1. Compliance (2012)
I simply couldn't like this movie. My mom suggested, after we watched it, that I give it a higher rating, but I can say that I definitely got nothing positive out of this infuriating, sickening, and seemingly endless experience. How could something like this happen? How could a group of seemingly functional people be this stupid? I was basically yelling at the screen throughout the film.
2. The Living and the Dead (2006)
Definitely a disturbing movie. The performances, setting, cinematography etc. are designed to make you feel as bad as possible, and do you know what? I love it! Powerful, painful, and sometimes tender, "The Living and the Dead" is true to director Simon Rumley's vision and fearlessly conveys that vision. And although I see James (Leo Bill's character) as a tragic figure, I can see why other viewers might not feel the same way.
3. Buddy Boy (1999)
The character of Francis haunted me on and off for months after watching this. Aidan Gillen was pitch-perfect playing a twitchy, stammering, devout, and painfully shy young man. I felt like I could relate to his struggle to understand a God who loves us and a God who will send us to Hell for our indiscretions and the ensuing emotional falling-out. A challenging and exciting first feature.
4. Dancer in the Dark (2000)
Believe it or not, this was even rougher for me than Von Trier's "Breaking the Waves," though I adore that movie and Emily Watson's performance. Bjork in this is very good too, and the musical sequences are strangely well-suited for the film. The last ten minutes are hard to watch, and this movie left me in a dismal mood, because it was so painful.
5. Tyrannosaur (2011)
There are few movies that can reduce me to sobs and shudders with the finesse of "Tyrannosaur," a visceral heart-wrencher involving desperation and abuse. Paddy Considine grabs hold of your heart and doesn't let go, and the strength of the performances overrides any qualms you might have about the brutality of the whole operation.
6. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
After a so-so first film, the "Transformers" franchise took a turn for the sh***y with this inane, poorly constructed, and enthusiastically crude installment marketed directly at horny teenage boys and slow-witted adults. There's not much to say about the plot between Megan Fox, Megan Fox's ass, the vile little leg-humping robot, the horny little dogs, the rap-jargon-speaking twin robots, and the offensive (and sadly true) assumption that Michael Bay could get enough cash off the masses to make a third movie, which I hear, is no better than the second. An utter fail.
7. Twilight (2008)
Truthfully, I have never seen this movie, nor do I ever plan to. However, I read the book, which has given me the warning to avoid the rest of the franchise for the rest of my natural life. Twilight proved that any piece of putrid crap can become popular if it is marketed right and appeals to a certain demographic. This novel is light vampire porn for teenage girls, starring a fragile, virginal, and utterly boring teenage girl and her brooding undead vampire boyfriend, two of the dullest protagonists in modern fiction. Read (and presumably, watch) at your own risk.
8. Hachiko: A Dog's Story (2009)
Oh boy, oh boy. I may claim to be a cynic and fan of the grotesque and gory, but like most people I have Kryptonite: cute dogs. I hate to see any dog suffer, and if I watch a dog suffer, whether it be in a movie, in a story, or in a photograph, I cry. I watched "Hachiko" at a friend's house, and by the time it ended, I was a sticky sobbing mess, and it didn't end there. I cried for 30 minutes, 1 hour after the movie was over, so everyone could see what a massive p***y I actually am. I was an inconsolable wreck. And to any potential viewers I warn you ... don't watch the movie in any place where you have a reputation to uphold. You have been warned.
9. Marley & Me (2008)
As a dog person, I found the first half of this adorable and the last half devastating. I actually think Owen Wilson does a pretty good acting job here.My brother (14) and sister (9) think I'm ridiculous for crying at movies like this.
10. My Dog Skip (2000)
Kids beware! I watched this sobfest when I was about nine, and when the bootleggers hit the dog with the shovel, my brother, who was about five at the time, burst into tears. That got me started; we cried for a long while and could barely stop crying throughout the dog's recovery and eventual death from old age. So this is up there with "Marley & Me" with sad dog movies that advertise themselves as kid's movies but will reduce a sensitive kid to a puddle. Not a bad movie overall, though.
11. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)
This is tough for a PG-13 movie, and the fact that it involves small kids makes it harder to take. As for me, I don't like kids much (I know, I'm not a delight) so I can't honestly say how much the age of the characters affected me. Anyway, I never read the book all the way through, so the ending came as a shock. Really makes you thinks about the inhumanities of the past and the present. And yes, I cried but not like a b***h (this I reserved for "Hachi," sob-inducing dog-death tragi-porn.)
12. An American Crime (2007)
Catherine Keener plays a cold-hearted, sadistic b***h, and the movie sheds light on the innate darkness in human beings -- even children. All this would be rough enough without the delicate, heart-breaking performance of Ellen Page as Kenner's victim, Sylvia Likens, or the fact that the whole thing (!) is based on a true story. It is incredible to what a extent a sick person can find blame with an innocent. Little Johnny (Kenner's character's son) made my stomach turn.
13. Treacle Jr. (2010)
I added this because it was so memorable for me and because I hated Riann Steele's character so much. Yes, women can be abusers, and it frustrates me so much that some people can't seem to see that. Anyway, Aidan Gillen's mentally slow character takes a lot of s**t through the film, but the tone isn't dark overall, and is quite comedic at parts.
14. The Lovely Bones (2009)
My reaction to this much-anticipated release was disappointment. First of all, may I just say that Stanley Tucci was GREAT in this, so chilling and convincing as a sociopath. But the book was one of my favorites, so beautiful, so delicately written, so profoundly told, and Peter Jackson was simply not cut out to tell this story. The grace of the novel was in its subtlety and, well, subtlety isn't Peter Jackson's trademark. Get ready for a lot of big budget effects in a film that should have been about the emotional repercussions of the rape-murder and the parents' quiet grieving. A miss.