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Member Lists

Movies That Pay Off
List creator: RWaller
Created on: January 14, 2004 - 4:26 PM PST
Description: Tired of pictures that promise so much, and then let you down at the last minute? These don't. All guaranteed to pack a knockout punch.

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Dragonfly (2002)
  Where could this weird mess possibly be going? You'll see.
The Rookie (2002)
  Amazing but true. Rare family film with real punch.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  The granddaddy of all whiz-bang endings, still works.
Beauty and the Beast (Criterion Collection) (1946)
  Ending of this version of the fairy tale does not insult you.
Being There (1979)
  Now-famous surprise ending earns it a place here.
The Birds (1963)
  The final 5 minutes are the most nail-biting in the whole film.
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
  Non-stupid ending is still inspiring. Genre entry from Lewton grad Robert Wise.
The Haunting (1963)
  An astonishing personal revelation lifts this above even other great ghost stories. Robert Wise again. He kept house cold to get the right feel. OK remake w/Lili Taylor would have been better without any FX.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
   Not for the faint-hearted, but if you have the courage, this combines tragedy and triumph in the uncompromising way of the book.
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
  Robert Duvall's appearance at the end of this perfect film, makes for one of the most satisfying finishes of all time.
Vertigo (Special Edition) (1958)
  Gasper of an ending still gut-wrenching after repeated viewings. Also a stand in for almost any Hitchcock film, except Psycho, which ends 1 reel too late.
Alien Quadrilogy: Aliens (1986)
  James Cameron, famous for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, does not screw this one up. (A betrayed audience threw things at the screen at The Abyss, when Ed Harris blew the moment with "You never were a quitter in your life! Live!")
Born Yesterday (1950)
Not Rated
  You all know how this ends, but it had to be here. A Frank Capra style film by George Cukor. (I haven't included any actual Capra films, because they're all too naive to satisfy anyone anymore.)
Ghostbusters (1984)
  They're imminentizing the Eschaton! what more could you ask for?
Gods and Monsters (1998)
  Everything unspoken comes together at once in the poignant final shot.
Poltergeist (1982)
  You thought it was over, didn't you? Gotcha! Some of the power of this film has been dulled by its many many imitators, but it still plays because of the fine ensemble.
The King and I (1956)
  If you are just simply burned out on second-rate everything, and only something completely wonderful will do, this is it.

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