#2. Titanic Was Just ... Weird
Judging by the box office records, statistically everyone reading this already knows the story: Young Rose Bukater (Kate Winslet), trapped in an arranged marriage to a horrible man, is saved from jumping overboard and drowning herself by a penniless artist played by Leo DiCaprio who, in an ironic twist, ends up drowning a few hours later.
In between is a lot of drama and a surprising bit of nudity. As an old woman, Rose recounts the story to a salvage ship's crew headed by Bill Paxton, as they search for clues to what happened to the priceless "Heart of the Ocean" necklace.
There it is! Get her!
The Ending We Got:
We find out that Rose has in fact lived her whole life in possession of the necklace. After telling her story and showing naked drawings of herself to her granddaughter and a ship full of sailors, she sneaks out onto the ship's deck alone and drops the stone overboard in memory of her beloved Jack. Then she goes inside to (presumably) die in her sleep, dreaming of her fling on board the Titanic all those years ago.
The ending pretty well lines up with the rest of the movie: It's a tale of a tragic love that is doomed from the beginning due to circumstances beyond their control, but a love that still persists regardless. You know, like in the theme song.
Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up ...
What Did We Almost Get Instead?
James Cameron can shoot the hell out of some special effects, but dialogue isn't really his thing. That's what makes the ending work -- no one is talking. Old Rose silently walks out, drops the necklace, then lays down to dream about banging young Leonardo DiCaprio.
That ending took some restraint on Cameron's part, because the alternate ending is a corny mess:
In this version, Bill Paxton and his crew rush out to stop her from dropping the necklace. Then, Rose looks right at the camera and states the lesson of the movie:
"You look for treasure in the wrong place, Mr. Lovett. Only life is priceless, and making each day count."
She drops the necklace overboard, prompting one of the crew members to scream, "THAT REALLY SUCKS, LADY!"
But Bill Paxton realizes she is right, and that material possessions mean nothing. Free from the burden of pursuing earthly riches, Paxton looks up toward heaven and laughs heartily.
In fact, they had a pretty hard time keeping him from laughing during every second of that scene.
Then he turns to Rose's granddaughter and asks, "Want to dance?"
Other than being amazingly goofy, her actions are completely pointless -- she's standing on a boat full of equipment and crew that is designed specifically for finding artifacts on the ocean floor, and that necklace is valuable enough to make everyone on board rich. Even if Bill Paxton has learned this important life lesson, the rest of the team knows exactly where the necklace was dropped. It'd take them about half an hour to go down and retrieve it. And if Paxton's character tried to stop them, we're pretty sure they'd toss him down there with Leo.
"Why are you all looking at me like th- wait, HELP!"
#1. Brazil's Bizarrely Happy Ending
Terry Gilliam's film portrays a bizarre, dystopian future where the government has total authority, the population is entirely dependent on silly machines and a tangled bureaucracy controls every aspect of life.
The major events of the film are triggered when a fly caught in a printer causes a misprint that in turn leads to an innocent man being arrested and eventually killed in place of the terrorist who has a similar name.
Oh, and the film was filled with creepy shit like this.
The Ending We Got:
The hero of the film, Sam Lowry, is a low-ranking government worker trying to save a woman who was mislabeled a terrorist after the fly incident. She resembles a woman he has dreamed about, in fantastic visions of himself flying high above his bullshit real life.
Sam eventually manages to use his position to declare Jill legally dead, allowing her to fall off the grid and escape the system. But when officials discover what he did, they catch Sam and torture him.
The ending is a wild, improbable escape from the government facility, through a world that bears a strong resemblance to Sam's own daydreams. Then, in the end, we learn that this is in fact all happening inside his broken mind, as he is once again escaping to his dream life, his only means to endure the torture. It's a fittingly dark ending to a movie so heavily influenced by "1984," preaching the bleak message of helplessness in a totalitarian state.
What Did We Almost Get Instead?
It's a very simple change: the happy hallucination is in fact really happening, and everything turns out perfectly fine.
In this version, Sam really does escape from torture ... through the power of love. He and the woman he was protecting make a daring getaway and live happily ever after.
It feels cliched at this point to complain about mindlessly happy Hollywood endings, but this is one of those cases where the ending would negate the entire point of the film. The final shot is still of Sam flying away in his dream/fantasy -- the dreams that used to be his escape from his dreary, dystopian life. But now he's using the dream to escape from ... a real world where everything has also worked out exactly, perfectly fine.
"I will fantasize for literally any reason whatsoever."
Needless to say, it was a brutal fight for Gilliam to get his version into theaters -- which he eventually won.
Find out How 23 Movie Plots Could Have Been Solved in Minutes. Or, for other movies that should've changed some scenes around, check out The 5 Most Easily Avoidable Movie Deaths and The 10 Best Animated Movies for (Traumatizing) Kids.