Edge of America was the first film of the night. Directed by Chris Eyre, this story of a black man coaching the women’s basketball team at the Three Nations Reservation High School is one of my favorites. It deals with racism, cultural difference, sexism, and more. There are many wonderful scenes. But seeing it again tonight, reminded me of how powerfully it ends.
The team makes the state finals for the first time in history. For some of the players, this marks their first trip off the reservation. They play the dominant (check out the film to see all the dimensions of that word that are at work) team in the state. The game goes to overtime but the Three Nations team loses. The beginning of the film’s ending takes place on the bus as they make the journey back to the reservation. The coach in particular mourns the loss – taking the blame on himself.
But he and the team receive a joyous, affirming welcome from the entire Three Nations Reservation community: a celebration of effort and heart and all that binds a team and a community together.
Film endings leave much to ponder. Some leave me wondering. Some do little more than set up a sequel. And some do that in a very clumsy way. Some fail to provide enough of a resolution. Some come as an anticlimax – the film ended some moments before, but the makers did not stop. But some …
Some endings touch me and stay with me in ways and for reasons I can articulate and reasons I don’t understand. Consider:
Butch and Sundance defiantly running into a hail of Bolivian bullets. (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)
Shane riding away. (Shane)
Ethan Edwards stepping to the door and then turning away from the joyous reunion. (The Searchers)
Olive Hoover’s family joining her dance at the Little Miss Sunshine pageant. (Little Miss Sunshine)
Each ending unique in its own way. Each memorable.
What endings do you carry with you?
See you along the trail.