MovieChat Forums > Heaven Can Wait (1978) Discussion > In the end it doesn't matter

In the end it doesn't matter


In the end it doesen't matter at all, if he gets a new body or not. Where's the point about staying alive, when you don't remember that you are yourself? Then you can be dead as well, no difference.

Who walks away in the end: Joe Pendleton in the body of the other guy or just the other guy? And who is really dead? And who is really awaited in heaven in the year 2025?

It's just that the end doesn't fit the beginning of the film. Beside this, I enjoyed it.

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You're right. That's the one major flaw in the script for me. Mason's character keeps talking about Joe's destiny, yet in the end Joe evaporates and the quarterback lives on, which means Joe did go to heaven 50 years early after all.....
Another weird thing is the eye thing. Julie Christie's character DOES recognize something familiar, the "Joe Glow" in the quarterback's eyes, yet Corkle looks into those same eyes and realizes that it isn't Joe anymore......

Other than that, I still love the movie. I guess you just shouldn't analyze too much while watching it.

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[deleted]

bizarre. i agree.



A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.

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That's exactly what I thought when I saw it. It's confusing, and although it's probably not the intention of the writers, I feel like the character of Joe Pendleton did in fact die.

Paul: It's a school of whales.
Ringo: They look a bit old for school.
Paul: University then.

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That's exactly what I thought when I saw it. It's confusing, and although it's probably not the intention of the writers, I feel like the character of Joe Pendleton did in fact die.

That bothered me when it came out and it bothers me now after watching it again. At the end, he doesn't have his body, or his memories. He's dead.

And even if you try to make it work inside the premise of the story, and he's not dead, where is he? Is he in heaven? No, he's not due there for another 50 years, right?

And what about Tom Jarrett? We're supposed to think Betty will fall in love with him. But he's not Joe. He doesn't have Joe's personality. And for that matter, he doesn't have Farnsworth's body (the one that Betty knows). So why would she fall in love with him?

I have to admit, if he did remember his life at the end, the ending would have a completely different effect. More realistic, if you know what I mean, but maybe less poetic, or mystical, or whatever you call it.

Oh well. Enough griping. Still an excellent film.


"I choose to think there is no free will..."

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"Where's the point about staying alive, when you don't remember that you are yourself?"

It seems that is rather the point. When you die, presumeably all memories are erased. And if you return again ( I know that's a big "if")you do so with a clean slate..as in being born. In essence that's what happened to Joe Pendleton. His old persona has died and a new one took it's place.

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[deleted]

I felt the exact same way. He's as good as dead at the end. I still enjoyed the movie but the ending kinda hurt it for me.

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I just watched the movie. Seen it before but it had been many years,

The point this thread makes did occur to me. I think what the movie was trying to say is that Joe's soul lives on. Which is a separate thing than his memories. Which is the whole idea behind reincarnation.

Betty and Joe are Soul Mates. They can recognize each other because of their love. While Max, the trainer can not see Joe. Obviously the movie has a very romantic, spiritual take on love. It not about Joe's job or appearance. Or even the relationship that Betty and Farnsworth had. Its about a connection that transcends all that.

The other thing is that while Joe's sole ambition in life was to play in the Super Bowl when he got that chance it was secondary. He had fallen in love. But he could not live as Farnsworth that situation was too dangerous.

At least that is what they are going for! Whether they succeed is debatable. Nice movie but its a little unfocused. The middle section really meanders.

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[deleted]

You are correct. This movie is too good to have a tacky sitcom ending appended to it.

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[deleted]

I guess I looked at it differently.

I see the movie as meaning that it doesn't matter what you look like, or what your experiences in life are, the person inside of you is what you are, and what you always will be. It was like he was reincarnated in Tom Jarrett's body. He won't exactly 'BE' Tom Jarrett, he'll have his body, and his memories, but he'll still be the person and personality, that Joe was.

'That was a priceless Steinway' 'Not anymore'

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I think you're right except I would replace the words "the person inside" with "soul". I think that's point : all that matters is your soul. It doesn't matter if you have the correct memories and body because the only part that matters is your soul. He'll go on and live the life of Tom Jarrett and his soul will go to heaven in 50 years as was originally planned.

That was the plan from the beginning. The only reason it was different with Farnsworth is because it was temporary.

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I completely disagree. Memories don't make the man.

By your logic, if someone suffers from complete memory loss but is still functioning, he's technically dead or reborn.

The soul and essence lived on. As noted by the teacher who still saw it was him even though she didn't understand how.

The other guy is dead and Joe is alive.

transongeist.com

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Well, in my opinion memories largely DO make the man. Apart from personality and perhaps some few other innate traits, they're largely what make us who we are. I wouldn't go so far as to equate complete memory loss to someone's dying, but I think that yes, that person is mostly lost to us. In the worst cases not even a shadow of their former self, because that self is essentially gone.

The real-world "look in the eye" is really a look of recognition/awareness and the other associated emotions that go with it (love, acceptance, etc.).

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