30 terrible movies saved by great endings

Bad films that find their footing at the last minute

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

30 terrible movies saved by great endings 1

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus has an imaginative premise and a stellar acting crew that includes Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer, Verne Troyer, and Andrew Garfield. Those aspects, however, are overshadowed by the movie’s crowded plot. For instance, the first act of the Terry Gilliam-directed flick was packed with convoluted dream sequences and overstimulating visuals without a clear plot direction.

Thousands of years ago, Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer), the leader of a traveling show, traded the soul of his daughter, Valentina, to the devil (Tom Waits). Now the devil has come to collect his prize. To save her, Parnassus must make a final wager: Whoever collects five souls first will win Valentina. Tony (Heath Ledger), a man saved from hanging by Parnassus’ troupe, agrees to help collect them, with his eye on marrying Valentina.

Despite its complicated and congested narrative, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus concludes with a surprising and satisfying third act. It turns out that Tony is actually a horrible guy who steals children’s organs. So after discovering Tony’s secret, Doctor Parnassus murders him by tricking him into hanging himself. Doctor Parnassus then gives Tony’s soul to the devil.