“Top Ten Barf-tastic Movies” article

Dear Everyone I Bragged To on the Internet:

In a clear cut case of counting your buzzards before they hatch, it appears that my article entitled The Top Ten Barf-tastic Movies To Avoid will NOT be published online at Vulture.com. An editor at the New York Magazine affiliated site originally contacted me and said he loved flicksthatmakemesick.com and would I be willing to write an article that briefly highlighted some of the movies that caused motion sickness. Although I suspected that my site was a tad too niche oriented to appeal to the vast majority of the celebrity-crazed public, I kept my reservations to myself because … well, dude! it was Vulture and they were going to publish me!

Unfortunately, they finally came to that conclusion themselves. After being ignored for awhile, I received a very nice email explaining that my subject matter was just a little too specific for them and they would need all the space they had to run more Match the Hair to the Movie Star quizzes (which is understandable – the Leonardo diCaprio one was hard and left me wanting more, more, more!)

Since Vulture does not wish to spread my words across the starry landfill that is cyberspace, I turn to the only outlet I have left and share this with you, my seven readers. Fear not, for I am not discouraged by this slight and will continue to champion for you, my loyal yet extremely queasy fans!

The Top Ten Barftastic Films to Avoid

Four BagsYou’ve been anticipating this date night for weeks, and you snuggle into the comfy stadium seating with your sweetie and a bucket of popcorn. Absorbed in the film and the tension of the drifting astronauts, you hardly notice the light sheen of sweat that starts to film your upper lip. Your stomach roils a bit and you glance nervously at your date, hoping he thinks it’s the Dolby sound system. Moments later, saliva fills your mouth and you realize with horror that you must choose between barfing in your purse or the popcorn bucket. You choose the purse, because it costs less than the snacks did.

The release of the gut-churning Gravity has once more threatened the tooth enamel of ticket buyers with weak stomachs. The shakiness of hand-held cameras and choppy editing in films have been causing nausea in the audience for years, and certain movies can almost guarantee that once the lights go down, something else is coming up. Here are some barftastic films that you need to watch out for:

10. The Blair Witch Project (1999):  Not the first horror movie to use the shaky cam technique but certainly the most famous. People in the audience were creating hex signs out of Twizzlers to make it stop.

9. The Fighter (2011): This Mark Wahlberg film combines hand-held camera work, boxing, choppy editing, and a crack addict who is so jittery that he makes everything else look like it’s shaking even when the camera is locked down. Also from director David O. Russell: Three Kings (1999), which was even worse.

8. Cloverfield (2008): The monster invading Manhattan was scary but nothing was worse than the puddles you had to jump over in the aisles. Theaters were posting warnings in the lobby about the effects of this one.

7: Babel (2006): A series of vaguely related plots all united by a blurry Brad Pitt, this film contained a disco sequence in a Japanese nightclub that was seizure inducing. See also: Twilight: Breaking Dawn – the birth scene.

6. Once (2006): This delightful musical is so low-budget that the lead characters can’t afford first names – they are simply called “The Guy” and “The Girl.” Apparently they couldn’t afford a tripod, either. Completely unexpected, which made it even worse because it snuck up on you. See also: Rachel Gets Married.

5. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012):  Even Quvenzhané Wallis’ fabulous bouncing hair will make you queasy after fifteen minutes of watching her run through the swamp.

4: Argo (2013): The recreation of jittery real life footage keeps you constantly on the verge of yakking, and makes you want to shout “Argo fuck yourself!” at Ben Affleck.

3. Life of Pi (2013): Any movie that’s filmed on water is going to be a problem. The constant motion of the bobbing lifeboat will make you empathize with the poor seasick tiger and you may want to bite the head off of the hyena sitting next to you. Most recent additions to this category: Captain Phillips and All is Lost.

2. Exit the Gift Shop (2012): Most of this documentary about street artist Banksy is shot in the dark while people are running, and the camera may very well have been manned by Michael J. Fox. Perfect for the guerrilla-type artists that are being featured but sheer hell if you’re sitting in the audience.

1. The Bourne Supremacy (2004): The mother of all shaky cam movies! Although there are many films that used the hand-held technique before The Bourne Identity sequel was released, this is the one where people really started to notice the effect. Specifically, when complete strangers started throwing up on their shoes.

You can’t stop the way your stomach and brain react to these films, but you can minimize the effects. Sit waaaay in the back, don’t eat greasy popcorn and for the love of God, stay away from IMAX.

Chris Broquet has been resting on couches in theater lobbies for years as she tries to recover from watching hand-held films. See her complete guide to movies that will nauseate you with the unique Barf Bag Rating system at flicksthatmakemesick.com

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Captain Phillips

captain-phillips-international-posterIn movies, certain monikers immediately invoke evil. Hannibal Lechter, Freddy Krueger, Chucky – if you hear one of those names screamed out, chances are you’re in for a bloody good time. But some of the worst offenders aren’t even on the screen; they hide behind the grips and the best boys, silently moving among the crew while whispering things to the cinematographer like “You don’t need that tripod” and “Here, have another Red Bull.” They are an elite group of very jittery men, but there is one who quivers above them all: the Voldermort of directors, the one whose name can only be pronounced with a Slytherin-like hiss: Greengraaasssss.

I was excited when I heard there was a new Tom Hanks film coming out. And then I read it was about a ship taken over by Somali pirates and I was a tad apprehensive because movies filmed on water can be problematic if you’re a little prone to motion-sickness. But I made it through Castaway so I thought I could probably get through this one, too. Until I saw the director’s name mentioned in a review and had a sudden flashback of Matt Damon and his extremely shaky search for his supremacy and it all came flooding back: Greeengraaasssss.

His name is Paul Greengrass and if you look him up in IMBD, there will be a small puddle of vomit next to his picture. Director of The Bourne Supremacy and United 93, his choppy editing style and hand-held camerawork have made him a legend among those of us affected by this kind of movie. And not a legend in a good way – more like a chupacabra who runs up and down the aisles of the theatre and laughs and blocks the exit as you try to run out toward the bathroom.

And yet, even with all the bobbing and shaking and jerking— I almost hate to type this— Captain Phillips is a riveting film. As much as I despise the technique he employs, I have to admit that Greengrass knows how to move the camera so that the tension is ramped up to eleven. I was practically vibrating in my seat, unable to sit still as the pirate takeover got out of hand and became a kidnapping. Even knowing the ending didn’t abate the suspense – the film is based on a book written by the real Captain Phillips, so his odds of survival were pretty good. The relationship between the two captains (Hanks and Barkhad Abdi) is fascinating, and the way the ship prepared for a pirate boarding was a study in failed security.

I’m going to throw in a Spoiler Alert here, so stop reading if you haven’t seen the film. The most remarkable part of the movie was after Phillips had been rescued and brought aboard a Navy ship for medical treatment. You rarely see the results of violence in action films – it’s often portrayed as it would be in a video game, with the collateral damage unseen and the psyches of the victims untarnished. But this film showed that Phillips was completely traumatized by what he had gone through, in shock, barely able to speak and stuttering to answer questions posed by the doctors. It’s a raw, honest look at the after effects of violence, and it will probably garner Tom Hanks another Academy Award nomination.

My symptoms were similar to Mr. Hanks after I emerged from the theatre, but no one is handing me any awards for keeping my popcorn down. But at least the damn chupacabra has stopped laughing at me.

Barf Bag rating: FOUR BAGS At this point, I just automatically assign any Paul Greengrass film four bags. I think he would be insulted if I did not.Four Bags