Tuesday, March 09, 2010

BIG LOVE ENDS SEASON/THE GRADUATE

Did anyone else see the last episode of BIG LOVE. In a season full of moronic and half-baked storylines that were never fully explained, the final episode was even worse than what came before it. At one point the Sissy Spacek character tells Bill, he's like a pinata-- that you will never know what will drop. So, too, this whole season. Maybe moving from 12 eps to 9 threw them but a roomful of chimps could write a better season than this. Make that one chimp. And Bill has lost all sympathy-both with two of his wives and all of his fans. Pull the plug on this one HBO.

Onto better things-THE GRADUATE

Last scene-for those who remember it--Benjamin and Elaine on the back of a bus. Brilliant or disappointing? When I saw it, I found it disappointing--of course I was eighteen. Now I find it brilliant.

Did I need to grow into ambiguity? What do you think of this scene?

What's your favorite last scene in a movie and why? Or at least the one that comes to mind first.

Here's a list of some choices.
Some of us don't remember as well as we once did.
Sheer sentiment: AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER and Before Sunset.

36 comments:

MP said...

Agree entirely on "Big Love"--just an awful season. I haven't seen a terrific show fall so far so fast since the third season of "Weeds". And "Weeds" never recovered--it just got worse. I've only continued watching because I'd watch Mary Louise Parker read the phone book. Maybe "Big Love" can recover, but I'm certainly not optimistic.

My favorite final scene in a movie comes in the Coen's "Blood Simple". The problem is that the whole plot builds toward that scene and that final bit of dialog and it's just too complicated to explain. If you've seen it you'll know what I mean. If you haven't, get moving.

Dave Zeltserman said...

I thought Big Love was great, their best season. Very chaotic, Bill gravitating towards the dumbest idea imaginable. Loved the season, loved the final episode.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I do know what you mean with BLOOD SIMPLE! And also with WEEDS. The first two seasons were terrific and I did stop watching. Something about allowing her kids to be corrupted just got to me.

Dave Zeltserman said...

Weeds is fantastic--seriously, Patti, you gotta watch the other seasons. The descent from offbeat humor to very dark noir was so well done, and the last season finale was one of the most shocking I've seen--almost up there with the end of this last season of Dexter.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Totally chaotic. They waltzed characters in and out without you understanding their plotlines. Nicki loves this guy, loves Bill, wants a child, doesn't want one. And the same with all the rest of them. I could never follow what Marilyn was up to, what she had on Bill, what he had on her. Why Bill thought he could spill the beans without retaliation from the voters. Any of it. They felt like rats in mazes and they totally wasted a great actor, Ivanek-who didn't get much to do beyond the egg-stealing plot. And the birds from Mexico. Holy cow.

pattinase (abbott) said...

We lost Showtime so I can't even see the second season of Nurse Jackie. But I will get it back for Dexter-can't miss that one.
I think you are able to tolerate chaos and ambiguity better than me, Dave. My favorite television is in pretty tidy packages: I can barely tolerate Damages because of that.

Dave Zeltserman said...

That was the beauty of the show. Could there ever be a candidate with more skeletons in his closet than Bill. I loved how chaotic this season was, and Bill's desperate grasping at straws for redemption. And the Mexico/bird smuggling subplot was just great. But the feeling of utter hopelessness and ruin as Bill and his wives are standing in front the assembly at the end was so wonderfully surreal.

Dave Zeltserman said...

Patti, when I was watching Robert Altman's Dr T and his Women, I hated it through most of the movie, but then at the very end when it all came together as being about chaos in our lives, I found myself liking it a lot.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, it mirrored the opening credits--their dresses fluttering, hands held. They are the ultimate dysfunctional family that believes themselves to be normal and God-sanctioned.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Dave-Our videotape broke and we never saw the ending to that one. It seemed like destiny so we didn't rerent it.

Deb said...

I love the end of "The Graduate" because Ben & Elaine have made this grand gesture, but what are they going to do now? The exhileration has passed, now they have to figure out what comes next.

I do think ambiguity--and being satisfied with the ambiguous--is something you grow into as you age. When you're young(er), you want everything black/white, right/wrong, good/evil; as you get older, you begin to see the shades of grey.

I'm going to go for a real cliche and say my favorite movie ending is "The 400 Blows"--just the boy, the sea, and the word FIN.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, boy, I'd forgotten that one, Deb. I need to see it again. And SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER, too.

MP said...

Patti, I'm almost willing to believe Dave has a point about "Weeds", and maybe I should watch the last three seasons again. Here, though, the show's creators made a conscious choice to change the very nature of the show from an edgy satire of suburbia into the noirish direction of the recent seasons. And that was undeniably a powerful ending last season.

But you nailed "Big Love" when you pointed out how confusing the last season was, especially regarding the motives of Marilyn and Nicki. I never figured them out either, and I think they may have been the result of the shortened season. There's no way to prove this, but I think the season was plotted out before it got cut from 12 to 9 episodes, but they wanted to get everything in. As a result every scene seemed rushed, and the clarity of motivations got lost in the shuffle. If that's true, maybe there's hope for next season.

pattinase (abbott) said...

MP-I think that pretty well nails it.

Richard Prosch said...

I'm with you on THE GRADUATE, Patti. Didn't like it then, enjoy it now. An opposite reaction? EASY RIDER --just loved it back then --it seemed so perfect. Now it seems mind-numbingly contrived.

Dorte H said...

My, a film I have actually SEEN!

I was also seventeen or eighteen when I watched The Graduate in school, and yes, I found the ending a bit tame. I am quite sure I would also like it better today.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes! What's cutting edge sometimes seems pretentious later. But THE GRADUATE took a wee chance that made it more than a romance.

Mike Dennis said...

My favorite last scene is in THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG, a 1964 French film starring a very youthful Catherine Deneuve. The scene is set in, of all places, a gas station, but is breathtakingly beautiful as it plays out. Also with the haunting score of Michel LeGrand.

Paul D. Brazill said...

I love the end of the Graduate- "B****ks. Now what!'Real life? Doh!

George said...

I love ambiguity, too. The look between Dustin Hoffman and Katherine Ross at the end of the film is fraught with irony. Loved the ending of DIRTY HARRY when Clint Eastwood tosses his badge into the water...yet we know he'll be back.

Rittster said...

As for The Big Love-forget the tv show, I'd be happy if Tedd Thomey's bigoraphy of Errol Flynn's last girlfriend, Florence Aadland, would be re-published at an affordable price.

Favorite endings:
Sunset Boulevard: "Allright, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."
Double Indemnity: "I love you, too." Keyes lighting Neff's cigarette, and Neff just beginning to realize what a champion, cheerleader, and friend he had in Keyes
Horsefeathers: all four Marx Bros. marrying Thelma Todd and jumping her bones right after they're pronouned men and wife.
City Lights: Chaplin, personally speaking, was a bastard, but I tear up every time I see the, "Can you see now?" "Yes, I can see now" scene.
The Bride of Frankenstein: the monster, saying to his bride and Dr. Pretorious, "We belong dead," with a tear rolling down his cheek.
Little Ceasar: "Mother of Mercy, is this the end of Rico?" ("Mother of God" was used in the book)
The Maltese Falcon: (I was surpised I didn't see this on the list.) "The stuff that dreams are made of."
The Naked City: "There are eight million stories in the naked city; this has been one of them."
Detour: the self-deluded Al Robert's rationalization that, "Fate, or some mysterious force, can put the finger on you or me, for no reason at all."
King Kong: "T'was beauty killed the beast."

Sorry, I know that was more than one example. What can I say? I'm a certified old movie geek.

Rittster said...

How could I have forgotten these?

Touch of Evil: Marlene Dietrich, talking about Orson Welles' character. "He was some kind of a man." And then, with a contemptous sneer, "What does it matter what you say about people?"
White Heat: Almost the last line: "Made it, ma! Top o' the world!" Then the last line, spoken by a fed: "Cody Jarrett. He finally made it to the top of the world. And it blew right up in his face."
Poppy: W.C. Field's parting advice to his adopted daughter: "Never give a sucker an even break."
And here's an ending notable for it's silence: Manhattan--Woody Allen's character, after proving what a manipulative heel he was toward Mariel Hemingway's 17 year-old character, is challenged by Hemingway, as she is about to board a plane to London, that Woody, "needs to have a little faith in people." Woody has no response.

Todd Mason said...

Patti, your story about the marathon bus trip to elope still reminds me of THE GRADUATE's ending, which I took as pretty good when I first saw it as a kid. It didn't hurt I was a stone S&G fan.

And THE 400 BLOWS, with Antoine staring into the lens, works for me. Haven't seen that one since I was about his age. And BEFORE SUNSET isn't sheer sentiment, but a continuing connection...I certainly prefer it to BEFORE SUNRISE, which I also like.

Among those I particularly like that haven't been mentioned include ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW, still the most over the top ending to a crime drama I can recall, even given DOMINO and other latter-day pyro-fests; the devastating end of ONIBABA (the best ending of any horror film I've seen, very nearly the best imaginable); the very redemptive ending of the otherwise rather annoying PONETTE; the deft ending to THE ORGANIZATION, the third (and second good) Virgil Tibbs film featuring Sidney Poitier; and, of course, the charming resignation of ENDLESS SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND.

I might need to pursue the jumbled BIG LOVE episodes I've missed (most) this season, as Sissy Spacek is, like ML Parker, on my phonebook list. You might (or might not) get more out of them if you treated television as less of a passtime and more of a venue for art, Patti...any series you can actually get essentially the full swing of while flipping through a magazine might not actually be worth your time...(I usually find Glenn Close excessively mannered, so have never given DAMAGES much of a chance--particularly since it seemed to be rather hugger-mugger/cutthroat in such a way that everyone would be Destroyed in three weeks the way they went about it).

Richard S. Wheeler said...

Casablanca, but not for younger generations. For my generation, to see it is to feel the tears sliding down our cheeks. "We'll always have Paris" must be the sweetest remembrance of doomed love ever put on a screen.

Todd Mason said...

Richard, it works for younger folks, as well...

Todd Mason said...

I'd say WILD THINGS, with Neve Campbell et al., wraps things up rather well. Much better than any number of similar films.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Casablanca-a beautiful friendship has some worth but Ingrid would have been better. Rittster-Great memory for endings. I'd have trouble remembering the ending of most of these.
yes, Glenn is awfully mannered-this season most of all. She is practically twirling her mustache.
Oh, Manhattan is a great ending. I'd forgotten. Hannah isn't bad either.

Richard S. Wheeler said...

Todd, thanks for the heartening response. What eludes younger generations is the moral and spiritual dilemma faced by Rick Blaine. In the end, he must do the right thing: he returns the woman he loves more than life itself ("Go ahead, shoot me," he tells Ilsa earlier, "you'd do me a favor.") to her husband. That sacrifice is, I believe, the most heart-rending, soul-shattering moment in all of cinema.

Laurie said...

Patti, there's a good long article in the LA Times today about the Big Love season. Here's the link: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-biglove10-2010mar10,0,4484212.story

As for endings, I have to agree on "Casablanca."

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks, Laurie. That was very enlightening. Especially the part about feeling big-named actors deserve big storylines.

James Reasoner said...

THE SEARCHERS and THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE, to bring some Westerns into the mix. We can't see Wayne's face in the former and we can see Stewart's in the former, but the wordless poignancy is the same in both scenes.

For last lines, I can't argue with CASABLANCA or THE MALTESE FALCON.

pattinase (abbott) said...

THE SEARCHERS just knocks me out. Heartbreaking.

Kathleen said...

I've been a BIG LOVE fan since it began. I thought it was the "wildest" season ~ more than the usual 'far-out." I just couldn't get past Bill trying to run a home improvement center, a casino, and then a run for Senate. How these people have time to do anything is amazing - then have children in the mix, too? It was entertaining, though.
I thought Barb did many things this season that were so out of character for her.
I love Lois and Frank (Grace Gabriskie & Bruce Dern) - they are hysterical. Nikki makes me laugh, too.
"Very truly yours, Hollis Green" - love that line.

RE: Movie endings. Always love Edward Norton in Primal Fear - outstanding role - became a fan forever from that moment on.

I hadn't read Boy in the Striped Pajamas, so the movie ending had me reeling for days. I haven't been that shocked/surprised by an ending in I don't know how long.

(I love Nurse Jackie, Dexter, and The Tudors on Showtime - all so entertaining!)

Anonymous said...

Well, all I can say is BIG LOVE did hold my attention. Of course I wanted to take a giant scissors and CUT THOSE STUPID BANGS off Sissy's face. The whole Anna/Margene/Bill/Nicki thing did get annoying and I can't believe he actually went through with his moronic "plan" but there were still good things, like when crazy Lois (who I love) chopped off Hollis Green's arm.

As for movies, since CASABLANCA is my favorite movie it would have to be right up there. I'd also put THE MALTESE FALCON and THE SEARCHERS (which we just rewatched) up there.

I don't watch WEEDS or any of the other Showtime series other than NURSE JACKIE, which I love.

Jeff M.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I haven't seen THE GRADUATE in many many years but I did like it at the time.

Jeff M

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