#3. The Shawshank Redemption -- What About the Serial Killer?
Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) spends upwards of 20 years in jail for a double murder he didn't commit, escapes by tunneling through a shit-pipe and ends up living out the rest of his days with Morgan Freeman on a beach in Mexico.
Seems worth it to us.
But What About ...
Andy didn't commit the murders. But what about the guy who did?
We find out partway through the film that the real killer is a complete psychopath who goes by the name of Elmo Blatch and has been openly bragging about "getting away with" the killings (Andy runs into a guy who shared a cell with Elmo in another prison). When Andy tries to bring this nugget of information to the attention of the warden, he's put into solitary for a month as a way of keeping him quiet. They find a way to keep the guy who first tipped Andy off quiet, too.
Pictured: Not ketchup.
So Andy is forced to put his long-term escape plan into action, which -- because he's the hero and is wonderfully dedicated to the art of hitting his cell wall with a tiny hammer -- comes off without a hitch. Unfortunately, when he does become a free man again, there's no indication he does anything with the information he received about Blatch: Even the envelope he posts to the major papers in order to bring down Warden Norton doesn't seem to have anything about his innocence in it.
But what does it matter? We said Blatch was talking about the crime to his cellmate, so that means he's already in jail, right?
Unless there are two drainage pipes ...
Not for long. Blatch isn't in jail for murder. He was doing six to 12 for an armed burglary ... four years before. That means that in the film, this remorseless killer is back on the street before Andy even finishes fixing up his boat in Mexico.
And nobody cares. How long until he finds another young couple and kills again? What's to say he won't get away with it next time, too, and end up cutting a bloody path through New England? Did we mention the guy looks like this?
#2. The Wizard of Oz -- What About the Dog?
If you haven't seen The Wizard of Oz in a long time and are relying on a vague childhood memory of it, you probably don't remember exactly why Dorothy got sucked into a tornado and transported to the magical land of Oz. The whole reason she wound up in that predicament is that her little black terrier, Toto, had bitten an annoying townsperson named Almira Gulch. Gulch then goes out and gets a sheriff's order to have the dog put down.
Knowing it's a choice between life without Toto and a life on the lam, probably as some kind of homeless prostitute, Dorothy opts for the latter option and runs away. This escape leads her to eventually get swept up in a tornado that carries her away to the magical Land of Oz.
That's where the real adventure begins, of course, and Dorothy and her ragtag group of plucky misfits help defeat a wicked witch with a chronic distaste for water. Order being restored, Dorothy clicks her heels together and ends up back in bed, surrounded by men with names like "Zeke" who have been watching her sleep. Everything is absolutely fine again!
Suddenly, that whole influenza epidemic makes a lot more sense.
But What About ...
Toto is still the canine equivalent of Sean Penn in Dead Man Walking.
Gulch had made it very clear that if Dorothy's Auntie Em and Uncle Henry didn't agree to have Toto executed, she was going to take their farm and leave them homeless. Gulch owns half the county -- she can make good on the threat. So what else can they do? It's just a dog, right?
But in the final minutes of the film, as we're brought back into the humdrum sepia tone of Kansas by Dorothy's nifty trick with the ruby slippers, Toto runs up and jumps onto the bed (admittedly, only 23 seconds before the end credits roll; somebody apparently wanted to keep the more observant viewers on their toes).
Those are the eyes of a dog who knows his days are numbered.
There's no explanation given. No mention of Miss Gulch seeing the error of her ways, or even of her having a massive heart attack and no longer pestering the good people of the county. Yes, it's just a dog, but it's also the whole reason every single thing in the film happened.
Instead, we're left believing that everything she threatened 90 minutes before is still on the table, and that shortly after the credits, Auntie Em and the three farmhands are probably going to have to take Toto around the back of the woodshed and hit him on the head with a familiar-looking yellow brick.
Either that, or the most depressing crossover in cinematic history.
#1. Spider-Man 3 -- What About the Symbiote?
In the third and final installment of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, Peter Parker turns into a blend of Casper-era Christina Ricci and The Crow midway through the film, thanks to an alien symbiote that attaches itself to his suit and ups his aggression level.
"I've upped my aggression level, so up yours."
Crawling out of a meteorite, the symbiote is an extremely dangerous, sentient, tarlike goo that magnifies evil. This explains why when it merges with Peter Parker, a good-hearted boy who is only three boxes of Thin Mints away from being the best Girl Scout ever, it just turns him into your average Seattle hipster, but when it merges with Eddie Brock, a cheating, lying, jerk he starts taking hostages.
Fortunately, after his awkward crotch thrusts alienate both Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy in one night, Peter rejects the symbiote. After the symbiote attaches itself to Eddie Brock and creates Venom, aka The Most Disappointing Movie Version of a Villain Ever, Spidey saves the day. With the help of Harry Osborn, he destroys Venom, Sandman and the already deflated expectations of everyone who went to see this movie.
If you play the audio from the dance scene backward, you can actually hear Sam Raimi's leftover goodwill from Army of Darkness evaporate.
If not a satisfying an end to the franchise, it's at least a semi-happy ending.
But What About ...
The symbiote is still out there.
Some of it, anyway. We know for a fact that some of it wound up in Dr. Connors' laboratory, and the movie forgets to mention the huge detail of what eventually happened to that sample. But more important, while we saw some of it sneak out of the meteorite from the beginning of the film and hitch a ride with Peter Parker, who's to say that was all of the symbiote in there? The meteorite was probably chock-full of that stuff.
We could speculate what New York would look like if the symbiote got loose in the general population and turned everybody into Venom ... or we could just turn to the comics, where it actually happens at one point. It looks like this:
We hear Iron Man goes really well with pate.
That's a city full of superpowered, evil monsters eating some superheroes. Hmmm ... seems like you guys probably should have taken care of that before rebooting the franchise.
Be sure to pick up our new book and learn how to dance like Peter Parker.
For more writing that doesn't jive with us, check out 8 Classic Movies That Got Away With Gaping Plot Holes and 5 Reasons The Terminator Franchise Makes No Goddamn Sense.
And stop by Linkstorm to discover what happened when the symbiote bonded with Swaim.
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