Ty Burr

Erase the rat in ‘The Departed’? Don’t get me started

Jack Nicholson (left) and Matt Damon in “The Departed.”
Jack Nicholson (left) and Matt Damon in “The Departed.” (Andrew Cooper/Warner Brothers Pictures)

So the news comes this week that Adam Sacks, a young video editor from Brooklyn, has mounted a Kickstarter campaign to “digitally erase” the rat that Martin Scorsese had running across Matt Damon’s balcony at the end of “The Departed” (or, as we like to call it around here, “The Depahted”). Never mind that it’s Scorsese’s film and if he wants to end it with a pulpy, over-obvious bit of symbolism, that’s his right; Sacks is asking for $4,000 to buy the “Departed” Blu-ray, purchase a Blu-ray player, hire a visual effects specialist, and provide for a digital-to-film transfer. As of Thursday, he’d already surpassed his goal by $500. This has to be the most ingenious way to pay the rent I’ve ever heard.

Scorsese himself has yet to weigh in, but two can play this game, especially when so many, uh, totally rational people are willing to part with their money. So I’m thinking about starting my own campaign to improve the endings of the following classic movies. Because, good or bad, art really needs to be crowdsourced.


“To Kill a Mockingbird”: Mayella Ewell recants her rape accusation, Tom Robinson is freed and embraced by a small Southern community that has seen the error of its ways, and Atticus finds a caring mental health facility for Boo Radley.

“Casablanca”: Rick has a change of heart, hands Victor Laszlo over to the Gestapo, and flies away with Ilsa to start a Resistance career of his own and raise a bunch of little Bogeys.

“Chinatown”: J.J. Gittes shoots Noah Cross, saves Evelyn Mulwray and her daughter/her sister, and drives off into the sunset. Forget it, Jake, it’s Sherman Oaks.

“Citizen Kane”: Charles Foster Kane finds a therapist and works out his abandonment issues, turns Xanadu into the world’s foremost museum of sleds and tobogganry, and dies happily in his sleep.


“The Godfather”: Michael Corleone patches things up with brother Fredo, hands the family business over to Tom Hagen, and goes into insurance like the solid Dartmouth man he is.

“Midnight Cowboy”: Joe Buck finds Ratso Rizzo a decent pulmonary specialist and the two settle down in Boca, in 2015 becoming Florida’s first same-sex married couple.

“Titanic”: Because Rose makes room for Jack to climb onto that damn piece of flotsam, they make it to New York, sell the necklace, and end up running a hotel in the Catskills.

“Sunset Boulevard”: Norma Desmond goes on antidepressants, gives up her dreams of returning to the silver screen, and develops a successful second career selling movie memorabilia on eBay.

“Roma”: Cleo sues her employers over exploitative labor practices and years of back pay, whereupon the screen bursts into Technicolor and the entire cast comes out for a lavish musical number.

“Inception”: The spinning top falls over.

Ty Burr can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @tyburr.