film / tv / politics / social media / lists / web / celeb / pajiba love / misc / about / cbr
film / tv / politics / web / celeb


The Best Films You Never Want To See Again

By The Pajiba Staff | Guides | February 8, 2012 |

By The Pajiba Staff | Guides | February 8, 2012 |

Some films stick with you for good reasons. Maybe the images speak to you, the characters win you over or the dialogue is snappy and eminently quotable. And then some stick with you for other reasons. They claw into your brain, into your heart and make an uncomfortable harrowing home there. They fill your nightmares and the very thought of them can make you burst into tears. These are the flicks that you never ever want to see again. No no, I’m not talking latter day Sandler. I mean good films. Films where the artistic merit is unquestionable, the performances are top notch and you would rather claw your own eyeballs out than endure it again. These are the films that have broken our hearts, wrecked our sleep and turned our stomachs. We’d recommend you see them, but not more than once.

Brokeback Mountain (2005): This is, without a doubt, one of the most deeply moving movies I’ve ever seen. Both the leads conveyed so much through the course of the movie; apprehension, affection, desire, frustration, self-loathing, love, hate, and despair. All of this in a movie with extremely sparse dialogue. The story is tragic but as I was watching I found it impossible not to become engrossed in a love story that I knew could not end happily. It was beautiful and it absolutely destroyed me. I walked out of the theater emotionally shattered and while I knew it was an incredible film, I never wanted to see it again. Since Heath Ledger has died, my resolve has only strengthened for fear of what I’ll refer to as ‘atomic weeping.’ In fact, I won’t even watch clips of it so here’s the 30 second version as acted out by bunnies. (Uh, some spoilers.) —Genevieve Burgess

Buried (2010): I was blown away by Rodrigo Cortes’ Buried. It’s an amazing film for many reasons — it’s innovative, it’s brilliantly directed, it’s gripping, intelligent and fascinating. It proves that Ryan Reynolds is more than capable of turning in an intense and dramatic performance with none of his trademark smarm. It manages to deal with politics without judgment, to tackle international relations without xenophobia. From a technical standpoint, it’s amazing — an entire film focusing on one man in a wooden box with a cell phone, and nothing else. Which is also why I will never watch it again. I’ll recommend it to everyone I know, but I’ll be goddamned if I’m going to watch it with them. Buried is not a film to be enjoyed, it’s a film to be endured. It’s claustrophobic and nerve-wracking and it’s one of the most terrifying films I’ve ever seen, and it’s not even a horror movie. To make things even worse, Reynolds has a phone that does him almost no good — he has to deal with automated call centers and bureaucrats and officious jackholes, all while TRAPPED IN A MOTHERFUCKING BOX AND BURIED UNDERGROUND. Even writing about it makes me short of breath, like the walls are closing in. If someone turned off the lights in this room right now, I’d punch them in the mouth, no joke. Kudos to Cortes for capturing it all with amazing deftness, but I can’t imagine that the film is gonna make a dime on DVD. All I can say is, watch it in broad daylight with the windows open, because if you’re even the least bit anxious about tight spaces, Buried is going to flat-out ruin your shit. But seriously, you should totally see it.—TK

Earthlings (2005): Like everybody, I inhabit the world I do by the grace of cognitive dissonance. There are a good many things I believe in my heart to be true, but these realities are sufficiently remote that I’m able to ignore them and continue to behave in opposition to these principles. For instance, I believe that factory farming is wrong, but still, at my great remove, I love eating steak. Earthlings, a documentary made in 2005, is about the way that we as humans treat animals. It’s political, I suppose and not what you’d call an objective presentation, but the moral weight of the images presented are inarguable. We see the truth written in the faces of the animals, and we see in factory farming a twisted, Medieval manifestation of hell. Peter Singer, the Australian Bioethicist and Philosopher said, “If I could make everyone in the world see one film, I’d make them see Earthlings.” It’s not an easy watch, but none of us who benefit from the harvesting of animals has a right to turn away.—Michael Murray

The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974): I watched the first two Godfather films all in one go, six straight hours on a Christmas Day when there was no family in town. They were enthralling, fantastic films that sucked me in like good books. When I got to the end of the first, there was absolutely no way that the second disc wasn’t getting popped into the DVD player. By the time I got to the end of the second, I was worn out, done, finished. Ate an epic dinner and slept it off. It wasn’t that the films weren’t a couple of the best I’d ever seen, it’s that their sheer size and scope dwarf other films. Watching them is like reading War and Peace. You’ve got to do it once, but after that the investment of time and energy for a second run never quite beats out watching something shorter that you haven’t seen yet.—Steven Lloyd Wilson

Irréversible (2002): The direction is brilliant, with Gaspar Noé disorienting the viewer with blatant camera moves, as well as what lingers within the frame. The cast is stunning in more than one sense of the word, as real-life couple Monica Belucci and Vincent Cassel deliver the performances of their careers, and their physical perfections are only presented as such at the very end (or the beginning). The story is told backward more literally than Memento, and because it does follow an actual chronological order, that final shot after the Great Reveal is both hopeful, and ultimately, heartbreaking. The context of Irreversiblé’s irreversible events comes into full relief, making the horrific violence and single-take rape scene even more sickening and depressing than they already were. There’s a brief glimpse of what might have been, but it will always end (or start) the same and nothing can be changed. It’s worth seeing, but I would never see it again, and I could never recommend it. Six people left the theater when I saw Irreversiblé. I can’t say I blame them.—Rob Payne

Kids (1995): I remember seeing Kids when I was in college (at the stalwart indy Philly theater, what up Ritz?). I remember what it was about (a day in the life of young kids in NYC, consisting of copious amounts of sex and drugs and general inner-city scummary). I remember who was in it (it was the debut film for Chloe Sevigny and Rosario Dawson, among others). I vaguely remember the overall storyline (a sleazy kid named Terry bangs virgins to avoid getting STDs, but he unknowingly has and is spreading AIDS, and the film culminates with his friend raping a girl who got AIDS from Terry). I don’t really remember any of the dialogue (though I do remember being by its very naturalistic feel). I remember a good soundtrack. But most importantly, I remember how I felt watching the film. Uncomfortable and dirty. And how I felt afterwards. Drained and sad. Kids was a good movie and even an important one for, among other things, introducing us to its writer Harmony Korine (for better or for worse) and for trying to present an eye-opening account of the AIDS epidemic in the 90s. It’s possibly a very good movie, but I’d have to see it again to really make that assessment. And as uncomfortable as I was watching this when I was a relative contemporary of the kids being portrayed, how much worse will be it be now, a generation later? I’ll leave that assessment for someone else. —Seth Freilich

Life is Beautiful (1997): This entry deviates from others on the list. No, Life is Beautiful doesn’t contain harrowing drug or sex scenes, but Roberto Benigni’s Academy Award-winning 1997 film can be just as difficult to watch. Like its title, the story — first one of romantic love, then one of a Jewish man, Guido (Benigni), protecting his son from the horrors of their Nazi concentration camp life — is beautiful, an inspiring ode to the human spirit. And it’s heartbreaking. Most war films and those that deal with cruelty are, and even as they are important to view and consider and learn from, they can be just as difficult to revisit. Terry George’s Hotel Rwanda is the same way — an amazing story I don’t ever want to relive again. Life is Beautiful just about broke me when I watched it almost a decade ago, Guido’s final act leaving me sobbing. I’m glad I watched it, and I’m glad Benigni took to standing on the chairs of the Kodak Theatre when he won his Oscar for it. But I just can’t go back to it. It’s too, well, beautiful. — Sarah Carlson

The Machinist (2004): Thanks to an insanely brilliant performance by Christian Bale, I was completely sucked into The Machinist and in between trying to figure out what the hell was going on, positively horrified by his appearance and demeanor. Gotta hand it to the dude for taking method acting to a new level. Never mind the weight loss, Bale looked utterly haunted and desperate and hollow. Brad Anderson gave the film a beautiful look and feel that matched Bale’s physique, with everything pared down to a bare minimum…color, lights, sets, with cleverly planted clues everywhere we looked—we just had to wake up and see them. And at the end, I couldn’t decide if I despised or felt sorry for Trevor Reznik—all I could do was say, “well done.” But The Machinist is so damned dark and sad and soul-crushing, I really can’t imagine watching it again. Once you know what happened, well—it can’t unhappen—and why would you want to watch that shell of a man go through it all again?—Cindy Davis

Mouth to Mouth (2005): Ellen Page stars in this little indie flick about a cult with the stated objective of “chang[ing] the world.” Her character gets sucked in by a charismatic leader played by August Diehl, and soon her dream of entering the “perfect world” transforms into an environment filled with brainwashed drones, slave labor, harrowing punishments, and broken promises. As Page’s character begins to see through the cult’s nefarious practices, she begins to rebel only to be confronted with mental and physical abuse. While it is a painstakingly gorgeous film from a cinematic and acting standpoint, it’s difficult to watch the characters endure days at the bottom of a dried-up well to earn shaved heads as a sign of solidarity and commitment. Spoiler Alert: When members of the cult begin to die off from the leaders’ negligence and willful disregard for human life, Page’s talent goes into high gear. It’s a great film, but I’ll never be able to stomach it again. — Agent Bedhead

Requiem For A Dream (2000): Stories of addiction have always unnerved me. There’s a terrifying aura of rot and decay that inevitably cling to these kinds of films. Director Darren Aronofsky is a mad genius of nightmares. You need only look at his CV to know that an Aronofsky film will likely make you cringe. He never shies from the grimy, gritty reality. And while he portrays it oh-so-artistically, the harrowing images he presents are hard enough to watch the first time. This film is one of its finest and he wrings absolutely stunning performances from his cast. (Marlon Wayans? I never dreamed you had that in you.) But, if I’m being perfectly frank, I’ve never been able to think of Jennifer Connelly the same way again and just looking at Ellen Burstyn gives me chills. The altered states of his protagonists gave Aronofsky the perfect excuse to go grotesque carnival with his camera and design choices. It’s scarier than Black Swan and more tragic than The Wrestler. It’s a gut-wrenching b*tch of a film and I never ever want to see it again.—Joanna Robinson

Tyrannosaur (2011): Oohf. I’m tempted to call this last year’s Blue Valentine, but to perfectly honest Paddy Considine’s film makes that look like a fucking Care Bears movie. I’m accustomed to Considine being a jester, a capering monkey who pretended to be a rapper and does wacky zaniness. But like Martin McDonagh, behind that laughter is an incredible amount of searing pain. Tyrannosaur is a film about a horrible lonely bastard — the fucking brilliant Peter Mullan — who sits around his homestead basically waiting to die. How big a bastard? The title Tyrannosaur comes from a term of endearment he used on his dead wife, who gained an enormous amount of weight. When she walked, water glasses would vibrate like the scene in Jurassic Park. Hence, Tyrannosaur. Sunshine and fucking lollipops, friends. Like some infectious leper of despair, he spreads misery and scorn on whomever he touches. He takes the sweet proprietress of the local thrift shop (Olivia Colman, also just fucking spectacular) and basically grinds her and her faith down. It’s a brutal tale of violence and woe, not just a gut punch, but getting shot in the liver and then being punched repeatedly in the gunshot wound. It’s astounding and bleak, and I was stunned at the performances, but I don’t think I could endure the wistfulness and pain. Considine compared the making of this film to an exorcism, and those demons have fucking claws.—Brian Prisco

5 Shows After Dark 2/8/12 | Which One of These Three Men Is Not Like the Other (Hint: Not the Black Guy)