One Serving Movies

15 Dec

This week I finally got the chance to watch Precious. And yes, I do refuse to type out the rest of the title, although I bet this rant has taken longer to share. Go figure. Despite my beef with the title, I was captured by the film. But by the end I felt like my heart and my straining tear ducts had run a marathon. Did I gain just a tiny bit of perspective beyond my suburban upbringing? Do I appreciate my education and my wonderful parents more? Yes and yes. But do I want Precious to be my nostalgic fall-asleep-to-it movie? Um, check no. Although, I may watch it again someday, I feel that it falls into the “One Serving” movie category. Movies that deserve to be watched and taken in but are just too devastating to press the play button again and again. Here are a few more movies that still haunt me after only one viewing.

Dead Man Walking

This movie’s refusal to look away at any point during the days leading up to a painstakingly long execution scene was exhausting. Of course with the likes of Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon, the acting was superb, and the message wasn’t as one sided as you’d expect with a (admittedly liberal) cast like that. I still don’t know where I stand on this touch button issue, but the movie successfully shares both the sorrow of the victims’ families and the puzzling spiritual issues of ending a person’s life. Not light fare by any means, so one viewing is all you need. Although, you may want to watch Jack Black’s (no, you didn’t read that wrong) scenes again. Such a random cameo.

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills

This mesmerizing documentary also deals with the plights of the victims and the accused in a murder case. But this time, the crime involves the brutal death of three little boys. But beyond the sadness and anger of the victims’ families, the accused boys’ families also get to tell their stories. The documentary manages to communicate that the three convicted boys’ lives (barely 16 themselves) are being taken from them as well. Not only did I have to sleep with the lights on after watching this film, but I also was drawn to research the case. However, only one viewing of the film is enough. The harrowing details and images as well as the frustrating issues with the legal system will stick with you. I promise.

Life is Beautiful

Life is Beautiful is so happy, but oh so sad. Guido’s brilliant and touching sacrifice for his family makes it hard to watch all the way through again. The first half is romantic, funny and well, beautiful. And even Guido’s game to protect his son in the concentration camp is endearing. But, Guido’s fate hurts my heart, and with all these other sad movies I apparently watch I just can’t have another sad one on replay  list.

Last King of Scotland

Intense and visually shocking, this movie is definitely a one watcher. However, it does shed light on a cruel dictator who doesn’t usually get a lot of time in history classes. And the clever direction and pacing simulates for the viewer what Nicholas must have felt as he slowly realizes that the self-declared king is an evil man. The movie gets increasingly choppy and dark as it progresses to its gruesome finale. Would I recommend this to anyone? No. But if you think you can wade through images of meat hooks and mutilated bodies to see the truth revealed about a leader bent on genocide, go for it. I won’t be there, but I will discuss it with you if you want.

There are others on my list, but I am getting too sad to write any more. So tomorrow, the post will be more upbeat, I promise!

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