Movies are a good way to escape from reality. After a long day we can pop Caddyshack into the DVD player and all our worries just melt away. That is why most movies focus on the happier things in life, such as seeing your enemies driven before you and hearing the lamentations of their women. Some movies prefer to hit us with a heavy dose of reality that remind us that we don’t always get that raise we want, the girls of our dreams don’t know our names, and sometimes we have to get friendly with a man named Big Ted to fuel our drug habits. These movies will leave you feeling pretty low after you watch them, but they are still great movies. If you haven’t seen them before, beware. There are some spoilers ahead. Spoilers that will make you cry.
I think most people could have told you that a movie about a woman who wants to make a living getting punched in the face would not end well. Still, the build up throughout the movie actually made us cheer for Hilary Swank as Clint Eastwood coached her from the corner. Unfortunately our initial feelings were correct as Hilary Swank’s character ends up as a paraplegic who tries to chew through her own tongue to kill herself. That and Clint Eastwood cries. It does not get much more depressing than that.
We recently spoke about Requiem for a Dream being the most effective drug deterrent system of all time. It is extremely depressing as all the characters suffer from drug addiction, causing their lives to go straight down the tubes. The most depressing character is Sara Goldfarb. She is the elderly mother of the main character Harry, and she is chosen to be on a game show in the beginning of the movie. Sara is a kindly lady, and decides she wants to fit into her nice dress for the game show and gets prescribed diet medicine. She becomes addicted to the medicine and begins to hallucinate, and doctors just keep giving her more pills until she is forced to undergo electroshock therapy. That’s why I never go to the doctor.
Darren Aronofsky has a knack for depressing movies, as he directed Requiem for a Dream as well as The Wrestler. The Wrestler was a great movie the revamped Mickey Rourke’s career with his portrayal of Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a wrestler who used to be a big star. His career has caused him health problems due to steroid use, but, perhaps more depressingly, it has also ruined his relationship with his daughter. Just when he seems to be recapturing both his career and his daughter’s love, he screws it all up by banging a club slut instead of visiting his daughter and continuing to wrestle after a heart attack. It is a sad look into the life of a severely unhappy man.
Charly is an older movie based on the book Flowers for Algernon. The basic plot is that an experiment is performed on a mentally retarded man who can’t spell his own name that turns him into a super genius. With his increased intellect, Charlie learns his name is not spelled Charly, finds meaning in life, and also finds the love of his life. That’s when things go downhill as Charlie realizes the effects of the experiment are temporary and his IQ is dropping faster than a dead pigeon. He rejects an offer of proposal from his love and the movie ends with her watching Charlie playing on a playground, once again unable to spell his name.
In 12 Monkeys, Bruce Willis plays a convict from a virus ravaged future who is sent back in time to stop the virus from being released. He ends up in an insane asylum with Brad Pitt, who does a great job of being insane, and is also a prime suspect for releasing the virus. Will Bruce Willis be able to stop the release of the virus and save the future? No, he will not. He gets shot and killed right in front of his younger self and the future remains a virus ravaged hell hole.
I realize that reading about all these depressing movies can be somewhat depressing. That is why this post ends with an example of what is best in life. Enjoy.