I am a big believer in warning labels. I think everything should have one: People, countries and, most of all, films. But not just that FBI thing in the beginning. I’m talking like, Warning: The depressing nature of this film’s ending will most likely ruin your night, if not your life. Quit while you are ahead.
Some movie warnings come in the form of friends, co-workers, or my dad, who when I was growing up gave me two pieces of advice: Make a lot of money, and never watch the film Deliverance. Unfortunately I have failed at both, the latter more recently. I’d gone 33 years resisting the urge to see what really happens in the backwoods of Georgia, but the other day I gave in. And thus, my Saturday was destroyed by images of murky water, banjo music and, oh yeah, that whole male-rape thing. A scene that resides in my head, forever.
But I am at fault. I was warned many times to steer clear, but my curiosity and yearning for a sleeveless Burt Reynolds drew me in. So now I am here to prevent you from making the same mistake, because there are so many others out there. Films that once watched are sure to destroy your life. So here is a list—better yet, a warning—of films whose endings are slightly less than peachy. Spoilers ahead. Beware.
I have raised my hand to my mouth in shock exactly twice in my life, once during a Real Housewives reunion episode and the other at the end of this film. The whole movie is full of twists and turns in an attempt to answer one question. Unfortunately, the answer to the question is yes, this whole time you’ve been unknowingly having sex with your own daughter. Not to mention she’s an Olsen. Not Mary Kate or Ashley—no, the talented one, Elizabeth. [Watch on Netflix, if you must]
Arlington Road (1999)
When terrorists in the form of Tim Robbins move in the house next door, you move. You don’t pack, you don’t turn off the oven, you just go. If not, you find yourself dramatically framed for the bombing of the FBI headquarters, while your wife is killed and your newly orphaned son, now living with obscure relatives, forever believes his father is an enemy of the United States. Have fun in school! [Watch on Amazon Instant Video, if you must]
The Mist (2007)
I remember stopping on this movie because nothing was on TV, and I wanted a new experience. Little did I know that this experience would be nothing short of emotional waterboarding. Imagine: An eerie fog descends, destructive aliens appear and you save your five-year-old son from a violent death—by killing him yourself. All this moments before you’re saved by the Army. Nice going, dad. [Amazon Instant Video]
Anything by David Lynch
The only thing I was certain of after a David Lynch film is that I was filled with a sensation much like that of a colonic. Uncomfortable, uneasy, and unsure of what just happened. I know many of you may regard Lynch as a genius, but I think his films are good for only one thing: Not sleeping.
House of Sand and Fog (2003)
This movie should have been called Lose/Lose, because everyone loses. There’s not a single shining moment of joy from start to end. Two people fighting for a house leads to pain, suicide and Ben Kingsley’s best performance since every performance Ben Kingsley has ever performed. Anyway, he dies too, but the house stays intact! [Amazon Instant Video]
The Bicycle Thief (1948)
If you have a father or simply just know a father, this film will make you want to call him, hug him and put his head upon your bosom. It’s the simple story of an extremely impoverished man whose treasured bicycle is stolen, so he spends the whole day with his son trying to find it. No big deal? Tell me that as you destroy three boxes of Kleenex in 90 minutes. [Amazon Instant Video]
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
When this film came out, everyone told me I need to see it. I no longer speak to these people. Hilary Swank rises as one of the great female boxers, breaking through social and physical barriers only to be paralyzed and then euthanized in a sea of depression and pain. Hey, but she won an Oscar, so it was worth it—for her. [Amazon Instant Video]
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
How can Marlon Wayans star in a depressing film? I mean, there has to be some comedy in it. No? Not even close? I’m watching it, while holding my eyes closed and rocking in the corner? Seriously, this movie is the best “Say No to Drugs” ad ever. After seeing it, you won’t even take Tylenol for fear of ending up like Jared Leto. (Three words: Drug-related amputation.) [Amazon Instant Video]
Grown Ups 2 (2013)
Only depressing in theaters when you’ve realized you wasted $12 on it. [Amazon Instant Video]
Old Yeller (1957)
It’s the only thing harder to watch than that Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercial. Old Yeller is a beloved family dog who contracts rabies and must be put down by the little boy who loved him the most. See, this is why I don’t live on a farm. This, and dirt—I hate dirt. [Amazon Instant Video]
So, I apologize for potentially ruining the endings of 10 films you may have wanted to see, but trust me, I did you a favor. Not only will stay away from these devastating movies, but now you can focus on flicks that make people happy—like anything starring Reese Witherspoon.