6 Horrible Aftermaths Implied by Movies With Happy Endings

We like our movies to have happy endings, because it makes the drive home that much easier if the rest of the date was full of forgotten wallets and cabbage farts. However, even movies with the most uplifting and/or completely resolved endings start to reveal horrific consequences for their respective characters once you sit and think about them for long enough, to the point where we want to see a sequel just to know that everybody made it out OK.

#6. Man of Steel -- Metropolis Will Probably Never Be Able to Rebuild

DC Entertainment/Warner Bros.

During the climax of Man of Steel, Metropolis gets torn asunder by General Zod's planet-destroying gravity jackhammer. Superman manages to destroy the machine, and the two of them have a 20-minute skyscraper-toppling punch festival that ends with Zod defeated and the world celebrating their new blue-spandexed alien Jesus.

DC Entertainment/Warner Bros.
Alien Jesus never misses his traditional post-destruction Big Gulp.

The Horrific Aftermath:

Sure, Superman saved Metropolis (and the world) from Zod's space wrath, but at least in the former case we're using the word "saved" loosely. Hundreds of buildings were obliterated. Somebody ran the numbers on the damage, and they're freaking obscene.

DC Entertainment/Warner Bros.
Yeah, maybe it's time to buy a nice quiet property in Gotham.

According to Kinetic Analysis Corporation, the leading company in predicting and evaluating the impact of catastrophic events, at least 129,000 citizens of Metropolis were killed in the climactic conclusion of Man of Steel, along with another 1 million injured and 250,000 missing. Those numbers are on the same level as the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which is unsurprising when you consider that, according to the analysis, Zod's machine caused a circumference of destruction "similar to an air burst from a 20-kiloton nuclear explosion."

DC Entertainment/Warner Bros.
So, like the end of The Avengers, if Iron Man had dropped the nuke.

The cost of all that devastation would total somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 trillion. That's roughly 40 times the physical damage of 9/11, or 15 Hurricane Katrinas. It would cost more than half of the U.S. government's entirely yearly budget to repair.

Damn, Supes, at least make some kind of effort to steer the fight away from a densely populated city. We know it doesn't look as cool and CGI artists love to render flying debris, but that's part of the cost of heroism. As it stands, it will take Metropolis decades to fully recover, assuming people don't just abandon like Detroit. And that's not even counting the hundreds of thousands of families left with Superman-shaped holes in their lives where their loved ones used to be. Jor-El should've left a copy of Of Mice and Men in Superman's space crib.

DC Entertainment/Warner Bros.
Also, installing a human skull swimming pool in the Fortress of Solitude? Bad form man, bad form.

#5. E.T. the Extra Terrestrial -- Elliott is in Serious Trouble with the Government


In case you weren't a kid in the 1980s or your parents were vengeful douchefiddlers who hated whimsy, E.T. is about a lovable alien named E.T. who accidentally gets left behind on Earth and befriends a young boy named Elliott. Government agents show up and try to capture E.T., but Elliott and his friends spring him from custody, because highly trained federal agents are apparently easily bested by middle school-aged Dungeons and Dragons fans. They take E.T. to the woods where his alien mothership is waiting, Elliott and E.T. have an emotional dudebro hug-out, and E.T. climbs aboard the ship to return to his planet.

And then E.T. died of space rickets on the way back to his home planet. Also, Santa Claus isn't real. Live with it.

The Horrific Aftermath:

After sheltering an alien for a long period of time, breaking him out of government custody and assisting in his escape back to the stars from whence he came, Elliott and his family will be lucky if they don't spend the rest of their lives in federal prison.

Think about how many laws Elliott broke in order to help E.T.: He and his brother stole a government van, lead government agents on a high-speed chase, and took to the sky with space magic before they could be apprehended, sailing right over the heads of a confused roadblock of CIA spooks.

Thankfully they were only wielding walkie-talkies. Or was it shotguns? Who even remembers anymore?

Even though Keys, the scientist in charge of tracking down and studying E.T., seems like a decent guy (he shows up for E.T.'s departure and doesn't try to keep the little guy from leaving), he's ultimately just a researcher with no real authority. There's nothing he can do to prevent Elliott from having to get his GED via correspondence courses at Guantanamo Bay.

This kid is not going to fare well in prison.

Also, Elliott previously had a psychic connection with E.T., a fact that the government is unlikely to forget. Now that E.T. is gone, Elliott is the only person on the entire planet with any link to extraterrestrial physiology and technology. He may well end up in some dungeon in Northern Virginia having his brain dissected by a CIA think tank trying to harvest his mind for secrets. E.T. could have at least done Elliott a favor and used his psychic powers to erase everyone's memory before he left, especially after freeloading in the kid's house for a week and eating all his Reese's Pieces.

"I'll ... be ... right ... back with warships ... for the rest of the Reese's ... Pieces."

#4. Forrest Gump -- Gump's Wealth Devastated a Community


After his unabashed shrimp fetishist best friend Bubba is killed in Vietnam, Forrest Gump keeps a promise he made to go into the shrimping business in Bubba's hometown of Bayou La Batre, Alabama, an area of the country not particularly conducive to aspiring young entrepreneurs with minimal personal assets in the late 1960s. Undaunted, Forrest buys his own shrimping boat, and basks in the rays of punishing failure for several months, enduring an endless torrent of grumpy hate from a legless Gary Sinise. He finally hits a stroke of good luck when Hurricane Carmen strikes the area and demolishes every single shrimping boat in the area, sparing only Forrest's busted old trawler.

Wipe off that innocent look, Forrest. We've noticed how badly things tend to go for your so-called "friends."

With no competition to speak of, Forrest catches all the shrimp himself and starts the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, turning him into a millionaire almost overnight. He invests some of that capital into up-and-coming Apple Computers and graduates to a "go-zillionaire" (his words), leaving him free to mow lawns and raise Haley Joel Osment without any financial worries for the rest of his life.

The Horrific Aftermath:

Remember all the other shrimping boats in Bayou La Batre that were annihilated by the hurricane?

Ohhhh, right ...

Here's a little real-world perspective -- Bayou La Batre is known as the "Seafood Capital of Alabama," and the fishing and shrimping industries are its lifeblood. In 2005, the area was completely devastated by Hurricane Katrina and required a lot of outside assistance just to survive. Because shrimp boat owners aren't rich -- they got everything they own tied up in their boats. Now imagine if, amidst all that hardship, some asshole decided to build up a monopoly and horde all the shrimp for himself and his dirty pet hippie, simply because his boat was lucky enough to escape crushification.

He's struck gold! Pink, smelly gold!

Forrest may get to polish a billion-dollar nest egg, but the movie completely glosses over the fact that literally every other captain in the area has had their livelihood utterly destroyed by the storm. Even when its fishing and shrimping industries are functioning normally, Bayou La Batre has a notoriously high poverty rate -- many of them would've had a hard enough time recovering from the hurricane without Forrest coming in and laying claim to the entire shrimp harvest with his own corporate fleet. Remember, even if those poor bastards were able to get the insurance to replace their wrecked boats months later, it doesn't matter -- that's Bubba Gump territory now. Maybe they can get jobs scraping barnacles off his bow.

Forrest obviously didn't do this maliciously and was merely capitalizing on his good fortune, but the fact remains that a staggering number of Bayou La Batre's residents no longer have any means to support themselves or their families. They're likely going to wind up broke and homeless, all so that Forrest can continue having his charmingly ass-backwards adventures.

It's a slow month for capitalism when "Slow-witted Man Catches Most Shrimp in Abandoned Harbor" merits a Fortune cover story.



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