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Could God Really Be So Cruel? Nine Films That Will Leave You Completely Unsure of How You Feel

By Cindy Davis | Seriously Random Lists | September 17, 2012 | Comments ()


I heard the film festival roars. I ran, the spray from the critics' orgasmic reviews chasing me. I watched them in the near empty art house theaters, hostage to the sound of a couple crunching stale popcorn in unison...creeped out by the dude with coke bottle glasses, shoulders hunched, sitting alone. I caught one on late night cable--kept awake through the early morning hours trying to figure out what I was supposed to feel. These are the movies that have haunted my nights.

Spoilers ahead, obviously.

9. Little Children

Cheating, hot summer affair, stupid parents, pedophile...I think I feel sorry for him, not the parents? I think I'm screaming.

8. Shame

Fassbender having lots of sex--count me in! Wait a minute. He feels nothing--nor do I. Carey Mulligan is sad (again)! Is there something incestuous going on? Would I even care? I feel dirty. I feel nothing (again).

7. Wendy and Lucy

Poor, poor, (Really) poor Wendy. She has to find a job. And her dog. Her car broke down. And she's poor. Finally, she finds her dog! And...promptly leaves her. Why? Why did we do any of this?

6. Naked

David Thewlis is brilliant as Johnny, a caustic, homeless asshole. He's a somewhat less violent, more wordy Tom Hardy--in Bronson. But like Fassbender's Brandon, how good is a character study if at the end of the film, we just don't care?

5. The Butcher Boy

About the only thing I think I felt after watching The Butcher Boy was immense regret for leaving my eyes open. Oh, and nauseous.

4. Inland Empire

I love Lynch, "Twin Peaks," Mulholland Drive, Lost Highway, Blue Velvet, The Elephant Man, Wild at Heart, but this time, he completely lost me. I tried so hard to feel you, bunnies; maybe I should try again.

3. The Comfort of Strangers

Fantastic actors (Christopher Walken, Helen Mirren, Natasha Richardson, Rupert Everett), brilliant writers (Ian McEwan, Harold Pinter), great director (Paul Schrader), gorgeous location (Venice), cinematography (Dante Spinotti) and score (Angelo Badalamenti). Did any of it matter? Beautiful, yet soulless.

2. The Skin I Live In

Warning: May make you want to crawl out of your own skin. Almodóvar flew me to a place I never thought of, nor wanted to go. I followed willingly, excitedly. My head bounced from love to despair, from screaming to silence, from disbelief to acceptance to...so.many.confusing.thoughts. Somebody, please tell me how to feel.

1. Take This Waltz

Michelle Williams took me along on an affair with her. I understood. I got her boredom, her melancholy, her excitement over something new, her falling in love. Wait, what? Is she mentally ill? Am I? For a moment near the end--blurred man in the kitchen--I thought she could have imagined it all. Mad, sad, glad?

These have been not so deep thoughts with Cindy Davis.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Goldfish

    Melancholia. So beautiful it made me want to slit my wrists,

  • Kristopher R

    I can tell you exactly what I thought at the end of "Little Children" -- Be thankful for what you have.

  • I've only seen Little Children from this list and just...EXACTLY. It's the most confusing movie. Because no one's likable, everyone is pretty awful to each other...but you can't stop watching. And you feel sorry for everyone. The book is pretty much the same, and I loved them both.

  • Even Stevens

    The movie that will always, always haunt my nights: Requiem For a Dream.

  • supafly

    The Butcher Boy is a terrific movie. You can eat shit if you think differently. Or just be wrong.

  • Archie Leach

    I thought The Butcher Boy had Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton in it?

  • googergieger

    I liked Time. I guess Visitor Q was a bit of a toss up. Though I did like it alright. Miike can make anything worth while. And not just for his over the top label he's gotten from people that have only ever seen Ichi The Killer. Cold Fish? Actually really enjoyed that movie. Don't know, I've heard of not liking something/liking something and then a few years later going back to it and completely changing your stance on it. Never heard of leaving a movie not knowing if you liked it or not.

  • Laura

    Can we do one of these lists for books? I just finished the Story of Edgar Sawtelle....

  • MissAmynae

    got it for Christmas, should have come with a handkerchief or box of tissues.

  • Shonda

    My mom tried to get me to read Edgar Sawtelle. I did a bit of research and told her that there was no way I was going to read that.

  • $27019454

    Fucking no way.

  • zeke_the_pig

    I LOVED The Skin I Live In.
    I watched it in the aftenoon in a near-empty cinema (the one that has the ninjas now), and when I was leaving it there was this eerie twilight setting in and I felt like every single motherfucker was watching me, following me, or changing my gender with their eyes.
    Again, though, for some reason I loved it.

  • I loved it...return to form for Almodovar! But love all his films in my own way.

  • KatSings

    Fun fact? My godfather is really good friends with the woman who plays the pedophile's mother in Little Children. Her name is Phyllis and she's amazing.

  • special snowflake

    I like fun facts, this is a good one! I just lubs me sum Kate Winslet in this movie, no ambiguity there.

  • junierizzle

    Take this waltz- Wait, she couldve imagined it all? I thought it was pretty straight forward. Something new eventually gets old too.

  • alannaofdoom

    I enjoyed that movie but thought it should have ended about 15 minutes earlier than it did.

  • junierizzle


  • No, I don't really think she did. It was just a fleeting thought when her companion was blurred out.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I will not watch something in which even the hint of bad dog things happen. You can't make me.

  • True_Blue

    Same here. Doing bad things to any dog is a deal breaker.

  • Amanda

    Shame is a movie I could ever only watch once. I felt shredded to bits by the end of that movie, and my heart ached for both Brandon and his sister. It's right up there with Boys Don't Cry and Requiem for a Dream in terms of re-watchability.

  • $27019454

    I did not find it "disturbing" as I did Requiem or Seven or a few others I don't care to name (or think about) but it did depress me so harsh. I watched it late at night with my husband and I think we just did not have sex for a few days after that. Which depressed me further. And I am sure it depressed him even more. But for different reasons. Which is depressing.

    God damn you to hell Fassbender.

  • Zirza

    The Comfort of Strangers - the book was terrifying, though.

    The Butcher Boy - the book, on the other hand, was insanely stupid.

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