My posting a link to this brilliant article – – engendered a fair amount of debate about the merits of certain movie twists and what makes for a cheap cop-out on the part of the screenwriter.  Today, I’d like to list some of my favorite movie twists – while still remaining spoiler-free!

The Planet of the Apes: The original of course.  I remember watching it for the first time as a very young kid.  It was my first and most memorable movie twist.  It was also the first time I uttered the phrase: “Holy shit!”.

Soylent Green: Another one I watched as a youngster.  The ending haunted me for weeks.

Oldboy: My jaw practically hit the floor when the villain’s ultimate scheme is revealed.  For the life of me, I can’t see how the planned Hollywood remake is going to pull it off.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978): When the lights came on in the movie theater after that last scene, everyone in the audience looked like they’d just witnessed their car blow up. 

Hard Candy: She may have been good in Juno, but Ellen Page was downright spectacular as a young femme fatale in this little movie with a big twist ending.

The Sixth Sense: I remember sitting in the theater, watching this movie thinking “Meh, it’s alright” but being bothered by some minor inconsistencies.  And then, when the twist comes, all those minor inconsistencies turn out to be clues and my response was: “They got me!  Brilliant!”

Chinatown: Shocking.  And incredibly depressing.

Frailty: A lesser-known movie with a terrific twist.  A seriously underated thriller.

Session 9: One of my favorites – a nicely crafted horror movie.  I went in expecting little and came away much impressed.  And shocked.

The Sting: Many films have sought to duplicate its genius turn but none have come close.  A masterpiece of connery.

Arlington Road: A thoroughly atypical Hollywood ending – which is what makes it so good.  And creepy.

Angel Heart: To be honest, I don’t know if this one holds up but I remember seeing it at a movie theater when it first came out and literally jumping out of my seat at the end.  Oh, that Louis.

The Vanishing (the original):  The Hollywood remake copped out but the original offers up an ending unlike any other.  Deeply unsettling.  Guaranteed to give you nightmares. 

Audition: Speaking of “jumping out of my seat”.  This movie starts off as quiet little drama about a widower looking for level…and then descends into absolute madness.  The big reveal is as harrowing as it gets.  Apparently, when this movie screened at a New York film festival, people actually got up and rushed out of the theater during “the scene”  Kiri kiri kiri!

Don’t Look Now: Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie play grieving parents visiting Venice following the accidental death of their daughter.  They happen to visit while the city is in the grips of a knife-wielding serial killer…  One of the most frightening endings ever.

Witness for the Prosecution: What would this list be without an Agatha Christie film?  Another one I watched as a kid, this time with my mother.  I sat on the couch, stunned, and no doubt interpreting my reaction as an inability to comprehend what had happened, mom explained it to me.  Twice.

Have any more to add?  Oh, and since we’re on the subject, here’s another list of 10 crappy movie twist endings, this time from the gang at – – Congrats to Signs, High Tension, Hide and Seek, Perfect Stranger, and Planet of Apes for making both lists.

Check out more Destiny pics after the mailbag.

Today’s mailbag:

Pastrygirl writes: “LOVE all the Destiny pics, any chance of getting an exterior design?”

Answer: Thos will have to wait.

DasNdanger writes: “So…does that make me moronic in some way? Does that make me less intelligent than the person who was bothered by the contrivance? What if people just like the silly twist? Is that wrong?”

Answer: No, people are free to enjoy what they enjoy and that certainly doesn’t make them dumb. However, the same can’t be said for said movie twists.

DasNdanger writes: “Uh…like Wraith never guarding their ships, despite their vast numbers? And…like Wraith not killing an Atlantean on sight by now? And…like Wraith never, ever taking evasive action…ever? And…like Wraith not knowing by now that if one hive ship blows up in close proximity to another, they will both blow up? And…like super easy-to-kill Wraith?”

Answer: The hive ships are swimming with wraith. They would certainly kill an Atlantean on sight – unless they had a use for them. The wraith certainly attempt to take evasive action – they’re simply neither as quick or as intelligent as the Atlanteans. Remember, they didn’t defeat the Ancients by superior intellect. They overwhelmed them by sheer numbers. If a hive ship was about to blow up, any neighboring hive ship would certainly get the hell out of the way. Only problem is by the time they realize what’s happening, it’s too late. As for super-easy to kill a wraith – I actually asked that question in late season 3. Chalk that up to improved ammo.

JYS writes: “did you use truffle oil or a real truffle?”

Answer: Real black truffle – chopped up and mixed with butter, tarragon, thyme, olive oil, and sea salt, then massaged in between the skin and meat of the bird. Delish! Hey, how was your stage?

Anais33 a ecrit: “Des frenchies? Vous parlez français avec eux?”

Answer: Oui. Quand ils sont dehors, je cris: “Ici, les francais!”

Translation: Yes, I occasionally speak to my French bulldogs in French.

AMZ writes: “Take Saw, for example. I liked the twist, because right from the start I was thinking “WTF is that body doing there anyway”, and I thought there were enough hints to make it work.”

Answer: So this master serial killer sneaks out of his hospital room every night so that he can go and lie down in the middle of that room with his eyes closed and listen to the action rather than actually watch it on hidden camera? To what purpose? So that he can be close to the action and feel their hot breath on the nape of his neck? And how come throughout his murder spree not one night nurse has noticed him missing?

Eric Melin writes: “Thanks for referencing my article on twist endings. I’m glad my frustrations echoed yours!”

Answer: Hey, Eric. A spot-on article and a terrific site.

Sheryl writes: “Hey Joe, I know it is off the subject, but this is serious. First thing I read on AOL this morning, ” Wild fires out of control in Western Canada”. How close are you to these fires? And are they “STILL” out of control?”

Answer: Yep. We’re well away from the affected area but, sadly, there are a lot of people who are losing their homes.

Artdogspot writes: “Hard to understand how some of these films are financed and how they escape any studios and get into movie theaters. Where’s the lion when you need him?”


DasNdanger writes: “So, if the purpose of having such a twist to the story is to make the reader question his own judgement, think about the legal system and how it can fail the victim and the public, and raise debate over such issues as the death penalty, limited police resources, and innocence until proven guilty (as well as the lasting effects false accusations have on the innocent), then your scenario would be very effective.”

Answer: That is a very specific case. And, I’m afraid, I still disagree. I remember years ago writing a scene in which O’Neill has to sit through a discussion about mineral compounds. Rob Cooper gave me a note to shorten it. I told him that the whole point of the gag was to play out this laborious discussion and thoroughly torture a bored O’Neill – to which Rob replied: “Okay, but don’t do it by boring the audience!”. Point taken and I’ve never forgotten! Theirs a fine line between using art to deliver a message and having a wank at the audience’s expense.

Mika writes: “A writer doesn’t get to introduce time travel as a solution in the last 30 pages if the technology wasn’t acknowledged (or at least significantly far advanced that a breakthrough is plausible) in the first few hundred. It’s just another version of dues ex machina, and totally cheating.”

Answer: Ha! That reminds of an outline submitted by a writer many years ago. In his episode, the team gets into a seemingly inescapable jam and then, in the fifth act, they fix the problem by going back in time. Okay, granted, we’ve established time travel devices in the Stargate universe but this one made a late introduction for the sole purpose of fixing the problem. Needless to say, the outline didn’t fly.


Today’s pics – The Destiny Gate…













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Oooh! I’ll hafta go back to yesterday and read Mika’s full comment. I wonder what she’s up to these days.

My favorite twist (although, according to my sister, it was a predictable one) came at the end of A Dog’s Breakfast. While I maybe should have seen it coming, I did not. And even my sister, who figured it out 40 minutes in, still enjoyed it. (It’s on, so if you’re in the USA you can see it for free! I highly recommend it if anyone hasn’t seen it yet!)

Thanks for all the pictures!!! The gate somehow makes the alien ship seem kind of familiar…


Are the symbols on the Destiny stargate a kind of morse code?
Or, is it coincidental that they are similar to morse code?

BTW, I don’t want you to think I dislike them. On the contrary, I was immediately fascinated by them!

Margaret Clayton

Oooh, pretty. I can’t decide of the symbols look like pagan moons or sperm.

Yeah, I know. I get that all the time.


Hey Joe, very cool pictures once again. Speaking of the Destiny’s gate, I had a question:

As far as the timeline of the Ancients goes, how old is the Destiny’s gate in comparison to the Milky Way and Pegasus gate systems?

I assume it’s older than the Pegasus system, but I wasn’t sure if it was older than the Milky Way’s as well, or if it fell somewhere in between.



It’s time for me to be a pompous Master of Disaster again:

Sheryl writes: “Hey Joe, I know it is off the subject, but this is serious. First thing I read on AOL this morning, ” Wild fires out of control in Western Canada”. How close are you to these fires? And are they “STILL” out of control?”

Answer: Yep. We’re well away from the affected area but, sadly, there are a lot of people who are losing their homes.

It’s in eastern British Columbia, almost Alberta (the Okanagan Valley), so it’s about as far from Vancouver as you can get while staying in the province and near the border.

Wildfire is common in BC (like California, or most of Australia), but these fires are particularly bad because the forests are full of dead, dried trees from the pine beetle epidemic. It’s also a desert region (lowest average rainfall in the province), and in drought.

More than 10,000 people are still in mandatory evacuation (down from 17,000 earlier this week), with no injuries or deaths reported. So far, 3 homes have been destroyed and a lot of forest burned, but none of the vineyards or orchards are within the danger zone.

All three fires are Rank 5, the second-highest within the provincial system. That means that although the fires are currently about 40% contained, they’re spreading by approximately 6-18 m/minute. The winds are shifting so it’s likely the fires will get bigger before they go out, but a 100km lake limits spreading to the west.


Hey hey! I’m back from my trip. Had a blast riding the Interstate to Twin Falls, Idaho; cut south to Nevada (which was desolately beautiful; I’d love to get a house in the middle of all that open space and not bother with people; seriously), then to Cedar City, Utah. Made my rounds with the great wonders of the Colorado Plateau, namely the Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Grand Canyon National Parks. Talk about an eye opener. Then, went straight up I-15, past Salt Lake City and all of its Mormon goodness, then hopped on over to Beartooth Pass outside Yellowstone. Spent the last few days cruising through Montana, finally ending my trip in Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park or whatever it’s called. Took the Crowsnest highway back here.

Now, Joe, be honest. How many of those place names did you know beforehand? wink

Gonna go catch up on the blog now. Oh my, so much SGU goodness! I can’t wait. Of course, I also look forward to the Mallozzian Escapades!

Patricia Lee
Patricia Lee

Favorite Movie Twist: NO WAY OUT. Watched it when it came out in the 87’s just after graduating from the US Army’s Advance course at Counterintelligence school and shouted out loud in the movie theater at the end… NO F*in WAY! I am not a huge fan of Kevin Costner; loved NO Way Out, and Dances with Wolves, but I have to admit this was one movie ending that I never expected.

Maybe you will surprise us all with an OMG twist ending for the SGA movie!


Interesting you mentioned the BC fires; we went through Osoyoos on the way home today and the whole area was blanketted with smoke as thick as fog.

I hope the inhabitants of the affected areas the best of luck.

Narelle from Aus

You’d be the BEST dinner guest!


I always liked the original “The Eye”. The Chinese one, not that Jessica Alba crap. The man in the elevator always creeped the hell out of me.

As for stupid twists… Vanilla Sky.


does Empire Strikes Back count? or is it too old? Sixth Sense is probably the best twist. and how many stargates on the ship?

Jenny Robin

Congratulations to me. I have been promoted to District Manager at work! It is all because I professed my deep love for all-things-Stargate during the interview.

I’m joking about the latter part, though the former is true. But didn’t that make you feel all warm and fuzzy for 2 seconds?

But hey, now that I’m moving up in the world, you can say with confidence that you ‘knew me when’.


Hi, Joe
Can we see some SGU jumper and kino pics?

Shelley D
Shelley D

@Mika: I think you’re mixing up the Kooteney’s and the Okanagan Valley. The Okanagan is more in the centre of the province, not near the Alberta border. It’s about a half day’s drive from Vancouver and then another half day to Alberta.

I grew up in Westbank (or West Kelowna as they’re calling it now). My parents have been on evacuation alert, but thankfully the fire never got too close to them. Lots of smoke and worry, but so far they are safe.

Maj. Cliffhanger
Maj. Cliffhanger

You asked: Have any more to add?

Only one springs immediately to mind: “Deathtrap” with Christopher Reeve and Michael Caine. It is one twist after another after another after… It left me breathless and in awe!


How about a couple of black and white classic twists. One of my favorite movies is Rebecca. The seemingly still grieving, tortured Maxim deWinter falls in love with a lovely, plain girl following the death of his first wife Rebecca. Rebecca, even in death, still controls Maxim. She was perfect in every way, or so it seemed…

When I was a little kid, I think the Twilight Zone episode, To Serve Man, might have been my first “oh my” moment. (Nobody cussed back then.) And maybe the beginning of my fascination with cook books. Boy, they sure have come a long way with spaceships!

You occasionally speak to your French bulldogs in French? Aaaaaaw. That is so sweet! I bet they look at you like, “what the shit did he just say?”


Hey Jo!!!

Me too, I dislike the last version of “Planet of the Apes”, The ending is bad.
And signs: Lol,The aliens must be freak, when the water is fatal for them, they browse millions light years to invade a planet covert with 70% water and 60% remainings with rain, XD. It’s same if the manking colonized a planet formed by arsenic and CO2 .

My top ten movie/saga:
Les gendarmes (the six movies): a comic saga with louis de funes.

Star wars: I prefer the old trilogy

Star trek: Except the XI, that is very bad.

5th element

The core: Realistic, If the magnetic field of Earth disappear, we will have same disaster.

indiana jones: last crusade.

Battle royale: really bloody

le diner de con(dinners game): One of the best comedy movie i have saw.

men in black


stargate(original movie)

And for animated serie , Tv serie and video games, What is your top 3 preference?

About stargate.
The pictures are beautiful, I would prefer the gate room design on first picture for destiny, it was more impressive.
Why you have change?

My questions

1)The symbols are very strange, completely different of other gates. Why you choose this model?
The symbols on the 2nd picture are different to the destiny actual gate, it’s an old idea?

2)there is a big debate on our forum about the oldness of the Destiny and his gate.
The destiny has been launched before or after the building of Milky Way gates?

3)I have noticed, it is a lamp external to the gate (and connected to the ship) that encoding each symbols, and the destiny DHD are lot of functions (telemetry,diagnostics,…)
What will be that for the gates and DHD located on the planetes? Can we see pictures or design?

4) There will be french people on the destiny? Not on strike or behind the furnaces XD.

Thank and Vive la France!!!!!!!!


Oups i forget a question.
What is the real chevron color? Blue, white or it’s depend on situation?

Ann-Marie Sloan
Ann-Marie Sloan

The Sixth Sense: Your right the twist at the end. Man I didn’t see that coming. And I remember nearly having to be peeled off the ceiling after that scene with Misha Barton (the little girl under the bed)!!!

Been loving all the pictures Joe. Absolutely love the new Gate design it totally rocks.


Gatecon is coming to town next year (July 8-11)! Any plans to stop by?

otros ojos
otros ojos

Oooh, Witness for the Prosecution is brilliant. A number of other pre-WWII Brit mysteries also had pretty nifty endings, I thought, but they didn’t make it to the big screen. The Sting is, as you noted, a hallmark of brilliance, and about 100 times more fun — or so it seems, a lot of the time — than other much-lauded Hollywood fare. One example: If those who wrote The Sting had also written The Return of the Jedi, maybe we would’ve gotten a far, far better ending than a bunch of stuffed toys dancing, and Anakin Skywalker cheesily bonding with Yoda and Obi-Wan, after the drama-queen climax in which (as we all know) he turns his head back and forth 50 times to let us know he’s conflicted about who to turn into dogmeat besides himself. (I wonder if there’s an outtake where George Lucas wanders on set, and you hear someone uttering Anakin’s real last words: “The emperor can bite me — all I wanted was some better lines. . . .” )

It sounds like Air Bud (b-ball, dog who hits all his 3-pointers, etc.) didn’t blow you away with how the evil dude almost got Bud back at the end. That’s a whole other category of movies that irritate, to say the least, with their predictable twists (and everything else), or their out of left field endings. Given the genius that is Disney at its best, I get steaming mad when they, or any other studio, take what was a really wonderful book, pith it, and refill it with all this Twinkified stuff that totally takes second place to the FX, which apparently comprise the real message. Tsk.

otros ojos
otros ojos

PS: I feel kinda stupid for confusing SGU’s Col. Zak/Zach/zZakK Telford with Col. Everett Young, who apparently is the CO of Icarus Base and then of the Destiny. (If I’ve still got it wrong, I hope someone will set me straight.) But I’m not at all confused about Louis Ferreira lookin’ good in the uni whenever I check the site for updates.


Hard Candy: She may have been good in Juno, but Ellen Page was downright spectacular as a young femme fatale in this little movie with a big twist ending.

I didn’t realize that was the same person. That movie turned my stomach. Fascinating, but horrifying, too.

Plot twists that actually got me? Taking Lives with Angelina Jolie. Holy crap, did NOT expect that ending! It haunted me for weeks. Now, I think the whole movie is rather brilliant. I can’t really think of others right now. I usually guess the plot twists in advance. Result of watching too much TV. Even The Sixth Sense. I didn’t even see the movie, a friend was telling me the basic plot and I guessed the big plot twist at the end. Umm, I did like the twist of The Island, though it was revealed about halfway through the movie.

Also, I object to that posts dismissal of The Forgotten! That was a good movie…

Yeah. Anyway. I LOVE the new gate!! It’s kind of Pegasus meets Milky meets cool new font.


Coucou Joseph!!! =D

Vous allez bien? Moi super, le soleil brille et cela me fait bien plaisir!

Merci encore pour ces photos, ma gallery SGU commence à être bien rempli grâçe à vous.

Ahhh merci de m’avoir répondu!! C’est trop fort^^, je voudrai bien vous entendre dire ““Ici, les francais!”… en plus je suis sure que vous avez un accent adorable.

Dommage que vous n’ayez pas facebook car hier Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman à fait une petite video trés drôle où il nous parle en français, je vous donne le lien, peut être que votre femme vous laissera aller sur son compte:

Voila=) bonne journée!
Bisou Bisou


So this master serial killer sneaks out of his hospital room every night so that he can go and lie down in the middle of that room with his eyes closed and listen to the action rather than actually watch it on hidden camera? To what purpose? So that he can be close to the action and feel their hot breath on the nape of his neck? And how come throughout his murder spree not one night nurse has noticed him missing?

Who says it’s every night? It could be that he watches most of his victims from hidden cameras but, like you said, he was closer to the action. It’s heightening the vouyerism of his actions because, not only is he taping every moment of it to watch later, he’s experiencing it too. It’s a totally different experience, just like the scenarios he places each of his victims in (which also supports my theory that he wouldn’t be there every time).

Besides, aren’t the hospital scenes in the past? Because Dr Gordon was there? I might have to watch it again, to check that. Otherwise it might just be a stab at the deteriorating state of the health system?