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Do we have a tendency to overpraise "misery porn?" 
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Post Re: Do we have a tendency to overpraise "misery porn?"
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There are depressing movies that are brilliant, certainly, but no move that's brilliant because it's depressing. If something makes us feel heavy and sad, we tend to think that means it's important and good.


Agreed. I even prefer to downplay Schindler's List, great as it is, because it doesn't represent animal-instinct Spielberg (a true animal-instinct director if ever there was one). In a way, it can't, because the material is too sensitive. It's a landmark that needed to be made, but it feels like it exists outside of other films. I wouldn't want that for most movies though, so yeah I think this certain type of film is being overplayed. Though there should be a distinction between "misery films" and "misery films about sensitive historical subjects." I think both have their limits.


Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:33 pm
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Post Re: Do we have a tendency to overpraise "misery porn?"
One can overdo the misery, too. Lars von Trier comes to mind. I don't hate his films by any means, but if he'd give at least some reason for hope maybe more of his oeuvre would be more highly praised. It's a balancing act, but there should be some reason for hope.


Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:11 pm
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Post Re: Do we have a tendency to overpraise "misery porn?"
I tend to overpraise the opposite. I think that the most noble, the most admirable thing art can do is give us hope. Truly inspirational films are some of the most powerful things I've come across. If the road is bleak on the way to that inspiration, that's just fine, but a hopeless ending will usually leave a very bad taste in my mouth.

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Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:40 pm
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Post Re: Do we have a tendency to overpraise "misery porn?"
Steven wrote:
I tend to overpraise the opposite. I think that the most noble, the most admirable thing art can do is give us hope. Truly inspirational films are some of the most powerful things I've come across. If the road is bleak on the way to that inspiration, that's just fine, but a hopeless ending will usually leave a very bad taste in my mouth.

I agree with this GENERALLY - although I vividly remember Funny Games precisely because it didn't adhere to that. While not true for EVERY film, the best grim movies for me tend to be those that END on a note of hope. I remember Ebert said of in his 0-star review of Chaos that "The movie denies not only the value of life, but the possibility of hope." His 0-star review of Wolf Creek echoed similar sentiments with the "his job as a director is to make a movie I can sit through without dismay". I think those opinions are fair enough, BUT that isn't a "rule" for quality cinema in itself for me personally.


Fri Jan 31, 2014 8:04 pm
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Post Re: Do we have a tendency to overpraise "misery porn?"
nitrium wrote:
Steven wrote:
I tend to overpraise the opposite. I think that the most noble, the most admirable thing art can do is give us hope. Truly inspirational films are some of the most powerful things I've come across. If the road is bleak on the way to that inspiration, that's just fine, but a hopeless ending will usually leave a very bad taste in my mouth.

I agree with this GENERALLY - although I vividly remember Funny Games precisely because it didn't adhere to that. While not true for EVERY film, the best grim movies for me tend to be those that END on a note of hope. I remember Ebert said of in his 0-star review of Chaos that "The movie denies not only the value of life, but the possibility of hope." His 0-star review of Wolf Creek echoed similar sentiments with the "his job as a director is to make a movie I can sit through without dismay". I think those opinions are fair enough, BUT that isn't a "rule" for quality cinema in itself for me personally.

I agree with him on Chaos but not Wolf Creek, i'm fine with the latter film since it's actually based on a true story.

Funny Games I also hated because it seems like director only made the film for the purpose of mocking people who dared to like films such as Hostel, and he admitted that "his job was done" if people turned off the film before finishing it(which I wish I had done) that to me just reeks of laziness. The film really dosen't have much of an audience to speak of, people like torture films won't like it obviously, and most non-horror fans aren't going to know that it's a deconstruction(and not a very good one at that) and they'll avoid it as well. Funny Games is one film that has absolutely no reason to exist whatsoever, as bad as Chaos was i'll watch it over Funny Games any day,


Fri Jan 31, 2014 8:29 pm
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Post Re: Do we have a tendency to overpraise "misery porn?"
I guess, a well done misery porn is the easiest way to make an awards favourite, so many directors go for it at some point in their careers. Others do it out of artistic provocation and/or misanthropy (Trier and Haneke). For me, resorting to such means takes away from my opinion of that particular director and also makes me avoid such films, even if they are super critically acclaimed. Still, I would take Trier or Haneke over anyone in Hollywood, save Scorsese and Cohens.

It took me 5 attempts to finish "Breaking the Waves". I am stuck in the middle of "Beyond the Hills". I am avoiding Antichrist, Dancer in the Dark, The Piano Teacher, Amour, The Pianist, 12 years a slave, Sophie's Choice, Rosetta.

When I finally get to watch these, many of them turn out to be not really depressing. For some reason, I did not find Requiem for a Dream, Lilya 4-ever, Sweet Hereafter that depressing, just very good.


Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:49 am
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