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The most philosophically bad movies you've ever seen

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I was glad the kid died in the end. That kind of stupidity doesn't deserve to live.

Please use spoiler tags for stuff like that. This movie is on my Netflix queue, and I now know how it ends. I've had it recommended to me by several people...maybe the philosophy of it really is terrible, but I'd like to be able to judge that for myself once I've seen it.

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That doesn't really spoil it. In the book, they tell you he died in like the first sentence in the introduction (on the back of the book on the summary/advertisement too actually.) It's really besides the point, so don't feel too bad.

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That movie is a dramatization of an actual story. Literary standards are actually inappropriate, so saying it is a bad movie goes without saying, its tautological. It had interesting scenes and characters.

Wow, it was a true story!? Its hard to believe that level of stupidity actually exists.

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Yeah. I guess the guy wanted to pit his mind against nature...he lost I suppose.

Early america was pioneered by such people in the first wave, solitary mountain-men and trappers. To try to do so today entirely self-taught, with no one to ask for help or examples to follow is impractical and foolish. I don't think the kid even had the right mindset to succeed, no sense of ruthless practicality guided him to pick an easier place to live in the wilderness. Beyond a certain point, nature always wins. There's that Bacon quote Rand liked "Nature to be commanded, must be obeyed."

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  • 2 weeks later...
Why? The guy dies into a dream and meets a whole bunch of bad philosophers that babble incoherently for 2 hours.

It's a good portrayal of a dream, how it looks like and how dream people (which are one's own subconscious thoughts) behave in it. I also like how the main character is clued to what is happening to him, but neither him or the viewer quite gets it until the very end. Interesting, although a bit of a wasted idea, not fully explored to its potential.

Yes. It's ironic, isn't it, that the movies that can do the most damage to your children are precisely the ones that don't come with any parental advisory--because they're made for children!

Yes, good point. I tend to think that they can only do damage to one's children if they remain unexplained and uncriticised by the parents. Do you mind to summarise what was bad about it (Polar Express)? I didn't watch.

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Please use spoiler tags for stuff like that. This movie is on my Netflix queue, and I now know how it ends. I've had it recommended to me by several people...maybe the philosophy of it really is terrible, but I'd like to be able to judge that for myself once I've seen it.

Heh, I thought you said Rifttrax at first.

To be honest, that's how I would've first wanted to watch that movie.

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I think the other person to say Waking Life really hit the nail on the head. That movie was utterly, despicably, predictably the biggest piece of cinematic (or artistic, for that matter) trash that I have ever had the enormous displeasure of having to sit through. The people involved in making that film really should be exposed and have their careers ended forever for releasing such garbage to the world.

Seriously, it was so awful that I don't think the disservice that piece of nonsense has done to this earth is even remotely reparable.

But I do think you guys are getting the wrong impressions from Natural Born Killers. Though I did not think the film was anything better than a fun-to-look-at colorful horror show with some unique production qualities, the criticism here isn't warranted. The fact is that Oliver Stone obviously doesn't see the world as he portrays it in the film. The film's point was to portray how savage and sensationalized human beings can be when society uses its tools to glorify hatred, violence, and sickening acts so that it encourages this behavior rather than discourages it. You're supposed to love and hate the main characters at the same time, and I think that Oliver Stone does a fantastic job in creating this atmosphere. It draws you in to feeling sympathetic for the two monsters on the one hand, putting you in the same position as the millions of bystanders allowing the madness to continue. On the other hand, you hate yourself for wanting them to succeed, and understand that the damage their actions are causing are far beyond the moral bounds of any rational human being.

That type of effect is quite profound, and I think warrants some respect. The content itself is not violent and disturbing merely for the sake of it; it is included to serve a true point and purpose. The visuals are so absurd, exaggerated, and ironic, that it would be ridiculous to assume any intention to promote perverted, immoral actions. On the other hand, if you were to dislike the film simply because you couldn't stomach the content, then perhaps it would be unfair to criticize the film with any conclusive attitude.

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The film's point was to portray how savage and sensationalized human beings can be when society uses its tools to glorify hatred, violence, and sickening acts so that it encourages this behavior rather than discourages it.

I think Oliver Stone views American culture that way, not some personified Mr. Society, who has plans, tools, and encourages people to do things, and that's why he portrayed all the characters and crowds the way you say he did. Or, if he does not see people as individuals, but rather as tiny pawns of American Society, that's wrong too.

Beyond that, the movie explicitely idealized the primitive, and condemned civilization (America) , for being advanced, every five seconds.

That type of effect is quite profound, and I think warrants some respect. The content itself is not violent and disturbing merely for the sake of it; it is included to serve a true point and purpose. The visuals are so absurd, exaggerated, and ironic, that it would be ridiculous to assume any intention to promote perverted, immoral actions. On the other hand, if you were to dislike the film simply because you couldn't stomach the content, then perhaps it would be unfair to criticize the film with any conclusive attitude.

There's no need for entering people's minds and speaking for them, in a discussion about movies, like you do there at the end. I didn't dislike the film, and I'm certainly not bothered by Rodney's "jokes" or the violence (I love Reservoir Dogs, which is far more violent), but upon watching it a few times, and then again recently, I am confident that I understand the director's intent, and found it philosophically bad. I've also grown less and less impressed with the film making, which does not usually happen for me when I watch great movies repeatedly.

By the way, Quentin Tarantino, who wrote the script, is one of the most outspoken haters of the end result, I'm guessing because the (veiled) irony of the violence present in all Tarantino scripts and films was perverted and exaggerated by Stone, but maybe also because he inserted a lot of explicit philosophy (nihilism), and open political propaganda, into it.

That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the satire in the movie, I just disagree with it, philosophically. The movie does have a theme, and a message, and it ain't good, no matter how you look at it.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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Wasn't that based on a true story too? Ick!

It was adapted from the Hunter S. Thomson novel, and the Wikipedia entry for the novel identifies it as a "roman à clef, rooted in autobiographical incidents." The only thing worthy of this movie is to watch Johny Depp play another 'quirky' character very well, which is also one of the few good things I have to say about the movie "The Libertine."

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Do you mind to summarise what was bad about it (Polar Express)? I didn't watch.

It is built on the premise that children can only be happy if they believe A is not A. As soon as they identify reality correctly, "THE MAGIC IS GONE!" The concrete example they use is belief in Santa Claus as an actual resident of the North Pole, but the overall message is much broader than that; it is basically a manifesto of mysticism.

Personally, I don't remember ever thinking of Santa as anything but a show. Even at the earliest Christmas I have a memory of, the one when I was 3 years old, it was clear to me that the gifts were from my parents. Still, I was always very excited about Christmas as a kid, and always thought of it as a very special time ("magical," if you like). I didn't really give a damn about who lived on the North Pole and who did not, but I always got into a trance at the thought of receiving gifts, the little egoist I was! :lol:

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It's been said, but I still hold a special loathing for It's a Wonderful (more like Horrible) Life.

This thread is interesting. Mainly I find interesting not this thing as any kind of reliable guide for movies to avoid, but instead seeing how wide a range of things are condemned by people here with such vigor and how often these vigorous condemnations come from different ideas than other people had about what that philosophic message and/or view of the movie was. I’ve never head of Waking Life before or seen Natural Born Killers to make up my own mind on what I think the meaning and merit (or lack thereof) to these things are. Some of the movies I have seen on here though have among them some which I thought maybe didn’t have the best philosophic messages to offer, but weren’t really all that bad at all. However, there is one place I find it also interesting to see that something I have seen I apparently have a very different interpretation on than anybody else to mention it. The very first movie mentioned in this thread is the film version of Fight Club. I have only seen the movie and not read the book (though I’d like to) and I really liked Fight Club. I actually thought there was a pretty good philosophic message in there. However, this is because from at least what I saw in the movie, I did not get it as an attack on capitalism, I took it to be meant as an attack on materialism and the empty second-handedness behind that.

[spoilers] Tyler Durden never to my recollection in the movie tried to get people to get by by begging or stealing. He ran a soap company and did odd jobs. He also didn’t seem to have any kind of encouragement for giving to charity as something people needed to do. There was no call to be selfless or that the self was bad. What I saw was actually something supportive of the self. The objection and what was being fought was people being rather empty and trying to define themselves by seeking to obtain material objects. The objects they were told said certain things about the owner, said things about the owner which they were told by other people and bought into believing that they should want to be. Tyler was a creation of the main character as a manifestation of a way to deal with the problems he saw in himself and those around him. The main character was realizing his life was empty and that what character he did have was weak. He figured he couldn’t get himself to do what he needed to change, so he created another identity to be stronger and be who he wanted to be and do what he wanted to do and to help him become what he wanted. Tyler’s goal was broadly to get people to stop defining themselves through stuff they were told by other people that they should want and living hollow lives consequently and to get them to instead start living lives with meaning, realizing and developing who they really were for themselves and acting on that. This coming from a manifestation of a psychological problem of course ends up going wrong and it takes the main character realizing what Tyler is, now that he is strong enough to stand on his own and Tyler is more of a problem than an aid, to try to get things back under control again. The idea they were aiming to spread was good, but the way Tyler sought to implement it after a while just got to making clear that it was a crazy guy leading this thing. Tyler’s aim in blowing up the credit card companies and getting everybody “back to zero” was not motivated by egalitarianism, it was intended as a way to force people to stop defining themselves through stuff; if everybody basically had the same stuff for a while they’d have to look elsewhere to determine who they are. They could get new stuff later after new credit card companies and such could be made, but hopefully by then they’ve determined who they really are and what they care about for themselves to determine what they want to buy instead of the reverse. [/spolers]

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I saw a horrible comedy called "Are we done yet?" The basics of the plot follow, containing spoilers:

A man marries a woman with two children, he quits his job and tries to launch a sports magazine. The wife becomes pregnant and they decide to move from their city apartment to a place in the country. So far so good.

The real estate broker who sells them a house is a weird yet liekable fellow named Chuck. He claims he can feel the wife's babies (and reveals she carries twins) and tell what they want, how they're feeling, etc. The family, except the husband, finds him endearing. Chuck tells them the house may need a little work and gives them the card of the area's contractor.

Shortly after they move they suffer a very bad electrical problem, made worse when the husband tries to fix it himself. Then he calls the area contractor, which ahppens to be Chuck. Cute, sure. That's where the movie turns disturbing. Chuck tells them the electrical installation is shot and needs to be replaced entirely, and that will cost around $8,000. Of course that's profoundly unethical on Chuck's part. But it gets worse.

The hudband gets a handyman to fix the house for $150 (presumably he doesn't replace the whole installation). Minutes later the cops show up with the town's building inpsector, who also turns out to be Chuck. They inform the family the repairs made are illegal, they will be fined for doing them, and the only licensced contractor in the area is, you guessed it, Chuck.

I quit watching right there, a hard thing since I saw this movie on a long bus ride, but I mannaged. From time to time I'd catch a bit more of the plot, to where the house is pretty much being entirely rebuilt a piece at a time, all done by Chuck and whoever he hires as subcontractors. It made me sick.

The one good thing is that the people who were watching the movie didn't laugh much.

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I think the other person to say Waking Life really hit the nail on the head. That movie was utterly, despicably, predictably the biggest piece of cinematic (or artistic, for that matter) trash that I have ever had the enormous displeasure of having to sit through. The people involved in making that film really should be exposed and have their careers ended forever for releasing such garbage to the world.

Seriously, it was so awful that I don't think the disservice that piece of nonsense has done to this earth is even remotely reparable.

But I do think you guys are getting the wrong impressions from Natural Born Killers. Though I did not think the film was anything better than a fun-to-look-at colorful horror show with some unique production qualities, the criticism here isn't warranted. The fact is that Oliver Stone obviously doesn't see the world as he portrays it in the film. The film's point was to portray how savage and sensationalized human beings can be when society uses its tools to glorify hatred, violence, and sickening acts so that it encourages this behavior rather than discourages it. You're supposed to love and hate the main characters at the same time, and I think that Oliver Stone does a fantastic job in creating this atmosphere. It draws you in to feeling sympathetic for the two monsters on the one hand, putting you in the same position as the millions of bystanders allowing the madness to continue. On the other hand, you hate yourself for wanting them to succeed, and understand that the damage their actions are causing are far beyond the moral bounds of any rational human being.

That type of effect is quite profound, and I think warrants some respect. The content itself is not violent and disturbing merely for the sake of it; it is included to serve a true point and purpose. The visuals are so absurd, exaggerated, and ironic, that it would be ridiculous to assume any intention to promote perverted, immoral actions. On the other hand, if you were to dislike the film simply because you couldn't stomach the content, then perhaps it would be unfair to criticize the film with any conclusive attitude.

Not only do I completely agree about the destructively post-modernist trash of Waking Life, but I also agree about Natural Born Killers. For a long while that was one of my favourite movies for its dark portrayal of the sickeningly vicarious nature of mediocrity.

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Tyler Durden is essentially a cult leader who employs charisma and brute force to impose his primitivist utopia that he believes to somehow be an enlightened state of living. It's only for his focus on property damage and civil disruption do I refrain from calling him a terrorist but he was close to that distinction and would have inevitably resorted to murder if left to his own devices.

Which is pretty much exactly what the movie demonstrated. Please rewatch the scene with Project Mayhem's members chanting "his name was Robert Paulson" over and over again and tell me what you think the message of that scene is.

My list of philosophically bad movies:

Gattaca (luddite propaganda)

Forrest Gump (The prosperity gospel at its most extreme. Wealth goes to those who have faith in the invisible sky wizard, or perhaps who are lucky.)

Signs (Everything is part of god's plan, even the most hurtful, insanely ridiculous things. Especially if they lead to a renewal of faith. Which some previous event, also part of god's plan, had taken away in the first place.)

ANY MOVIE where an animal or forest creature can talk, and has something to say about humanity

Any romantic comedy where the protagonist is an inept, utterly worthless human being and manages to win the object of his desire through sheer blandness\whining. These are especially awful when you realize that the premise they share is that a good woman will always give herself to the one who is the neediest, not the one who she ought to value the most. That's usually coupled with the premise that men of ability are insensitive assholes who don't appreciate women. Young teens watch movies like this and then learn to hate the opposite sex for not conforming to this idiocy.

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