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A Fine Film Marred By a Terrible Ending
by Tim Josephs

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So, the Academy Awards, that silly and increasingly meaningless (c'mon, Jonah Hill recently got a nomination) ceremony to allow Hollywood to kiss its own arse, was this past Sunday. All I'll say about the ceremony is that when William Shatner - in space costume no less - plays an integral (and long) part of the opening, you're in for a long night.

Now, I feed the need to comment on one film that took home a couple of awards: LINCOLN. For the most part, I really enjoyed the movie. The
acting - particularly Daniel Day-Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones - was excellent and the story was compelling and at times tense and emotional.

As there weren't any aliens or action scenes featuring horses or ray guns, LINCOLN seemed to be somewhat of a departure for Steven Spielberg. But, with the attention to historical detail, he showed that he is just as adept at reality as he is with sci-fi or fantasy. However, there was one massive failure that detracted from the rest of the movie: the
ending.

Now, if you're over 10, you probably know a good amount about Lincoln's assassination. That's certainly a major component of his story, but it should not have been included in this story. This was not an Abraham Lincoln bio-pic; this was a small sliver of his life and his presidency. We didn't see his birth or his childhood, so why should we see his death when it had zero impact on the story? It was completely pointless and irrelevant.

Adding the assassination was bad
enough, but throwing in the red herring of the other theater was downright dumb. Spielberg either got some terrible advice or his editor should have told him to cut it (or perhaps M. Night Shyamalan was that editor). The film had a natural ending with Lincoln walking down the hallway (we all knew where he was going) and then a dissolve to the end of that speech.

It's a shame because the film was very good, and possibly great without that mistake of an ending. Spielberg should've known better.

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Jon
Mar 7, 2013 4:22 PM
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I disagree. His herculean efforts to get the 13th Amendment passed into law was just one component of his overall plan to reconcile the South back into the Union after the war ended. His sudden death not only eliminated his grand scheme but propelled Andrew Johnson into the Presidency. Johnson was a Southerner and definitely did want equality for former slaves or a strong Union. He became the worst President in history until George Bush 2000-2008 served his two terms. Thanks Tim.
Tim
Mar 7, 2013 6:18 PM
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I get that, but the movie ended two minutes after his death and we never get to see the ramifications of it. Perhaps the movie just needed to be a little longer.



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Movie Musings
Every other Tuesday

Thoughts, observations, conjectures, complaints about movies and mostly how they relate to me personally. If you're looking for something a little broader, try Ebert.


Other Columns
Other columns by Tim Josephs:

So Long 2013, and MatchFlickers!

The Season for Peace, Presents, & Puncture Wounds

Women are Once Again Kicking Ass

Chewing the Scenery

The Greatest President We Never Had

All Columns


Tim Josephs
Born to write (literally much to the displeasure of his mother, he emerged with a pencil clutched in one tiny fist), Tim spends most of his days crafting epic monosyllabic poems, new comical titles to his favorite Beatles' songs (Hey, Dude), and angry letters to local businesses that have wronged him in some way. He's really an okay guy once you get to know him.


Contact
If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Tim Josephs by clicking here.


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