Nerdlocker Presents: Chase’s Top 25 Movie Endings of the Last 25 Years – PART III

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These are by no means the “definitive” best movie endings. These are the opinions of just one man. So please allow me to have them. If you disagree, excellent! There is a place to discuss it below! Thanks, and I hope you enjoy.

Here’s the second installment of my analysis!

To read Part 1, click HERE or Part 2, click HERE

Just a warning, there is some strong language below.


5. The Departed (2006)

The Departed

I had to put this one on the list as it happens to be my favorite film of all time. In true Scorsese fashion this is an extremely violent crime drama filled with betrayal and murder, and has an ending that is as shocking as anything he has ever created. In a period of about 30 minutes, nearly every main character is killed and they all die brutally. The lead, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is startlingly shot in the head by a fellow police officer as he attempts to expose Matt Damon’s character, Sullivan, as the rat that infiltrated the Massachusetts State Police Department. At this moment, another officer approaches the scene and is shot by the same man that killed Costigan (DiCaprio). Sullivan then realizes he was not the only informant working for Nicholson’s character, Frank Costello – who was just killed by Sullivan not long ago. Sullivan appears to be wiping the prints and setting up the scene when he shoots the other informant in the head killing him instantly.

As more police arrive he sets up a story that protects him and leaves Costigan in a positive light. After being cleared, Sullivan goes home and finds the only officer who never liked him, Detective Dignam (Wahlberg), waiting for him in his apartment. Dignam gives him a “You’re dead” look. and raises his suppressed pistol and fires striking Sullivan in the head. Dignam calmly leaves the area and disappears. The camera pans over Sullivan’s lifeless body and arcs up to reveal a rat running on the balcony railing, a beautiful symbol of just who Sullivan really was.

“When you decide to be something, you can be it. That’s what they don’t tell you in the church. When I was your age they would say we can become cops, or criminals. Today, what I’m saying to you is this; when you’re facing a loaded gun, what’s the difference?”

4. Fight Club (1999)

Fight Club

And Fincher pops up again! One of the most quoted and talked about films in the last 20 years. After their brainchild, Project Mayhem, is in full swing their main plan begins taking shape. Their plan is to destroy multiple high rises that are owned by credit card companies. If the buildings are destroyed, everyone’s debt will be erased forever. The two in charge are the nameless narrator (Norton) and the ever forceful Tyler Durden (Pitt) who sits idly by ready to watch the destruction. The Narrator, let’s call him Jack, may have helped but has a change of heart and tries to prevent Durden from carrying out the attack.

As Durden speaks endlessly Jack realizes that the very existence of Tyler is entirely made up in Jack’s mind. If Tyler is Jack, then Jack has the gun that Tyler is holding. Seeing no other means of getting rid of Tyler, Jack places the barrel of the gun in his own mouth and fires. Miraculously Jack survives and Durden “dies” with a bullet hole protruding from the back of his head. The entire time there was no Tyler, only Jack. Jack created Fight Club, Jack created Project Mayhem. By the time he kills Durden, it is too late to stop the bombings. With his woman at his side, they watch the buildings fall. Cut to black.

“This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.”

3. Saw (2004)


The real killer was the “dead” guy in the room the entire time! This was the first time I experienced the horror genius of James Wan. When two men, Adam and Dr. Gordon, awaken in a dirty and seemingly abandoned bathroom, they begin a game of life and death with the person who put them there. With each new finding, they discover secrets about one another that paint a less than wholesome picture of each of them. Dr. Gordon is a cheating unfaithful prick who doesn’t give his own family the time of day. Adam is a lowly, freelance photographer who gathers evidence that will ultimately hurt the doctor. Periodically the two men try to cut the chains that hold them with the saws they were given from the start. It isn’t until the doctor reaches his peak of desperation that he realizes exactly why they were given the saws in the first place. They were never meant to cut through the chains; they are supposed to cut through their own legs.

The doctor, in a fit of madness cuts through his ankle and crawls out of the bathroom to hopefully find help. After the doctor leaves, Adam begins searching for a key to free him. When he reaches in the pocket of a man he just killed, he finds a tape recorder just like the ones that were given to the doctor and to Adam. He then realizes that others have been forced into this sick game all by the same madman. As he listens to the recording he watches in disbelief as the dead man in the middle of the floor rises to his feet. This guy has been lying on the ground with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the head from the very beginning. It turns out he was never dead, all the blood and exit wound were prosthetics. The dead man, who layed there the whole time, was the madman who put them in this dungeon of a bathroom. Adam tries to kill the villain known as Jigsaw but is suddenly electrocuted by a device in the chain that holds him captive. He falls to the ground and watches as Jigsaw turns the lights off and slams the door seemingly locking him in forever. The credits fade in as we hear Adam scream out of sheer horror at what he has just experienced and now knows isn’t over yet.

“Congratulations, you are still alive. Most people are so ungrateful to be alive, but not you, not anymore.”

2. Memento (2000)


I present to you one of the most confusing and original films in cinema history. A man named Leonard has a tough go of things; he has short-term memory loss that prevents him from doing so many things, including finding the murderer of his wife. The story he tells the entire film, about a man named Sammy Jankis who suffered from the same illness as Leonard, turns out to be not exactly accurate. What he believed to be a separate man actually was Leonard himself; Sammy is Leonard, Leonard is Sammy. The story he always told was that Sammy’s wife couldn’t take his illness any longer and wanted to test whether Sammy was faking it or not. Sammy’s wife was diabetic and required a shot every day that Sammy administered for her. If she took too much she could overdose.

So, one day she tells Sammy it’s time for her shot. He does it like usual and sits back down. Moments later, Sammy’s wife tells him it’s time for her shot. If he were faking it, he wouldn’t administer the shot, but he isn’t faking it and he does give her the shot. Her goal was to either prove Sammy was faking his illness or she would overdose and end her misery once and for all. The entire scenario of a killer who murdered his wife was a farce he created in his mind to avoid the truth that he himself killed his own wife. There was in fact an attack on his wife and when Leonard tried to stop the intruder from harming her, he was severely injured on his head which caused his illness. Another Nolan mind game film, that bastard likes to screw with us.

“My wife deserves revenge, whether I know about it or not.”

1. The Mist (2007)

The Mist

This is, in my opinion, one of the greatest, most shocking finales in the history of cinema. It is one of the few films that goes against the typical Hollywood ending of everything being happy and great. As the mist envelopes this small town, anarchy isn’t far behind. It becomes apparent that if the few sane people left hope to survive they must try to escape the grocery store they are stuck in. If they don’t, the religious nut jobs are going to sacrifice them to the creatures in the mist as a way to assuage God’s wrath. With their escape successful, they make their way to anywhere but where they were. As they drive the mist continues and it starts to look as if there is no hope of escaping it. The vehicle eventually runs out of gas and they become stranded in the middle of nowhere. As they sit hopelessly, they hear the ungodly noises of the creatures that inhabit the mist. As they listen, the ground begins to shake and what they see next shocks them to their very core and cements the fact that no rescue will come.

They each exchange looks in agreement as one of them raises a handgun. Without saying a word they agree that suicide is the best option rather than being painfully torn apart by space like creatures. With five people and only four bullets, the man holding the gun volunteers to meet his maker in a different manner. He then loads the weapon and fires on the four others, one of which was his only son. He screams in agony and steps out of the vehicle to face the monsters.

At this moment, he hears groans that are clearly coming from something large and heading right at him. Bracing for the creature he looks hard into the mist trying to see it and what he witnesses next is insane. It is a tank that bursts through the now clearing mist, revealing that if he had waited mere minutes, they all would have survived. He killed his friends and own son for no reason. The last time we see him he is on the ground screaming in horror at what he has just done. The camera then pans upward to reveal an entire platoon of soldiers and military vehicles on their way in the direction of the grocery store they escaped from. It was all for nothing and now his nightmare is life. The scene then fades to black.

“Don’t go out there! There’s something in the mist!”

So there you have it! Chase’s Top 25 Movie Endings of the Last 25 Years! Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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Chase Gifford

"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world"-Jean-Luc Godard