I wasn’t the most observant movie watcher when I was a young man. Even the biggest plot holes could pass by me unnoticed. That also meant I was very easily surprised — twists could absolutely blow me away… even if most people would’ve seen coming from miles away. Here are some CLASSIC examples:
[Warning, there are decade-old spoilers bellow. Duh.]
Darth Vader is already in Bespin, The Empire Strikes Back
I mean, this is an incredibly jarring moment. Lando had just been so friendly with Han, Leia, and Chewbacca, playing things so cool, and then he just drops this bomb? My God, this blew my mind as a kid. I was initially sure it was fake, like a dream or he was a robot or something. But no, Darth Vader was there, and he dealt with Han Solo so easily, showing that Luke was their only hope.
The car accident, Remember the Titans
I was young enough when I saw Remember the Titans that I hadn’t yet figured out the rhythms of movies like this — there must always be a grand tragedy immediately following a grand triumph, so that the final triumph can be even more grand. So when Bertier — a leader who overcame his own prejudices and made sure that the black members of the newly integrated football squad truly felt like a part of the team — was in a car crash, I couldn’t believe it. Of course, this whole movie is not accurate at all, but it’s still a damned good movie.
Mowgli goes “home”, The Jungle Book
I could NOT believe that a kid would rather go and live with a bunch of people he’d never met before than stay in the jungle with animals. I was sure he’d turn around and come back, or Baloo would feel a tug on his tail, and there would be Mowgli. But no. I was shocked, and crushed.
Steven Seagal is blown out of the sky, Executive Decision
I think I’ve seen the entirety of both Steven Seagal and Jean Claude Van Dam’s ’90s catalogue. That’s why Seagal’s death was so, so shocking in Executive Decision — I was sure he’d be back. He was the man when it came to ’90s action, and here his dumb ass just fell out of a plane! What a sad way to go!
The Wizard is just some guy, The Wizard of Oz
Being young, I had not realized that essentially every authority figure in your life is a total fraud. If you told me about this twist now, I’d be like “Oh my God, of course — anyone who wields any power is a fraud just trying to hold on.” But as a kid? I could barely believe it.
A character says the word “ass”, James and the Giant Peach
I was pretty sheltered, and just couldn’t imagine hearing this word in a kids’ movie. Mind. Blown.
Now nothing shocks me. I am of the jaded generation. What shocks you? Let me know on Twitter!