Joy: A film that always puts a smile on your face
Sadness: A film that sends tears streaming down your face
Fear: A film that made you want to cover your face (in fright)
Anger: A film that made you want to punch someone else’s face
Disgust: A film you wouldn’t want to face again (this one’s a bit more open-ended)
After much thought, I’ve come up with five choices that epitomize these emotions in me, so here goes:
JOY: Elizabethtown (2005)
While it’s sometimes more of a dark comedy, Elizabethtown is still a delight for me every time. It starts out with Orlando Bloom having the worst day imaginable (how could any of my bad days compare?), topped off by his being sent to Kentucky to bring home his dead father. If the small-town quirk doesn’t win you over, how about Kirsten Dunst’s Claire, who makes it her mission to raise this suicidal visitor out of his despair and into a new appreciation for life, complete with a fantastic soundtrack. “Freebird” has never made me smile so much.
SADNESS: Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
I cannot imagine a film more depressing, more heart-rending than Grave of the Fireflies…and it’s a cartoon! (Sorry, anime.) The story of two orphaned Japanese children during the last days of World War II is just so tragic, and the feelings of sorrow keep growing throughout until the inevitable, quiet, hopeless, gut-wrenching end. I hardly ever cry anymore, but this film does it every time.
FEAR: Poltergeist (1982)
I haven’t seen many horror movies so my choice here may seem wussy compared with others, but seriously, this film traumatized me when I saw it as a kid. I can’t stand jump scares, and that clown still rules my greatest moment of cinematic fright. Not to mention that swimming pool full of corpses. *Shiver.*
ANGER: Urban Cowboy (1980)
I’ve already ranted about how much I despise this movie, but this gives me another opportunity. John Travolta and Debra Winger play such pitiful white trash, and Travolta’s character especially is so childish as he insists on proving his alpha-male status even as he flagrantly cheats on his wife to make her jealous. The country music cannot save this maddening “romance,” in which the characters think a mechanical bull ride can heal a marriage more than the words “I’m sorry.” Can you tell I don’t like this film?
DISGUST: The Last Airbender (2010)
While it doesn’t have the gore or raunch that would normally turn me off from a film, M. Night Shyamalan’s film version of Avatar: The Last Airbender is unfathomably, disgustingly bad, the kind of bad that makes you wonder why no one noticed while making it. Wooden acting, stilted dialogue, weak special effects, laughable action scenes—on its own, it may have been just a bad film, but as an adaptation of the beloved Nickelodeon series, it tramples on everything that made that series great. Is there anything so disgusting as a missed opportunity?
Thanks for a fun idea, Connor!