10 Movies That Would Have Been Ruined By Happy Endings
10. American History X
Tony Kayes 1998 masterpiece is fraught with racism, classism and plenty of angst. For an actor with as brilliant a resume as Edward Norton, its arguably his best performance (although many would argue in favor of Primal Fear). The movie centers around Nortons Derek Vinyard and his journey of reformation from a violent neo-Nazi, largely thanks to the effort of a committed teacher (Avery Brooks) and a friend he made in prison (Guy Torry). Derek returns home from prison a changed mind, having seen the error of his racist ways, only to find that his younger brother Danny, played Edward Furlong, has fallen prey to the same propaganda that sucked him in previously. Derek sets out to get his brother back on track, but the films conclusion shows the older brother finding Danny dead in the school bathroom, a victim of his own racist mindset. The voiceover seemed to indicate that Danny had indeed realized that hate was leading him nowhere, making the ending all the more tragic. This ending is powerful and necessary, because to have the family manage to all see the light and go on to live happy productive lives would have been counterproductive to the story being toldthat hatred, racism and bigotry are dangerous and costly. Derek committed many sins during his time as a neo-Nazi, and losing his younger sibling was a steep price for him to pay, one that hopefully showed viewers the penalty to be paid for embracing such hatred.
Brad Hamilton is a writer, musician and marketer/social media manager from Atlanta, Georgia. He's an undefeated freestyle rap battle champion, spends too little time being productive and defines himself as the literary version of Brock Lesnar.