10 Great Movies You Never Want to See Again - Mania.com

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10 Great Movies You Never Want to See Again

Sometimes you love something so much, you have to kill it

By Martin McFriend     January 07, 2010

10 Great Movies You Never Want to See Again
© Mania/Bob Trate


A friend once told me that the true test of a movie’s greatness was whether or not you could turn it off when you ran across it incidentally while channel surfing. Since it is physically impossible to change the channel or turn off the television while Die Hard is playing, that movie is therefore a classic. But what about those movies that tantalize and transfix you, suck you in with unrelenting visual stimulation and then spit you out sour, shriveled, depressed, disturbed or disgusted to the point that you take an oath of abstinence from that film forever more? You know the types of which I speak. You can’t take your eyes off them despite the fact that they will make you feel like less of a human being later on. If your inner masochist is looking for such a list of movies, then Hans, booby, I’m your white knight.

10. Saw (2004)

The Saw series—currently six movies and counting—is the highest grossing horror franchise in film history. That’s not a misprint, Messrs. Krueger and Voorhees. So what does this tell you? Mainly that people clearly aren’t averse to re-experiencing these simple, bloody, torture-infused morality plays… over and over and over again. But despite the thoroughly entertaining and imaginative way the Jigsaw killer disassembles human lives, has anyone ever bothered to watch the first one (or any of the others) more than once? Is there any real reason to? A second viewing is the visual equivalent of an intentional, self-inflicted paper cut.

9. Life is Beautiful (1997)

Truthfully, any number of WWII movies could have made this list, namely Schindler’s List and The Pianist. But I chose Roberto Benigni’s study of Holocaust tragedy because of its ingenious premise, which takes it a step past “hard to watch” territory and clear into “fucking brutal.” Watching the protagonist convince his son that a Nazi concentration camp is a fun, elaborate game, often to comic effect, is just too difficult to even think about a second time, much less watch it play out to its predictably horrifying outcome. Speaking of, watching this short YouTube clip just reminded me of how much I hate myself.

8. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

I only wanted to mention one WWII themed movie, but this little anime flick technically makes two, albeit by portraying the very different Japanese experience. There are two primary reasons you will never want to watch this movie again after your first screening (spoiler alert). First, it depicts a long, slow descent from child abuse to sickness to starvation and finally to death for its two children protagonists. And second, it unravels its depressing yarn in the form of a lush, beautiful animated picture, cruelly luring in unsuspecting adults who make the silly error of thinking cartoons are for kids. This makes The Fox and the Hound look like Happy Gilmore.

7. The Terminal (2004)

This one is a little different from the others on this list. It has all the makings of a big winner. A fine story, an all-star cast led by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Oscar decorated Tom Hanks, and Hollywood titan Steven Spielberg behind the camera. The performances are solid and the ending is enjoyable and cathartic. So why does just about every person who has ever seen this movie fail to remember almost anything about it? Maybe it’s because nothing actually happens. Just watch the following scene, a somewhat important one toward the overall plot. Trust me, nothing happens!

6. Very Bad Things (1997)

Judging solely from the trailer, Very Bad Things is a dark comedy about a bachelor party gone awry and the spiral of disaster that follows. The reality is far more barbarous and unsettling to watch. Even through the more incredible and outwardly sardonic moments, you can’t help but feel disturbed by the actions of the central characters and their failure to do a single thing right for even a single second. And yet, it’s extremely satisfying to watch… at least once.

5. Bully (2001)

In the vein of Kids and Gummo, Bully is a disturbing picture of dysfunctional teenage life (the former two don’t make the cut because they have enough one-liner material to make them “cult” classics). While some of the dialogue initially seems silly and the plot feels weak at times, the movie perfectly captures a sort of fringe, ne'er-do-well sect of youth so common to American suburbs. Maybe most kids aren't going to the extremes shown here (murder), but part of what's so utterly depressing and uncomfortable is that when Brad Renfro’s character makes a baffling, uneducated, misinformed, brash, vulgar, immature and generally disgraceful decision, it suddenly dawns on you that there are scores of people who actually walk, talk, think, act and live this way. Truly a low grade cross section of subverted social roles—leaders, followers and helpless fat kids trying to fit in—all simultaneously scared shitless of themselves and everyone around them. I mean, fuck, I won't see this one again.

4. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

Because it feels like a documentary… no actually, because it feels entirely real, Henry qualifies as one of the hardest to watch movies in history. The characters are so raw and nihilistic, and the action so disquieting that you cannot help but feel like a filthy sinner after watching it. It’s not scary in the traditional sense. Nor is the story particularly compelling. But the carefree nature in which Henry and his Neanderthal buddy Otis rape, torment and murder makes it both horrific and deeply captivating at the same time. But trust me, this is definitely a one-shot deal.

3. The Crying Game (1992)

Even if you haven’t seen this one, you probably understand the primary reason for it meeting the criteria here. In fact, The Crying Game should qualify for a separate list of great movies you’ve never seen and deliberately never will, due to its infamous reveal scene (and, be honest, your extreme transphobia). Granted, it’s probably more unpalatable for heterosexual male viewers than anyone else, but even in spite of its deeply moving story of political intrigue, which won an Academy Award for best screenplay, it’s hard to think of a compelling reason anyone would want to put themselves through the “ringer” like this more than once. Shame on Director Neil Jordan for fooling me like that.

2. The Road (2009)

The Road is that rare adaptation that honors its powerful source material—which many said could not be filmed—while simultaneously inspiring in viewers an urge to carve out their eyes with a butter knife. Viggo Mortensen’s turn as a father protecting his son in a post-apocalyptic world of cannibalism and fire is worthy of the highest praise. The cinematography, direction and editing are top notch; the film itself, difficult to look away from. But the emotional strain—expertly culled from Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel—is the kind of thing that can turn a day at the movies into a genuflection before the porcelain god.

1. Requiem for a Dream (2000)

Perhaps no movie in modern history has so thoroughly explored the slow and suffocating deconstruction of a group of characters. In fact, when it was originally released, there were widespread reports of theater goers committing mass suicide in the parking lot after the movie. From drug abuse to insanity to self prostitution, the protagonists in Requiem defile themselves to no end, and you are left watching every painful, graphic, twisted, despicable minute of it. And no, I’m not lying about the suicides… seriously.


Honorable Mention

Boys Don’t Cry, Happiness, Solaris, Million Dollar Baby, Arlington Road, Misery, House of Sand and Fog, The Woodsman, The Assassination of Jesse James, The Seventh Seal



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Showing items 1 - 10 of 56
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midwest216 1/7/2010 4:30:19 AM

I would add The Passion of Christ to this list. I had to stop and restart the movie a few times to get thru it. It was a profound and touching movie for me, and I am not very religious. Mel Gibson did a top notch job in delivering a story that has been told before but not that way. This was a great movie, but scenes were so graffic and difficult to watch that I cried like crazy and had to gather myself to finish the film. Havent watched it since, but recommended it to all my friends .


Wiseguy 1/7/2010 5:29:21 AM

I guess I don't fall into this category. The only movies I make a vow never to watch again are terrible movies that just plain suck IMO.

For me the fact is that most of the films in this list just weren't that good anyway and that's why I probably won't see them again. And the ones that are decent just aren't good enough for multiple viewings. If something is good and really makes me feel something inside regardless of what it is I'll see it again

Anyway The Road I'd see again in a second just like Requiem for a Dream, a terrific movie with a great score not to mention Jennifer Connelly's full frontal and that last scene at the end.

jedibanner 1/7/2010 6:23:17 AM

I've seen most of these movies just once (some not al all) but, Very Bad things is a movie I've watch many, many times. It's funny, sadistic and yet sad at the same time. As far as ''Requiem for a Dream'', never seen it but now I'm curious.

Apropos 1/7/2010 6:29:18 AM

Althogh I have not seen all the movies on the list. I would have put at #1

A Clockwork Orange. the rape seen at the begining still freaks me out 

parallaxview 1/7/2010 6:43:53 AM

While this list is pretty solid, I would have to add American History X. The curbing scene alone makes it a one time view. Besides that, the ending was so gut wrenchingly depressing, that even the director didn't want it.

Darkknight2280 1/7/2010 7:21:38 AM

I would have put the 6th sense on this list...or at least an honorable mention. You could only seriously have watched that movie once since the twist is soo big at the end. I mena you already know he's a ghost when you watch it a 2nd time and maybe you do watch it again to see if things were consistant to him being a ghost..but a 3rd time is DEF out of the question for this movie.

djphillips25 1/7/2010 7:43:00 AM

being an animal lover, I would have to put Old Yeller and Marley and Me on this list. Those endings just tore me up.

Some of the worst great movies are The English Patient, Driving Miss Daisy and the Brad Pitt trilogy of pain: Meet Joe Black, Legends Of The Fall and Seven Years In Tibet (felt like it). As a matter of fact, most of the films that the Academy Awards heap Oscars on are pretty terrible. Yes, they may have strong scripts and solid acting, but within a decade most people will just forget about them. I used to go out and watch every movie that got the nomination for best picture until I realized that for the most part I was torturing myself. I started watching the movies that get nominated for technical awards and found that a much more enjoyable experience.

The only recent Best Picture winners that I can think of are The Departed and Return Of The King. I honestly can't think of any other film in the last ten years that won Best Picture. And I probably saw them too, that's the sad thing.

Hobbs 1/7/2010 7:57:08 AM

You guys on Mania are really pushing the Road...I still can't stop throwing up from reading the book to try and see that thing.  Only chance it has is if they didn't use the book as a reference. 

ddiaz28 1/7/2010 8:06:10 AM

parallaxview, you beat me to adding American History X.  Although I have watched it several times and even just got it on Blu Ray for Christmas. 

I share Wiseguy's POV.  No matter how disturbing a film might be, if it's great, I'll rewatch it.  And some of these films aren't great.  But I get the point of the article.  I would title it 10 movies that are difficult to watch again.  You have to be in the right mood to actually throw one in the dvd player and watch.

There is one movie that was great and that moved me that I would never watch again.  It was called Zero Day and was about a high school shooting.  It was about to boys documenting their plan to shoot up their school and culminates with the shooting viewed through the school's security cameras.  The fact that it looked so real made it extremely shocking and scary.  Although it was a good film, I never want to see that again.

jedibanner 1/7/2010 8:07:09 AM

Parallaxview, the end ending of American History X wasn't the only thing the director did not wanted in. This movie is known for it's very ugly, public and weird battle between the director who wanted his name off the movie and the studios who pretty much made the final cut without the director's approval (which happens many times which is why the director wanted his name off but the studio didn't want to accetp that).

That movie is great and I've watch it many times but to know that Edward Norton played a huge part into changing the scenes and re-shooting and editing, it takes away a lot from what the director was trying to show. The movie was good but it was not what the director wanted.

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