What’s a movie you enjoyed, but never want to see again?

What’s a movie you enjoyed, but never want to see again?

Gif: Natalie Peeples
AVQ&AWelcome back to AVQ&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. Consider this a prompt to compare notes on your interface with pop culture, to reveal your embarrassing tastes and experiences.

This week’s AVQ&A comes from reader Kate L.:

What’s a movie you enjoyed, but never want to see again? The first time I saw Uncut Gems, as soon as it was over, I turned to my theater-going companion and said, “That was incredible, but I never want to see it again.” While I greatly appreciated the film, I found it to be so tense and stress-inducing that I decided I didn’t care to repeat the experience. That feeling didn’t change when the movie popped up on Netflix.”

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2 / 10

Sorry To Bother You

Sorry To Bother You

Sometimes the desire to avoid a repeat viewing of a film is less about avoiding the bad feelings it might dredge up, than it is about preserving the memories of good ones. As much as I loved Sorry To Bother You when it snuck its wildly subversive vision of capitalist dystopia into theaters in 2018, I can’t imagine ever going back to Boots Riley’s weird little sci-fi opus for a second take. The thought of diluting the sheer out-there strangeness of the turns Cash Green’s story takes is just too sad of an idea for me; better to keep the memory of shock present in my memory, than to risk allowing one of the weirdest moments I’ve ever experienced in a theater to become ho-hum through repetition. [William Hughes]

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3 / 10

Hannah Takes The Stairs

Hannah Takes The Stairs

Like William, I have a movie I’ve avoided revisiting simply due to the impossibility of repeating the circumstances that made it such a lovely theater-going experience. I was in one of the worst moods of my life when I went to see Hannah Takes The Stairs, Joe Swanberg’s breakout film that also became one of the defining works (for better or worse) of the so-called mumblecore film movement. Ambling into the IFC Center grouchy and sleep-deprived, I was slowly won over by this ray of light of a film—breezy, relatable, effortlessly charming, and with a touch so light it felt occasionally as though the whole thing might float off into the ether. I’m not sure it’s stood the test of time, but I don’t necessarily want to know. Right place, right time, and all that. There was a Q&A with the cast and crew afterward that I barely remember; I do, however, remember thinking I needed to check out more films by the sunny young star of the movie, some unknown actor named Greta Gerwig. [Alex McLevy]

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4 / 10

The Irishman

The Irishman

Despite a noted shortage of Anna Paquin, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman is still a marvel of world-building and storytelling, tracking the fiery rise and gradual, depressing fall of Robert De Niro’s mob hitman, Frank Sheeran. The deft way Scorsese de-glamorizes a film genre he once made cool, and its pair of career-best performances (I, of course, mean Joe Pesci’s and Action Bronson’s) make it a cornerstone of his legendary filmography. Alas, The Irishman is just far too long for me to ever consider another visit—though all respect due to Thelma Schoonmaker for making its bloated runtime hum right along. But in the end, when it comes to that digital de-ageing: I could suspend my disbelief for three hours and 30 minutes, but not a second longer. [Cameron Scheetz]

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5 / 10

Joker

Joker

I can watch a shootout or surgery play out on screen without batting an eye, but there’s something about hand-to-hand combat, self-harm, and watching socially awkward people that makes me uncomfortable to the point of displeasure. Todd Phillips’ Joker happens to subject viewers to all three. Just conjuring memories of Joaquin Phoenix’s bony back is enough to make me physically recoil. Cinematographer Lawrence Sher beautifully shot Phoenix’s engrossing Arthur Fleck, but the world they created is not one I want to spend time in ever again. [Patrick Gomez]

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6 / 10

Salò, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom

Salò, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom

John Waters may consider it lighthearted drive-in fare—of course he does, he’s John Waters—but once was enough for me and Salò, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom. Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Marquis de Sade-inspired 1976 wallow through the extremes of human cruelty has some pretty provocative (and resonant) points to make about the innate corruption of the carceral state and the psychological underpinnings of fascism. But watching the movie more than once, at least in my mind, is like burning yourself on a stove every morning to remind yourself that fire is hot. You’ve got to hand it to Pasolini, though—forcing them to sit through multiple scenes where weeping teenagers are forced to eat human feces is one way to create a Pavlovian aversion to fascism in an audience. [Katie Rife]

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7 / 10

2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey

I know this is blasphemy, but I have no desire to sit through Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey ever again. Glad to have seen it, I know it’s a masterpiece, but life is short, and I just don’t have another two-and-a-half hours to give up. Fortunately for me, by the time I had seen it, enough had been written about 2001 to (kind of) help me understand the monolith and the star baby and the prospective danger of technology that the film was intended to transmit. But honestly, at the time, especially before the whole HAL/Dave showdown kicked in, I found it to be a ponderous snooze. I’ll go clean out my desk. [Gwen Ihnat]

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8 / 10

Moonlight

Moonlight

There’s something about seeing children really go through it—children, then adolescents, and then young adults. Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight shows viewers all three, tracing the life of its central character, Chiron, as he begins the film as a shy, sensitive boy before hardening into a tough, closed-off young man. When I saw it in the theater in 2016, the film created such an ache in me that I didn’t want to talk to the friend I’d come with after it was over. It was almost too much to take. The fear in rewatching the film is both that it’ll make me feel that way again and that it won’t. [Laura Adamczyk]

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9 / 10

Elephant

Elephant

My eyes welled with tears just watching the trailer to Elephant, so I knew well enough to make it a solo screening when Gus Van Sant’s 2003 indie rolled into my local theater. Based in part on the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, the Palme D’Or winner is a spare and emotionally distant look at a school shooting that elides narrative in order to emphasize the banality of the tragedy. And while the shooting itself is painful to watch, it comprises only a small fraction of the running time, with Van Sant devoting the bulk of the film to ordinary interactions between its cast of archetypes. And that’s really what gets me—the horror of knowing that this normalcy will so abruptly pivot to violence. “Is something bad?” a character asks a teary John Robinson in the trailer. “I don’t know,” he says, a reply that teases the invisible wire of unease that grows tauter with every one of these kinds of tragedies. Elephant is the only movie I’ve seen that propelled me to call my mom and tell her I loved her afterward.[Randall Colburn]

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10 / 10