The Art Movie Identity
Alex and Justin rented The Bourne Identity. I had seen it before, but no big thing. We settled into a relaxing two hours and went through all the bonus DVD stuff at the end. Holy crap – the alternate ending is even cheesier than the actual one in the movie. By the end of the film, we were all joking around about how so many Hollywood movies require the close pan, passionate kiss, sunset ending that provides a storybook close to things.
One idea that I had a while back (and I’m not sure if this is actually my idea, or if I gleaned it from somewhere else). I’m going to say that I thought of this. :P Here’s my thought: I call it the 10 Minute Rule (although it can also be the 15 Minute Rule).
Here’s how it works: take any movie. Instead of the ending that actually plays, back the thing up a good ten or fifteen minutes. End the movie there and ka-BLAMMO. You’ve turned that movie into a fancy schmancy Art Film. Tonight, in a fit of inspiration, I added a bit of a flourish. In addition to the film ending earlier, I also decided that a good thing to do with the Ten Minute Rule is to also utilize a freeze-frame effect.
So, my ending for The Bourne Identity takes place where Matt Damon confronts his old boss and is standing at the top of the stairwells. There’s a flunky heading up the spiral staircase, brandishing a semi-automatic weapon. Damon (for some inexplicable reason) decides that the only way to kill this guy is to grab a nearby corpse, throw it over the railing, throw himself over the railing as well and in effect "riding" the corpse down to the ground. Now this is all part of the actual fucking movie. Here’s how I’d end it:
Matt Damon grabs a nearby corpse. He throws it over the railing and in the same motion, throws himself over as well. His gun is out and his arm is extended.
Right at the apex, freeze it and end the movie. I’m telling you – this is gold.
Alright, not a believer yet? How about some more examples of the Ten Minute Rule.
Silence of the Lambs. When Clarisse is in the basement at the end, and it’s all dark… and Bill is standing in front of her, wearing those night-vision goggles? She extends out her hands because she can’t see anything and, from his view point, she’s just… almost… about to touch him…
No closure, no tidy ending, no more information. Just a frozen image of Jody Foster’s unfocused eyes. Powerful in its understatement. Art film!
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. When Charlie and Granpa Joe get down from the ceiling (after drinking the fizzy soda)? The tour ends and they ask Wonka about the grand prize, the lifetime of chocolate. Wonka totally flips out like a ninja and tells them they’ve won nothing because they disobeyed the rules. Charlie gets nothing, zip, bupkis, thank you and good DAY SIR! Gene Wilder is foaming at the mouth, and poor Charlie is looking at him with this pained expression because his Horatio Alger heart is breaking for everyone to see.
No elevator ride. No glorious heir to the empire motif. Just an extremely rule-driven madman who hangs around midgets and candy. And one very, very, very sad boy. Art film!
The Empire Strikes Back. In the famous fight scene at the end, Vader reveals some shocking information about the familial connection between Luke, Leia and Darth himself. Back the movie up a tiny, tiny bit before this moment. In the big fight, where all this shit is flying around, and they both make their way out to this sort of precipice? Vader swings his light sabre and chops off Luke’s hand. Right as his hand is severed from the arm… as it’s sort of flipping around in the air above them both…
End of movie. It’d be great! The loss of Luke’s hand was such a kick-ass thing, why not just end the damn movie on that note? Sure, it was shocking… why not milk it for all it’s worth? Imagine the theaters at the time, house lights coming on, and Mark Hamill’s severed hand just sort of floating up on the screen, waving goodbye to everyone as they filed out the door. Each and every person, stunned into awed silence by this great Art Film!