When it comes to watching movies, I get really into the action on screen, talking back to the actors and sitting forward when things get intense. It can be emotionally exhausting to watch a serious drama under these conditions, so when it comes to picking movies to watch over and over again, I stick with comedies, thrillers, and action-adventures. Dramas are generally, well, supposedly good movies that I’ll never watch again.
I love watching good, serious, dramatic movies, in part because they take a real emotional toll. The action on screen might involve ridiculously good looking people acting out fictional scenes, but the emotions are completely real. Yeah, Bill Nunn didn’t die, but Radio Raheem did. Radio Raheem wasn’t real, but he was true. What I respond to is the truth of the scene, and that transcends the boundaries of reality and fiction.
As a result, there are certain movies that I’ve seen once and I will never, absolutely never, watch these movies again. This is not a negative comment on their quality ““ it takes some skill (and maybe a couple of cheesy maudlin speeches) to move me to the point of silent pain for not-real-but-true characters. Here are some movies that I will never watch again:
- The Pianist ““ Watching a movie about the Holocaust is a really terrible idea for me and I will never, ever watch this one or any other Holocaust movie ever again. I have only teared up in a few movies, and this one was the worst. My family history makes these movies incredibly painful to watch, but I appreciate why these movies are made, and I believe that they have a lot of value, especially for people with little connection or knowledge of the extent of what happened under the Nazi regime.
- Babel ““ There was something beautiful about the way the director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga interwove these stories about the unforeseen consequences of the interactions of four groups of people. Stories about isolation, belonging, and inescapable interconnectedness of people everywhere really affect me, especially when they’re done this well. Oh, and throwing immigration issues into the mix just makes it that much more sad/painful/good to watch.
- Boys Don’t Cry ““ This one is sort of cheating because it is about the real life murder of the real life person, Brandon Teena. Maybe I’m just a Hilary Swank fan-girl/avoider, but she does a great job of conveying some pretty brutal emotions (see also: Million Dollar Baby). It’s been years since I’ve seen this movie, so I can’t comment on the quality of it and how well it addresses the issue surrounding Brandon Teena’s brutal murder (especially the transphobia), but Brandon Teena’s story is as important to hear as it is tragic.
How about you? What are some movies you just can’t watch more than once? Are there any? How do you connect and respond to movies that touch on very serious truths?