clock ticked to zero about 3 minutes ago), and also his emotional journey leading up to his relationship with Josie (whose response, "I know what you mean," cleverly answered to both of his meanings). They both had to experience a lot to get to this point in their individual lives and in their newly established relationship. From the emotional climax of the scene, to the cleverly and well written dialogue, I can't think of a better ending in any movie I've seen. It just all worked so well! And using the Beach Boys to highlight the climax of the movie? Truly rufus!
Do you have a favorite movie ending? Is there a scene that finishes a story better than any other ending you know of? If so, tell me about it!