April Fool’s Day is upon us once again. It is the time of year when kids, Google, and sitcoms enjoy playing pranks on others. Films also enjoy playing getting in on the practical joke fun, but they are a little more mean spirited or just do not make sense. Here are the movies that fooled us all.
Warning! Spoilers ahead!
Any one that was “just a dream”
This goes for any similar bait and switch: it was all a video game, a kid was looking at a snow globe, someone was reading a book. Whatever tactic, it is a cheap cop out. The movie is asking the audience to invest time and end it by saying, “None of it really mattered.” This does not include movies like The Princess Bride which we knew was a story right from the beginning. Think more like the Adam Sandler film Click. And no, the “Or was it?” element does not save it.
The Usual Suspects
The film has one of the most famous endings of all time. It has been parodied in movies and paid homage to in music videos. The name “Keyser Soze” is familiar to those who have never even seen The Usual Suspects. The first time a person sees the movie, it will leave them in shock. During the ending, the audience gets a montage of all the clues that prove “Verbal” Kent is the mysterious villain.
It is a nice little twist, but it comes with a huge caveat. None of this could have been figured out by the audience. Part of the fun in watching a mystery is trying to piece the clues together. The reveal should make you say “I should have known!” Everything being a lie also make it a variation of the dream finish.
April Fool’s Day (1986)
The title should have been the first clue as to what to expect. This 1980s slasher checked off all the boxes for a horror movie of the era. A group of friends are hanging out on a remote island. As expected, someone begins killing them off. And for those who did not think they would go with the obvious ending, they actually doubled down on it.
This is more about the teasers that come out before movies are released. For decades, audiences and filmmakers have complained about trailers. One common complaint is how they do not convey what a film is about. The Empty Man is a great example. What little promotion the adaptation received was focused on what a scary horror movie it was. It is not without its scares, but the story is much more cerebral than the previews would have you believe.
Upgrade suffered in a different way. While the ads leading up to the release got the premise correct, the actual tone was over the top, goofy, and unexciting. The actual film is fun, defies genre tropes, and tells a tight story.
The Karate Kid (1984)
Movies were supposed to be simpler in the 80s. The good guys were usually hard working and did not have much money while the bad guys may have been popular and rich, but they also were morally bankrupt. Few movies captured this idea as well as the original The Karate Kid. Anyone who saw this as a child loved Daniel LaRusso and hated the evil villain Johnny Lawrence.
Years before Cobra Kai came out, people have wondered if Daniel-son was really all that good of a person. Sure, a lot of times it was played up for comedy how awful he was, but there was a lot of truth to it. Many times, he was the one who instigated the conflicts. Johnny was far from the misunderstood nice guy, but a strong argument can be made that he was as much a victim. Unless, you are a child who is easily fooled.
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