"Spike DOES NOT, I repeat, DOES NOT, know how to end a movie. Some of his endings have been monumentally horrendous; some have been just strange." So writes Kevin, Spike Lee fan and Flickgrrl friend, about my review of Miracle at St. Anna. Liked the movie about African-American soldiers in Italy during World War II; found its coda "wacky."
Kevin is half right. Some of Lee's endings are very eloquent. Very much liked the concluding sequences of "Malcolm X" -- a "Spartacus" homage that had everyone from schoolchildren to Nelson Mandela saying, "I am Malcolm," -- and the elegiac finales of "Get on the Bus" (I don't want to spoil this one for those who haven't seen it) and "Do the Right Thing," with the voice of deejay Mr. Senor Love Daddy greeting the new dawn after the violence and unrest of the night before.
Whether you're Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese, bad endings happen to good movies. Consider these weak endings on strong films: Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" and Schindler's List" both feature graveside scenes that go on forever. Martin Scorsese's "The Departed" closes with the redundant image of a rodent rooting around on the patio of a rat-fink character.
Any other examples of when bad endings happen to good movies? And if you've seen "Miracle at St. Anna," what are your thoughts?