Getting Emotional with Movies, Part 2: Anger
In case you missed it, be sure to check out Part 1, “Joy”, before venturing forward into…
Portraying some innocent soul getting the shaft from the powers that be is guaranteed to put me in a wrathful mood. There are plenty of films about injustice that have raised my ire; like Changeling, a tale so appalling and crazy that I still can’t believe it was based on a true story. Or In the Name of the Father, another movie depicting actual events, about the gross abuse of the legal system for political purposes. Here are a couple more along those lines that I consider to be real humdingers:
What better way to transition from Joy into Anger than to talk about one of the most soul-crushing, infuriating musicals ever made? It’s a cruel fact of life that the same genre capable of inspiring carefree mockery of inclement weather can also be used to provoke us into fits of moral outrage.
The first time I saw Dancer in the Dark, my emotional reaction was more akin to horror. Because I enjoy the music of Bjork, having to endure watching her being ground up by the wheels of “justice” was just brutal. With the second viewing, I was able to concentrate more on the whole rotten process that pushed Bjork into the maw of legal iniquity.
Part of my anger comes from how manipulative Dancer in the Dark is. Yet, I still get caught up in it. Maybe I have a vulnerability for pixie-ish Icelandic singers, and so that’s why I allow Lars von Trier to push my buttons. But how many agonizing misfortunes can befall a person? And didn’t that one lawyer ever hear of pro bono, or at least payment plans? Seriously.
This calms me down a little bit. I’m probably still going to need therapy, though.
If you’re not in the mood for a musical miscarriage of justice like Dancer in the Dark, there’s always this TV movie tragedy. A Cry for Help is based on a real-life incident involving the Tracey Thurman of the title and her maniac husband. In the movie, Tracey (played by Nancy McKeon, “Jo” from The Facts of Life) marries a guy who turns out to be a psychopath. After he hits her one too many times, she takes her child and moves from Florida back to Connecticut.
Not one to give up easy, he pursues her relentlessly. He even ignores a court ruling requiring him to leave the state, which the local police aren’t terribly energetic about enforcing. After harassing Tracey for most of the movie, he totally loses it and brutally attacks her in front of a indecisive police officer. Left partially paralyzed, Tracey sues the police department with the help of a kindly lawyer and is awarded $2,000,000. But, after seeing the husband stabbing Tracey repeatedly and stomping on her head, it doesn’t seem like enough.
Here’s the scene from the movie where Tracey’s husband nearly kills her. I’m still surprised at how violent and troubling it is for a TV flick made 20 years ago.
Watching human rights travesties like these, I’m grateful that I have a movie like Taxi Driver to turn to for solace. Sometimes, spending time with a guy who is fed up with everything is cathartic. I want to live in a world free of scum and corruption, too. Where movies like the ones above would be unnecessary and unimaginable. And, like Travis Bickle, I would appreciate being able to take a date to the adult movie theater without seeing underage prostitutes wandering around outside.
Prepare to have your mind expanded tomorrow with Food for Thought.
This post is part of our User Showcase series. You can find Chad as kingofpain on Flickchart. If you’re interested to submit your own story or article describing your thoughts about movies and Flickchart, read our original post for how to become a guest writer here on the Flickchart Blog.