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…













83 thoughts on “July 20, 2009: The Destiny Gate!

  1. 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…

  2. 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!

  3. 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.


  4. 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.

  5. 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? 😉

    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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

  10. 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’.

  11. @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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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?”

  14. 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!!!!!!!!

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  21. 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?


  22. Mika, Thanks for the update, and would you please let us know, how things are going? Where I live- Port Saint Lucie, Florida, we had a Horrible wildfire here 10 years ago, and lost 50 houses and had 1 death caused by it. VERY scarry stuff, at least we KNOW when hurricanes are comming! It came out of nowhere and my hubby was a firefighter then, now retired, and told me to pack up the kids and go to my sisters if it got any worse. We got lucky, and it went the other way, but watched as our friends in a different part of town we evacuated. Good people do rise to a tragady, and the community donated food , clothing and everything else you can think of!! Red Cross was wonderful too!! Everyone stay safe. Hi, Joe. Sheryl

  23. Ah…the symbols…they’re different! 🙂

    The Prestige…I still get all twisted with that one. And I know there are others, but I don’t even have one cup of coffee in yet. I’m sure I’ll think of them at work today while I pretend to design spreadsheets!!!

  24. Hello there,
    Personnaly I think “twist” are overrated… to a certain extend. Ex: when I go see a Steven seagal movie (my second best after stargate) I don’t care for the twist, I go there to see the guy kick some … I do agree however that some storyline are not really up for a oscar… But still, I think it depend on what you are expecting from a movie.

  25. Twist endings? How about The Mist? I actually didn’t like most of this movie. In fact I had fits of laughter at inappropriate times in the movie because some of stuff happening in the store while the Mist was outside just struck me as silly. I sat through most of it thinking “What is all the hype about?” – and then I saw the ending. Oh.

    Still didn’t like most the movie, but the ending was an impressive twist.

    And, you mentioned The Sting? Yes! When I was younger it was not a big thing to come late to a movie because you didn’t have to leave after the movie ended. You could stay in the theatre and watch it again from the beginning. The Sting was the first movie that I remember everyone warning you not to come late – that you HAD to see it from the beginning. They were right.

  26. On the graphic with all the text on it, it mentions that the symbols on the gate are writing in ancient script, rather than constellations or anything. Based on the close-up of the chevron you provided though, the script looks a lot different to the blocky script we’re used to seeing.

    Is it a different “font” of Ancient – the latter being like the font that Romans would have used to engrave on statues (with V instead of U, for example) – or an older form of the lanugage… or a different language altogether?

  27. A few of my favorite movie twists. Andromeda Strain, the original. I was wowed by the idea that the ultimate fail-safe would actually doom mankind instead of saving it from the threat. And it made for a great sequence as the hero struggled to turn off those fail safes.
    A Boy and his Dog, with Don Johnson. A logical, and satisfying solution to the dilemna of a dying dog and what it takes to save its life.
    13th Warrior. I was intrigued by this overhaul of the Beowulf story, and not just because of the eye candy. While I realized that the premise of the “monster/dragon” would not hold up in the real world, the story engaged me long enough to buy into it during the movie itself.
    As long as you’re throwing out Heston movies, how about Omega Man? A far better version than the Will Smith remake. Even though it ended on a hopeful note, I didn’t see the fate of our hero coming.
    I’ll also agree with ytimynona’s pick of A Dog’s Breakfast. Most people I’ve shown the movie to have sat there trying to figure out what is going on, or even getting impatient, only to guffaw as the story resolves.
    So, what about any suprising qualities to the Destiny gate? Any sneak previews? What about power sources for Destiny? What are the chances of coming across a pre-Accension Ancient? The pictures are great, but I am starting to want more. Though if there’s no word on the SG1 and SGA movie by October I’ll have to pass on watching the show to find the answers for myself.Thanks for the pictures and the mailbag.

  28. I liked the twist in The Usual Suspects, as they show Verbal walking down the side walk (his limp disappears) and then to Kujan when he realizes Verbal made it up using names of objects around his room.

    I just found your blog about the new Stargate series. Interesting photos. Can’t wait for it to air!

  29. Hey Joe!
    Is there going to a set number of people on bored the Destiny or is it going to be left open ended??

  30. Lots of random thoughts before I run off to work (on the first day of my vacation since I had too blasted much work to finish):

    Story twist vs. cop-out debate: I love when the blog has lively discussions!

    Joe said:

    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.

    Maybe most Wraith are not as quick or intelligent as the Atlanteans, but I think you’ll have to admit that Todd is the exception to that rule.

    I like the Destiny gate – it has kind of an Art Nouveau look.

    @maggiemayday: I see what you mean about the symbols. Sperm and moons, indeed.

    I hope the wildfires don’t cause any more significant property destruction or injury. But it sounds like this particular fire may do some good in the long run and may be Mother Nature’s way of cleaning out all those dead and dying pine trees.

  31. Waw, elle déchire la nouvelle porte.
    J’ai hate de la voir fonctionné.

    Je voudrai savoir si il y a la langue francaise dans la nouvelle version de Childrens of the Gods, et si elle sortira en France?

  32. I’d add to your list the original “Ocean’s 11” with Frank Sinatra. Who would have seen that one coming! I agree with you about Frailty. I love that one too!

  33. Oh, yes, what Ponytail said – The Twilight Zone – To Serve Man. That was creepy and never saw it coming.

    And, MANY thanks for all the photos…and please keep them coming.

  34. Thank you for the movie list and pictures. I’ve seen four/five of you list. I’ll make sure to look up the others. Yes, I know Signs had a big stupid hole in the plot but the cast were awesome!


  35. My stage is going great. thanks for asking. They got me to cut potatos and shallots and pick terragon and other things. Holy crap those pommes frites are good. Got to plate the Kasha yesterday :D. JP’s been very nice to me. I also got to try some of those desserts. Holy crap the chocolate terrine is good. I hope the foie protesters come out today. I wanna get a picture of them before I’m done my stage

    Where did you get a real black truffle?

  36. Is the Destiny’s Gate Room in the same spot at the studio as the SGC’s Gate Room?

    I have to purge that question from my soul. Ever since I saw an image of Rush standing on a catwalk, that question keeps taunting me. I have no idea how a catwalk could feel at all like SGC’s gateroom (I think it has something to do with comparing the ceiling heights of the sets), but, if I can at least stop wondering, I might get past it.

  37. Joe – your list is great and haven’t seen Session 9 – so I will get that and take a look at it soon. I just watched Soylent Green again a couple of days ago as well as Silent Running. Guess I have been in a Dystopian state of mind. Don’t Look Now – an all-time favorite of mine and I think Angel Heart still holds up.

    I have to agree with Greg about The Usual Suspects. Did you leave that off your list for some reason? I was suckered in by that film. Maybe I wasn’t trying to look so hard at it because I loved the characters and performances so much.

    Thanks for the link to the Scalzi article. Yes – this is the downside of a collaborative process involving so much money. Too many “chefs”. Too bad it’s so costly. Less resources for potentially better films.

  38. Thanks for the pictures! I really like the Destiny Gate. 🙂

    I’ve actually never watched the Sixth Sense – and since I know the movie twist, I think I’ll never watch it.

  39. I am now totally addicted to & had to subscribe to his RSS feed. Thank you for giving me yet another distraction from work 🙂

  40. Okie dokie – you asked for it! This is MY ‘foie gras’! 😉

    Answer: The hive ships are swimming with wraith.

    Yes. We know that. And that, in essence, is the problem. For five seasons we watched as Lanteans invaded hive ships – supposedly swarming with Wraith – undetected. I could buy it the first time, maybe even the second, but after a while it just got silly, like a Monty Python skit.

    These were the big, bad Wraith, with deadly enemies amongst humans and even their own kind, and they never bothered with security, not even after their very existence had been threatened by the likes of Michael, and civil war, and those meddling kids flying around in their ‘Mystery Machine’. The whole ‘we don’t need no stinkin’ security’ scenario was really hard to swallow after a while, and it did look like unimaginative storytelling.

    They would certainly kill an Atlantean on sight – unless they had a use for them.

    But they didn’t. Instead they continued to trust their lies. I know Wraith are just eye candy… bubble-headed ‘blonds’ thrown in to titillate oversexed, middle-aged women… but come on! Do their roots really go that deep?

    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.

    I guess those blond roots really do go that deep, then.

    Although the Wraith overwhelmed the Ancients by sheer number, the Ancients themselves were a numerous people. The New Lanteans are just a handful by comparison. The Wraith should have long over-whelmed them by now, all intelligence aside.

    (I will give you that Wraith appear to be very singularly-focused, unable – or unwilling – to accept that things just might not go their way. Chalk that up to arrogance on their part, a trait – it seems – shared by Elric and other dumb ‘blonds’ I’m attracted to lately. 😛 )

    Of course, there is the problem established early on, namely, the Wraith were near-invulnerable – resistant to physical damage (on the MGM site it says they have an armor-like skin), skilled in hand-to-hand combat, faster than a sprinting Rodney, more powerful than a puddlejumper, able to leap up into tall pine trees in a single bound…

    But as the show went on most of that changed in what seemed to be a lazy attempt at making the ‘heroes’ look tough. If the Wraith hadn’t been so dumbed down, I might not feel as sympathetic towards them. But, alas…all I could see where these beautiful, hungry things that were being victimized by invaders from another galaxy, invaders who – like European explorers of old – cared not about the imbalance and destruction they caused as they exterminated ‘savages’ from the land, justifying all their misdeeds in the name of King and Country.

    I know most fans don’t share my view, but I can’t help how I feel. Season 5 was very hard for me to watch, especially when the Lanteans never stepped up and took responsibility for Michael – never accepted their culpability for what they did to him – putting all blame on this Wraith who the totally f’ed up in mind and body before washing their hands of him. And don’t get me started on Inquisition, which was a very lazy attempt at justifying all the Lanteans have done, especially when most of the audience can now see through their goody two-shoes facade. It was a very bad and poorly-executed ‘ending’.

    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.

    Joe, Joe, Joe…I know you are trying, but the fact that one exploding ship can blow up another should – I would think – prevent any Wraith from being stupid enough to fire upon an enemy hive while in close proximity to one another. Let’s face it – two hive ships blowing up is far more exciting than one blowing up, while the other escapes. It’s done for sensation’s sake, and easy gimmick to wow the audience.

    As for super-easy to kill a wraith – I actually asked that question in late season 3. Chalk that up to improved ammo.

    And were YOU satisfied with that ‘contrived, out-of-the-blue’ answer? 😉

    Theirs a fine line between using art to deliver a message and having a wank at the audience’s expense.

    First, thank you for misspelling ‘theirs’. I feel so normal now. 😀

    Second, I always enjoyed a good wanking, especially when I’m in on it. 😉

    That said, I do understand what you’re saying and agree to a point. However, two hive ships blowing up at one time, or ‘say boo and they drop dead’ Wraith, can be perceived as the writers having a good wank at the expense of those who aren’t quite as impressed with such easy solutions to a story.

    Again – I think the effectiveness of the storytelling is all in the eye of the beholder. Just taking your show, for instance…what I found unacceptable (all mentioned above), thoroughly entertained the majority of fans. On the flip side, movies that disappointed you thoroughly engaged and entertained me. It’s all about perception, and what we personally want from a movie or show.

    To end my ramblings, I want to say that I totally agree with you on The Sting and Witness for the Prosecution – the rest I haven’t seen, or haven’t seen in full. And I grew up automatically knowing the ending to Soylent Green (thanks to my sister), so no surprises there.

    As for great endings with a satisfying twist? The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Period. Hey Blond!! You know what you are? Just a dirty son-of-ah-a-ah-a-ahhhh…wah-wah-wah… Best. ending. ever.

    And finally, I didn’t even know about the fires in Canada. 🙁 May everyone keep safe!


  41. Das: Ouch! Both barrels but it was a fun read.

    Mr. M. We enjoy your scripts, even if we happen to find holes in the plot.

    Your fan,

  42. When I went to see Alien we had no clue what the movie was about. The movie trailer only showed that creepy egg. Plus it wasn’t supposed to be a big hit so there really wasn’t that much press when it first came out.

    By the time John Hurt popped that mini-monster we were creeped but nothing prepared us for the horror to come. At one point our theater appeared empty because people had sunk down in their chairs and were peaking out from behind the seats; grown men were screaming like little girls. Then just when you think it’s over, you think Ripley and the cat are safe she realizes she’s not alone in the escape pod. I have never screamed so much or heard so many other people screaming in a theater before or since. It was like the best roller coaster ride ever and we all straggled out looking like we’d gone 12 rounds with Foreman.

    Best part was we had no idea what was coming next; there were no spoilers to warn us, none of those trailers where they ruin the best part of the movie. They did a great job of keeping the movie under wraps.

  43. @Shelley D: totally valid point; it was oversimplified geography for the out-of-towners, and I’d hate to think anyone mixing up the wine with the beer. 😉
    Clarification: the fires are approximately halfway between Whistler, BC and Banff, AB, and far enough from Vancouver that we don’t see smoke.

    @sheryl: fire update
    Two of the fires are near a community and are increasingly contained, the third is off in the woods and is pretty much being allowed to burn. Just over half the evacuees were permitted to head home early this morning. Smaller fires have broken out and been contained. We’re continuing to be very lucky — no injuries reported, no additional houses lost overnight. Less lucky: one of the fires (the one off in the woods) is being attributed to arson.

    After the big Australian fires this year, and the southern California fires for the past two years, what’s impressing me most is that the firefighting resources seem unstressed. It feels like there’s plenty of water bombers for the job required, lots of ground crew, and even time to haul a top-ranking emergency management team into place. I’m not sure if this is just a different style of reporting, or if it’s the timing (not the first fire of the season, but not the last when all the crews are exhausted), or if it was anticipated so the plan was all in place, or what, but I’m impressed!

  44. Has Ancient OSHA looked at this new gate design? Seems to be some dangerous pinch points when the whole thing turns. There should probably be some big yellow warning signs, fenced off area, traffic cones and a designated safety officer watching at all times.

    About that steam: Safety glasses should be distributed immediately in case of ejected debris. Please provide an on-duty medic with burn treatment training and respirators for all personnel within 40 feet of the gas release. Ear protection should be worn by all technicians when the gate is active.

    We should also discuss the lack of a designated visual “hazard area” warning in the Kawoosh zone. Last year hundreds of workers were killed or injured when their gate activated unexpectedly.

    Please perform a thorough safety evaluation and submit your plans for a quarterly employee training and certification program.


  45. Hey Joe,
    Thanks for the pics..


    SO a couple questions.

    1. Have you seen any of the final Shiny VFX for SGU…. also how close is Air(first two parts) to being completed?

    2. How long till SGU has some cool shirts and merch, cause when I was at the bridge I saw some cool “sexy” LOL SGU shirts(the crew were wearing them, they were a black shirt with the SGU logo printed on them). I just wondered when it will hit shelves cause I would die to get one of them.

    3. Did the email to Mr. Bill work out?

    4. Do you think we can have some pics from the set of the “puddle jumper on sterioids”. I believe that’s what you called it, and you said it was some type of shuttle.

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  46. b@ Tammy Dixon – I went easy on Joe ’cause I like him. I mean…I like him in a non-creepy kinda way. Plus, he’s got cute dimples. You can’t be mean to a person who has cute dimples.

    (FYI, I have dimples, too. So be nice to me!)

    @ Joe – Two more movies with excellent ‘twist’ endings:

    The Road Warrior – Doh! It’s only sand!

    The Treasure of the Sierra Madre – Doh! It’s gold, not sand!


  47. Das –

    “For five seasons we watched as Lanteans invaded hive ships – supposedly swarming with Wraith – undetected.”

    Despite the number of wraith on board, there is no way they could have corridor and room under guard. The hive ships are huge. Also, despite their ability to clone fresh troops, the Atlanteans have scored significant victories against them, severely depleting their ranks.

    “They would certainly kill an Atlantean on sight – unless they had a use for them.”

    But they didn’t. Instead they continued to trust their lies.

    – When the team has been captured, the wraith have usually had designs on them other than mere feeding (ie. their use of the rest of the team as leverage to force McKay to figure out the replicator kill switch). Otherwise, when pressed, they certainly have tried to kill them – but not been very successful. Another element of their undoing is wraith arrogance, evidenced not only their underestimation of the Atlanteans but in their dealings with one another.

    The New Lanteans are just a handful by comparison. The Wraith should have long over-whelmed them by now, all intelligence aside.

    – If they had known the location of Atlantis, I’m sure they would have.

    “As for super-easy to kill a wraith – I actually asked that question in late season 3. Chalk that up to improved ammo.”

    And were YOU satisfied with that ‘contrived, out-of-the-blue’ answer?

    – Actually, it makes perfect sense. You even quoted the MGM site yourself in their description of the wraith’s armor-like skin. What better way to pierce armor-like skin than with armor-piercing rounds? Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest.

    …the fact that one exploding ship can blow up another should – I would think – prevent any Wraith from being stupid enough to fire upon an enemy hive while in close proximity to one another.

    – True but in most of these cases it was the Atlanteans who triggered the exchange. Once a hive ship is being fired upon, they can a) respond by trying to get away which would be deemed cowardly, particulary in an exchange with fellow wraith, or b) they can be spiteful bastards and, knowing they’re doomed, take their attackers with them. The second option is more in keeping with the wraith mindset.

  48. My chime in here. Of course the Sixth Sense was a great movie that had twists and turns and always had me wondering, these movies, too, were (for me) good ones where you never knew who was good or bad, or didn’t think that ending was going to happen, or whatever.

    Arlington Road (as mentioned above)

    Planet of the Apes (the original and the new one — I know, groan people, but I really expected him to get back home, not another version of Earth; unexpected surprise for me).

    Hancock (another groaner) — Started off slow but then injected some twists and turns I never saw happening.

    The Departed


    No Way Out (as mentioned above)

    Taking Lives (as mentioned above)

    Desert Saints (while overall a lame movie, I found the twists very interesting).

    The Prestige (as mentioned above).

  49. Joe’s bored. (Don’t you have a script to write?)

    I would love to reply right now – but I’m actually WORKING, unlike some people I know. 😉 Just stopped in to wave and say ‘howdy’. I read your reply, Joe…when I get home I’ll whisk out a skewer and my trusty bottle of Scorned Woman Fiery Barbecue Sauce… 😈

    So, be prepared.



  50. @Mika

    As someone who have fight a forest fire. Resources available to fight forest fires is relatively meaningless.

    What is more important is the terrain and the wind condition, You have to be able to get heavy equipment and personnel to the fire to contained the fires. That is if the wind condition permits effective containment of the fires. There is very little you can do if the wind spreads the flames and embers.

    However some of the current fires in BC is in areas that is not easily accessible. You couldn’t even deploy and retrieve personnel by helicopter.

    People with homes in hilly wooded areas with limited access should realize their perilous vulnerability to fires.

  51. I wish I could just edit the post I accidently just made a minute again, feel free to delete it. I love all the pictures you’ve been giving us of the behind the scences stuff. Couple questions for you, though chances of them being answered as small. So what were the names of the episodes that you gave us all clues for? and who guessed them correctly first? Was wondering are their DHD’s on the planets the members of Destiny visit?

  52. One of my favourite movies, from when I saw it on tv, I don’t know if it would stand the test of time, was Jeff Goldblum’s and Michelle Pfeiffer’s”Into the Night”.

    The movie starts incredibly slowly, I remember watching it with my mother and she complained she’d turn the channel if something didn ‘t happen soon (the writers definitely didn’t have Rob Cooper’s guidance), 5 seconds later the main character was surrounded with dead bodies. I should see if it is as good as I remember it.

    Great discussion of movie twist and weak endings. I truly enjoyed it. Thanks for hosting such a great blog Joe 🙂

  53. @ Thornyrose – I JUST got my Todd/Chris piccie!!!! THANK YOU!!! {{{{hugs}}}} But…WAAAAHHH!!! 😥 I’m sorry I couldn’t make it, too! Thank you for having him personalize it – means a lot!


  54. Thornyrose’s mention of The Andromeda Strain made me remember Jurassic Park. (This is sort of cheating, since I only had the word of friends that the movie’s ending was pretty similar to the book’s. I loved Michael Crichton’s stuff and still do, so I read Jurassic Park and dealt with the resulting paranoia for quite a while, and figured the movie would have me holed up in my room quite possibly forever.)

    The final pages of the book initially had me breathing a sigh of relief that the major issue had been dealt with, so no more threat. And then . . . nightmare city. One of the most ominous endings I can remember, and which (after googling) I’m pretty sure was duplicated in the film.

    The Picture of Dorian Grey (older version) has an ending that probably a lot of people could predict; but watching as a young’un, I found it very spooky even if not a total surprise. I guess the creepiness is in how the reveal is done, and in what you actually see. *shudders*

  55. Hi Joe,

    No questions to pester you with today, but I’m hoping you’ll pass along congratulations to Mr. Wright for the incredible re-cut of CotG. I’ve watched it twice today already (with and without commentary) and I think it’s excellent! Love Joel’s original score too. 🙂

    This will tide me over for awhile, but hopefully we’ll get word soon on movie #3 and SGA. *pokes MGM*


  56. dasNdanger, you think too much, the show doesnt have to explain everything that goes on you know. some realism has to be sacrificed for the sake of the story in order for it to be 45 minutes long and under budget, anyone who enjoys a show like this doesnt need much suspension of disbelief anyway. similarly in the new star trek there was a lot of ridiculous stuff going on that totally didnt make sense yet people bought it no questions asked.
    and didnt star wars have like a 100 stormtroopers get killed at once by a whiny kid, a condescending princess and an opportunistic smuggler?

  57. Looks like I’m not gonna roast ya, Joe…

    See, went to this little town fair today after work (‘Oh, to live on Sugar Mountain, with the barkers and the colored balloons…’ ). A band was playing, the crafters were there, the local vineyard was offering free wine-tasting, and Jersey farmers had their tables loaded with the freshest of produce (bought half a dozen Jersey peaches and PA Dutch sweet tomato butter – Mmmmm!). Saw all the familiar community faces, too. Bought a lovely fresh loaf of tomato garlic bread from Michel, the best French baker around (last week it was 8-grain pumpernickle and a Bastille Day celebration!). Also picked up fresh made andouille sausage from a local award-winning butcher who had a booth set up as well. For dinner I had a delicious Carolina BBQ pulled pork sandwich – loaded with vinegar and hot red peppers – with a bit of wine. The chef – a co-worker of mine a while back when I worked in the school library – invited mom and me to load up on the crackle, so there we were right in the smoker, pulling a dead pig’s skeletal remains apart. Mom got a whole foot. 😀

    So I’m home, just chillin’ now… feeling a might bit too mellow and laid back to stir any more pots tonight.

    Besides, everyone knows I’m right. 😉


  58. Joe, I think there is a mess up somewhere. Everytime you reply to das, i get it sent to my e-mail address. Now i don’t mind reading any of it, but i think it was ment for das. And how is the fire situation going today, better, i hope. Sheryl

  59. PBMom, too bad you didn’t see the fantabulous Hong Kong trilogy, Infernal Affairs before you saw The departed. The original still rocks against the remake.

    I’m with Greg about Unusual Suspects. That made me go, ” what the…holy crap!!” and smile as I walked out of the theatre.

    Joe, you gone and did it again. Really funny how you put Oldboy on your list for 2 reasons:
    1) I literally just finished watching it 30 mins ago — I’ve had the DVD for ages and got sidetracked by excellent Bollywood and Japanese films, as well as numerous K and J dramas — and also because
    2) I spotted the trick from the minute they met. I would have guessed you for the trick spotter in that one, too.

  60. Frailty was fantastic. I love that I didn’t see either of the twists coming. I still can’t get that movie out of my head!

  61. Uhh . . . I suppose I should’ve said Portrait of Dorian Grey, instead of picture. Tonight I’ll probably dream about Oscar Wilde; and as if that in itself weren’t enough, very likely he’ll be needling me with one clever insult after another, and I’ll have to leave my own mind just to get some peace and quiet.

    “Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor, not an English professor.”

  62. @Montrealer,

    Completely true, and with your permission I’ll happily quote that at my Catastrophic Disasters students.

    Resources don’t solve all (or even most) of the problems with wildfires, but it’s very nice to not have the, “It’s X Government’s Fault for not providing adequate resources,” and “If only we had three more helicopters, little Billy’s pet poodle would’ve been saved!” news articles. As I said, I have no idea if it’s a real resource-availability difference or just stylistically different reporting compared to the Oz and SCal fires this year.

  63. @ otros ojos – I’ve long thought that Johnny Depp has a creepy, mutating portrait in the attic, for certainly there is some sort of strange, dark magic at work keeping that man so beautiful!



  64. the only twist in Dorian Grey was that he was gay, and if u read the book it will only take you 3 pages to figure that out

  65. I kind of liked the twist in Memento. Actually, just the way the whole story unfolded was pretty novel.

    I was not as keen on…was it Identity? That John Cusack film with the motel and the rainstorm and the serial killer on the loose. It wasn’t that the twist came out of left field, exactly, but it felt too much like a “and then they woke up, the end” finish. With the obligatory “haha fooled you, now they’re really awake!” appendix.

    Actually, I wonder if anyone goes into thriller/horror movies anymore not expecting some kind of last-minute bad guy resurrection twist? It’s almost a requirement now, for certain kinds of movies. The next big twist will be when a horror movie doesn’t have that final resurrection scene!

  66. The sixth sense? That has to be one of the lamest twists of all time. I hate to sound like McKay, but seriously? How did you not see that one coming? I was eleven when I first saw it and bored to tears even before I figured out the twist.

  67. So many people on Gateworld says that I was being pessimistic about the show’s characters becoming monsters every so often; abandoning their humanity. Seeing as how you’re a fan of Audition and Oldboy, i’d say SGU may be interesting after all.

  68. So uh, what’s the point of having chevrons at all if they all light up? Are they magical gate-powering lights? 😀 I almost expected to see one or two staying off when a 7- or 8 symbol address is being dialed.

  69. uhm…..wormhole drive?

    come on you have to admit SGA had some ridiculous twist endings. It happens to everyone, it’s just how well you handle the twist that makes it good or not.
    For example, The Shrine, they just happened to know of a place, then aside from all other cases the creature just decides to crawl out of McKay’s head, and he is magically unscathed, despite having a creature literally running around in his brain? even for scifi that is pushing it. But it was well written and well executed which made it one of the fan’s favorite episodes.

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