Like many people, I was a bit em, taken aback to say the LEAST, by the “ending” of Signs. I put the word ending in quotes because when people talk about the “ending” they don’t mean the actual ending of the film.

The truth is, Signs has a beautifully executed, genuinely moving ending. The moment in which Mel Gibson saves his asthmatic son, while realizing that it was his dying wife’s doing… When the tears well up in his eyes, and he gets his faith back. It’s a well acted and staged epiphany. Few manly men have the balls to cry like Mel Gibson. It’s why so many women wanted to fuck him during the decade of the 80’s. Many still do. Even with the Fidel Castro beard he sported during the making of Apocalypto.

No. What gets on most people’s tits about this film is the fact that this interstellar catastrophe boils down to Joaquin Phoenix using a baseball bat to beat the shit out of a poorly-rendered CGI creature in his living room.

I will freely admit that it is kind of stupid.

But, it doesn’t really matter. Because Signs was never about aliens in the first place.

Shyamalan could have told the exact same story, and it may have been just as effective and suspenseful, had it been a gang of hoodlums trying to break into Mel Gibson’s house so they could lynch a cowering David Warner. … I don’t know. But he chose to balance spiritual mysticism with man’s fear of the unknown and decided to do it by staging ID4 as a chamber piece.

The movie, as such, is a terrific display of mounting dread and classic suspense. There are so many terrific moments in this picture. Mel Gibson’s investigation of the cornfield. The moment in which Joaquin Phoenix sees the Brazilian home video that makes him jump back into his chair. … The scene where Gibson investigates Shyamalan’s house and ends up slicing an alien’s fingers off. Just great storytelling beats and fantastic moments of pure tension.

And the dramatic moments are even more memorable. The scene where they all decide to have a kind of last supper of all their favorite foods, on the chance that it may be the last meal they ever eat – and Rory Culkin says something hurtful, and Gibson has to try to eat while holding back tears… And the scene in the basement in which Gibson cradles his son while helping him get through an asthma attack… And admits he hasn’t lost his faith but is, in fact, pìssed off at God.

Great stuff.

In this age of cynicism and oblihatory irony, many of us have lost the capacity to just be swept away by a story’s pure intentions to move us and speak to our emotions. It’s why we find it easier to just laugh all this off as corny. It’s why we can make homoerotic jokes involving the characters in Lord of the Rings. It’s why when Boromir is giving his last gasps, looks into Aragorn’s eyes and grunts “My captain… My King…” well, the spanish subtitles go: “Mi capitán… mi rey…” which automatically brings to mind Latino pillow talk. And causes you to laugh rather than cry as you should.

We’ve lost the will to accept earnestness at face value. But, we’re the assholes if that’s the case – not them. Make no mistake.

I think Signs is a beautifully told story that hits all the right notes. Every time I see it, I like it more and more. Mel Gibson gives the best performance of his career as a man making peace with himself and forgiving God. The film is a solid family drama wrapped in a package of interstellar hokum meant to please the mainline crowd. It’s so riveting and tightly constructed that I frankly don’t have the patience to carp on irrelevant nonesense… So what if it’s water that kills them? “Oh! They’ve mastered interstellar travel but decide to come to a planet of which 75% is the very stuff that kills them” Yes! They’re fucking stupid, okay? Like Bill Hicks says: They’ve mastered interstellar travel but choose to go to places like Alabama and Arkansas. They’re hillbillies from space.

They’re morons.

Which makes a person doubly moronic for questioning the motives of a band of fictional characters that exist only to serve the suspense beats of a thriller. Nothing more.

It’s like spending an hour arguing about what’s inside Marcellus Wallace’s suitcase.

Who gives a fuck?