The Canadian film website Movies Online has come up with a list of Top 20 Feel-Bad Movies of the Past 20 Years, and it's worth chewing over. Of course the wrist-slitters at both ends of the list are Canadian, but they've got "Jesus' Son" in there (Billy Crudup as a heroin addict and the best title ever taken from a Velvet Underground song) and "Igby Goes Down," which is an underrated movie even if it's not a colossal bummer. "Lilya 4-Ever," about a teenage sex slave? Essential to a list of this type and, sadly, also essential viewing.
But, sheesh, where's the work of Todd Solondz -- grim masterpieces like "Welcome to the Dollhouse" and "Happiness"? Talk about bleak. Or Tim Blake Nelson's "The Grey Zone," a death-camp movie that never lets up? And, while we're at it, where's either version of Michael Haneke's "Funny Games"? If the aim is to beat an audience into cowering submission, you can't do better. Except maybe a Michael Bay movie.
It's also notable that it's a list of the last 20 years, which leaves out the New Hollywood of the 1970s -- how convenient. Downer dramas like "The Parallax View," "The King of Marvin Gardens" (photo above, and, yes, that's Jack Nicholson), and, hell, "Chinatown" would overwhelm this group like a tsunami.
Your own choices for the biggest movie bummer ever? Send 'em on in.