10 Great Movies With Disappointing Endings

There’s nothing worse than investing hours into a great movie only to have the bottom drop in the last act with a disappointing ending. Keep in mind that these films are all considered great by me, a very prestigious film writer (Editor’s note: this is highly debatable), and that my hopes for their endings were much greater than their crappy ones. What do you think? **Beware: spoilers ahead**

Gone Girl (2014)
movies with disappointing endings, gone girl
That’s right, I said it. What an incredible back-and-forth, love/hate relationship you have with these two great characters (played by Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike); you’re uncertain whom to root for from start to finish. But sitting through their relationship on both sides of the bench, you knew one of them had to come out the victor, only to watch their relationship drag on into eternity with all the other failed marriages of the world. He should have cleverly stuck it to her in the talk show interview at the end, like he planned, or she should have stayed clear of people instead of having movie night with her new neighbor, like anybody else would have planned. Talk about zero closure. (Photo credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Photofest)

The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)
movies with disappointing endings, lord of the rings return of the king
What a strong ending to one of the most epic trilogies in history. Which ending am I referring to though? Because there were about six of them. “Return of the King” wrapped up Peter Jackson’s exhausting journey for the hobbits and their golden quest to Mordor, but did they really have to say a thousand goodbyes before cutting to black? At least 30 minutes of my life could’ve been spared if they had just picked one ending and called it a day. In fact, the endings alone could’ve made a fourth film out of the series for Mr. Jackson: “The Lord of the Rings: The Never-Ending Six Goodbyes.” (Photo credit: Photofest)

Signs (2002)
movies with disappointing endings, signs
“Signs” offers a realistic family dynamic between Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix, along with Abigail Breslin, with a bit of suspense and some interestingly burned crop circles. The suspense of an alien invasion in your own home is great, but the convenience of water-the most prevalent and easy-to-find thing on the planet-being the one thing to disorient the aliens seems too sloppy. The only thing more classic than the ‘poisonous’ water is Joaquin Phoenix ‘swinging away’ with a bat at a low-budget looking alien man in the living room even after Mel Gibson realizes the water kills them (and then does the slow turn to his daughter). Maybe just turn on the hose next time. You’d think with a $72 million budget they could get a better looking alien in that living room. (Photo credit: Buena Vista Pictures/Photofest)

War of the Worlds (2005)
movies with disappointing endings, war of the worlds
The whole Spielberg film-based loosely on the H.G. Wells novel-centered around the death and destruction brought on by a long-winded battle with aliens who had plotted our demise long before our arrival. The film, starring Tom Cruise, was visually appealing as well as suspenseful throughout. We just can’t get over the fact that everything was seemingly done until the extraterrestrials caught a bad case of the flu and started dying off on their own. Then it ends so perfectly in a nice autumn neighborhood not too far away, as if all that death and destruction somehow didn’t make its way to that side of town. Thank you, Hollywood, for another Hollywood happy ending. (Photo credit: Paramount Pictures/Photofest)

Scream 2 (1997)
movies with disapppointing endings, scream 2
Everybody loves a good scary movie, especially this time of the year, but after one of the classic ’90s horrors “Scream,” its sequel was worth shouting at when they revealed that the mother of Billy Loomis (from the original) was one of the killers. Not only is Laurie Metcalf an old, skinny bag incapable of being sly or dangerous (especially without her gun), but no dude would ever team up with such an unlikely killer and start offing people, except of course in “Breaking Bad.” What’s your favorite scary movie? Not this one. (Photo credit: Scream 2)

Kill Bill Vol. II (2004)
movies with disappointing endings, kill bill vol. II
Never has there been a more nonchalant end to a fight scene in film. Original in its delivery, Tarantino delivers Bill a knock-out punch from Uma Thurman with her time-release “five-point palm exploding heart technique” that sends him (David Carradine) walking slowly to his death. After five steps, the person’s heart explodes. Maybe he should have stayed in that chair. And it felt horribly placed considering the amount of swords available in the film. The first time we saw it, we thought “how original.” But after that, it felt more like “I think he’ll be OK if he has a glass of water.” At least he called her “a real cunt” before it was all over. (Photo credit: Miramax/Photofest)

Cast Away (2000)
movies with disappointing endings, castaway
One of Tom Hanks’ most incredible films, “Cast Away” takes you on a great stranded-on-an-island journey only to have his character travel the seas and make his way home to the arms of his loving wife, who happens to be with another man. Although the realistic sensation it brings when you see Chuck Noland’s heart sink is gut-wrenching, we can’t help but feel the whole trip home was for nothing, other than being stuck in the middle of a dirt road with no direction at all in the end. (Photo credit: DreamWorks SKG/Photofest)

American Gangster (2007)
movies with disappointing endings, american gangster
The late ’60s Harlem crime scene is a fascinating piece of American history, and “American Gangster” is (based on) a true story about the man, Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), who ran it all and the lawman (Russell Crowe) who brought him down. The one rule of any crime organization: Don’t talk to the cops. So what does Lucas do when he’s in a pinch? Talks to the cops. After snitching on every person he knows, we watch classic f**k-the-police notorious boss sell out to save his own skin, and somehow manages not to get killed in Ridley Scott’s anti-climactic ending. As we watch Denzel broke, walking with his new cop buddy Russell, we realize the movie should have been more aptly titled “American Squealer.” (Photo credit: Universal Studios/Photofest)

Batman (1989)
movies with disappointing endings, batman
Arguably the best Batman film to date, everything about this movie feels classic — except the ending. It’s rather bothersome how Tim Burton kills off the Joker (Jack Nicholson) at the end, dropping him from the top of church cathedral after Batman (Michael Keaton) sent him to his death. In the Christopher Nolan series, Christian Bale’s Dark Knight refuses to be a murderer, and in the original “Batman,” Keaton does exactly the opposite. (Photo credit: Warner Bros./Photofest)

I Am Legend (2007)
movies with disappointing endings, i am legend
Robert Neville (Will Smith), one of the last surviving people in a post-epidemic, vampire mutant world is immune to the virus, working on a cure. The film follows the novel up to the very end and then hangs a hard left, making Will Smith look like a hero. But in the novel, the reality is that they’re attacking his home because he has been capturing and killing them. Turns out they’re intelligent, compassionate mutant vampires who just want their captured friends back, and Will Smith is actually the asshole. Who knew? How about Richard Matheson, the original author, for one? But seriously, nobody was happy about him snapping that poor dog’s neck. (Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures/Photofest)