Regretting the Road

Last week Rob told me he wanted to see The Road.  I was reluctant, but went along to be a good sport (some friends also wanted to go.)  About halfway through, I very nearly walked out (I would have, if it hadn't been for said friends) and on the way home we had a major argument about the movie.  I was angry with him for taking me to see it.  Truth be told, I was more angry with myself for going against my instincts, and I was most angry with the filmmakers themselves for having created the thing and flung it out into the world to pollute and infect the rest of us.

The movie is sad, but I like plenty of sad movies.  It's also gross, and I've been known to put up with grossness.  What I can't get over is the pervading feeling of despair: here is a society that has regressed to the most unimaginable and grotesque practices possible, having lost any sense of camaraderie, trust and goodwill.  It's not just that there is no faith in God; I'd argue that, as a society, we're there now.  It's that there is no faith in anyone or anything.  Everyone expects the worst possible motivations and behaviors from everyone else, and they're usually right.  "Depressing" doesn't even come close.  "Disturbing" begins to hint at the dark places this movie explored, places I never imagined existed before.

It wasn't bad, either.  In fact, it was very well made: incredible performances, beautiful (if bleak) cinematography, an imaginative storyline.  Bad movies are sometimes funny, sometimes just bad, but always forgettable.  This thing got under my skin.  It made me unsettled, frightened, angry.  Bottom line: I wish I had never seen it; I wish I could get the images and ideas out of my head, but there they are still, and there they will remain.

Since this experience, I've talked about it with quite a few people (and I've apologized to my husband, of course.)  I think for me, it comes down to a question of redemption.  If there is redemption, I can take quite a lot of things I'd rather not see.  But when a movie shows humanity to be fallen AND irredeemable, I don't understand why they made it in the first place.  Even if that's true (and it's not, thank God!) why spend time creating it?  It's pathetic that our establishment elevates these movies (in many cases, they won or were nominated for awards) and gives accolades for "transgressive" and "edgy" films.

So, below, I present my list of Movies I Wish I'd Never Seen:

  • Atonement

  • Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

  • A Clockwork Orange

  • Closer

  • Heading South

  • Natural Born Killers

  • Requiem for a Dream

  • The Ring

  • The Road

Objections?  Affirmations?  What's on your list?