6. Mamma Mia! (2008)
Mamma Mia! perfectly encapsulates everything this list is trying to accomplish, because in the last act once the story has ended the film still keeps going for about 10 minutes of nothing because there were still two songs left that they wanted to cram in there, and even when the end credits started it still kept going and the film basically held a party where the actors could sing some of their favorite songs again, because hearing them just once wasn’t enough.
This is one of those moments where a film is so eager not to end that not even the end credits managed to stop it.
7. Vertigo (1958)
Vertigo is a classic, there is no denying that, but the last 38 minutes of the movie are absolutely pointless.
In the film we see retired P.I Scottie track the movements of his friend’s wife after his friend tells him his wife has become weirdly obsessed with a woman that killed herself long time ago. It’s a great story that’s a perfect fit for Alfred Hitchcock’s talent, but unfortunately, he totally misjudged the last act of the movie.
Scottie has fallen in love with his friend’s wife but after a weird string of events she ends up dead after falling from a church tower, shortly afterwards Scottie has a mental breakdown and is hospitalized, his ex-fiancée Midge comes to see him and is told by the doctor’s that they don’t know if Scottie will ever get better. She then slowly walks down an empty hallway and we slowly fade-to-black. It’s the perfect ending, it’s dark, haunting and full of thematic complexity that leaves you with much to think about.
But the only bad thing is that this isn’t the ending, in fact there are 38 minutes left of the movie, and we cut to a scene some time later when Scottie has been released and is mostly fine but still hasn’t regained his old self. He wanders around for a bit until he sees a woman that he thinks looks like his friend’s dead wife, he then stalks her like a complete creep and then forces her to dress up in the same way that his friend’s dead wife used to dress and we get the twist that she is in fact an actress hired by Scotties friend to play his wife in an unbelievably convoluted and really, really dumb murder plot that makes no sense, and then the film literally repeats itself by having them go to the same church tower and having her fall out of the same window, but now to a much lesser effect, and then it just kind of abruptly ends and we are left to wonder why the hell Hitchcock didn’t just end the film 38 minutes earlier. Because those last 38 minutes really add nothing to the story, except that now the entire story makes no sense because of how excessively stupid the twist is.
8. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
Drugstore Cowboy is a pretty great film, the characters are great, the story is engaging, it’s well directed and it’s pretty damn funny, but around the 70-minute mark the film takes the plot into a direction that completely kills the rest of the movie.
Matt Dillon’s character decided to go clean and enters a 21-day methadone program, a turn that grinds both the pacing and the plot to a complete halt and the next 30 minutes are the cinematic equivalent of standing still with no idea what the hell you should be doing, and even when they get to the ending where some of Dillon’s old friends break into his apartment and shoot him because he doesn’t have any drugs and it finally ends, you just don’t care.
Had the film gone in some other direction or just been content with being 70 minutes long it would have been a great film, but as it stands it’s a great film that suddenly turns into an uninteresting slog in the last act.
9. Red Hook Summer (2012)
This film is kind of terrible, it tells the story of a young boy that is forced to stay with his grandfather for the summer, his grandfather is a priest and tries to teach the young boy about Jesus and to get him interested in the church.
The film is 120-minute-long and nothing interesting happens until 86 minutes into the movie where the film drops the bombshell of a twist that the Grandfather is a pedophile, but after that great revelation it’s like the film has no idea what to do with it and just kind of fumbles around for the next 34 minutes until it ends and nothing has been resolved and nothing has changed.
Frankly it would have been better if the film had ended before the revelation or just shortly after, because it’s so poorly handled that it’s better to have a film where nothing happens than to have a film that tries to redeem and make us sympathize with a pedophile.
It’s actually kind of baffling what Spike Lee was even trying to do with this film. But no matter what his intentions were, this film is an utter failure and should have ended way sooner.
10. Funny People (2009)
Funny People is one of Adam Sandler’s better films (his best being Punch-Drunk Love), Sandler plays a depressed sell-out that tries to reconnect with his humble beginnings by going back to doing stand-up comedy after finding out he has cancer (kind of weird that Adam Sandler has recently returned to stand-up comedy with his Netflix special 100% Fresh after years of being Hollywood’s biggest sell-out), it almost feels autobiographical and Sandler really kills it as a depressed loner.
But where the films fumbles is in its excessive amount of pointless sub-plots that go nowhere and do nothing but detract from the main storyline. It almost feels like Judd Apatow just got together as many of his friends as he could and then filmed some of their bad improv and then against his better judgement decided to keep it in the finished film.
Another big flaw is that once the cancer storyline is over and Sandler’s character arc has pretty much finished, the film introduces a new storyline where he goes to one of his former lovers (the girl that got away kind of thing) and tries to win her back, but the only problem is that she is now married with children, and this goes on for about 56 minutes and means absolutely nothing.
It doesn’t significantly alter Sandler’s character, who pretty much ends up exactly the same as he was before this weird and pointless detour, and is by far the least interesting part of the film. It almost feels like we’ve entered a completely different movie and it’s all leading up to an ending so weak that it calls into question why any of that stuff with Sandler’s ex-lover was even included in the film and why the hell Apatow let it go on for 56 minutes.
If Apatow had cut out those final 56 minutes and removed many of the sub-plots that bog down the first 97 minutes he might have ended up with the best film of his career, but instead he ended up with a pretty good but really bloated and self-indulgent film that’s 56 minutes too long. Making Funny People pretty much the definition of a film that didn’t know when to end.