Thursday, January 11, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks: Once Was Enough (Movies You Don't Want to Watch Again)


Sometimes you watch a movie and immediately decide that once was not just enough, but more than enough. For most people, this tends to be those films that disturb us on a visceral level. I mean, I get it if you don't want to re-watch some poor sap fight for their lives with a large shard of glass hanging out of their neck and most of their blood on the ground around them. I have my fair share of those. For this exercise, I went with movies you guys told me were great, but I wound up hating. HATING. Here we go.

2001: A Space Odyssey
(1968)
My hate for this movie is legendary. That's mostly in my head, probably, but I have mentioned it here several times. It's beyond slow, pretentious, self-indulgent, and unbelievably boring. I know, it's supposed to be some deep exploration of mankind's past, future, and the cyclical nature of it all. Couldn't a filmmaker as accomplished and renowned as Stanley f'n Kubrick have found a way to make it something other than a 150 minute sleeping pill? I'm sorry, but watching an object float against a black screen while classical music blares and pounds for what seems like a half-hour is not my idea of a good time. And the highlight of this whole damn movie is a disembodied monotone voice say "I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that." I was supposed to be all mortified at this point, but all I could do was go "AAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!"


Enter the Void
(2009)
True story: Ever since I was a kid, I wondered a movie would be like if it were filmed entirely using a first person viewpoint. This movie has that. What if that movie were told from the perspective of someone who led an insane life, has just been killed, and gets to see how his death affects those in his circle? This movie has that. Imagine if that movie had loads of kinetic energy and never let up. This movie has that. What's my issue, then? Director Gaspar Noé insisted on trying to give me a seizure for damn near three hours. I'm sorry, but incessantly flashing lights and endless techno music is not my idea of fun.


The Tree of Life
(2011)
My hate for this movie is legendary. That's mostly in my head, probably, but I have mentioned it here several times. It's beyond slow, pretentious, self-indulgent, and unbelievably boring. I know, it's supposed to be some deep exploration of mankind's past, future, and the cyclical nature of it all. Why do I feel like I've said that before? Well, since the shoe fits, I'm surely going to put it on this movie. Just in case you didn't think it fit, this movie has a disembodied voice of it's own. However, director Terrence Malick goes a step more pretentious with it. This one whispers all the damn time. I don't mean regular movie whispering, either. I mean like even us in the audience aren't supposed to be able to make out all the words. At least, I sure can't. I gather it's supposed to give things an ethereal quality, but really - "AAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!" (Full Review)






34 comments:

  1. I don't blame you for not liking these films as I just love them to death. I can understand if it's not for you or for anyone and I can be fine with that. After all, it could be worse.

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    1. I get it. Lots of people love these films. They just didn't work for me.

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  2. I've never seen 2001 and that's for pretty much all the reasons you mentioned. I'm fairly sure I'll feel the same way. Tree of Life I hated too, oh my God how I hated that movie. The opening made me feel like I was watching a Windows screen saver.

    Enter the Void I liked, but I probably wouldn't watch again either. I definitely get the seizure comment.

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    1. Yes, it was exactly like watching a screen saver that would change every so often. Ugh!

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  3. My secret cinephile shame is that I have never seen 2001 all the way through in one sitting. I've only seen bits and pieces of it over the years. I've liked what I've seen, but I'm not sure how it all fits together.

    I LOVED most of The Tree of Life. I won't lie, there was definitely a stretch in the middle where I nearly fell asleep, but for the rest of it, I was so enamored of the pretty pretty pictures and Brad Pitt's performance that I didn't mind the boring stretches.

    Enter the Void, though, I haven't seen. Mostly because I've heard the seizure comment a few times, and I've seen Irreversible, the opening of which was almost enough to give me nausea, so I know Noe can do that if he puts his mind to it.

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    1. If you loved The Tree of Life, there's a good chance you'll like 2001. Neither worked for me. I haven't seen Irreversible. Can't say that I will, either.

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  4. Well I take comfort in knowing that it wasn't I who steered you towards these cinematic nightmares!

    I can't say that I hated 2001, that would take too much effort for something I was so profoundly indifferent too. I suppose it shows my lack of devotion to auteurism (I hate the whole auteur theory, film is a collaborative art!) that I enjoyed the sequel 2010 a whole lot more when it was denounced as just another sci-fi flick.

    I've heard that very statement about Enter the Void before and since I'm prone to headaches without any outside help that's the last thing I need.

    Malick!! Argh! Badlands was great, Days of Heaven lyrical if a tad drawn out, The Thin Red Line involving but overlong and then The New World....so beautiful...so endless!! And I was interested in that story! No wonder it takes him so long to make a film, he shoots and shoots and cuts nothing out. No thanks.

    A couple of mine are films that I thought were fine but see no reason to return to and then there's my first. Be warned.

    Once is Not Enough (1975)-Oh but it most certainly was…more than enough to be frank!! Based on the theme I couldn’t resist but this terrible film based on a trashy Jacqueline Susann novel about a naïve selfish and rather stupid rich girl (Deborah Raffin) who becomes involved with an much older man (David Janssen) as a substitute for her obsession with her father (Kirk Douglas) is tasteless, crass and badly acted by everyone except Alexis Smith and Brenda Vaccaro (who somehow managed to rise above the muck and be nominated for Best Supporting Actress). For something so salacious it’s remarkably dull.

    La Ronde (1950) - Max Ophuls’s venerated roundelay of a circle of love affairs, some serious some frivolous in 1900 Vienna is a supposed mad whirl of joie de vivre. I love many other of Ophuls’s films, Letter from an Unknown Woman, The Earrings of Madame de… & The Reckless Moment among them, so I was really looking forward to this film but while I didn’t hate it I found it rather silly and too frou-frou to take seriously and can’t see myself returning to it again.

    Moonrise Kingdom (2012)-Two youngsters fall in love and run away together which leads a search party to set out for them while they have quirky adventures. I know I’ll probably take heat for this one and maybe it’s because Wes Anderson films by and large leave me cold but while others were telling me how charming and lovely this was I thought it was forced, trying too hard for a feeling of whimsy. Again I didn’t hate it but I had a big feeling of So What? at the film’s conclusion.

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    1. We'll have to agree to disagree on the auteur theory since I do think there's some merit to it. Making a film is a collaborative process, but I do believe some directors use the team to realize a certain vision and style that's fairly recognizable from film to film. The dreaded, at least by me, Malick comes to mind. Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Tim Burton, John Waters all spring to mind also.

      Love the irony in the title of your first pick. The only one of those I've seen is Moonrise Kingdom which I loved. Wes Anderson is another one the auteur theory applies to, in my eyes anyway.

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  5. I tried getting into 2001: A Space Odyseey last year but gave up 30 minutes in. I don’t think I’ll ever get back to it nor will I attempt to.

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  6. My brother loves 2001 but I think he must have seen it while in a LSD trip. I have watched the whole thing and i don't hate it but I am blah about it and I found it frustrating. I have not seen your second choice but i will skip it. I tried like hell to watch tree of Life and still have not been able to sit through the whole agonizing borefest that it is. Great choices

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    1. For me, 2001 starts at frustrating and gets progressively worse. I should've stopped The Tree of Life, but kept watching hoping it would reveal itself to be the profound piece of cinema everyone said it was. Sigh.

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  7. I hated 2001: A Space Odyssey so much. I still can't believe people actually love that movie. But I didn't hate The Tree of Life. Yes, it was beyond boring and most of it didn't make any sense but I liked the love/hate father and son relationship.

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    1. Yeah, I spent the entire time I watched 2001 thinking what the hell all those people were thinking. The father/son relationship was the only interesting thing about The Tree of Life.

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  8. The first two thirds of 2001 are good, but the third act is terrible. When TCM runs it I watch with the descriptive video service thing (SAP) enabled, and even that doesn't help make sense of the movie.

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    1. Nope. Didn't like the first, second, or third act.

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  9. There are a lot of movies I wouldn't watch a second time because there is no real point to it (Joel's mention of La Ronde is a good example. It's not a horrible movie...there's just not enough there to warrant another watch). But there are a few that have scarred me in particular ways and I'll never watch again.

    Salo. God Damn Salo. This is torture porn before the term was invented, a film that exists only to show just how much degradation can be heaped on a group of people for months before the film thankfully ends. It is literally the closest I have come to vomiting in my own lap while watching a film.

    Come and See. This is a brilliant film, one that everyone should watch, but there's no way I could handle it a second time. It is brutal and terrible and one of the most profound experiences I've had watching a film. But never again. It would kill me.

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    1. Salo.... ah.... that is a film where I'm sure not many people can get through all the way. I have only seen it once and I thought about seeing it again in response to some of the political turmoil that is happening right now. Come and See I have seen as it's just fucking intense as I'm not sure if I can watch it again.

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    2. I've stayed far away from Salo because of all the nastiness I've heard about that movie. Can't say that's going to change anytime soon. Haven't seen Come and See, but it sounds like I should, at least once.

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  10. Tree of Life nearly put me in a coma. Never again.

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  11. Gaspar Noe's IRREVERSIBLE is a film I never need to see again. I find him an eclectic filmmaker too much to "enjoy" his films more than I "endure" them (his recent explicit film LOVE was okay, but indifferent) but I'm never going near the Monica Bellucci rape scene again. Very, very hard to stomach.

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    1. I've heard that one is tough to sit through. Based on responses to this post, it's not looking like I'm going to.

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  12. Hahahaah love how you chose films that are all meant to be 'genius'. I've not seen any of them. Not a Kubrick fan (apart from The Shinning). Not keen on sitting through that techno hell you described and I think Malick is always hailed as a genius but Tree of Life was not my scene.

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    1. Obviously, I'm not going to tell you to see any of them, so fine by me.

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  13. What's so great about lists like these is that they almost always feature a Gaspar Noé film. Irreversible made a similar list of mine a few years ago, so I totally understand why you wouldn't want to dive back into Enter the Void.

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    1. Yeah, that bit of sensory overload is something I'd like not to experience again.

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  14. Haven't seen any of them. 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Tree of Life both of which I have often heard are beautiful to look at or the like but ultimately long and boring...so that kind of puts me off watching them til now.

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    1. I'm certainly not going to be the one to rush you into either one.

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  15. So, thanks for the link. I love what you did with your 1 and 3 picks here. I took my wife to Tree of Life and she cussed me up and down all the way home. I sort of dug it. She feels like you. I would watch again. My wife cusses me every time I even say Terrence Malick. I chose one of his for my list, so...

    As for 2001, I've seen it several times. I only like the stuff with Dave and Hal and the spinning space stuff. The rest is incomprehensible bullshit. It's like that old saying about polished turds.

    I just can't bring myself to try a Noé film. Too scared. Though your description of this one sounds great.

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    1. I think I love your wife, lol. All I'll say about Enter the Void is a lot of people love it.

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  16. This will fall on deaf ears but 2001 gets better the multiple viewings. Indeed, I find it an increasingly fascinating piece of cinema. There are few films that get better each time you watch them but 2001 accomplishes that. Was does the film mean... I haven't got a clue but I'm not sure that matters. It affects me. It inspires, unsettles, sparks my imagination...

    Perhaps someone will say the above to me when I admit to sharing your hatred of Tree of Life. Now we're talking about indulgent cinema that provides a big screen version of a sleeping pill.

    One film that comes to mind when I think of movies I have little interest in re-watching (apart from ones I thought were rubbish) is Funny Games. I think the film has merit and it's effective in building tension and hitting the audience over the head with horrific images that often come from implication. But torture is a tough one to willingly revisit so Funny Games remains one of those films I'll leave alone.

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    1. Yup...deaf ears. I can't bring myself to do it. Haven't seen Funny Games, but I've heard lots. Hopefully, I'll see it in the not too distant future.

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  17. Oh man, all three are on my favorite films of all-time list! I know others found 2001 and Tree of Life slow and pretentious, so don't feel bad about not loving them. I could try and defend what they do well, but you seem to have made up your mind why they are not for you, and that's fair enough. Different strokes for different folks!

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