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Non-Hollywood scenes

ExclamationMark.jpgI can't remember who mentioned it, and they can let us know in the comments, but someone mentioned the idea for a feature of scenes in films that really do go against the norm for Hollywood.

What they and I mean by that are when you expect one thing in a film and the exact opposite occurs, an outcome that is far from what Hollywood would normally allow from a character or film, something that really does surprise you because it's just not what was expected.

Let me give you a few examples and then we'll see how many more you can come up with.

Now there are spoilers for these films, and I would expect more to come in the comments, so please be careful if you haven't seen these films yet, then again I would expect you have already.

The first scene that came to mind is the ending of The Truman Show.
Now this is a great ending because it doesn't follow Hollywood convention by following Truman and showing you what happens to him and the other main characters. There is no neat ending and no completion of character arcs, one could argue that they are all merely beginning. This is very surprising for Hollywood but it makes for a wonderful and quite perfect ending.

Pitch Black has a big surprise near the ending of the film and really does come out of the blue.
The two main characters are getting closer, bonding, there's almost a hint of some form of emotional connection, but then the female character is suddenly killed, right out of nowhere. It happens just as she and Riddick have made a strong connection and to an extent it's almost as though she had beaten him and he had given in to his humanity. Again this goes against the norm in Hollywood for a main character, especially one so closely connected with the lead, to be killed off so suddenly.

How about something a little older? Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?
Although a lot of us might know what the end will bring, I still think it goes well beyond the normal Hollywood ending to find both characters leaping out at the end to a blaze of gunfire and their certain deaths, especially when you consider the actors involved are Robert Redford and Paul Newman.

I'm not entirely sure about this one, Titanic was suggested to me for its ending.
Although the ending does go against the grain of standard Hollywood fare, I don't know how unexpected it really is. What do you think when you see the two characters from different sides of the tracks, fall so in love and triumph over the great adversity of the boat sinking, only to find one of them dying to save the other? Is that such a great non-Hollywood scene?

One of the strongest ones I thought about is from Leaving Las Vegas.
Two great performances from Nicolas Cage (you'll not hear me say that often) and Elisabeth Shue (the role that really made me fall for her) who wrench you through the emotional wringer without a second thought. In the end of the film, despite the love that both characters feel for each other, it's the surprise that Cage's character still wants to go through with his own suicide by drinking.

That also makes me think of Seven Pounds (Filmstalker review).
Similarly to Leaving Las Vegas, the big shock is that despite the character falling in love he still decides to go through with his own suicide, and yet it's not really that surprising for the audience because we see his dilemna. Still I see it as a huge risk and a bold move by the writers.

So by now you should get the idea. It may not strictly be the straight twists and surprises in films, not like The Sixth Sense for example, no I mean something that goes beyond that and breaks with what you would think to be the Hollywood rules.

It's the shock that the writers and director would write something like this and get away with it. That it would make it through the script reviews, the executives, producers, and even the editor, and still stay in the film. With some of the examples above you can almost hear the executives screaming for the happy and neat ending, but thankfully the creatives stood their ground.

What do you think of that list, can you think of some that I haven't? I'm convinced there are bound to be some superbly strong scenes in horror films with deaths you just wouldn't believe would happen. Have any scenes from the films you've watched really surprised you in that non-Hollywood way?



I know how ridiculous this is to use as an example, because deep down, i know they were just toying with my emotions...

...Star Trek Nemesis. Not the best trek movie. one of my top 5 most enjoyable...whatever. Near the end, you're going along with the big ship to ship battle, almost a step ahead of it all, watching Picard go off to fight the evil twin and all and you're like, "Ok. here we go for the big big final solution for all time for the next generation." you fully expect that at the end, there will be a happy ending that will tie the whole show and all characters up in a bow. And then...

...Picard is trapped. Data is the only one who can save him...at the cost of his own existence. Data is blown to smitherines.

I remember as silly as the movie was, thinking how heavy and horrible this was. The whole show had Datas' story arc going toward him becoming more human. And if this were pure hollywood, he would have survived. But he didn't. In the end, he realized the ultimate humanity is in personal sacrifice. In the act of saving Picard, he finally attained true unabridged humanity and brought more closure to his character than i could have ever imagined the bigwigs at Paramount coming up with.

. . . of course, there was that whole teaser thing where his imperfect brother may or may not have had Data's essence somewhere within himself. But since this was the final Generations film, who would have seen or cared about that?

It left more to the imagination than anything else in the entire series for me. It was a very brainy resolution now that i've had plenty of time to reflect and digest it. And it sits well with me years later.

I had other hopes that Nemesis didn't fulfil. I for one thought that the acting was like a bad star wars film. I couldn't believe the lack of heart in evin Patric Stewart's Picard. None of the warmth and commradery of the show came through, so don't rag me out for thinking so deeply about such a commerical movie. The ending wasn't commercial. The ending rocked. It may have just been my favorite ending to ANY startrek movie.

great topic btw. can't wait to see what others come up with.

I know there are loads more, but Scream did it really well. They establish Drew Barrymore's character, and you're like, "okay, we're watching her run around for 90 minutes", the BAM! She's dead, roll the new cast in. I'm going to have to give this some thought. Brilliant topic.

Hmmmm tricky one this, the one that really sticks with me is the ending to Frank Darabont's remake of 'The Mist'. I really don't want to give anything away as it happens right at the end, but it blew my mind as it goes against all of those Hollywood twee endings that I've seen in countless movies over the years.

Loving this subject.

A couple of films come straight to mind. No Country for Old Men - no tidy up made at all.


Terminator 3 - Don't get me wrong, I hated the film but for all its faults (unlike the first two) it took you to a completely different place than you were expecting!

Come to think of it, I still watch the original Italian Job and think that is a terrific end (a literal cliffhanger).

This, probably like The Italian Job, belongs on a great endings page rather than a Non Hollywood thread, but even with the passing of time, I think the first Planet of the Apes ending was superb.

you know, the original Night of the Living Dead had what could be the ultimate of this type of ending...

...the star of the film, who has survived the entire night despite looking out for the stupid white folks and their short sighted racism, is surveying the land from the second story window of the farmhouse after narrowly escaping death by the hairiest of scrapes.

out of nowhere, a rescue party dude sees him waving and decides to shoot him...just to be on the safe side.


I would like to mention Wolf Creek. The girl who, near the end, makes it to the highway and flags down the old man in the car.
This film was overall, one of the most realistically brutal I have ever seen. Which in my mind, makes it much more scary than Friday the 13th, Elm Street, or Chainsaw Massacre.

All excellent scenes and perfect examples, I was worried that we would end up with a list of great "twist" moments as the difference is very slight. Perhaps we can have a twist ending feature too.

Any more of these great scenes to share?


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