Schindler’s List was on TV recently and I happenned on it quite early on, not at the start. But I found that, knowing the subject matter, I simply could not bear to keep watching and switched it off after 5 minutes.
Do you mean good films we can’t bring ourselves to watch even once? In that case, I can’t think of any. But any time Leaving Las Vegas is on, as great as I thought it was, I can’t watch. Knowing what’s coming doesn’t make it any easier.
Not a film as such, but I can’t go anywhere near Othello. Can’t watch or read the play in movie or any other form, can’t hear a note from Verdi’s opera, can barely hear it mentioned. It just totally kills me. It’s too sad!
I’ve never seen all of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. The characters of George and Martha remind me of my parents, and their verbal battles bring back memories that are best not remembered. I read the play when I was in college, and it didn’t affect me nearly as much. There’s something about hearing the lines read aloud that makes me feel very uncomfortable.
To derail the thread yet more, I couldn’t watch Requiem for a Dream again, even having sat through it a first time. I also have a hard time with scary movies in general, so haven’t even attempted to watch many which are considered great films (The Shining comes to mind). As to movies that I started watching, but couldn’t finish even though they were good movies, I can’t think of any. Usually if I stop watching a movie, it’s because I really don’t like it and don’t consider it good. Also, I tend to watch through most movies even if I don’t like them much.
I have found that True Lies is a much, much better movie if you stop it right after the nuclear weapon on the island explodes. Just skip to the last tango scene. Seriously, it improves the movie tremendously.
I have tried to watch Beyond Borders three times, and have never managed to finish it. The plot (as far as I’ve seen it) is fascinating enough – it’s about poverty in Africa, and human rights violations and the human side of world aide-- that markets itself as some kind of cheesy romantic thriller. The cinematography is epic and beautiful, the emotional points are salient and visceral… But there are some images in that film, of emaciated starving children crawling through the desert, of Ethiopians in triage receiving operations with no anesthetic – that is just way too much for me make it all the way through. It is just way too good at portraying reality. I’m getting all worked up just thinking about it.
I was once part of a stage crew for a production of Glass Menagerie. Sitting there listening to those characters building up to an emotional train-wreck, night after night, for weeks through rehearsals and then the actual performances, was so depressing that I now cannot bear to sit through any movie or play by Tennessee Williams.