These movies aren’t so much sad as they are total bummers. I was thinking about this on the way to work the other day after seeing #10, The Constant Gardener. Watching these films just makes you want to beat yourself to death. I just threw in the first ten that came to mind. There are plenty more out there, but I think a nice film festival of these beauties would manage to sufficiently bum you out for at least a couple months.
#10 The Constant Gardener From top to bottom this film is a complete bummer. The main character’s wife dies right at the beginning of the movie and the fun ensues. Set in Africa amongst the killing and poverty and corporate greed, the thing can only end one way…
#9 Crumb Watching a couple of manic depressive siblings fight their demons and mumble for a couple hours about nasty sex and whatever is enough to make you want to take a cyanide shower. Crumb’s comics are sad, and so is his life.
#8 Miracle Mile Nothing like nuclear war to cheer things up. Watching Doctor Greene run around for a couple hours (with the weepiest actress of all times, Mare Winningham, no less) trying to escape the inescapable is just a total downer. And then the world lights up and you just want to smother yourself with a pillow.
#7 The Hotel New Hampshire We could have picked any number of John Irving books here, but between Jodie Foster getting raped by the football team, most of the main family dying in a plane crash (including the family’s stuffed dog, Sorrow–again), incest between the brother and sister, and a suicide, this one really has it won. Any movie that revolves around the saying “keep passing the open windows” you now has to be dark–especially when one of the characters doesn’t follow her own advice. Sorrow sinks. Indeed it doesn’t.
#6 Rush Ah, junkie love. Well, junkies who are stand-up cops trying to bust drug dealers who turn into junkies themselves, and are surrounded by astonishingly scummy folks who would just as soon shoot their mothers as they would a tin can. Gritty, grim and just downright soulsucking, this thing will make you wonder if in fact Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jason Patric were really living in a rusty toilet while filming. The depressing Eric Clapton soundtrack doesn’t help, either.
#5 Y tu Mama Tambien mr. hipster review How do you say bummer in Spanish? Despite being set out in the bright daylight of Mexico, this thing just kills you with its blunt imagery and mentions of death. Its unflinching portrayal of demented relationships and sex, and its ridiculously awful ending just make you want to go play with a scorpion.
#4 Midnight Cowboy Jesus, I mean Jesus. If you’ve seen this movie, you’ll know why it made my short list. The grainy 1969 film doesn’t help things much, but the dreary Manhattan surroundings (it was much dirtier back then), the deplorable behavior of our protagonists and the biggest bummer of an ending of all time leaves you wondering why you just spent two hours watching two guys end up even worse than they started.
#3 Requiem for a Dream mr. hipster review Everyone in this movie spends it circling the drain. Why anyone would ever do drugs after watching the horrible, horrible ending to this movie is beyond me. The whole thing is just a giant train wreck, with all four protagonists ending up in the worst possible positions one could imagine (no pun intended in one case). I just remember my jaw hanging open after the credits started to roll–I couldn’t believe how much I wanted to shoot myself.
#2 The Elephant Man Despite what is supposed to be a peaceful ending, the thought of this guy having to go through this awful life with this crippling disease is just horrifying and depressing. The fact that just trying to sleep in a prone position for the first time kills you is kind of a tip off.
#1 The Assassination of Richard Nixon mr. hipster review A sad little delusional man leads a pathetic life. He imagines that Nixon is the source of all his ills and attempts to assassinate him (sort of). Things end badly, and a little man’s little life ends in an anti-climactic poof. Gawd, this is just the lowest.