The Movie Therapist…

12/14/1999

Listen very carefully, my friends, for this is the most important thing I have ever had to tell you. This concerns the wonders of Movie Therapy. For years I laboured under the misapprehension that when one was miserable one watched a sad film. Slowly over the years I began to realise that this wasn’t the case. So here are some of my recommendations for handling emotional instability through Meme Therapy…

Lovelorn/Lonely?
The immediate temptation when one is in this kind of mood is to go and see some form of romantic comedy. The phrase “comedy” is the killer here, creating the impression that you will be invigorated and cheered up by the story. Unfortunately this is simply not true when you are feeling lovelorn – instead you are likely to find your own situation even more pitiable and begin to hate and resent the film itself.

The best solution in these circumstances is to see a film that makes you feel powerful and pro-active, rather than one that makes you feel inadequate. Action films are always relatively good, but don’t choose anything with particular lulls in it as these are likely to result in a loss of interest (Pulp Fiction has too large a range of emotional responses for example). A strong figure to identify with style and panache always helps. The Matrix is great for this kind of thing.

Another way out of the impasse is to watch a terrifying film which fills you with adrenaline. The original Halloween is particularly good for this, Scream is OK, but Scream 2 is hopeless.

If you are of a slightly more cynical bent, you can scrabble a certain amount of pleasure and bile out of a black comedy. This is not recommended for those unfamiliar with Meme Therapy as you are prone to savage eyebrow movements and attacks of biting satirical wit.

Recommendations: The Matrix, A Bond Film, Terminator 2, Scream, Halloween. [Cynical Bent: Fight Club, Cube]

Angry?
There are several forms of anger. If you suffer a form of frustrated anger with an authority figure or the like that you are unable to do anything about in person, then again a decent action film with a strong villain is ideal. However, the most elegant solution to this kind of problem is an anti-establishment comedy which ridicules a figure who represents your enemy rather than destroys them. For anger generated by job pressures, one of the many 80s comeuppance films (Working Girl, Wall Street) work very well.

Anger against a partner is the only time when you can effectively watch a romantic comedy, but be careful that you choose the time well as the experience of watching the film will either cause you to forgive your partner and be sensitive and loving for a while, or you will immediately dump them to be with someone you think you can be sensitive or loving with. Be careful, romantic comedies are dangerous things.

Recommendations: Working Girl, Wall Street, Mallrats, When Harry Met Sally, One Fine Day, The Matrix.

That’s all for now. Remember these are not general film recommendations, but ways of dealing with and alleviating emotional difficulties that you might be facing. Go with my love, my children.