Occasionally, I come across a movie that is extremely well-done, in terms of direction, acting, cinematography, etc. — and I recognize that it’s a great movie and an extraordinary piece of artistry — but it’s so offputting, or disturbing, that I never really want to see it again.
Examples for me are Dead Ringers, Eraserhead, and Requiem for a Dream. I would call all three of them excellent movies, but I never want to put them in front of my eyeballs ever ever ever again.
Pan’s Labyrinth comes to mind
i can understand what your saying about eraserhead,and i’m big lynch fan it really depends on a number of factors.
I bet that Salo (even though I personally haven’t seen it, but want to… kind of) tops this list.
I’ve seen Dances With Wolves twice and I just don’t think i can sit through it again. Ditto Requiem For a Dream, although for different reasons. However, my memory is so bad, I believe most great films, or even good ones for that matter, can benefit from multiple viewings. Certainly in my case, anyway.
Good call on Requiem For a Dream. I was blown away the first time I saw it years ago, and I still hold it in high regard, however I haven’t seen it since and have no intention of seeing it in the future. It’s difficult to watch such self-destruction on screen multiple times with getting depressed yourself.
Another one, for me, was Cache. A finely made film with a HELL of a lot of depth, and it was one of my favorite films the year it came out, but its dark and depressing mood makes me hesitate in watching it again. You could only take so much of it before you get sad yourself.
Salo for sure, just saw it last night. And to be totally honest, Rashomon. Nothing wrong with it, but I saw it several times before i started film school and ive had to watch it at least twice more since, I’m getting tired of it.
Salo defintely one that will take a really long time for me to view.Also the passion of the christ, the blair witch project.
This might be a kind of contradictory topic, depending on the rule for great. Roger Ebert recently approvingly quoted another critic’s definition: a movie you cannot imagine never seeing again.
But, I see what you’re saying: movies you know are well-done but which aren’t ones you want to sit through again. For a long time, I would have said “Crumb,” which I thought was just brilliant, and the best imaginable portrait of a unique American artist. At the same time, it depressed me. Crumb’s whole family (by which I mean his parents and brothers) just seemed so sad and pathetic and hopeless, and they made life seem that way too. I thought I never wanted to look at them again.
Then, a few years ago, I was in a hotel and that was all that was on. I watched it again, and the bad or sad parts didn’t stick with me quite as hard. I felt a little more comfortable with it the second go-round.
I’m on board with “Passion of the Christ”. Very well made, but . . . oh my, what a beating!
Most long movies…Like Lawrence of Arabia, Seven Samurai. Or movies like Clean, Shaven. I thought it was a very good movie, but it took quite a bit to get through it. I would watch Seven Samurai whenever I get the opportunity though. It’s such a good movie.
I wouldn’t call any of these great movies, except Eraserhead and Rashomon. And I don’t no anyone who would want to make Salo a more than one-time occasion.
Salo, and The Thin Red Line, both dvds I own. Terence Malick is one of my favorite directors, esp. on visual terms. But I couldn’t bear watching The Thin Red Line again. I think it’s one of the best war dramas ever made – but the one that really freaked me out. Maybe because of my past combat experiences, this is a film that really hits the nerve in many ways. I spoke to an old Vietnam vet in my ‘hood, as well as some fellow vets from the recent war – and we agreed that the long stretch of scenes, where the GIs couldn’t see the enemies over the hills, is quite nauseating. The whole mood of the film is dark, sad, depressing and hopeless. The final scene where a young delusional grunt talks about how things are going to be just fine is quite frankly, pathetic. But very realistic.
Salo for me, too. Nothing else comes close. I even acquiesced to its devoted legion of fans, immersing myself in the supplementary disc to better understand the context, the vision, the intent of Pasolini. But just re-experiencing snippets of the film in the documentary material brought back the nightmare. Despite its artful reputation in some quarters, it remains far too disturbing for me ever to watch again.
Interesting thoughts there about “The Thin Red Line,” Noel. I thought it was a monumental bore, and I kind of generally assumed that actual war veterans would like it even less. Roger Ebert put it well, I thought: “My guess is that any veteran of the actual battle of Guadalcanal would describe this movie with an eight-letter word much beloved in the Army.” Obviously, though, it captured the feel of combat for you, which is something.
lol oldboy. I love it so much, but…it’s…depressing.
Lilya 4-Eva, even though I’d like to own it. I nearly threw up when I watched it the first time.
Right on Rodney, Roger Ebert did put that one out about the ThinRed Line, I remember now. Coming in the heels of Saving Pvt. Ryan, I guess lots of people expected a fast,action filled WW2 flick. Knowing Malick’s works, I naturally expected drama, slow with less dialogue. I think for vets, it’s not whether they like the movie or not, but the scenes that hit the nerve pertained to the unseen enemy, and the weight of responsibility under those situations (not to mention the “Dear John Letter”). Frankly, we prefer action like Black Hawk Down for sheer entertainment value. And as bloody as it was, I really enjoyed Saving Pvt. Ryan – well done and I don’t mind watching the German SS get annhilated anytime.
If we amended the title of this forum by putting the word “Reputedly” in front of “Great”, then I’d cite Last Tango In Paris as my foremost addition to the list. I found it so repellant, I pitched my DVD after an attempt at a second viewing.
Also, Scorsese’s entire oeuvre, (aside from Who’s That Knocking and After Hours—and for some strange reason, Casino). There’s something at play in his style to which I’m unapologetically allergic. Despite his vast understanding of all things cinema, I think he opperates at a deficit as an artist, and incapable of conveying anything outside of brutality. Unlike genuine masters of cinema, (Kubrick, Renoir, Welles, Mizoguchi, Bresson, Dryer, Lang, Ford…) I don’t think Scorsese ever learned—or cared how to tie subtext into his delivery. So, no; I’m not lookin’ at him.
And since I’m in agreement on Salo, I’ll add The Archers’ The Red Shoes to the list, just so it doesn’t seem like I’m picking on the Italians. I’ve either enjoyed or deeply loved every other Criterion release of theirs, but I thought the Red Shoes’ take on the world of HIGH ART was astonishingly tatty. I mean no disrespect to the talented Powell and Pressburger team, but give me Black Narcissus or Tales of Hoffman over that any day.
God, but you are cranky.
From a defender of a crank like Pauline Kael, I’d almost consider that a compliment.
If I thought she mattered.
Do your thoughts matter?
When I saw De Sica’s “The Bicycle Thieves” for the first time, I promised myself I would never put myself through that emotional torture again. Maybe it’s just me, but I got so invested in the story that the end of the film left a huge scar.
For me it would be Dogville, Breaking the waves, and all the Lars Von Trier movies. It’s not that I don’t want to see them anymore, but more that I should not hav seen them again. When I first saw Dancer in the dark, I cried my tears out (could have filled the L.A. river with that), then I saw it again, didn’t cry at all, felt like being manipulated, didn’t fall again. This a movie built upon both surprise and affects, once the surprise gone, the affect is vanished : the staging stays, showing its tricks, its band-aids, its shortcuts. Should not have seen it again. Now I am a bit angry against Von Trier for having me crying on some overstaged melodrama.
Oh, silly Rodney; the past 150 years of modern philosophy would assert that your question can be asked of everyone, and answered by no one.
I can assert that my thoughts were at least pertainent to the topic at hand —more so than yours, since the title of this forum isn’t, “Take a Personal Shot At the Pervious Participant”.
But I’ve scanned your profile to get a sense of your tastes, and have read some of your previous posts. So out of respect to both you and people who’d like to keep this forum on topic, I’d prefer to continue this exchange as a private dialogue rather than a public spat. Feel free to PM me, and back up your assault with a bit more detail and cogency.
Fat Girl, No Country For Old Men, Pi, and only that one part of Cache. I love the rest of it.
I actually saw Salo twice. In the theater.
But this was before it had the Criterion treatment and I thought I wouldn’t be able to catch it again for a long time.
I understand the topic of the post, but I don’t think there are any for me that fit the bill. If it disturbs me the point of not wanting to see it again, then I might argue that it’s not a great film. Salo being my case-in-point. It separates itself from films like Irreversible or Requiem For A Dream because in my opinion, the latter two are more gimmicky and geared toward shock-value in their approach. Salo didn’t seem that way to me. Pasolini might be dealing in similar, or even worse, content, but his approach and tone are much different (read: genuine).
For me, part of the definition of a great film is that you want to see it again.
(I can watch Cache again and again. It’s interesting to me that a few have mentioned it here. I find it took a few viewings to work through some of it.)
Pi was the first film to come to mind for me. Aronofsky seems to be a one-watch-wonder?
I think Mathieu hit the nail on the head for me: “For me it would be Dogville, Breaking the waves, and all the Lars Von Trier movies” Couldn’t agree more, but I just realized this now – thanks! His films are just way too bleak – must be that thin Scandinavian air. Also, agree about the films of Aronofsky – he is “a one-watch-wonder.” As regards Salo, I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve seen it, but everyone is probably right. Ditto Last Tango in Paris. Probably won’t see that one again because I now know how uncomfortable Maria Schneider was during the filming of certain scenes. Enjoyed the movie at the time I first saw it, but don’t want to see it again. We could start a second topic on movies we never, ever want to even think about again, and I would put Irreversible at the very top of that list.
However, I am going to be very contentious here (don’t shoot me until after the season of peace & joy), but Godfather 1 is another film I never want to watch again – just too predictable for me and it has spawned far too many cheap imitations. As regards, Scorcese, I don’t want to see any of his gangster movies or the pathetic Gangs of New York again, but I still love most of his other stuff, so I will watch them again. Interesting response from all concerned, just proving one auteur’s steak dinner is another’s arsenic aspic. But that’s what keeps us human, guys, so everyone lighten up! Have an spiked eggnog on me.