Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Twist Endings: Can You Figure Them Out Before the End?

"Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That and surprise." Julia Cameron

I'm hopeless when it comes to figuring out the twist ending of a movie. In a book, I'm usually fed enough clues to correctly guess the conclusion before it's completely revealed--but of course by then, I'm almost finished reading!

My husband, however, less than half way through a movie, will tell me the twist. "He's in on the scheme." "He faked his death." "She's got a split personality." Sometimes he's wrong, but most of the time, my husband's either on the right track, or he's nailed it completely.

I suppose our brains work differently.  I enjoy seeing the story unfold. I love being surprised, shocked and scared. I'm too busy being entertained to think about unraveling the plot. Also, I'm vulnerable and take things at face value.

In Derailed, Jennifer Anniston pays for Clive Owens' train fare near the beginning of the movie. My husband started suspecting something right then. Not me! If I'd had an extra $9.00 and someone (a stranger who didn't look suspicious) had forgotten his wallet, I would've been a good Samaritan and helped him out--just like Jennifer!

When the twist is finally disclosed, I'll rethink my way through the movie to make sure the screenplay was consistent, and the conclusion realistic. And sometimes, once armed with the knowledge of the ending, I'll watch the DVD all over again.  Then I'll see stuff I missed the first time around, and understand little things I paid no attention to before.  Shutter Island, The Sixth Sense and The Others all have to be watched more than once!

Despite my inability to figure out the twist, these types of movies are my favorites! Nothing like the element of surprise.

If you a good love twist ending, be sure to rent these if you haven't already seen them: Shutter Island, Derailed, The Secret Window, The Illusionist, The Sixth Sense and The Others.

Can you figure out the twist before a movie ends? What are some of your favorites (books or movies) that have twist endings?

Tweet me @: maria_mckenzie. Thanks for stopping by!


The Happy Whisk said...

Hi Maria - Loved your post. I recently watched a cheesy scary movie and there was a great twist in it, but for the life of me, I can't recall the name.

Hope your writing went well today.

Happy Writing :-)

Maria McKenzie said...

Hi, Happy Whisk! Thanks for visiting! If you remember the name of the movie, be sure to let me know:).

Old Kitty said...

Sleuth (1972) - film with Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier. Ooooh and The Silence of the Lambs (1991) - that scene where you think the FBI and Jodie Foster enter the same house - but they don't and Jodie enters the serial killer's house - EVERYONE in the cinema screamed "it's the wrong house!!"!! That was fun!!

Gosh, your fab post has got me racking my brains for titles of films with twisty endings! Thanks!!! Take care

PK HREZO said...

I love figuring out the twist. I'm like your husband ... I'm always thinking ahead. That's what makes it fun for me. Not the surprise, but the puzzling and finding out if I'm right.

Those are great movies you listed. I watch them over again too, to pick up on those little clues again. "Identity" is a good film for that too.

The Happy Whisk said...

Will do. I think it was on Netflix, I was just veggin' out, it was kind of cheesy but I dig those kinds of movies. I'll see if I can find it on our recently watched, list.

How is your writing going this week? I'm doing well. Stay-cation was wonderful, but I'm happy to be back to working on the manuscript (and the day job).

I bought Wimpy Kid last night. And ... I even got the hat. Tim wanted to buy the hat for me and I gotta say, silly as it is, I'll wear it while writing.

Donea Lee said...

Hi Maria - I made it! I've been meaning to stop by. Thanks, so much, for visiting and following my blog! :)

I love a good twist - and you've listed a great list of movies that have them. I think I've seen almost all of them, except for Shutter Island. I'll have to see how far down (or up) it is on my Netflix list. I'm trying to think of others to add, but of course - because I want to list something now, I can think of absolutely nothing... ooh! "What Lies Beneath" and "Whispers in the Dark" were some good ones.

Iris B said...

Hi Maria .... I love good movies, so I just had to stop by and leave a comment.
I'm usually very good with figuring the characters of a movie, and yes, I have to agree some of the movies you mentioned I did not see the ending cominge either.
The movie which came to mind when reading your blog was "Primal Fear" with Edward Norton and Richard Gere .... I was like "wow, I had no idea!"

Nas said...

I try to work out the twist from the first. Sometimes I'm wrong. But most of the times its like "Oh I knew this would happen!"

Melissa said...

I freaking LOVED the illusionist and shutter island was awesome. LIke your husband though, I always figure out the movie twists and book twists. People always ask me if I'm crazy or something but I always just think ahead and have it nailed because it seems so obvious... I dno.

Maria McKenzie said...

@Old Kitty: I saw Sleuth as a young teen on TV. I can't remember the plot, but I do remember how much I enjoyed it! With Silence of the Lambs, I just remember being on the edge of my seat the whole time!

@Pk: Hi Pk! I'm not familiar with Identity, but I'll have to rent it!

@Happy Whisk: My writing's only so-so this week. Lots of interruptions. Got 4 snail mail submissions ready to go, but post office was closed today instead of tomorrow! I'm off to Target after school today! My 11 year-old can't wait to read The Ugly Truth! Let me know if the hat inspires your writing:)!

@Donna Lee: Thanks so much for stopping by, and thanks for the comment! You'll love Shutter Island! It's one of the best movies I've ever seen. I'm not familiar with Whispers in the Dark and What Lies Beneath, but I'll see if I can rent them!

@Iris: Hi, Iris! I'll have to add Primal Fear to my list!

@Nas: You sound like my husband! Sometimes I'll even argue with him and explain all the reasons I think he's wrong. But he's usually right!

@Melissa: Hi, Melissa! It sounds like some of you out there, like my husband, are extremely perceptive, observant, detail oriented individuals. You'd all make great private detectives! I wouldn't last one day on the job!

Maria McKenzie said...

@Donea Lee: Oops! I'm sorry, Donea Lee, I spelled your name wrong above:(.

Ella said...

Fun post Maria; I usually like your husband figure it out. I tend to do this in movies and books! I was surprised in "Sixth Sense" and "Presumed Innocent".

I love to be surprised~

Maria McKenzie said...

@Ellen: Being surprised is so much fun! I think it's impossible for anyone to figure out The Sixth Sense! said...

Yes I guess the better or more obscure the plots are, the less able we are to guess the twists and that can make it more enjoyable I think. I like to watch films more than once to see the clues and the red herrings.

I have a guest author interview over at mine for those who do or don't know Annie Sanders. :O)

Maria McKenzie said...

Hi, Madeleine! I'll have to stop by for the Annie Sanders interview. I'm not familiar with her.

William Kendall said...

With this kind of genre in films, it's fun going back after the film is done and see it again for clues we might have missed the first time around.

Among the more recent ones, one of my personal favourites is The Prestige.

Maria McKenzie said...

@William: I've never heard of The Prestige, but I'll check it out. It is fun rewatching for missed clues!

William Kendall said...

Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, and Michael Caine. And directed by Christopher Nolan. It's really, really good, Maria.

Maria McKenzie said...

I love anything with Hugh Jackman, and I love Michael Caine!

alexia said...

Hi! I'm a new follower. I love Hugh Jackman, too! Hmm, twist endings. Sometimes I'm really good at them and sometimes I'm completely blindsided! I'm pretty good at picking out the bad guys I guess, but other kinds of twists not so much.

Maria McKenzie said...

Hi, Alexia! Thanks for following my blog:). I think I'm too trusting--I never can figurue out who the bad guy is! I always end up shocked thinking the villain was such a nice guy!