Consider this your spoiler warning
This week, Columbus post-rock band the End of the Ocean returns with a new album, -aire. With that in mind, we thought we'd take a look at some of our favorite and least-favorite endings across a variety of media.
Best: “The Conversation”
There are many choices here with which I wouldn't argue (“Chinatown,” “Dr. Strangelove,” “Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan”), but the one I keep coming back to is Francis Ford Coppola's 1974 thriller, which ends with Gene Hackman playing his saxophone alone in an apartment stripped to the studs.
Worst: “The Happening”
I hated everything about this M. Night Shyamalan movie, including Mark Wahlberg's comically wooden lead performance, but the ending twist is among the dumbest, most heavy-handed allegories ever dreamed up.
Best: The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
Initially I was going to choose One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, since it's arguably my favorite book, but the more I thought about it the more I kept returning to this baseball-themed 2011 novel, which features a note-perfect closing paragraph.
Worst: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
The best use of “it was all a dream” is still Biggie Smalls in his classic “Juicy” verse. The worst is Carroll in the otherwise great Alice's Adventures, which ends with the protagonist awakening to learn the trippy adventures had all been a dream. Weak sauce, Carroll.
Best: “The Sopranos”
It shouldn't work. The soundtrack, courtesy 1980s cheeseballs Journey, is corny as hell, and the abrupt cut to black had some viewers wondering if their cable had gone out. But taken together, it's perfect, leaving lingering questions that have only heightened the episode's impact in the years since.
A closer so bad — the featured four end up jailed for being bad Samaritans — that it makes even “Dexter's” series-ending lumberjack turn seem reasonable in comparison.
Best album-closing track: “Empty Cans” by the Streets
Sure, there are better songs that close albums (Nine Inch Nails' “Hurt,” “Motion Picture Soundtrack” by Radiohead), but none bring things full circle as well as this track by the British rapper, which presents two alternate endings to his still-great concept record.
Worst album-closing track: Massive Attack's “Light My Fire” cover
Protection is a great album, but this Doors cover is a turd.
Entries from the 19th century on the Wikipedia page for “unusual deaths”
Best: Ohio lawyer and politician Clement Vallandigham died while defending a man for murder, accidentally shooting himself as he demonstrated how his client's supposed victim might have shot himself by accident. It's a somewhat inglorious end, for sure, but it worked. His client was cleared of the charges.
Worst: William Snyder, age 13, died in San Francisco when a circus clown swung him around by the heels, a description that offers far more questions than answers. (Also, this might have surpassed drowning on the list of ways I don't want to go out.)