Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Film Emotion Blogathon

Conman at the Movies started a blogathon (thanks as always to the ever-amazing Drew at A Fistful of Films for shining the light) that is just too good to not participate in. Inspired by the best film of 2015 thus far, Pixar's Inside Out, the Film Emotion blogathon is about finding a film that stands in for each of the main emotions in the film:
Joy: "A movie that makes you happy. The kind of movie that you put on whenever you’re in a bad mood that never fails to lighten your spirits."
Sadness: "The movie that made you cry the most."
Fear: "The movie that gave you the most nightmares."
Anger: "A movie that you flat out hated. Not a movie that was dull or boring, but a movie that fills you up with rage just thinking about it."
Disgust: "A film that makes you cringe."

So without further ado, here we go!

Joy - I have a number of go-to movies when I'm in a bad mood, but the one that I probably turn to the most is Singin' in the Rain. Not only is it my #1 All-Time Favorite Film, but it is by far the one that gives me the most pure, unadulterated joy. I could just put on Donald O'Connor's brilliant "Make 'Em Laugh" number, but why would I want to deny myself the joy of the opening "Fit As A Fiddle" segment? Or the first meeting between Gene Kelly's Don Lockwood and Debbie Reynolds's Kathy Seldin? Or the one-two punch of joyousness that is "Good Morning" into the title number? Whenever I'm feeling down, any second of this movie will instantly make me happy again.

Sadness - I'm sure I've written this story a million times on the internet, but I don't think I've ever done so here. When I first saw Toy Story 3, I was in tears from the incinerator scene onward. And not polite little tears welling up in my eyes and dripping down my cheeks, either. I'm talking a goddamn RIVER of tears streaming down my face and great, loud, heaving SOBS in a completely packed movie theater. Every little thing about the last fifteen minutes of this beautiful film just hit me like a ton of bricks in different ways. I won't go into it all here, but this movie was one of a few that actually made me look at my life, assess it, and make a change. Even now, just thinking about that PERFECT final scene makes me choke up a little bit.

Fear - Oddly enough, the film that cost me the most hours of sleep is one that I haven't even seen, but one that I've only seen little bits of: Poltergeist. It's all about the TV. The one recurring nightmare I've ever had is one where I turn a TV off but it keeps turning on by itself, sometimes to static and sometimes to something that I don't know what it is. I've traced it to seeing the previews for this on TV when I was REALLY young. Thankfully, The Ring came out when I was much older, so even though those dreams started up again after seeing it, I was able to handle them much better.

Anger - SIGH. I've never been so offended by a film's quality that thinking about it actually fills me with rage. I've come close precisely once - Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones - but mostly I didn't actively hate it, rather I was just bored by it. HOWEVER, I truly detest The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies for the mere act of EXISTING. So much so that I haven't even seen it yet. There is simply no good goddamned reason to make that book into three movies. NONE. And given the padding present in both An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug, I just don't have the patience to sit through another one of these movies. Which pains me so much, because I am a full-on fanboy of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. And then Peter Jackson went entirely up his own ass and turned my favorite book into a slog (Benedict Cumberbatch's AWESOME Smaug notwithstanding).

Disgust - There are plenty of films that I've seen that I don't feel the need to watch ever again, but only a select few that are so difficult to watch that I specifically don't WANT to watch ever again. The big kahuna of those is easily Requiem for a Dream, a film that makes me cringe so much that I just want to curl up into a little ball and die. I'm not sure exactly when that pit in my stomach opens up, but by the time Jennifer Connelly... I can't even write about it here it's so awful. Given that the film's subject matter is drugs and drug addiction, I have no doubt that that's the feeling the film was meant to leave us with. So job well done, everyone, but... I can't watch your film again. EVER.


  1. Thank you so much for participating in my blogathon!

  2. I haven't seen your Anger, but HELL YES to the rest.

  3. Requiem is a good choice for disgust. I think that's what I would pick too. I had to laugh at your Hobbit rant. I agree, that book did not need three movies.

  4. Outstanding picks! I love your reaction to Toy Story 3. That is such a great film, it's impossible to not get wrapped up in. I'm a bit of a completist/glutton for punishment so I will see the last Hobbit movie, shortly. I fully understand where you're coming from on Requiem for a Dream. And I think you have to actually lack a heart not to smile at Singin' in the Rain.

    1. I can conceive of a possible future in which I sit down and watch the last Hobbit film, but I'd have to be pretty goddamn bored and it would have to be available for free.

  5. Great post! Toy Story 3 makes me want to cry -- every single time.

    1. Thanks for reading, and commenting! I'm even getting choked up about Toy Story 3 now, just thinking about it.

  6. Excellent choices of the ones that I've seen!

    While I don't love Singin' in the Rain nearly as much as you do I can certainly see its joyful qualities. For me Jean Hagen is the MVP in it but both Donald and Debbie are wonderful. So is Kelly but while there's no denying he was madly talented his smug self satisfaction has always been a bit of a turn off for me and kept him from being a favorite.

    I was older when I saw Poltergeist in the theatre and it was eerie and a great deal of fun but I can see how those ads would freak a kid out. No wonder you haven't seen the whole thing.

    Dell made an excellent case for fear with Requiem for a Dream but like you I felt mostly disgust when I watched and its something that I will never rewatch.

    I LOATHED all the LOTR movies, I couldn't imagine subjecting myself to The Hobbit ones. I'm sure I've mentioned my indifference to the first Toy Story so I haven't seen the others but I know they're beloved.

    This is a great idea so I came up with some as well:

    Joy was the toughest for me to decide since like you I have many films I can turn too to brighten my mood but it boiled down to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes which in its bright glitz and terrific chemistry between its two leading ladies never fails to entertain and a film that is categorized as a drama but which I find endlessly uplifting in its sometimes fevered melodrama so that's the one I went with.

    Joy-Woman’s World (1954)-A big, lush, shiny soap opera set during a corporate power struggle this is full of talented actors wearing beautiful clothes in expensive sleek settings and trading clever occasionally humorous dialogue. It has very little connection to reality but whether I’m happy or blue when I start by the time I’m done watching this delicious concoction I feel completely satisfied.

    Sadness-They Shoot Horses, Don’t They (1969)-Now I’m not a crier so I picked something that made me feel sorry for the whole stinking world. This incredibly powerful study in nihilism is enough to drain any joy you might have felt for several days on end. To know that it’s based on an event, marathon dances that were a real occurrence and traded on people’s desperation makes it even more tragic. I think it’s fair to say that it’s a film that has such a bleak outlook it’s too sad to make you cry.

    Fear-When a Stranger Calls (1979)-My cousin and I went into this without a lot of foreknowledge of the plot. She was heavily pregnant at the time and desperate to get out of the house and see a movie and this one was starting the soonest so in we walked, lambs to the slaughter as it were. The movie is flabby in the middle but to me has the most tension filled first and last 15 minutes of any one I can think of, so intense that in a particularly taut moment my cousin was so scared that the baby jumped and made her scream! For weeks after I couldn’t go to sleep at night until I had checked that all the closets were empty and the doors firmly shut.

    Anger-Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss (1998)-I don’t like to be cheated or deceived at any time, who does, but when watching a movie it makes my blood boil! This so called romantic comedy spends almost the entire movie leading the audience down the garden path that its two leads are headed to a great realization that they belong together only to have the rug pulled out from under them in the last few minutes and have the pair go off with characters we’ve never seen before!! A dirty cheat of a film, I was spitting nails when I left the theatre and to this day when I think about the film I feel my bile rising. GGGRRRRRRRRRR

    Disgust-Sophie’s Choice (1982)-I think everybody knows what the choice is by now and the film is a grindingly sad study of man’s inhumanity to man. Perhaps because when I saw the film I had determinedly remained as uninformed as possible it hit me especially hard. I felt depleted at the end, full of disgust for all the world.

    1. UGH I love Jean Hagen in Singin in the Rain SO. MUCH.The apotheosis of the dumb blonde. Gene was never a GREAT actor, but that natural "smug self satisfaction" was perfect for the part of Don.

      LOVE Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and really want to see Woman's World, it's been on my watch list for a while now. As has They Shoot Horses, Don't They? One day I will have a Jane Fonda film-fest with that and Klute and Coming Home and some of her other 60s-70s work, because I think she's fascinating, both onscreen and off. I've never seen the whole of When A Stranger Calls, but I have seen that opening scene and DAMN if it doesn't pin you to your seat and make you jump. Superb thriller stuff. Carol Kane... LOVE HER. I have not seen Sophie's Choice yet but of course I know what the choice is (one of those cultural osmosis things like Norman Bates's role in Psycho) and yeah, it's pretty gut-wrenching even without seeing it.

      LOL at Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss, which also makes me angry, but because I don't think it's any good as a film hehehe.

    2. I love the idea of a Jane Fonda film fest but if you watch Klute, They Shoot Horses, Don't They? and Coming Home in the same day make sure you have one or two of her frothy comedies, Any Wednesday, Sunday in New York or Cat Ballou at the ready to pick you back up off the floor!

      I can't even look at that damned Billy's objectively, it's probably a piece of crap but that ending just pissed me off so badly that it blotted out the rest of the movie. For the best I'm sure.

    3. Oh yes - I meant to include Cat Ballou and Barefoot In The Park in that list. Is Any Wednesday any good? I've never heard of it before.

    4. I've always enjoyed Any Wednesday because I never expected it to be more than it is, a fluffy little 60's romantic comedy that is very much of its time. Jane is at her fluttery, effervescent early best and Rosemary Murphy is terrific as Jason Robards wife.

      If you haven't seen it you should also check out Walk on the Wild Side, it's lurid trash but such a hooty mess that makes it fun. Jane is a perky tramp named Kitty Twist, then there's Barbara Stanwyck as lesbian madame Jo who runs a New Orleans whorehouse called The Doll House who is in love with her star of the house Hallie, supposedly a former backwoods Southern girl but played by the very French Capucine who is being sought by her long ago love drifter Dove, played by Laurence Harvey who in turn is being pursued by Mexican senorita Anne Baxter!! as well as Kitty Twist. With Juanita Moore crammed in there somewhere too. Just as bizarre as it sounds.

    5. Oh. My. GOD. WOW I need to find Walk on the Wild Side like NOW.

    6. Oh Dan I have one more recommendation from Jane's early work which you might not have seen, The Chapman Report.

      It's a sudser directed by George Cukor about the sexual problems of four well to do women which tips to the dramatic side but Glynis Johns's story is much more on the humorous side. She's an absolute sketch. Jane is a female Frigidaire with some outre hairstyles and the other two women are played by Shelley Winters, who is very good and Claire Bloom who gives the most beautiful performance. The only downside is that the leading man is that block of wood Efrem Zimbalist Jr. but the ladies make up for his dullness. It's playing on TCM on August 31 as part of Shelley's tribute day at 8:15AM.

  7. Interesting choices, I'm really loving this blogathon!