Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Saddest Movie

Here's a list that came along with a very interesting article from Smithsonian. The list was developed by emotion researchers who need to be able to provoke people in various ways in a laboratory setting. Apparently they like to avoid actually scaring/angering/otherwise provoking their subjects, and movies are the best stimulus they've been able to come up with so far to stand in for the real thing.

Now, stop reading at the end of the list if you haven't seen The Champ yet and don't want me (or the link that follows) to ruin it for you, because I'm going to say a few things about what happens in the 1979 film. Part of the reason I put the list up here is to create a break between you and the possible spoilers below.
The 16 Short Film Clips and the Emotions They Evoked:

Amusement: When Harry Met Sally and Robin Williams Live
Anger: My Bodyguard and Cry Freedom
Contentment: Footage of waves and a beach scene
Disgust: Pink Flamingos and an amputation scene
Fear: The Shining and Silence of the Lambs
Neutral: Abstract shapes and color bars
Sadness: The Champ and Bambi
Surprise: Capricorn One and Sea of Love
I clearly remember seeing The Champ when it was in the theaters, because while I'm not sure it's the first movie that ever made me cry, I was certainly unprepared with the proper number of tissues to get through that climactic scene! And I've never seen such a bunch of wet-faced, red-eyed people as when we were leaving the theater after it was over! I haven't seen the movie since and don't really remember much about the rest of it, but I've often thought about Ricky Schroder's riveting performance as a boy who watches his beloved father die.

Apparently this movie is universally acknowledged as the saddest movie in the world. There's a link to the movie clip in the article. I followed it and figured that since I've already seen the movie and was therefore prepared for the scene, I would be immune to its powers. But like a good little lab rat, I was leaking all over the place by the end. Go figure. (Now I know where to go when I need to get my sinuses flushed out in a hurry.)

Does anyone else want to give it a try? Go watch, and see if you don't cry.

2 comments:

Keera Ann Fox said...

Haven't seen "The Champ". Went through a box of tissues over "The Fox and the Hound". That would be on my list of Sad.

I'll never understand what was so darned scary about "The Shining" (as compared to other scary/Stephen King movies). You know what is really scary? Movies that show you just how miserable reality can be because the rules and/or the people who enforce them beat you down, like "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest".

alice said...

Besides The Champ, movies that have made me cry include Old Yeller, Grand Canyon, and The Secret Live of Bees. I'm sure there have lots of others, but those are the ones that immediately come to mind.

I thought The Shining was scary, and I was too scared to even watch Silence of the Lambs, but the most scared (not startled, but scared) I've ever been while watching a movie was the first time I saw The Godfather, when Michael Corleone comes out of that restaurant bathroom with the gun that had been hidden there -- my heart was pounding its way out of my chest!