The Art of the Plot Twist

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The Art of the Plot Twist

By Scott Pukos [email protected] As an avid reader of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series during the 1990s, I was obsessed with the art of the "twist ending." I would read these books on the school bus, devour them well past my bedtime, and I would always try to guess what secrets the author would reveal next. It was extremely rare that I'd be able to decipher the twist before its arrival, but that's what made it fun.

While Goosebumps introduced me to surprise endings (and even inspired my elementary school self to write a few twisty tales of my own), my fascination with the plot device did not end there. I was (and still am) a sucker for any film, book, show, or playground gossip, that offered a mind-blowing reveal.

You would think that loads of hype -- mixed with anxious anticipation -- would set me up for disappointment, yet some of my favorite pop culture twists managed to avoid this problem. These highlights include, finally watching The Usual Suspects, the season three finale of Lost, Fight Club's gut punch of a surprise, and of course, The Sixth Sense. That last one -- M. Night Shyamalan's introduction into the public spotlight -- is our final summer MONDO film. The MONDO twist here is that we're actually going to show you The Happening (don't worry, this is not true).

When The Sixth Sense was released in 1999, I wasn't old enough to drive, and had to wait until it was released on VHS (yeah, VHS) to rent it (this was a real thing people did) in order to finally watch it. I managed to avoid spoilers too (as someone who is on Twitter most of the day for my job, I feel avoiding this surprise in today's climate would not be possible). I scoured the screen for clues during that first viewing, and while it seems obvious in hindsight, I did not guess the twist. If you guys have any stories from your first Sixth Sense viewing, send them my way! If you don't have any yet, well, stop by Friday night, grab some popcorn, and enjoy!

Little Podcast is here!

I'm excited about this item: Episode one of the Little podcast "Movies and a Microphone" is now online. The conversation examines Irrational Man (playing at The Little until 8/27), along with the film's surprising dark turn, and a hidden connection it has to Rochester. You can listen here. And as I mentioned last week, I'd love to have more Little "superfans" on the podcast. If you're interested, please send an email my way.

New this week

We have a fun sneak preview you for this week. Indian Summers will air on WXXI in September, and you can catch the first episode on the big screen Saturday. After the screening, swing by the café and grab some food from our friends at Amaya Indian Cuisine.

Opening on Friday is another film getting a lot of positive attention. Diary of a Teenage Girl co-stars Brighton's Kristen Wiig, and takes a look at the complicated life of a teen in the 1970s who begins a love affair with her mother's boyfriend. More info and showtimes here.