I was inspired by the new Cinematical series, Movies I Will Never See, but I had a hard time coming up with a movie I will absolutely, categorically never see, given the chance. So here's my take on a movie I wish I'd never seen...

I have seen bad movies that wasted my time, my money, and valuable real estate in my brainpan. Some of the movies I've seen were so bad they actually made me angry with their crappiness. (This summer's The Informers and The Mysteries of Pittsburgh both land in that category.) I've seen plenty of "bad" or "weird" movies that were gross or generally nuts -- Nekromantik (both the first and the second, thanks), Crispin Glover's labor of love What Is It?, Begotten, Salo, and Shivers, to name a few. And then I've seen bad movies. Movies I wish I could un-see. That made me feel like scrubbing the insides of my eyelids. That made me feel, well, icky.

The number one offender on my list is The Passion of the Christ. I had no intention of seeing it, but there were extenuating circumstances – all, in fact, were somehow related to Judaism, no less! A friend who is a talented linguist and more or less fluent in Hebrew was very interested in the fact that it was in Aramaic and he convinced me to go. The first yahrzeit of my father was approaching quickly, and so I was just like, "Eh, okay, let's go see this damn movie." (According to About.com, which is where I've gotten most of my religious education, the yahrzeit "is a commemoration of the death of a Jew by a mourner (the child, sibling, spouse or parent of the deceased).") Except... it was Easter. I'd forgotten it was Easter. So as the shylocks shook their shekels (and from what I understand, some of the Aramaic that wasn't subtitled was just more anti-Semitic spewage) my friend and I were the only Jews in a theater full of sobbing church-goers. As Jesus, James Caviezel's flesh was ripped from his body in a slow, sensually violent manner. Sensually because we didn't just see his torture, but in the darkened theater, the sounds overwhelmed us – the gooey, crunchy, scratchy, gaggy sounds of skin and sinew being sliced, crushed, and punished in unimaginable pain.

The Passion of the Christ luxuriates in its violence, turning an almost sexual eye on the torture of its protagonist in the guise of what was supposed to be the reenactment of something that many see as holy. But Mel Gibson makes Pinhead look like a schoolteacher. Besides the extreme discomfort I felt at the way my peeps were portrayed and my own internal workings at the time, I regret seeing The Passion of the Christ because it is nothing more than a snuff film with delusions of grandeur. I'll take Nekromantik over that any day.

What movies do you wish you could erase from your brain?
categories Cinematical