PopWatch Confessional: Name the movie you want to watch again but can't bear to because one moment is THAT sad


Image Credit: Everett Collection

Is there a movie you’re dying to watch again, but the memory of one pivotal plot point is so upsetting, you can’t bring yourself to do it? Today,¬†Dead Poets Society came up in conversation around PopWatch HQ. I told a colleague how I’d recently taped it off one of the HBO channels because it’d been so long since I’d seen it and, as someone now in her mid-30s, it’s one of those films that helped define who I am. I started watching it, and the second I saw Neil (Robert Sean Leonard), I had to stop. I couldn’t bear to get attached to him again knowing what happens and being powerless to change it. The colleague, Jeff Labrecque, said he actually watched it last night on HBO Family and switched the channel right after Neil saw his father in the audience at his play. Just typing that made me a little sick to my stomach. (Seeing the picture accompanying this item, meanwhile, sent me stomping over to the photo editor’s office where I proceeded to stand in his doorway and curse his name while air-kicking at him.)

Your turn. Name that movie.

P.S. Has anyone actually seen Million Dollar Baby twice?

Comments (671 total) Add your comment
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  • Francisco

    Million Dollar Baby is even better the second time.

    • the_girl

      I will NEVER watch Million Dollar Baby again. I cannot bear to see that moment twice.

      • The Snack Bar

        Hated Million Dollar Baby the first time I saw it and will never watch it again. Same goes for Life if Beautiful. There are no movies that I liked that I won’t watch again because of a particular scene. “The Cure” (1995, Brad Renfro)makes me cry when I think about parts of it but I have seen it a number of times, still very powerful.

      • Steph

        Ditto. The minute I saw the headline of this story, Million Dollar Baby instantly came to mind.

      • marebear0479

        Hey Snack Bar! I was an extra in The Cure!

    • Dr. Linus

      Million Dollar Baby is the first one that came to mind. My sister and I went to the theater and saw it soon after losing our mother. The ventilator and those hospital scenes hit too close to home. Odd how we both were talking about this yesterday, saying that we’d never watch that movie again because of the sad part. The rest we like though.

    • zoot

      HATED Million Dollar Baby..wont watch it again because it was over-hyped and really a BAD movie

      • Mikie

        OK so you hated Million Dollar Baby. Funny, I don’t remember the topic here being “name a movie you hate”. That’s irrelevant.

    • Meier

      I’m with Francisco. Not only does ‘M$B’ posess a treasure of an acting ensemble (Margo Martindale! Anthony Mackie!), it was refreshing to watch an original story win Best Picture over a slew of good-not-great bio-pics like ‘The Aviator’, ‘Finding Neverland’, and ‘Ray’. I immediately bought it on DVD, puzzled about why my friends were puzzled that I wanted to.

      • Athena1

        Ug, that movie had wonderful moments of truth and then ruined them all by completely negating all that the characters had stood for and become. Where was her coach, the one who taught her to never give up, when she was facing the toughest fight of her life? Where was the fighter when her coach couldn’t see a way for her to win? Suicide=lazy writing. Assisted suicide=lazy&cheap writing. Honestly can’t you find an emotionally resonant and honest way to end your story without giving in to this Freshman-year writing class quick fix?

      • Jessica

        I have yet to see this movie because of this. My husband is a paraplegic and felt that it was absurd to say that life with a disability is one not worth living. I had to agree with him. Although I believe that people have a right to choose to die, I don’t think it’s always the right choice, and I do think it’s, as Athena1 says, lazy and cheap writing.

      • AK

        No, it was a supremely brave choice for Clint Eastwood to even explore the topic of euthanasia. I thought the ending of “Million Dollar Baby” was extremely well done. That is definitely one of my favorite movies ever.

  • Lauren

    Well, this isn’t sad, per se, but I rewatched The Jones, but stopped before the bit with the tractor at the end.

    Up until then it’s a fun movie, was the ending REALLY necessary? We get it- consumerism baddddd.

    • Lauren

      The Joneses*

  • SLT

    The Passion of the Christ. I realize that has been discussed some lately b/c of Jim C.’s statement and Mel G. but I could only watch that movie once. It was good and it was powerful but I don’t know that i’ll be able to watch it again.

    • annah

      I watched it again…I should of remembered how my eyes were puffy and almost closed the from crying the first time I watched it…so they were puffy and closed again this past Good Friday….

    • Blush

      Thinking of Jim Caviezel, I’d have to vote for the ending of I Am David. An old movie – Without a Trace with Kate Nelligan about her son being kidnapped. I’m also a sucker for Pay it Forward. I was surprised how most of the movies mentioned were really good, but not tearjerkers for me.

  • Francisco

    The movie with Ted Danson, Olympia Dukakis, and Jack Lemmon. I think the name of the movie is Dad.

    • peggym


    • Alice B.

      That was a great tearjerker!

  • Marissa

    I love the movie Blow. Johnny Depp is fantastic but I can’t bear to watch the end. It’s just so sad!

    • Tara

      I cry EVERY TIME i watch Blow. I watch it every time its on and I have the DVD, but I bawl like a baby.

    • Cheery

      I know, can’t bear the ending. Speaking of, how has no one mentioned “Tombstone”?? Poor Doc Holliday :'(
      Also “Head in the Clouds,” what happens to Charlize Theron at the end… T_T

  • Phil E

    Peter Jackson’s King Kong – the scene on the Ice is so moving and beautiful then leading up to the heartbreaking end…

    • Terri

      I’m with you on King Kong. I lost it, embarassingly and completely at the theater, during the scene you described. I loved the movie but will never watch it again.

    • Squishmar

      I was sobbing during “King Kong.” Yes, the whole time from the ice scene til the end… devastating.

  • commentor

    Terms of Endearment was really hard to watch again. Still gets me, everytime. Schindler’s List was another one.

    • morgan

      Schindler’s List definitely.

      Pay it forward. I know its absolute cheese and so on, still, when she goes outside and they’re all holding candles and singing, oh dear, tears already.

      • mel

        Schindler’s List, isn’t the whole movie sad though, not just one part?

      • Sara

        I will never watch “Schindler’s List” again. Powerful, great movie with fantastic performances, but so unbearably sad.

      • Ali

        Amazing film, but I cannot go through it again. The scene with the red coat? That’s when I started sobbing in the theater.

      • Monica

        Ali, I have to agree – I can’t even think about the red coat scene without tearing up.

    • Jay

      Terms of Endearment for sure.

  • Tab

    A League of Their Own. Maybe I have a low tolerance for emotional pain, but for some reason that movie knocks the wind out of me at the end. One of my favorites, and I just can’t watch it.

    • Jackie

      I agree! The scene where the one woman finds out about her husband is just gut-wrenching for me.

      • etm

        Me too. I love that movie so much, but I cry through the whole thing!! Especially when Marla Hooch is about to get rejected b/c she isn’t “pretty” enough and they show her waving good bye to her dad and you see the flag over his reflection.

        Too many sad moments to name, but awesome movie!!

      • jk

        I cry every. single. time Betty Spaghetti finds out her husband has died. And I’ve probably seen that movie 5 times. I’m a sucker.

      • mjg

        when Marla waves goodbye to her father, it gets me everytime… but its still one of my favorite movies

      • deedeedragons

        Only movie i can stand Madonna in.

    • natalia

      I love that movie! I always cry at the end when they’re all at the Museum and sing their song.

      • Lime

        Same. I never lose it until that part.

    • Chumash

      Agreed. It kills me to watch that movie! It’s so inspiring up until the end and then I just melt into a blubbering mess. I have to say that the all time movie I can’t watch because that scene is that sad is “Old Yeller” Watched it once as a kid and never again. I couldn’t believe my mother let me watch that movie. Holy sh$$ I was scarred for life.

      • Squishmar

        As Phoebe would say… “that doggy snuff film?” LOL

    • Steph

      Yes, League of Their Own is surprisingly emotional, but I can still watch it almost anytime… just as long as I stop it before the Madonna song over the end credits, because for whatever reason, that’s when the waterworks start for me. Just a culmination of all the moments mentioned above I guess.

    • anon.

      Hey, there’s no crying in baseball!

      • Squishmar

        Very, very funny!

  • Vegas Guy

    Somewhere In Time – 1980

    • Emily

      Haha what a ridiculous movie! But it definitely has its sad moments.

    • Anne


  • Johnification

    Popular opinion says it isn’t that good a movie, but I enjoyed the sci-fi world of A.I. and a lot of the cast, ideas, and visuals…but this admitted mama’s boy just can’t handle watching that ending again. It’s the narration that kills me. And Teddy, just committing to eternity like that, no questions asked.

    • Hannah

      SAME. I loved that movie, but the ending kills me everytime.

    • Jeanius

      Me too. I always cry at the end…

    • Cat

      Wow, I always thought I was the only one who cried during AI.

      • marcela

        ahaha i cried since the “mom” (ugh i didn’t like her) left the little boy/robot in the forest

    • Maria

      I totally agree about A.I. I have wanted to watch it again because the movie left me so unsettled (for years, really) and I want to know if it was REALLY that unsettling or whether it was my mindset during the first viewing.

  • peggym

    Sophie’s Choice. I get teary thinking about it. Up until then, it was Old Yeller that was on the top of the list.

    • Sue

      I’d heard of the movie for years but when I finally saw Sophie’s Choice, I didn’t have any idea what the choice was…that scene upset me so much I almost threw up. Can’t even remember the rest of the movie, but won’t watch it again.

      • Thora

        I read the book when it came out and the choice had that same effect on me. Last year — about 30 years later — I tried to watch the movie and just couldn’t make it through the entire scene … I’d had a daughter by then so it hit me even harder.

      • Alissa

        My first thought was Sophie’s Choice too. I cannot imagine the grief. I don’t even know how the actors could get through that one.

      • Jessica

        God this comments section is making me all veklempt. I should probably go do some work now.

    • Yeah

      I think it has to be Sophie’s Choice for sure.

    • Linda

      Oh, I’m so with you. The movie is good, but that scene – it really does make me physically ill and just leaves me sobbing. Just the idea of it now makes me shudder. Beyond comprehension.

    • Linda

      @ Thora – I agree. I’d seen the movie once as a teen – TERRIBLE! Then I watched it after I became a mom and it was just unbearable!

  • lisa

    Easy. Serenity. Well, truth is, I have watched it again but I always stop or fast forward past when Wash dies.

    • BJG

      I agree, Lisa, his sudden death comes right after a very exhilarating scene so timing your fast forward just right is tricky.

    • JML

      Definitely. It’s also made it hard for me to rewatch the series, especially Shindig, as it makes any of Wash’s seens seem darker.

      • JML


      • @ JML

        Crap I was going to watch that too lol. I forget to not read these types of movie articles lest I spoil myself. I’m a dummy.

      • Athena1

        No, Mr. Universe’s wife is. ;)

    • Jacob

      I always close my eyes. I’m such a baby, but no death in any film has hurt me quite like his. A brilliant storytelling move, no question, but also the cruelest thing Joss Whedon has ever done.

      • Irishgirl

        Agreed. I love that movie and have seen it a hundred times, but I can’t watch at that moment. I always cover my eyes, and I still gasp.

    • nellie

      Ditto. In fact, I’ve convinced myself his death never happened because I refuse to watch it again.

    • Liz

      Serenity was just on SyFy last night and I kept flipping to it… and away… and back… and away… because I couldn’t decide whether or not I could stay on it and get that sad right before going to sleep. I had to stay up and watch Colbert afterwards to take the edge off.

    • Chumash

      Wash’s death just ripped my heart out. It seemed so senseless.

      • Linda

        Which is what Joss was going for, I think. To show that senseless deaths occur in battle. *sigh* It was very sad and surprising. But that’s part of why Joss Whedon is a genius.

  • Nerwen Aldarion

    My Dog Skip, when the dog was hit by that shovel I actually ran from the room (to be fair I was 10) and I still haven’t watched it again.

    • Lissy

      I second that, except for me it’s not so much that scene (although that is one very good reason not to watch it again), but at the end when the kid goes to college and skip is just laying there on his bed waiting for him. I’m teary right now.

      • Tobey

        I cried about 10 times during this movie. Skip!!

    • rajones12

      My Dog Skip is my pick, as well. I can’t even think about that movie without crying.

      • Gregory

        Ditto on “My Dog Skip.” My favorite tear jerker EVER!

      • Chelsea

        My Dog Skip is my pick too. I haven’t watched that movie since the 8th grade when we watched it in English [I ran from the classroom in tears].

  • Natalia

    I Am Legend. Because of the dog death.

    • Zo

      Oh yeah, that was horribly sad. Will Smith’s eyes during that scene!

      • Shannon

        We saw that in the theater 4 days after my dog died, having no idea that was going to happen. I completely lost it. I will never, ever watch that again.

    • Heather

      I’ve never seen it, but never will because of that scene. My eyes teared up when my brother just told me about it. I wouldn’t be able to handle watching it.

      • Chumash

        Me too. I can’t handle dog deaths in movies.

    • Jennifer

      I laughed a little at reading this comment, only because of my experience with the movie. My husband picked it out at the library, I took one look at the cover and said “OK, but if anything happens to the dog I will be furious!” To which he replied “Oh, I’m sure nothing happens to the dog.” Well, lo and behold…

      • NYTeach

        Between the dog, his isolation, and losing his family -this was one of the most depressing movies ever for me. Never again. I’m not sure if it was my mood at the time, but I was bawling my eyes out after that movie ended.

    • marcela

      i was going to say this movie to!!! ugh i hate will smith’s character 4 staying when he saw the mannequin wrong!b/c sam will never abandon him!

    • Patricia

      This was the one I was going to say too! I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks that. The death of the dog is so hard for me to watch that I’ve never watched it again.

    • Carrie

      It’s hard for me to watch any movie where a dog dies. I’ve learned that if a dog is on the poster, it’s unlikely to live in the end (except for Homeward Bound).

      • ckuczynski

        I’m adding my vote to this one. It’s what I immediately thought of. Good movie that I only watched the 1 time in theaters. While sobbing/covering my eyes during the scene I also remember being so pissed off that the film makers ruined the movie for me!

    • Colleen

      I totally concur. I actually thought the movie was really well acted by Will Smith but I just can’t handle him having to kill his dog.

      • Tyler’s Mom

        He had to kill the dog??!! I’ve never seen it because I KNEW something would happen to the dog. Now I’m glad I’ve never been swept into watching it!

    • Liz Lemon

      Same. I can’t watch it again for that same reason.

    • Jessica

      I have never seen it because I know the dog is going to die. Animals should never die in movies. It’s bad enough they die in real life.

  • Zo

    Oh yeah! Good question! (I guess it’s obvious that *spoilers* are below.)

    “Dancer in the Dark” – final scene. Execution of the mom. It was so wrong and sad.

    “The Green Mile”. Spectacular movie, but can’t see it twice. That convict who loved his special mouse, the evil guard who breaks his heart by telling him the truth of what happened to the mouse, and then having him die an agonizing death by not wetting that sponge that was supposed to sit atop his head while on the electric chair.
    And obviously, the execution of the innocent Michael Clarke Duncan, and his last request that he not be blindfolded because he was afraid of the dark.

    And nope, haven’t seen “Million Dollar Baby” twice yet, although I think I could actually handle that one again. Or not.

    • Stacie

      Lars von Trier all day! I don’t think I could ever watch Breaking the Waves again, even though I thought it was amazing.

    • Cat

      I couldn’t get through Green Mile once, knowing what happened in the end.

      • Squishmar

        I always cry at the end of “The Green Mile,” but the rest of the film has some really uplifting stuff.. the tears are so earned. I really love that movie.

      • Lea

        The Green Mile was one of those movies where you knew it was coming, but you still had to ask ‘why’ through your tears. I bawled.

    • MRinLA

      Yup – Dancer in the Dark. Great, great film but just so depressingly emotionally exhausting. So much so I heard lots of people in the lobby after canceling plans, no longer up for them.
      127 Hours was similarly emotionally draining but so much more uplifting. I’ll probably watch it again.

      • LELA

        Schindler’s List – the whole movie, not just a moment, too much to take, Brian’s Song, Old Yellar, The Yearling, I Remember Mama – if you want to ball like a baby – everytime., Terms of Endearment and I will have to add Atonement

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