"Hereditary" was my favorite of the year before I saw "Roma". I have basically come to accept the ending for what it is but sorta know what you mean and was sort of on the fence about it for awhile. I mean, the events and the reasons behind them aren't any sillier or more OTT than your standard "Exorcist" (the obvious main reference point, which critics of course jumped all over) type film. I've since come to the conclusion that it simply *explains* too much. SPOILERS If the final scene was played the exact same way except w/o the whole Paimon explanation, I think it would be a lot creepier and more effective. And it would work- w/ the information you've been given so far and the way that final scene is laid out, the audience has enough to figure it out- especially since you see the sparkly blue spirit enter Peter and then he immediately does the tongue click when resurrected. All in all, I still think it's one of the scariest and most creative horror films that's come out in a long time.
I like the "Cuckoo's Nest" film and original novel pretty much equally but the take very different- almost opposite- approaches to the same material so I don't think they should really be judged the same way. The sledgehammer-subtle symbolism of the book (which I enjoy FTR, even the impressionistic "combine" stuff and when RP and the chief are given electroshock) is pretty much absent in the film. As you point out, objectively, there's nothing monstrous about nurse Ratched as opposed to the way she's described in the book. But, and forgive me for stating the obvious, the narrator of the book is a *mental patient* so Ratched coulda been stone faced Fletcher the whole time but ol' Crazy Horse makes her out to be this ####ing Grendal type creature. So maybe the scene when RP chokes her after Billy kills himself, it's a bit jarring because the symbolism gets somewhat lost in the more literal approach of the film when compared w/ the book? I guess I can see that. I still think it's supposed to be somewhat ambiguous (though my dad always told me that the audience cheered when it happened). And yeah, Jack plays RP as your typical brawler who made a series of of unfortunate decisions which left him a pillowface rather than Rebellion Personified. Still a good performance but "Five Easy Pieces" gets my vote for his best.
I've never loved "Indemnity" the way most noir fans do. MacMurray's most of the problem but it just seems a little noir by numbers for me. Some brilliant camerawork, sure but it's not a film I really recommend as among the first Wilder *or* noir films you see.
"Anyone For Tennis" is a bonus track and my personal favorite (wish they did that type of psych pop more often) but yeah, "Badge" is a great one too. "I told you bout the swans, how they live in the park" was Ringo's line.