Films That Did Not Make My Digital Shelf

by Jeremy C.

Created 12/12/17

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Just because a film is a classic or important contemporary film worthy of being in the Collection does not mean that I will like it or be positively interested in it enough for me to put it on my digital shelf. (Or put a box set on it because it contains that film.) This list is for those films, which I may have only tried but not viewed to completion so I could move on to better things. Reasons for not including them can be as simple as having one thing that irked me or a failure to pass the test of time. They range in quality from the fortunately rare few I find worthy of excoriation (ex.: Fat Girl); to those that exist in the liminal space between bad and good (ex.: Fiend Without a Face); to those that are good, but not good enough (ex.: sex, lies, and videotape). (More detailed) comments forthcoming. For every film on this list, my dissent is intended with all the respect that is due to other principled film lovers, which is a good deal, no matter how strongly I detest a film. Film appreciation is a highly subjective matter, after all.

  • The music is insufferably atonal and, at least in the part I watched, utterly without any reason to be so. Evil forces aren't marching, the serial killer isn't about to strike again, nor is a monster attacking; it's just people painting, doing therapy, or blowing bubbles in their drink.

  • I don't think that Hitchcock is suspenseful. Maybe if I were around way back when he was making movies I would, but nowadays I don't think that he's passed the test of time. Without suspense, his films are not filling; they cannot survive on their merits as plain dramas. (Not even Rear Window.) Specific to this film, it has a few funny moments, but otherwise is nothing special.

  • As an agender person, I'm always on the lookout for androgyny in film, so I was excited for this one. Unfortunately, I didn't like the way in which things bleed together.

  • Modernity (or post-modernity, or whatever the hell we're in now) has much in the way of problems, but I've never felt the alienation expressed in this film. If anything, I’m the most comfortable with the technology that Godard wants to throw weaponized poems at.

  • I’m glad that these films shook things up a bit, but I don’t think that they’re all that great in and of themselves. The King of Marvin Gardens is the best of the bunch, but not good enough to add to my shelf. Due to how film history has been told, Easy Rider is the most notable, but I don’t like how it wanders.

  • Even if it weren't pretentious and vapidly bleak, the editing would sink this one. It's so consistently, slightly jumpy that it's annoying. It's like the editing version of "I'm not touching you."

  • Well, it's not actively wrong like The Tree of Life (which managed to be simultaneously critically acclaimed and cram in so much wrongness presented as profound brilliance into 88 seconds, not including opening logos, [or, at least it managed to confirm my low opinion of what I thought it was going to be within 88 seconds] that I had to stop watching, lest I hurled my laptop against the wall), so that's good, I guess. This merely feels thin in comparison to the claims of brilliance, especially since much of the philosophy present is of the Transcendentalist variety, which I've never held any love for. Maybe I'll try another Malick film in a year or so, which is how long it took me to get back to him with this film after trying The Tree of Life.

  • It's may the best film version of "Beauty and the Beast" ever made, but it's still "Beauty and the Beast." I'm not much a fan of the story, and this film didn't change that.

  • The worst thing this movie has going for it is that it's actually not bad. It's competently made and has a basic message behind it that keeps it from being vapid. If it were bad, I might have been able to enjoy that badness, but it's just okay.

  • This is a mixed bag if there ever was one. It is enjoyable overall – a considerable feat considering how the film basically wanders for three hours – but flaws poke holes in that enjoyment. I haven't seen it in a while, so I don't remember details, but some of the ideas discussed (that Kechiche seems to approve of) during parties and such are problematic. Also, the director is an ass man if there ever was one; I tried to keep track of the ass shots, even just the ones outside the sex scenes, but lost count at around a dozen. Julie Maroh was right when she said that lesbians were missing behind the camera. (As a positive counterexample, Park Chan-wook's The Handmaiden had lesbians behind the camera, and he made a perfect film that's not male gaze-y, even though it has even more sexual content than Blue.)

  • Well, it certainly manages to be cheery. I found it to just be too much, even though the cheeriness is not being played straight.

  • Maybe if I'd seen it while I was in high school I would've liked it more, but this didn't do anything for me now. It doesn't help that I was both a nerd and a loner (but not like in the film); their being separate people was annoying.

  • This is a film whose critical success only makes me despise it more. In a vacuum, it's just a raging dumpster fire made by someone with no idea how to edit or frame a shot. With the critical acclaim and influence mixed in, I want to break the DVD case in half and scream.

  • My cinephilia (a word that Firefox wants to correct to "necrophilia", hilariously) proper began with summer camps where I would watch American films from this time period (the 40s, give or take a decade), especially noirs. Having occasionally gone back to them, the films I loved back then are still great, but they have a tinge to them that makes them imperfect, something that makes them feel dated to the 40s. (My gut response is to pin it on the audio quality, but it's still an ineffable thing.) Unfortunately for this film, I have no fond memories of it since I hadn't seen it before I started diving into the Collection, so the tinge was more prominent. Not helping matters is that it's a romance, a genre that can certainly be pulled off (the films I have crowned as the best of the year have been romances for the past two years), but not one that I am predisposed to like. It's quite a solid film, but not good enough to add to my shelf.

  • This movie tried to shock me from the beginning with mother-son incest, but it didn't land and I never laughed. For one thing, the childhood twincest of Cerci and Jaime Lannister got to me first.

  • The camerawork isn't Breathless bad, but Varda still gratuitously whips the camera around when a simple cut would do.

  • It truly is a formal masterwork. I have gotten used to the 1.37:1 (and 1.33:1) aspect ration after years of nothing but widescreen, and have even managed to appreciate films that use it well (Ozu's films stand out), but this is the only film I have ever seen that made me think "Wow! What stunning fullscreen cinematography!" (The shot that's filled with open books comes to my mind.) Alas, it is a religious film, and not a film that's just about religion.

  • That Pasolini wrote the story is a plus, but it's still a freshman effort by a director I don't have much love for.

  • It's certainly well done, but I'm not sure that the concept was fully thought through. (Roger Ebert articulates this well, so I'll leave it to him for now: But then how could it be? After all, his life is contrary to literally all of human experience since there were humans. My mind boggles at having to think through the logical implications of aging in the wrong direction even before relationships with people who are going the other way are factored in.

  • So far I've seen A Short Film About Killing, which made me constantly wonder what was being hidden behind the blacked-out portion of the screen (though props given for being against capital punishment). If I had to hazard a guess, that is the exact opposite of what the film wants me to do. I’m not exactly dying to try another part of it, since they’re based on the Ten Commandments (which can be edited down to Two Commandments, as George Carlin demonstrated. If I recall correctly: 1. Thou shalt always be honest and faithful. 2. Thou shalt try really, really hard not to kill.) Based on their source Commandments and plot summaries, were I to go back to this, it would be with Dekalog Seven or Eight.

  • The problem with stylized films is that if I don't like the style, that really does a number on my liking of the film as a whole, even if the rest is excellent. (This is why there isn't any Wes Anderson in my collection.) For example, if this were less colorful and faerie, a style I find difficult to pull off, I probably would have mostly loved it.

  • This may have worked if it were a genre film, magic realism being the best fit. However, as it stands, it's a metaphysical film – if a beautiful one – with a mystical portrayal of the world. Outside of genre, that doesn't pass muster for me.

  • This doesn't feel like a Melville film, which makes it feel weird; it lacks his cool detachment. Chalk it up to Early Installment Weirdness, I guess.

  • It is a very freeform documentary. I wish it were a bit tighter.

  • The only thing worse than an argument for a position I find horrible is a horrible argument for a position I hold. Here, that position is feminism. (Well, its correctness.) Mine should have some adjectives put in front of it to distinguish it from this lazy, gender essentialist misandry with a healthy dose of misanthropy thrown in to cover everything else, like the contempt this film has for all of its characters. There is an air of malice that makes it feel like each slur that gets hurled isn't merely being portrayed because it is occurring within the film. It all gets tiresome before the first sex scene, and it somehow manages to get worse after that. Even if events didn't go further downhill, the film's bile would accumulate such that it becomes utterly insufferable.

    It makes me wonder if Catherine Breillat bleeds straw.

  • Terry Gilliam is perhaps the only director who could have made this properly, and he does a very good job with his source material, but his source material is still written by Hunter S. Thomson. He's more of interest as a historical figure to me than anything else. Maybe I just wasn't up to drug-induced zaniness....

  • It's one of those movies that doesn't really detract from or add to the experience of staring at a blank screen for a while. I don't remember anything else about it.

  • The stories at the beginning were... fine. I didn't love Spalding Gray's voice, which wasn't good since there was a lot of it. The added lights and such were trying too hard to add to what he was saying. Perhaps a black box theatre aesthetic would have been better.

  • I love violent movies, but I don't think that a movie can be good on action alone; there needs to be some more weight to it to give the action some impetus. (Though, as long as a film has enough class and style, that weight doesn’t have to be a lot.) This isn't utterly vapid action, but the themes that are there don't interest me.

  • Jumpy editing! Atonal flute playing! How modern! It's a shame; it's got some great cinematography going in its favor.

  • I really wanted to like this one (Catherine Russell's essay hits on several points this film has going for it, especially vis-à-vis Yuki), but it's not funny. As a rule of thumb, Kurosawa doesn't make me laugh (the only exception that comes to mind right now is a moment in Seven Samurai in which Toshiro Mifune pretends to be a bandit while next to one; when the bandit realizes who he is, he freaks out hilariously). Normally, this is not a problem since everything else is so strong, if not brilliant, and jokes are only a minor part of the film and/or the general sense of levity being present is nonetheless successfully conveyed. Unfortunately, a lot of this film rides on its humor.

  • Melodramas of this sort can have really fun, crazy plots to make their ideas extra-enjoyable to consume, and appreciating them can sometimes be an exercise in camp. This one, however, tries way too hard to get a rise out of me, so I found it to be more annoying than anything else. The crazy music is a particularly egregious offender.

  • It's philosophical humanism is less problematic than most varieties, but it starts to overstay its welcome after 4 hours or so. With another 5.75 hours to go....

  • It's interesting to see Ozu in his early days, and his charm is definitely present here, but there’s still an overriding feeling that I’m supposed to be laughing....

  • It's actually pretty good for about an hour or so, but then it starts to become disjointed. What inertia there was between the scenes gets lost, and then it's just alright.

  • This could have been... a bit calmer. The opening five minutes especially could have used a sedative. I thought that the soundtrack was going to have a heart attack.

  • Better than canon. "Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone" carries a lot more weight and meaning when it is spoken from personal experience. (This applies even more so for the much struggled for "It is accomplished.") Some of my issues with Christianity (excessive angsting over embodiment, Jesus having The Worst Dad Ever) still remain, but whatever. This film was never for me in the first place; it was for Scorsese and ([considering the controversy,] some) other Christians. Dissing it would be anti-pluralistic of me.

    Contrast with Scorsese's Silence. Last Temptation does not run afoul of the principle that "The right to swing your fist ends at someone else's nose." It's just telling a story of Jesus, which is fine in my book; you do you, movie. However, Silence, in its Catholic tale of trials of faith, ultimately wants the viewer to side with the agonies of the old school Western imperialists and thus – to keep the principle going – all of the nose-punching that imperialism inflicted/inflicts upon the world. (Even if by inaction, not having a broad enough analytic scope.) The film may not be as utterly unwoke as its Jesuit priests, but that still makes it vile. (Beauteous as it may be.)

  • For this film to overcome the fact that Polanski is a fugitive child rapist, it would have to be a divine bolt from the heavens that manages to restore my crappy eyesight. It is not. It's not a tainted film – nothing in it really screams "directed by fugitive child rapist" – but it is not one I want to support. (As a counterexample, Annie Hall is a tainted film, with Woody Allen breaking the fourth wall, looking into the camera, and saying things like "my relationships with women" within the first few minutes. Yech.)

  • It feels like The Godfather I and II, which I have mixed feelings about. (Technically, they feel like The Leopard, but I didn’t see it before them.) Those feelings got applied to The Leopard. Also, the soundtrack has way too many violins in it.

  • This movie just isn't crazy enough for me to like it. It crosses the line, but doesn't go so far as to loop back again like Sweet Movie does.

  • This is so French it's almost painful. The bourgeois equestrian sports; the pretentious classical soundtrack that keeps asserting its presence; the romantic, erotic romance (and how its narrated!); and just how arty it is makes it impossible for me to take it seriously. At least we got a good obscenity case out of it? I love obscenity cases....

  • Not a fan of the voiceover.

  • Chaplin's empathy for poor workers shines through to this day, but it didn't make me laugh, so unfortunately it falls short as a movie today.

  • It really is a "microcosm of depression-era Japan," so it is hardly without substance. However, its presentation is so light as to make it feel unsubstantial in spite of that.

  • Yet another victim of hype. Also, something about it feels off, and not in a "David Lynch doesn't need drugs" sort of way....

  • It's transgressive – and I'm perfectly willing to give points for that – but it's sleazy. I don't like sleaze. I have more of a Hannibal sensibility; I usually like my extreme content with at least a touch of class.

  • This movie wants me to be outraged by it, but I couldn't bring myself to care about it in the first place so I could get outraged.

  • I really wanted to like this one, but the miraculous ending killed any hopes of that. Sadly, Dreyer is another one of those filmmakers who creates films that are excellent formally, but with which I have thematic issues; specifically to Dreyer, regarding his religious/spiritual sensibility.

  • It doesn't just depict a stuffy society (which is fine by me), it feels stuffy.

  • This started out... fine. Not good, but fine. Given the aspect ratio and controlled camerawork, I thought that it could be another Contempt, but that did not come to be. A few minutes in, its radicalness established itself with a shift to omnipresent red, and it was only downhill from there. The series of flashes of images and disembodied phrases are all the more irksome and intolerable since they are not omnipresent. (Unlike Weekend, I do know why I bothered with this: Chantal Akerman cited it as an influence.)

  • As a film (not considering content), it is excellent, but I'm not overly interested in the dance it portrays.

  • As I watched this, there was something off about it I didn't like that I couldn't put my finger on. The accompanying essay's phrase "nervier, more radically modern" hit it on the head.

  • This film is kind of awkward. It tries very hard to have a good story with thematic heft, but it falls short in the face of the films that followed it. That's not its fault, but that makes it difficult for me to like it. The special effects aren't bad enough to mock, but not good enough to be good. The science was good for its day, so I tried not to dock for anything that counts as an error today, but there is too much air on Mars; that kind of just feels wrong. ("Dude, you should be dead! This plot should not be continuing!")

  • It's far from a bad film, but it's not One of the Greatest Films Ever Made Since Ever, so it kind of falls flat for not reaching that high bar.

  • It's never a good sign when I start a comedy not by laughing, but just noticing the beginning, middle, and punchline of a joke. ("Hey! That right there was a joke! It's supposed to make me laugh.") Such was the noose-that-is-not-a-noose joke.

  • If there's one director I've thrown myself against to no avail the most, it's Kenji Mizoguchi. He has almost all the makings of a great director, but he's just 10% (or some such small number) too sentimental. Somehow he managed to make the laments of slaves in this film annoying. That really shouldn't be possible.

  • Cronenberg is one of those peculiar filmmakers who uses a lot of tropes that I like, but when they are put together into a film, there's a certain je ne sais quoi lacking that keeps me from really liking the film. When he's bringing his A game, he can create A- work (ex.: Videodrome, Eastern Promises), but this not his A game. That exploding head is a beautiful thing, though, especially in the form of a looping gif.

  • Its topic is interesting, and I really wanted to add a Korean film to my shelf (I especially want to add anything by Park Chan-wook), but the camera is too handheld. It's the sort of thing that I'll stand if I'm trapped in a theatre, allowing me to appreciate the rest of the film (recent ex.: Mungiu's Graduation), but otherwise I don't feel like putting up with it. (Unless it's a documentary that's shot live.)

  • As a creator of films, solely considering formal elements, Tarkovsky was one of the greatest, and this is no exception. I love his slow, contemplative, distinctively bleak style. However, when it comes to agreeing with the films that he creates, I don't have much luck. For example, one of the things this film argues is that human rationalism is limited. On that basic point, I concur: we are but mortals with dull senses and an ineluctable subjectivity to our experiences. However, this argues that we therefore need more than rationalism to discover the universe. I think that it's all we've got, but that's not a big problem. If one day, if it is somehow within our capacity to do so, we somehow discover all the secrets of the universe, that's great. But if we never do, that's fine. Anyways, there's no reason to fret over something like that that is out of our control.

    Also, it's like an anti-2001. I love 2001, and so I am also inclined to not love this.

  • I know that at least one person on this site has said that they don't like the following statement, but: This isn't really a Kubrick movie.

  • The Wild West does not deserve to be romanticized or mythologized as it is here.

  • Another controversial film that elicited a "This just isn't all that great" response from me. If I cared more about this, I could've gone with either side, pro or con, but this is a hill I don't feel like walking up, let alone dying on.

  • The script is clunky and almost propagandistic at times. Its utopia basically consists of a bunch of white guys and, even worse, is bland. The special effects aren't bad enough to mock, MST3K-style, but not good enough to be enjoyed, even from a historical perspective. Overall, it is an inert piece of cinema.

  • I didn't like the zither music. Also, dutch angles really shouldn't be done in a boxy aspect ratio, barring The Passion of Joan of Arc.

  • Even after about half an hour, it (the German version) didn't really start. Barring the discovery of a compelling reason as to why the French one would have more impetus, I'll pass on this one.

  • My entire family hates me for not liking this one, but I only found a handful of the jokes funny. ("Up to 11" is one of them, of course.)

  • I haven't seen this in a few years, so my memories are vague here, but I remember not liking the songs and finding it to be too sappy and quaint. And colorful. That I had to sit through the entire thing during my French class only made it worse.

  • Films concerning religion fall into two general categories: those that are just about religion, and those that are religious; the line between the two can be pretty hazy. I only like the former. This film starts in the first category, but moves into the second by the time the titular spring arrives. Also, I find the concept of "virginal purity" to at least be annoying. The whole "good, light-associated, well-dressed Christians" being pitted against the "scruffy, dark-associated, Odin(which is basically Satan, right?)-worshipping Pagans" thing gets tiresome and is not substantially alleviated by what moral ambiguity is there.

  • In which Godard demonstrates that he does not need a shaky camera to create grindingly awful shot compositions. Some shots are fine. Some shots clip off all of the protagonist's face except for her nose. If this were this my first Godard film, I may have been able to put up with it since the subject matter interests me, but having seen Breathless, I just can't stand this man! Maybe I'll like Contempt.... (Postscript: I did. It continues to be an exception, ironically the only Godard film for which I do not hold contempt.)

  • Why did I even bother.... If this film did one thing, I reminded me of the value of good sound mixing by having the antithesis of it. The dialogue may not be stellar, but I'd still like to be able to hear it if the speakers are outside of a war zone. At least the camerawork isn't utterly atrocious. But overall, if this is the end of cinema, it's because cinema needed to be put down.

  • I am largely in agreement with this film, so that is not an issue. It is an issue with overall quality; for one thing, if I recall correctly, it felt really 80s.

  • Whoever held the camera at the beginning had to have been working with shattered wrists, so I stopped watching.

  • Am I a bad fan of British comedy if this didn't make me laugh a lot?

  • If there is one thing that I consistently revile, it's atonal music. It's a shame; if this had a soundtrack that wasn't awful, it could have been a really good movie.

  • This is explicitly psychoanalytical. I don't like psychoanalysis, it's not falsifiable.

  • Lincoln was fair for his day, but his day did not make that hard. This makes it look like he was just a flat-out good person. Also, the music feels too sentimental in an Americana way.

  • Its joyful, anarchic spirit isn't exactly infectious....