List-O-Mania: It’s-All-In-Their-Head Movies

Posted: May 10, 2012 in Lists, Movies
Tags: , , , , ,

One list to rule them all

Imagine: Our erstwhile hero/heroine is confronted with crazy events. People around them die or go missing. They’re being chased by a faceless menace. And in the end, it turns out that they are simply bugnuts and nothing we’ve been seeing is the truth because all the crazy was in their head.

I don’t know when I first was exposed to this terrible plot device. I do know that I found it very annoying. I present to you the five worst examples of this wretched trend to warn you. So that you will stay far away. There be spoilers ahead…if you consider spoiling a crappy movie a spoiler.

A Beautiful Mind

Russell Crowe plays John Nash, a brilliant Princeton mathematician, in this biopic directed by Ron Howard. There’s so much wrong about that sentence I just typed. I’m not sure I’ve ever truly enjoyed a Ron Howard film. I sure as hell didn’t enjoy this one. Nash struggled with schizophrenia during his college years and eventually develops a fantasy world to serve his insular nature. Of course, we don’t find this out until the end when it is revealed that his clever, witty charismatic roommate…NEVER EXISTED. He was just in Nash’s head. Look, the movie won a Best Picture Oscar. That doesn’t mean a damn thing. Ron Howard blows.


This is the only one of these ‘gems’ that I’ve seen twice. It starts as a clever spin on the classic Agatha Christie murder mystery And Then There Were None (aka Ten Little Indians) set at a run down desert motel. It maintains a great whodunnit pace until the pointless, out-of-left-field ending where it’s revealed that all the characters we’ve just seen get killed were merely split personalities of some sweaty fat dude chilling in the back of a cop car. You see the crazy, serial killer personality was fighting for control…and oh never mind, even John Cusack can’t get me to watch it a third time.

Secret Window

Johnny Depp plays a famed mystery author with a wicked case of writer’s block. John Turturro plays Shooter, the odd man who shows up mysteriously at Depp’s cabin accusing him of plagiarism. As Depp asserts his innocence and tries to prove Shooter wrong, his accuser becomes more malevolent and violent. Yeah. You guessed it. Shooter’s just a figment of crazy Depp’s imagination. Imagine that. A crazy writer. It’s based on a Stephen King short story which I’m sure is much better. Read that instead.

The Ward

Take Identity. Replace that funny guy from Say Anything with that hot chick from Drive Angry. Substitute the beat-up motel with an insane asylum for girls. Add absolutely no nudity from Ms. Heard. Multiply by the disappointment that this dreck is directed by John Carpenter, the man responsible for some of the best horror/action films of the 70’s and 80’s. All of it together equals a giant monster turd. Fifteen minutes in I looked over at my friends and said, ‘I swear to God, if this has one of those shitty Identity/Rear Window endings, I’m gonna scream.’ I screamed.

Shutter Island

Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, this dud is beautifully shot, decently acted, and long. Two-plus hours is a quite the haul to find out that Leo is just some crazy wannabe gumshoe who went off his nut when his wife died. Some creative therapy by a wacko doctor played by Gandhi has our hero running around the big island trying to solve some mystery that has no real solution. Of course, we don’t find that out till the end. I knew it going in cause I’d read the book about the same time some of these other stains had come out. Not sure why I watched the movie. Maybe I hate myself. Maybe I’m a sadist. I don’t know. The film gets the top spot on the list because it’s directed by Scorsese who should have known better. C’mon Marty. You directed Raging Bull. GoodFellas. Kundun! Well, maybe Kundun isn’t a good example.

So there you have it. Five movies you should avoid as though your life depended on it.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


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