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Badmovies.org Forum  |  Movies  |  Bad Movies  |  Feel good films, yeh yeh... HOW ABOUT FEEL BAD MOVIES?? « previous next »
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Author Topic: Feel good films, yeh yeh... HOW ABOUT FEEL BAD MOVIES??  (Read 11385 times)
Bmeansgood
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« Reply #45 on: April 30, 2008, 10:14:52 PM »

Caligula.  Or should I say, Caligu--ugh!
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« Reply #46 on: May 01, 2008, 04:53:10 AM »

Midnight Cowboy - you might find some messed up semblance of friendship if your life is messed up but it'll be messed up and then die on you.

They Shoot Horses Don't They - bleak.

Plague Dogs - felt numb after this. It was like watching a child wandering into traffic but being too far away to do anything about it. The way the end mirrored the beginning really packed a punch.

When The Wind Blows - if you've seen it you'll understand. An old couple who manage to survive a nuclear war, die slowly of radiation poisoning because they don't really understand what's happened.
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Allhallowsday
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« Reply #47 on: May 01, 2008, 03:56:07 PM »

...When The Wind Blows - if you've seen it you'll understand. An old couple who manage to survive a nuclear war, die slowly of radiation poisoning because they don't really understand what's happened.
Yeh, you reminded me of TESTAMENT, a similar film with the same bleakness.  All good choices for Feel Bad Flix, Spiff.   Thumbup
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« Reply #48 on: May 05, 2008, 05:56:38 PM »

Caligula.  Or should I say, Caligu--ugh!

You know that cliche 'Must be seen to be believed'? For better but mostly worse, that phrase totally applies to Caligula.

You don't feel bad for the talent, only the investors.

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« Reply #49 on: May 05, 2008, 07:02:52 PM »

You know that cliche 'Must be seen to be believed'? For better but mostly worse, that phrase totally applies to Caligula.

You don't feel bad for the talent, only the investors.

I don't know, there were one or two people in that film I felt bad for, despite the fact that they were only acting.
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Allhallowsday
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« Reply #50 on: May 06, 2008, 09:24:41 PM »

CALIGULA ranks as a Feel Bad movie (and I own it, I'm nearly ashamed to admit, but it is so gloriously bad...!!) 

I just sat thru CRASH (1996) DAVID CRONENBERG's film "starring" HOLLY HUNTER, JAMES SPADER, ELIAS KOTIAS, ROSANNA ARQUETTE, so, I finally got to see it, and found it as tedious as any of CRONENBERG's other films, but also, even, hideously uncomfortable (and implausible such as the very ending...)  I will say it is unforgettable watching HOLLY HUNTER finger the hideously scarred and handicapped ARQUETTE... the film is CRONENBERG at his CRONENBERGEREST!!!  (If not DAVID LYNCHest) And I will say a film you think about after watching... pondering the horror, intrigue, and absurdity... yet another ''Feel Bad" film.  I will say, not a small feat on CRONENBERG's part; the film is riveting, if not stunning.  I cannot say I like it, though.   Question
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« Reply #51 on: May 08, 2008, 10:18:05 PM »

I don't think A Clockwork Orange is exactly intended to be a feel-bad movie so much as a morality tale. That is, although evil wins in the end, good has a kind of moral victory. The message is "Don't let this happen in your country!" and your gut response is most likely to be "Preach it, brother!" Thus you end up feeling morally superior to all these fools on the screen who've just given away their liberties and ultimately their humanity in the unholy cause of suppressing criminals' freedom to choose between good and evil.

The Tales From The Darkside movie had a rather feel-good ending, but some of the stories told in there seemed rather feel-bad in their conclusions, particularly "Lot 249" and "Lover's Vow."

"Lot 249" left me wishing the surviving college student had gone through with his first plan to roast the nerdy young necromancer's nuts on an open flame in revenge for the murders of his friends. Though the necromancer's victims had wronged him, this hardly justified his raising a mummy to murder them, and what he did after he was spared his well-deserved death didn't even have a pretense of justification; it was just plain evil.

"Lover's Vow" left me hating the gargoyle for her pointless cruelty to one random victim and quite calculated cruelty to her husband and children. She had no reason to murder anyone in the first place, and the vow she made her husband take makes her like a female version of the old fairytale villain Bluebeard. She had even less justification for her murders than that necromancer in "Lot 249," and yet she gets away with them too! If some characters in horror stories are stand-ins for divine justice, then she's a stand-in for infernal impunity.

I guess, in the context of "The Wraparound Story" (i.e. the one with the macabrely happy ending) it makes sense that these tales would be so cruel and immoral, since they're the mythology that guides the evil modern-day witch who's planning to cook and eat the little boy Timmy, but I still end up wishing Timmy had tossed her evil book into the fire in the end. Really, those two tales left me feeling rather disgusted.
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« Reply #52 on: May 10, 2008, 01:47:28 PM »



"Lover's Vow" left me hating the gargoyle for her pointless cruelty to one random victim and quite calculated cruelty to her husband and children. She had no reason to murder anyone in the first place, and the vow she made her husband take makes her like a female version of the old fairytale villain Bluebeard. She had even less justification for her murders than that necromancer in "Lot 249," and yet she gets away with them too! If some characters in horror stories are stand-ins for divine justice, then she's a stand-in for infernal impunity.


At the end of that story, didn't the gargoyle and her children get turned into stone?  I always assumed the deaths  and secerts had something to do with what ever magic turned her human. (I'm guessing a lot of that part wasn't explained.)-  I know in certain mythologies, if you know the true name of a spirit/demon/monster you have power over it.  This could be a chase of the opposite.  If the secert is kept, it has the power.

Here's a question.  Do you think horror movies are better with a downbeat ending or (for lack of a better term) a happy ending. 

An ending with the killer defeated gives the auidence that good can win over evil.  A downbeat ending though might seem more in keeping with the tone of the film, and make it seem less Hollywood cliche.

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« Reply #53 on: May 13, 2008, 10:12:31 PM »

At the end of that story, didn't the gargoyle and her children get turned into stone?

Indeed. It might be more accurate to say they got turned back into stone. The story starts with a pan down between the gargoyle's wings when she's still just a stone statue, and ends with a pan back up to her on a roof, petrified into stone once more, but now holding her two children to her as well. It's a heck of a plot and a heck of a visual--no question about that--but it's still a pretty crappy ending from a personal perspective.

I always assumed the deaths and secerts had something to do with what ever magic turned her human. (I'm guessing a lot of that part wasn't explained.)-

There is indeed a kind of common chord running through the ancient pagan religions that shedding blood--especially by killing--is the way to achieve certain magical effects. To ancient sorcerers' ways of thinking, shed blood was a kind of coinage one used in attempting to wheedle a favor out of various forces of nature, these forces often being personified in the various gods of the local paganism and treated as supernatural vending machines. The greater the sacrifice, of course, the greater the result; a fellow human would be the greatest sacrifice of all. There is a hint of that in "Lover's Vow" in that the poor guy the gargoyle killed might have been a kind of blood sacrifice to transform her into a human, although she isn't shown calling on any specific gods to grant her a favor for doing so. (Ancient sorcerers didn't always call them by name either.)

Of course, human sacrifice is murder, whatever ends it serves, and that's one of several reasons why sorcery was outlawed in most of Rome and throughout all Christendom after the fall of Rome. Even the pagans who practiced human sacrifice seem to have had some sense of shame about it, as they tended not to say anything about it in their writings. It's from the writings of their enemies (Rome and Judeo-Christianity) and archaeological discoveries confirming these writings that we learn about these ritual murders. As such, the magical effect the gargoyle was seeking really just makes her crime that much more atrocious.

I know in certain mythologies, if you know the true name of a spirit/demon/monster you have power over it.  This could be a chase of the opposite.  If the secert is kept, it has the power.

"Lover's Vow" may have had a bit of that in it, but Pandora's Box seemed more the relevant mythology to me, especially since it turns up in a more diabolical form in the ancient tale of Bluebeard. Just as Bluebeard's forbidden room turns out to contain the remains of his murdered wives that he didn't want her to see, the lover's vow to the gargoyle conceals her human sacrifice and makes him an accomplice to the murder. Having the tale end with her murdering him was every bit as terrible as ending the tale of Bluebeard with him murdering his wife would be.

Here's a question.  Do you think horror movies are better with a downbeat ending or (for lack of a better term) a happy ending.

I think what you mean is the upbeat ending, which is synonymous with a happy ending but not necessarily the same thing. To give an example, Little Red Riding Hood's story originally had a downbeat ending: the wolf makes a couple of sick jokes about his nose and eyes and teeth, and then eats Little Red Riding Hood; end of story.

Later on, storytellers who didn't like that ending decided to make it a little more upbeat. So they tacked on this ending: Little Red Riding Hood's father finds out what happened to his daughter, and gathers together a bunch of his fellow peasants with axes and pitchforks. Then they go stab and hack the wolf to death. The end.

The happiest ending, of course, is the one we commonly read to our children today: a woodcutter comes along and cuts open the wolf and brings Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother out of him alive and well, and then they fill him up with stones so that later, when he wakes up, he falls into a well and drowns. The end.

Having the good guys live and the bad guy meet his richly-deserved death is the happy ending, but if you can't have the happy ending, having the survivors get revenge on the bad guy is fine with us too, see? They're both upbeat endings, although one is definitely happier than the other. Horror films usually go for the latter kind of upbeat ending, although Tales From The Darkside actually went with the happiest ending (a la Hansel and Gretel) with its "Wraparound Story." (Little Timmy's wisecrack at the end made up for a lot of those bad feelings, I might add.)

An ending with the killer defeated gives the audience that good can win over evil. A downbeat ending though might seem more in keeping with the tone of the film, and make it seem less Hollywood cliche.

Well, as with the upbeat endings, downbeat endings can vary in their effect on the audience too. A Clockwork Orange was a film that definitely had a downbeat ending: the good guys all end up dead or fired or locked away and the vicious young hoodlum gets a great new government position with some villainous oppressors who are even worse than he is. All the same, there is that moral victory for the viewer for having learned the lesson of the modern-day fable.

The book actually had a further chapter before the end in which the hoodlum eventually grows up and leaves his youthful malice behind him and decides to become a responsible citizen, but Stanley Kubrick was probably rather wise to leave that part out, since having that kind of upbeat ending would absolutely have killed the viewer's satisfaction along with the message. Ironically, the upbeat ending there might even have made it a feel-bad movie. Can't you just imagine the viewers leaving the theater saying "Oh, so he's reformed, huh? Bully for him, but what about all those poor flailing citizens who are still suffering under the thugocracy he's helped in its rise to power? What a wretched film!"

I think what makes the downbeat endings of some of the films mentioned here so bad is that they're playing it straight: Requiem For A Dream (the only one of these I've actually seen) ends pretty much the way these tales end in real life: with everyone's dreams shattered, hopes thwarted, and nightmares realized. That makes for a pretty strong anti-drug message, but with our sympathies drawn to the junkies themselves, pity for them really spoils any satisfaction we could otherwise have drawn from realizing they've gotten just exactly what they've deserved. There's also a further bitter pill in that one of the other moral points this film makes is that maybe we really shouldn't dare to dream, because look what that did for these people! The film's worldview isn't just cynical, it's nihilistic and despairing.

With some films, though, even the most downbeat ending couldn't possibly make them feel-bad movies. My example would be the end of the very first Terminator movie. What if, instead of Sarah Connor prevailing over the Terminator, it had succeeded at strangling her to death as it was trying to do? Just as the actual film doesn't end with the Terminator's death, neither would the more downbeat version end with Sarah's death. It would have to end with some logical consequence.

Surprisingly enough, it would be almost impossible to come up with a logical ending to the first Terminator movie bad enough to leave the viewer feeling morally unsatisfied and thoroughly sick at heart. I've come up with two downbeat endings that demonstrate the futility of trying to make it a feel-bad film.

Quote from: Downbeat ending 1:
Sarah Connor breathes her last, and when the paramedics arrive, they find her lying dead with the Terminator's metallic hands clenched around her throat. It menaces them and won't let them remove its hands from her until one of them gets the brilliant idea of squashing it flat in the pressing machine by pushing the button Sarah was so desperately trying to reach when she died. A cursory examination after that reveals that as they expected, she's dead. They call the coroner in, and he has her taken to the city morgue along with Kyle Reese, and the Terminator's remains impounded as well, since it's the cause of her death and evidence in the murder trial that's likely to follow.

When a further examination down at City Hall reveals the Terminator to be a Cyberdyne Systems product, the company is slapped with several massive lawsuits. In the end, the lawsuits are all dismissed for lack of evidence that Cyberdyne was ever working on anything like this robot, but Cyberdyne's executives are so rattled by this scandal and the negative publicity surrounding it that they scrap all their artificial intelligence projects and go back to building PCs and mainframes. Thus, Skynet never gets built and neither do the Terminators. The Terminator's destruction of the police station is written off as some kind of bizarre fluke in the violent history of L.A. and no one is ever the wiser that Sarah Connor and her boyfriend died to save all humanity from a horrible fate.

Possible further twist ending: across town, however, Cyberdyne's main competitor continues its A.I. projects uninhibited. One of its latest projects is the design and manufacture of artificial troops and a self-operating central control system to run them...

Quote from: Downbeat ending 2:
Sarah Connor breathes her last and when the paramedics arrive, they start looking for anyone who might have been hurt in the massive explosion of the gasoline tanker. The factory workers aren't allowed into the building through their usual entrance until the area has been cleared by the police and the firemen, so it's an early-rising company executive who finds the Terminator with its hands still clenched tight around her throat.

The Terminator having been programmed to shut down at the sight of its makers when its mission was complete, it appears to be utterly dead when he finds it. He's about to call the authorities in when he sees this ghastly tableau laid out before him, but he checks himself upon realizing how sophisticated the robot is, and decides to take it away for study instead. Easily unwrapping the Terminator's metallic hands from Sarah's throat, he carries it down to R&D and carefully sweeps the area for the rest of its parts before informing the authorities of the presence of two corpses in the factory. Of the robot and its parts he says nothing, especially since he has located the Cyberdyne Systems product numbers on it and knows what a legal headache this might bring his company.

Thus the raid on the police station, the gasoline tanker explosion, and the two corpses in the factory are all written off as part of a strange and only slightly more violent incident than most in L.A. while wanted posters with the Terminator's face on them are circulated, and after a while the authorities think nothing more of it. Cyberdyne meanwhile proceeds to build an amazing array of new equipment from working with the robot's fully operational cerebral chip and patents the unusual alloy extracted from its body parts. Eventually they build Skynet and the apocalypse takes place pretty much as predicted.

Humanity thus becomes a victim of its own arrogant ambitions and refusal to heed Kyle Reese's seemingly crazed rantings. The very last shot is of Kyle Reese under the watch of several Terminator guards in the post-apocalyptic future dumping the bodies of his fellow victims into an incinerator shortly before he's terminated himself, his eyes filled with tears as he despairs of rescue.

Possible alternate twist ending: across town in Sarah Connor's time, the police haul away an abusive John Minter from his battered wife Sarah in response to a domestic incident. At the urgings of a counselor, she divorces him and takes her young son, John Minter Jr., with her to her father's ranch. Since she's no longer Minter's wife, she decides to go back to using her maiden name Connor for both herself and her son. Little John Connor's grandfather, meanwhile, is a World War II veteran, and he determines to raise his grandson to be a real man, unlike that sissified city slicker his daughter married...

As you can see, I've actually provided more like four different endings. The bleakest, I suppose, would be ending 2A, with the destruction of humanity. While this is really tragic, what would keep the viewer from going away completely unsatisfied with it would be some of what was established earlier in the film. One of the things the writer did earlier, you see, was establish how corrupt and parasitic the society in which Sarah Connor lived really was so we wouldn't feel so sorry for the Terminator's first few victims.

As such, tragic as her death would be in addition to Kyle Reese's, we're actually given a reason not to feel so bad for the many millions of others slated to die, even to feel a kind of grim satisfaction that the apocalypse is a punishment long overdue. The needless deaths of Reese and Connor merely add to the feeling that human society is evil and ought to be scoured from the face of the earth. That's why even the downbeat endings couldn't truly make this a feel-bad film. Each of these endings, of course, is sadder than the original and probably wouldn't leave much room open for sequels, but the fact is that back when James Cameron was making the first film, he wasn't planning on making any sequels anyway; those came later when the film became a surprise smash.

So yes, a downbeat ending can shake up the audience and impress them with the writer's originality. Even in those endings, though, evil can rarely be said to have truly won against good. Requiem For A Dream succeeds at portraying this only because we're encouraged to sympathize with people who weren't otherwise very morally upright from the start, and then they get swallowed up in an even worse form of evil. "Lover's Vow" also has evil prevailing over an extremely compromised kind of good, as we're shown the gargoyle's unwitting lover is pretty much an ordinary guy who's just a bit of a foul-mouthed loser. Our sympathies lie with him because he's the best of a rotten bunch, and the story is feel-bad because his subsequent life and death seem to have reaped rich rewards only for the evil gargoyle. (Now she's mated and gotten herself two children, which seems to have been her goal in the first place.)

I think for a film to be truly feel-bad, blatant evil has to prevail so thoroughly over what's presented as good that we start to suspect the writer is also entirely evil. We're talking Marquis de Sade-style material here.
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Inyarear
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« Reply #54 on: May 13, 2008, 10:19:44 PM »

Caligula.  Or should I say, Caligu--ugh!

Case in point: I'll bet whatever that film showed was probably pretty close to what the actual histories said Caligula did. If it didn't show his cruel reign ending the way the histories say it did (stabbed to death by his enraged enemies with some of the repeated sword-thrusts going through his genitals), it's definitely a feel-bad film.
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« Reply #55 on: May 14, 2008, 05:10:05 AM »

Wow. That's the longest discussion I have ever seen of the Tales from the Darkside movie.

In the case of TFTD, I think the movie was following the time honored tradition of fairy tales in which the protagonist has to follow an arbitrary set of rules. If he then breaks those rules, then he has to pay the consequences. Judged from this perspective, the gargoyle truly loved the man, but she was obliged to follow the rules (as is the case with many mythological constructions). Is it fair that if Orpheus looks back he will lose his true love? No, that's just the way it goes. It's not happy, but it could have been avoided if he followed the rules. Fairy tales are cruel and capricious. Extrapolate that how you will.

I've seen it argued that the true hero in Requiem for a Dream was addiction itself. Any time a movie takes sides for an abstraction of humanity rather than humanity itself, you're in for a rough time.

I still think The Sweet Hereafter is the most emotionally devastating movie I've ever seen. So much naked despair paired with a pitch perfect performance by Ian Holm. I love the movie, but I'm loath to ever watch it again.
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« Reply #56 on: May 14, 2008, 08:04:31 AM »

Here's a question.  Do you think horror movies are better with a downbeat ending or (for lack of a better term) a happy ending. 


A really downbeat ending can wreck a whole movie for me. Let me see,,, recently, The Mist (new ver) from good ol Steve. The end of that movie bummed me out so bad it made the rest of the movie (which I had been enjoying up till that point) suddenly suck. I know it is supposed to be a shocking ironic twist ending, but, ugh..
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« Reply #57 on: May 14, 2008, 01:04:50 PM »

In the case of TFTD, I think the movie was following the time honored tradition of fairy tales in which the protagonist has to follow an arbitrary set of rules. If he then breaks those rules, then he has to pay the consequences. Judged from this perspective, the gargoyle truly loved the man, but she was obliged to follow the rules (as is the case with many mythological constructions). Is it fair that if Orpheus looks back he will lose his true love? No, that's just the way it goes. It's not happy, but it could have been avoided if he followed the rules. Fairy tales are cruel and capricious. Extrapolate that how you will.

Indeed, some of the old fairy tales are extremely downbeat. Ever hear of "The Hand With The Knife" and "How Some Children Played At Slaughtering" from The Omitted Tales of the Brothers Grimm? Even the Grimms had their scruples against allowing that much cruelty into their books! "Lover's Vow" did have a strong precedent in tradition; that's one more reason why it's so feel-bad.
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« Reply #58 on: May 14, 2008, 08:16:32 PM »

Badmovies.org is truely the place for intellectual discussion.  Here we have a story about a man marrying a gargoyle, and it leads to discussions of ancient history, morals, drama. mythology, literature, and even some creative writing.

I think wht "Lover's Vow" is feel bad becasue it seems nobody won.  Not man or gargoyle.  The man is killed and loses the love of his life.  Actuall, he is killed by the love of his life adding to the tradegy.

The gargoyle loses her lover (she admitted she loved him) and at the end of the shot she looks sadly at her childern as they are turned to stone.  Maybe this was her one chance at life and happyness.  Now she and her kids are stone forever. 
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« Reply #59 on: May 15, 2008, 03:26:56 AM »

Badmovies.org is truely the place for intellectual discussion.  Here we have a story about a man marrying a gargoyle, and it leads to discussions of ancient history, morals, drama. mythology, literature, and even some creative writing.

I think wht "Lover's Vow" is feel bad becasue it seems nobody won.  Not man or gargoyle.  The man is killed and loses the love of his life.  Actuall, he is killed by the love of his life adding to the tradegy.

The gargoyle loses her lover (she admitted she loved him) and at the end of the shot she looks sadly at her childern as they are turned to stone.  Maybe this was her one chance at life and happyness.  Now she and her kids are stone forever.

I do remember her telling him that she loved him, and that she seemed awfully heartbroken that the jig was up, but there's still no obvious reason why she had to kill him for breaking the vow, even though the deal was that she'd let him live in return for his silence. Saying "Sorry, hon, I really did love you and it breaks my heart to do this, but we had a deal and you broke it so now you have to die!" rings pretty false. She's never indicated to be acting under any compulsion but her own blood lust.

There's also no indication that the gargoyle and her children are petrified forever, since the tale doesn't explain what magic petrified her in the first place or what brought her to life on that particular day. The way these fairy tales usually work, though, she and her children are probably just on an extended vacation--sleeping the next century or millennium or whatever their term is until they awaken once more to find some other poor souls to torment.

Maybe I'm indulging some of Lovecraft's rather crypto-racist fears of interbreeding to say the very existence of such a creature would be a tough break for humanity, but she did seem rather predatory toward humans in more ways than one. Absent any friendlier members of her race for comparison, this kind of gargoyle could only be the invention of a diabolical mind--which, of course, is why the tale turns up in the kind of book the cannibalistic witch in "Wraparound Story" likes to read. Ugh! I bet she'd have a collection of Thomas Harris novels as well, especially the ones featuring Hannibal Lecter.
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