Fifteen Super Depressing Film Endings, in Honor of The Graduate
The Graduate turns 45 this year (and screens at the Angelika in 35mm starting next week), and as I started to reminisce about the film I noticed that I felt kinda blue. I started thinking about that beat-to-shit bus that young Dustin Hoffman and dreamy-eyed Katharine Ross hopped on in the film's closing scene, and about the ass-stink gas stations that it would probably stop at as it barreled forward, and how that basically represented the couple's future and all they'd lost. Then I pulled out a step ladder and slowly climbed to my shame shelf, where I keep a bunker's worth of out-of-season Girl Scout cookies and ate every last fucking Thin Mint in the stash.
Suck it, Hoffman. I can handle it -- I still got mother fucking Tagalongs up in this piece.
So, what are The Graduate's contemporaries? What other movies make us want to cling to our pets, weep in their fur and vow to finally check the internet for therapists that accept our health plans? I did a little number crunching and came up with 15 of those bitches from the last 15 years.
Warning: This article is one big spoiler alert.
15. Happiness: Label it a dark comedy all you like, there's nothing about this film or its ending that left me in a "safe place" emotionally. It's also the first time I realized that Phillip Seymour Hoffman was born to be creepy.
14. Capote: I'm literary. I listen to books on tape. I totally knew how In Cold Blood ended before I saw this movie, and still I was surprised by how much it affected me. From beginning to end, it was painful, but I couldn't resolve my feelings after the credits rolled. I had to take six showers and watch three Disney movies before I could go to sleep that night.
13. Se7en: Man, remember back when Brad and Gwyneth were Hollywood's "it" couple, before she started naming her kids after fruit? Yeah, that was a non sequitur to distract you from the night terrors you had after the credits rolled on this movie.
12. Shutter Island: Proof that there's nothing more unsettling than a cluster of crazies holed up on an island, this movie approaches the psychological thriller from a variety of angles. As the plot lines splinter, we want to stay with and trust Leo (just look at those eyes!), but in the end we're pretty sure he's a shitbag who's getting a lobotomy.
11. The Descent: The only way this movie could have been more depressing (and yes, I know this isn't the US ending) is if I had seen it the way I'd intended to: In a cave during an Alamo Drafthouse rolling roadshow premiere. They hosted a screening of The Descent in one of Austin's caves, which is terrifying. I couldn't have handled it. I would have clawed my way over every last person there to escape. Whichever ending you're familiar with, each is fairly disturbing. The American angle leaves it open for a sequel, but this one leaves the story's hero surrounded by bones.