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Home » Culture and Criticism

Cinemarch Madness: The Finals

Submitted by on April 2, 2013 – 2:00 PM16 Comments

grunge film background

At last, the finals, after which I will probably post nothing but pictures of dwarf bunnies for a week. Heh.

Instead of addressing each film, I've listed the ten finalists in order — for me — of most devastating to least. I'm a little surprised myself that Dear Zachary isn't at the top, and it's the most memorable, but there is hope in it: the Bagbys; the filmmaker and the film themselves, as moving a eulogy as ever there was. Brandon and Grave do not give you even a little scrap to cling to, either of them. Lethal hatefulness, mendacity, lack of compassion in the first case; the inevitable and painful demise of children in the other.

The Brandon Teena Story
Grave of the Fireflies
Dear Zachary
United 93
Boys Don't Cry
The Deer Hunter
The Cove
Requiem for a Dream
Hotel Rwanda
Dancer in the Dark

Any of the first six films is a worthwhile choice, I would say, as the bleakest film of all time; of the others, I haven't seen two, I think Requiem may rely too heavily on atmospheric shocks, and The Cove is legit awful and may well win here, but it didn't really stay with me like others did.

I hate asking y'all to pick just one. I hate asking myself. But that's baseball. Poll's open 'til Friday, April 5.

Cinemarch Madness Final. Vote for the bleakest film. Then go pet a kitten.

  • Dear Zachary (21%, 55 Votes)
  • Grave of the Fireflies (15%, 41 Votes)
  • The Brandon Teena Story (11%, 29 Votes)
  • Boys Don't Cry (11%, 28 Votes)
  • Requiem for a Dream (10%, 27 Votes)
  • The Deer Hunter (8%, 22 Votes)
  • The Cove (7%, 19 Votes)
  • Dancer in the Dark (6%, 16 Votes)
  • United 93 (6%, 15 Votes)
  • Hotel Rwanda (5%, 14 Votes)

Total Voters: 266

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16 Comments »

  • ferretrick says:

    LOATHED Requiem, so upset that it placed out of my division (by ONE VOTE!)

    Another interesting effect of bracket placement-Sophie's Choice trumped Grave in the first round by a WIDE margin, but Grave is here in the final and Sophie's isn't.

    I see Sars' reasoning against Dear Zachary, and I can see the hope more now, a week removed from seeing the film. But the effect of the film immediately after watching it and for several days after? As devestating and haunting as any film experience I've ever had, so I'm still giving it my vote.

    But my money is still on screaming dolphins FTW.

  • Kizz says:

    I gotta go Deer Hunter with this group but I expect that, like my original first choice of the whole bunch, Gallipoli, not enough people will have seen it. Time will tell…

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    Bunnies and kittens and laughing little foxes! *drinks a lot*

  • Kona says:

    If Dear Zachary doesn't win this, then the world no longer makes sense to me. Which is also how I felt after watching Dear Zachary.

  • Kitty says:

    I'm surprising myself by going with a final vote for The Deer Hunter. I'm kind of going against the rules because I do actually rewatch this film every so often. And it gut punches me everytime.
    "Nicky!"

  • anotherkate says:

    I now have the most depressing Netflix queue ever. The question is can I bring myself to watch 4 really depressing movies in time to vote? Maybe should I just vote on the films I've already seen. Or pick the one movie on here that I refuse to see, which is The Cove. This is the hardest bracket yet.

  • Thing1 says:

    Dancer in the Dark was brutal, traumatic, and made me wish I'd been one of the folks in the theater who stomped out in boredom/grumpiness during one of Bjork's interminable musical numbers. I must have lived a sheltered life, but it's the only movie I've honestly wished I'd never watched. And the fact that it isn't even in the top five at this point? Horrifying. I think I know what movies I'm NOT going to be watching in the near future. Or ever.

  • coleBlue says:

    I have not seen any of these movies. That's probably for the best.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    I didn't vote for it but I am a bit surprised the screaming dolphins are trailing.

  • Rachel says:

    I think more people need to see Hotel Rwanda. That movie is wonderful and brutal and heartbreaking, and I don't think I could ever watch it again, despite Don Cheadle's incredible performance. But it is so powerful and a story that needed to be told. Of course, I guess all of these are- that one just hit me a certain way.

  • RJ says:

    @Rachel, Hotel Rwanda got my vote. I was devastated. Particularly because I was 25 years old in 1994. A grown woman, working and functioning in the world, and yet I managed to be completely ignorant of what was happening there.

  • Kristin says:

    Kizz, I figure "Gallipoli" and "Breaker Morant", by default, are already universally accepted as the Grand Poobahs of Bummerdom – the award should be named for them.
    (Yeah, Aus cinema is mostly known for quirky charmers NOW… but in the day? OY.)

  • Lis says:

    anotherkate I voted for The Cove for basically that reason, while I haven't seen several of these, The Cove is the only one I know I physically CAN'T see. Just thinking about it my brain goes "Nooooope" and turns to other topics. I think it would break me.

  • Cora says:

    Pet a kitten while you drink a Bath Towel and watch this.

    {"I thought it was someone else's drainpipe!!"}

  • Marchelle says:

    I probably mentioned this before, but I partook in the same discussion on a message board I frequent awhile back, and I see that the top two contenders right now are the two everyone on that board tied on – "Dear Zachary" and "Grave of the Fireflies."

  • Leah in SoCal says:

    Fun fact: Grave of the Fireflies was released in the US as a double-feature with My Neighbor Totoro. I can't even imagine…

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