HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Well, the Oscars were last night, and (fill in the blank) was awesome, and what a surprise about (fill in the blank) and didn't(fill in the blank) look incredible? (Fill in the blank) was such a disappointment, and (fill in the blank) was so inarticulate. And could you believe the...well, you get the point. You don't need US to talk about the Academy Awards, and all the movies and stars that were honored.
(We're happy to discuss it, of course!)
But let's do the opposite. Let's talk about movies we hate. Not so-bad-they're good movies, like Plan Nine from Outer Space and Point Break, but ones that were disappointments, or ridiculous, or absurd, or over-hyped, or just--unbearably awful.
My most un-favorite? THE VANISHING. SPOORLOOS in Dutch, but it had subtitles. That was the creepiest movie I've ever seen, and actually, I wish I could UNsee it. (There's a American verison, but I'm talking about the original.) A young couple stops at a highway rest stop. The girl goes inside to the bathroom,and never comes out. And the guy spends the rest of the movie looking for her. Completely and totally obsessed.
(This isn't a spoiler.) So eventually, he gets asked--"You can find out what happened to her, but the same thing will happen to you. Do you wanna know?"
I can't even write about it. It was SO disturbing. How about you? Any movies you wish you could UNsee?
LUCY BURDETTE: I am getting better at not going to movies I'd like to unsee later. But I did see the live-action shorts. And I wish I could unsee the first one, called DEATH of a SHADOW. A man had to kill 1000 people and then he could be released from his own death. Isn't that a creepy premise? At least we didn't have to slump through all 1000 deaths.
The funny thing is, the film that won this category last year was funny and quirky and upbeat, and yet all the offerings for 2012 were downers, with harsh settings (Somalia and Afghanistan, for example) and grim characters. I guess it's a sign of the times?
RHYS BOWEN: I don't do disturbing movies any more. When I was young I'd go to dark and violent foreign films and sit drinking wine dissecting them afterward. Now I can't handle too much darkness. I like my movies to be well-written and great human dramas (or comedies). My major beef recently with movie theaters is the sound level. Saw the Hobbit in Imax and the sound during the previews was so loud it actually hurt my ears. I haven't seen any movies I hate recently because I only go now on recommendations from friends and good reviewers. Movies like Quartet and Marigold Hotel--that's my speed. The one movie remember absolutely hating after it received so much praise was Raging Bull, every second word was a four letter one. We walked out.
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I agree with you, Rhys. I'm fine with the f-bomb once in a while, as necessary, but I've never had much tolerance for being carpet-bombed. You can't convince me that the original 1962 CAPE FEAR with Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum was less scary than the more graphically violent and obscenity-laden remake with Robert DeNiro and Nick Nolte.
Graphic violence usually turns it into a can't-see flick for me. The only film I can remember walking out of is SAVAGES. I like Don Winslow's books, but I can stomach a lot more on the printed page than I can onscreen. I lasted until the "heroes" are forced to help torture a guy before I couldn't take it anymore. Caught the last half hour of THE AVENGERS instead.
A movie that I just hated? In theaters now. A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD stunk like a fish left out in the sun for three days. And I LOVE the DIE HARD series. Plot holes so gaping, Ross, the Boy and I were turning to each other in the theater and asking each other, "But wouldn't he..?" Afterwards, Ross said, "I wish we had seen that in a foreign language. Without subtitles. It would have hung together better."
HALLIE EPHRON: Like Rhys, I stick to movies I've read about and won't make me feel like I stepped in it. So I've got to go back... to A Clockwork Orange. Gleefully torture and maim, tra la. Ick and double ick. Masterpiece schmassterpiece.
The good thing about watching movies at home is FAST FORWARD and the ever handy MUTE button.
ROSEMARY HARRIS: This is a hard one. I've been disappointed in a lot of movies but UNSEE really raises - or is it lowers - the bar. There's only one I REALLY wish I'd never seen, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Don't ask me to explain.
For the record I love Plan 9 From Outer Space, 2000 Maniacs, Eeegah!, Valley of Gwangi and a lot of movies many people think are dreadful. I just bought a copy of Frogs! This is a film I've never seen but have mentioned many times in my talk Mischief and Mayhem in the Garden. It stars Oscar winner Ray Milland and carries the memorable taglines "They're not the ones who croak!" and "First the pond - then the world!" I can't wait to watch it.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Because at our house, Friday night is At Home Movie Date Night, and Rick often chooses, I watch all sorts of things. He does make an effort to find things I'll like, so the stinkers are more often my choices. Like Syriana. Hated that movie. And very recently, Flight. I won't say I hated it--good performance by Denzel Washington--but it was pretty much a case of suffering through it. Nice ending, but SO depressing getting there. And SO long.
Movies I wish I could unsee? I think I'm with Hallie on Clockwork Orange. I did my best to erase it from my memory files.
But my current "wish I could unsee" is a TV show, the new series called The Following with James Purefoy and Kevin Bacon, two fine actors. I watched ten minutes of the pilot, thought it was awful, turned it off. Then last week, in a hotel room, the second episode came on and I watched the whole thing in a sort of numb state of shock. It's not only vile, but BAD. As in bad acting, bad dialogue, unbelievable characters... Just dreadful. Do not be tempted to watch this or you'll want to take a memory-erase pill!
HANK: See? And this is why the world goes round. I loved Clockwork Orange. And I LOVED Raging Bull. And Ro, I am still laughing over "They're not the onlly ones who croak!" Classic. But you'd never want to unsee it. As for The Following, I have to say, I kind of like it. But it is incredibly violent. And I just don't like to take up room in my head with that. Which reminds me of a scene in the otherwise-fabulous Game of Thrones I wish I hadn't seen. Eeessh.
So ,Reds--whats the movie that makes your brain crawl? That you wish you could unsee? And to celebrate Debs wonderful new THE SOUND OF BROKEN GLASS--the oppoite of unsee!--we're giving away a copy to one lucky commenter!