Sunday, February 14, 2010

Four not so feel good movies and why I am glad I saw them.

I have friends who say that if a movie gets good reviews, they won't go to see it. I have a friend who hates movies with happy endings. (all the links will take you to trailers of said movies). I know many people who will avoid a movie if it involves an issue. There are things I try to avoid.
Fifteen years ago I was in Scranton, PA sitting alone in a movie theater. I noticed I was crying. Dead Man Walking was on the screen. About that time a test told me I lacked compassion.
I came home to an empty house. I needed to let out what I had just seen. Crash had been on the screen.
I am in the restroom after a movie and all the men are somber. Are we thinking about ourselves, our parents, or both? The Savages had just been on the screen.
Up In The Air can be added to the list. I sat hoping Hollywood would not force a happy ending, not because I hate movies with happy endings, but because this movie was not about happy endings. It was about a man's life being turned upside down. I sat watching the final scene thinking it was where this movie had to end. Did I have hope for this character? Yes. But I had no idea if what he had lived through would lead to good or bad. However, his life was unfolding.
There are reasons to not see these movies. But sometimes I need to crash into sadness by way of the movies. As one character says in Crash... "Sometimes we crash into people just so that we can feel something."
Sometimes I need a movie to stick a wedge into and try to open this stoic heart of mine, so that when real life hits me hard, I can feel something. A few years ago I stumbled upon a radio station that was having a benefit for CHOP. After each song they would tell a story of a child facing intensive medical treatments. It may have been wise to turn stations, but I kept listening with my heart aching.


  1. Gotta agree with your friend about nice tidy Hollywood endings. They have their place, I suppose, but they do feel a bit like cheating.

    I've never heard of The Savages; looks really good. Dead Man Walking practically undid me emotionally.

    I kind of feel the same way as you about listening to things like the CHOP benefit. I figure if people are going through these kinds of personal hell, the least I can do is walk with them for a while and pray, even if it's only a symbolic walk.

    "Sometimes I need a movie to stick a wedge into and try to open this stoic heart of mine, so that when real life hits me hard, I can feel something."

    And that too.

  2. I've seen Crash, and will have to check out Up in the Air now. There are times for happy endings, and there are times for the story to play out as it will.

  3. Seen the first two, but not the others. I like movies that "hit the heart"; and it matters not how they end. Some Sci-fi (thought Avatar was terrific) and a "man's" film, regardless of the setting (Braveheart comes to mind), but I don't mind watching a chick flick with my wife if it brings me "life" rather than some silly romance comedy (Notebook, P.S. I Love You). I don't sob and boohoo. I do quite often catch myself with tears in my eyes.....

  4. Daisy... yes, it is the least that we can do.

    Kievas... I am not against happy endings, but don't insist upon them.

    Jim... I am up for most types of films including Braveheart and romantic comedies... I can live with out most teenage comedies and films that have tons of gore.


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