The People vs. Larry Flynt movie poster

From time to time someone makes a movie which shocks the wider audience and, therefore, is widely discussed or sometimes even banned.

Human nature is like that: if you are told not to watch something, you will definately try to watch it. It is the same with scandalous movies. Their creators and movies are heavily criticized and still get lots of attention. People are inevitably drawn to them.

1. JFK (1991)

Oliver Stone was practically buried under the critique he received after this movie hit the big screens. The USA media attacked Stone without mercy. CBS, The New York Times, Time, Newsweek and The Washington Post criticized him for hypothetical thoughts that are presented as facts in the movie and the way he creates provocative and crazy conspiracy theory. It is not surprising that JFK received so much dissatisfaction. It shows unbelievable corruption and lies which kill the American Dream and the truth is buried somewhere beyond human reach.  Someone says in the movie: “It is hard to believe that this is happening in our country”. Neither in the movie, nor the real life people want to believe such things, therefore, everyone feels confused when faced with controversial assumptions.

Movies based on true events usually are very popular, so it is not surprising that the story about the death of John Kenedy made such a fuss. The most important question in the movie is „who killed the president?“ and searching for an answer is covered with conspiracy shocking theories.

2. Apocalypse Now (1979)

Movies about war are not that rare but this one received unprecendented attention especially because HOW it showed war. Usually soldiers are portrayed as being brave and ready to sacrifise everything for their homeland. However, soldiers in Apocalypse Now are scared, crazy and have no idea what they are doing. They are on missions which are non-existent and feel the need to be Gods.

Apocalypse Now, like other films about war, shows how pointless military conflicts are, however, in this case it is more like a background to illustrate the (un)readiness of the soldiers. The task seems simple – to find and kill the rebel (which gone a little crazy since during Vietnam War) and at the same time to obey law as much as possible. Not to totally disobey but to obey as much as possible but how to decide what is enough of obeying in this case? When does the wish to be the God get more important than justice?

Such non-stereotypical portraits of soldiers of course was greeted with certain degree of suspicion. Everyone would like to think that military men just wear uniforms and know the right thing to do. However, the soldiers who may not exactly represent this vision made the audiences uncomfortable.

3. Brokeback Mountain (2005)

This movie does not go well together with homophobia. The reactions after the film was screened were mixed from surprised that someone dared to show relationship between two men to banning the movie in some countries. However, not everyone reacted like that and Brokeback Mountain was a major success both critically and commercially.

Two cowboys get lost in mysterious attraction. It is not that comfortable to watch how their relation unravels but it is not harming. It is eye-opening..

Conservative and religious people were definately not happy about this film because they believe it was homosexual propaganda. Maybe the creators were expecting such reactions because it was practically the first movie showing homosexual love story for the wider audiences for the first time.

4. 9 songs (2004)

9 songs kind of reminds of a porno. It was not regarded as the prono movie probably only because of its soundtrack. The scenes are highly erotic and most would say that almost or definately pornographic.

Because of its erotic content 9 songs was depicted as scandalous and outragous movie from the beginning. Some said that it is even the propaganda of porn industry. This is only because all the sex scenes were real and to make matters even more shocking – there are plenty of them and they are different (according to one‘s taste, so to speak) from usual intercourse to sensual experiments.

Is it the miracle of cinematography or simply porn movie? Everyone will find their own answer.

5. The Crime of Father Amaro (2002)

First of all, this movie made the religious people angry. A priest, a teenager, sex, pregnancy, abortion. These words should not even appear in the same sentence and yet someone managed to put everything in one movie.

24 year old priest is sent to help an another old priest in a small village in Mexico where he meets a young teenage girl which finds herself immediately attracted to the newly arrived man. They soon start an affair and only the walls of the church keep their secret safe.

It is not the end of the world but the Mexican Church reacted like it was. They demanded to ban this movie and even threatened to excommunicate the actors! All their discontent resulted in making the film even more popular and profitable.

6. Irréversible (2002)

This movie was maybe the most discussed in the recent decade both by critics and cinema lovers and opinions are very diverse. It probably disgusted 90% of all viewers. Brutality, violence and sexual abuse – it is not easy to like this film but it is not easy to hate either. It has well-written scenario, acting is great and directing is original but at the same time it shocks with its cruel and brutal scenes.

The scandalous rape scene in the tunnel seems to cross the line. Any rape scene leaves an unpleasant feeling but this one makes you sick. Anyway, this movie belongs to the category of the brilliant ones because you will remember it for a long time either for its greatness or its violent content.

7. Hard Candy (2005)

This sensitive topic was touched accordingly but it still surprised the audiences. Pedophilia and revenge. Tension and fear. 14-year old “Lolita” meets 32-year old successful photographer on the Internet. He invites her over and when she suspects that he is a pedophile she decides to confront him and reveal his secret.

It seems like she succeeds and comes closer to her objective. The only thing you can think about is “how is it going to end?”. It is worth mentioning that the actors did the great job. When you see the faces of Patrick Wilson and Elen Page in other movies, you will remember Hard Candy.  They make this movie worth watching and pleasurable despite not that pleasant topic.

8. Antichrist (2009)

One can say that this movie is a provocation and not be mistaken. It is the main purpose of Antichrist. Open and shocking scenes, emotional drama, darkness and the whole movie is like that – there is no relief for your eyes, no escape, no light. Most people would not find this movie that disgusting but still it caused some controversy.

A wife and husband lose their only child and decide to try to find peace in small distant house. It sounds like a good idea except that their way of dealing with the loss is everything but normal – lots of sex, violent sex. Those open sex scenes were supposed to shock the viewer. While the goal was reached, many still missed the good scenario.

9.  Requiem for a Dream (2000)

Thrilling, involving, touching movie. It is a masterpiece of directing and screen writing, and the soundtrack plays in your head long after the film is over. This movie about addiction can easily become the addiction itself. You will definitely want to watch it again.

You will see four people’s lives shown simultaneously:  a lonely, television-obsessed woman Sarah, her son Harry and his friends Marion and Tyrone lose themselves to dangerous addictions. Sarah starts to take dieting pills after she finds out that she will be participating in the TV show. At the same time Harry and his friends use cocaine and heroin. While at first the addiction is perceived to help them with their lives, soon they start to lose everything even themselves. Some argued that this film encourages young people to try dangerous drugs but it is doubtful after you see the shocking end of this brilliant film.

 10. The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)

This is a story about a scandalous USA porno magazine editor Larry Flint. Director Molos Forman managed to turn the scandal into the discussion about press freedom.

Larry Flint – the hero of sexual revolution, drugs and cultural cataclysms. He saw what people needed and had enough courage to start something unimaginable. Larry started something that divided society for a long time – he published the pornographic magazine “Hustler” which of course was not only the magazine. It was the challenge for the society and society decided to punish Larry.

This story may insult those who did not understand the director’s wish to ironically show the American Dream. The language and people are naked in it but it actually helps to make the story better. If you still feel uncomfortable, this movie is just not for you.

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