COUNTDOWN… Robert Altman Movie…

Book by Hank Searls called “The Pilgrim Project.”

Stumbled across it, about an alternate universe when the Soviet Union got ahead of the US in the space race, and sent three men to the moon. So the US rushed one man to the moon.

Really bad graphics, but a lot of stars.

So along comes the ending. Astronaut sort of panics, lands on the moon, wonders around with only three hours of air left looking for a shelter he was supposed to have landed beside.

But we the viewers think he’s going to make it. That is our expectation.

He finds the Soviet’s dead cosmonaughts and puts the American Flag with the Soviet Flag. Nice theme. Horrid graphics, but nice theme. More than likely that scene sold the movie.

We see all the people back on Earth working and waiting for him to find the shelter he was supposed to land next to so he can contact them and tell them they won and he is alive. We viewers are waiting for that moment.

Then, with only seven minutes left, he spots the shelter a long ways off. We’re going to get the feel-good ending, right?

Nope. He starts to walk toward the shelter, tension high that he will or won’t make it.

Fade out…

The end.

Wow, no wonder no one ever saw or remembers the movie. Just mind-numbing stupid ending. I think they just ran out of time and didn’t know what to do if he had lived. So they just decided to not tell us one way or another.

Shows how really critical reader and viewer expectations are to the right ending. We teach that reader expectations in different classes. Just never saw it illustrated so clearly and in such a bone-headed way.