movies with 'happy endings' that are really fucked up when you think on them

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this thread prompted by watching Frequency (2000 - Caviezel) again the other day. just because it was on in a place I was in, I never liked the film the first time, but on second watch I realized the 'happy ending' is actually really fucked up.

the synopsis is that Caviezel's dad died fighting a fire when he was 6, and he's never truly processed it, but he realizes he can time travel in a sense by talking to his father in the past through a ham radio, thus helping to retroactively save his life.

Now, in butterfly effect fashion, his deeds cause some other things to get fucked up in the past, like a serial killer who'd been killed in the previous timeline being alive and killing more people. I had misremembered that Caviezel and his past-dad went back and stopped all of them, so that things were relatively restored. But they didn't!

his past-dad succeeded in preventing the first murder, but failed to stop the second one. So in the end, he gets his dad back 30+ years later, he gets his mom unmurdered by fixing the past, but someone who wasn't previously dead in that timeline, who probably lived a long life, is now murdered, and their family's life ruined.

how the fuck is THAT a happy ending? so....what other movies are like that? where the filmmaker presented this thing as a happy ending and you were like "the fuck, no it isn't!"

Marvel movies are not allowed.

CEO Greedwagon (Neanderthal), Tuesday, 2 April 2024 23:00 (two weeks ago) link

AI - I wish the kid was just still sitting on the bottom the ocean, that would've been a cooler ending

Andy the Grasshopper, Tuesday, 2 April 2024 23:05 (two weeks ago) link

Terry Gilliam apparently believes that Brazil has a happy ending. Jonathan Pryce isn't convinced.

One thing Terry and I do disagree on is the ending – he sees it as optimistic, I think it’s horrible, an absolute nightmare. But then that’s partly the joy of the film, that it’s open to interpretation.

Wry & Slobby (Portsmouth Bubblejet), Tuesday, 2 April 2024 23:10 (two weeks ago) link

More Gilliam:

And the happy ending is his parents get killed. That's the price for freedom from restrictions and interference I suppose.
- Billy Dods, Monday, February 18, 2002

the film ending with the kids parents dead was the first really fucked up downer ending i probably ever saw.
- some dude, Monday, June 25, 2012

I can never get over just how fucked up the ending is - imagine someone trying to get away w/ that now (except as some sort of misleading sequel tease).
- Simon H., Monday, June 25, 2012

visiting, Tuesday, 2 April 2024 23:38 (two weeks ago) link

E.T.— Enemy alien escapes with vital Earth candy secrets

President Keyes, Tuesday, 2 April 2024 23:43 (two weeks ago) link

Red Dawn- America does not become a Communist country

President Keyes, Tuesday, 2 April 2024 23:43 (two weeks ago) link

Rambo III - the US cements its alliance with the Afghan mujahideen

never invade Londonistan (Matt #2), Wednesday, 3 April 2024 00:11 (two weeks ago) link

In Brazil the happy ending is explicitly fantasized by the main character, and in AI it's an illusion literally provided by a deus ex machina (a bit like Solaris), so I'd say there is a level of conscious ambiguity about how happy the endings are supposed to be unless the viewer is just watching and judging at a surface level.

Halfway there but for you, Wednesday, 3 April 2024 00:14 (two weeks ago) link

The Breakfast Club— the incel who brought a gun to school ends alone while everyone else hooks up

President Keyes, Wednesday, 3 April 2024 00:18 (two weeks ago) link

The AI ending is really fucked up taken at face value!

subpost master (wins), Wednesday, 3 April 2024 00:19 (two weeks ago) link

Like, deliberately, in a good way

subpost master (wins), Wednesday, 3 April 2024 00:20 (two weeks ago) link


Make Me Smile (Come Around and See Me) (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 3 April 2024 00:21 (two weeks ago) link

Some people don’t like but…

Make Me Smile (Come Around and See Me) (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 3 April 2024 00:21 (two weeks ago) link

To me it’s a dreadlock holiday situation

Make Me Smile (Come Around and See Me) (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 3 April 2024 00:22 (two weeks ago) link

Bigger Than Life (1956): James Mason must either give up the drug that saved his life, or find a way to live with said drug's side effects (which nearly destroyed his family).

Possibly does not count, because director Ray has to have known this was a terrible set of options.

Infanta Terrible (, Wednesday, 3 April 2024 17:55 (two weeks ago) link

In Scrooged the ghost of a homeless person who froze to death cheers because his death facilitated a yuppie experiencing an almost completely incoherent revelation about the meaning of Christmas

hiroyoshi tins in (Sgt. Biscuits), Wednesday, 3 April 2024 17:59 (two weeks ago) link

about as happy as you can expect from a Michael O'Donoghue script

President Keyes, Wednesday, 3 April 2024 18:04 (two weeks ago) link

Dune (1984)

from Wikipedia: Paul demonstrates his newfound powers and fulfills the Fremen prophecy by causing rain to fall on Arrakis.

however there's a tiny problem with that: it kills the sandworms, ending spice production because the sandworms are integral to that, ends practical interstellar travel, and effectively causes the collapse of human civilisation

you gotta roll with the pączki to get to what's real (snoball), Wednesday, 3 April 2024 18:09 (two weeks ago) link

re ET, AI, Dune, I wonder who would win in a three-way shootout of movies with ostensibly happy but fucked up endings between Spielberg, Kubrick, and Lynch?

Nicole Kidman telling Tom Cruise, "Git yer boots on cowboy, it's humpy pumpy time!" feels like a top contender...

Philip Nunez, Wednesday, 3 April 2024 18:19 (two weeks ago) link

the parents in Time Bandits sucked, so them getting vaporized and Kevin being free to do whatever he feels like IS a happy ending, we loved it as kids

the absence of bikes (f. hazel), Wednesday, 3 April 2024 18:23 (two weeks ago) link

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