Monster’s Ball. Precious. Do The Right Thing. Passion Of The Christ. For Colored Girls.
Last time we did a list on great movies you can only watch once, these were just a few of seven we picked. But we found that you, the readers, had a wealth of others you just had to recommend, and in all honesty, we agreed with most of them. That’s why we decided to make a second list with some new additions that were well done films, but only needed to be seen once. Whether it was because of the violence or the emotional rollercoaster they took people on, these movies got the point across, and let’s just say, we make a habit to pass them up in our Netflix recommendations…
I actually bought this movie before I had chance to see it, and it was the biggest mistake I made…in that year. After a colleague recommended it, and I saw it on sale at the now defunct Circuit City for like $6, I thought, “What the heck?” I bought it. Unfortunately for me, the film was horrifying. Don’t get me wrong, it was well-done and visually appealing, but the idea of teenagers passing on AIDS, making a game out of taking one another’s virginity, kids my nieces and nephews’ age raping one another, and just being general bad a** teenagers had me shook…my kids shall be home schooled (just kidding!).
Nothing makes me angrier than watching something black folks built and built up with blood, sweat and tears get torn down by folks who are just haters…and racists. Of course, that is the whole sad plot of Rosewood, which is based off the true events and the actual town of Rosewood in Florida. After a woman who was abused by her white husband blames a black man for it to protect him, a nearby predominately white town attacks Rosewood to teach the black folks a lesson. The movie also focuses on those who tried to keep folks from getting involved in mob violence against the town. It’s a pretty good movie, but it pisses me off, and still I don’t know why my mother bought that joint on VHS. Nobody wants to see that again!
Requiem For A Dream
Drug addiction is no joke. Seriously. That’s what I took from watching Darren Aronofsky’s film about four people battling drug addiction and the ways and means they go about trying to feed their habit. Saddest 101 minutes ever. Folks end up in psychiatric wards, lose limbs, end up in sex shows and in jail for their diseases. Kudos to Marlon Wayans for an amazing performance as Tyrone. By the way, Aronofsky isn’t a stranger to mind-bending sad films. If you saw The Wrestler or Natalie Portman in Black Swan, you know what I mean…
Red Hook Summer
Okay, I kid. This movie is the only exception to the list. It’s not necessarily that good…
I love Spike Lee, God knows I do, but I’ll never watch this particular Spike Lee Joint again. While another visually beautiful film by the director, the storyline was one I couldn’t get with. It didn’t have a sensible ending, there were moments that upset your stomach (one involves the bible) and let’s not forget how terrible the acting of the main child actors in it were. I’m sorry, it’s just the truth. I still got you on this new film though Spike!
Million Dollar Baby
Time to take a break from the Rs. There aren’t too many Clint Eastwood movies I don’t like. And this one is a really great one. But boy, does it have the most sad ending and most frustrating characters EVER. I say the latter statement because the protagonist has a trailer hopping family that she can never seem to please or make proud, and who even in the most dire and sad moments, are looking to get her money. And just when Maggie is on top of the women’s boxing world, it hurts a playa’s soul big time to watch her go down in terrible fashion. I actually own this movie, but I’ve only watched it all the way through once. Don’t need to see it again.
The thought of the whole genocide of a people, though it’s not a new concept in history, is sad in itself. But what makes things worse when you watch Hotel Rwanda is the realization of the lack of intervention in Rwanda to help save the lives of Tutsi people. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed during the Rwandan Genocide and in the film we get to meet Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel owner who uses his influence to help save lives during the melee. And while we can all agree that Don Cheadle was amazing as Rusesabagina, who wasn’t left in tears during and after this film?
I actually saw this documentary in theaters at a time when I was on an independent movie kick. The topic of bullies and their effect on children today is one that definitely needed to be discussed. One of my nephews was being pushed around previously by a kid whose parents were pieces of s**t, so I wanted to see it. But while the film puts a lens on a very serious issue, it also puts it on some very sad families and the children in them. Some had lost their children, who had committed suicide after being the victim of nonstop bullying, while others had kids who were facing bullying by not just students in school, but in the community for their sexual identity. One young man was actually caught on camera being assaulted and stabbed with pencils on the school bus home by other children. You need to see this movie, but you only need to see it once.
If you haven’t noticed, films about race are touchy for me. And there were so many pieces of the puzzle in this movie that just left me upset and emotionally exhausted in the very end. Those you thought were the bad guys turned good, and those who were supposed to be good were shooting folks and pushing them out on the street pretending they had nothing to do with it. The multitude of sad events (and the redemption of a few) within the last 25 minutes or so will just leave you sad, angry, even relieved at times, and hopeful that the racial tension you deal with isn’t as bad as it looks on-screen.
If you’ve ever been around two adults slowly but surely falling out of love, you know it’s a shame. And on-screen, it just puts a damper on your day, especially when kids are involved. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams give some amazing performances as a couple who in flashbacks meet and manages to marry, overcoming major obstacles, and then in present-day, go from being in love to loathing being touched by the other. The final few tearful minutes of the film, as their marriage implodes, will leave you feeling just as sad as they end up feeling.
Boys Don’t Cry
Like Darren Aronofsky, Hillary Swank knows how to pick films that will leave you feeling really down. No shade though, Boys Don’t Cry was a great film, and even based on a true story! However, the violence her character had to face being a transgender man who was found out by his male friends is too hard to watch more than once. Swank ended up winning an Academy Award for Best Actress for her work, and that ish was well deserved…
American History X
I’m all about redemption, but the stuff Edward Norton’s character has to go through and put others through to get to that point is difficult to stomach in this movie. If he’s not going to jail for stomping a black man’s head into a curb, he’s getting raped in prison. But when he finally realizes that he needs to change his life to be a better influence for his brother, who is beginning to follow in his past Neo-Nazi loving ways, it’s too late to keep him out of harm’s way. The last few minutes of the movie always leave me teared up.