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#272- Happiness

Quick recap: Netflix says this is a movie about a dysfunctional family but I beg to differ. . These people are the most awful and miserable I have encountered in this list and that’s saying something, considering I have watched Downfall.


Kind of odd, but I used to have a thing for Philip Seymour Hoffman. Glad that’s been cured!

Fun (?) fact: Many well known actors refused to play the part of Bill, who is a pedophile. It didn’t bother Dylan Baker, however, who claims his career never suffered and he moved on easily from the role. Who is that, you might ask? Exactly.


How about a lovely scene with Jon Lovitz, who is apparently posing on the same couch my mom had for over 30 years.

My thoughts: When a movie goes with something as bold a title as Happiness, I knew it would be anything but. And considering how rough the last few weeks have been, I wanted to wait until I was in a better state of mind before watching something so mind numbingly awful. I’ve seen some bad stuff on here, mind you (El Topo, Murmur of the Heart, The Tin Drum), but Happiness is on a whole other level of messed up.

One weird game I like to play when watching movies I’ve never heard of before is to think about what kind of person would list this film as one of their favorites. Because you know that somewhere, someone LOVES the hell out of Happiness and can probably quote it word for word. That concerns me, naturally, but I guess I can see the possibility in the kind of person who loves black comedies. And buddy, this is the blackest comedy there is. Unlike American Beauty where I could never figure out what the ultimate message was, this one was simple: The suburbs suck and the nuclear family is a myth. Heartwarming, no? Maybe not, but it makes the film much more tolerable to think of it as a farce, rather than a legitimate story.

So, what exactly is so bad about Happiness? I’m not really going to go into detail about it because I don’t want this blog to turn into ‘for mature audiences only’, but here’s a quick rundown on a few characters:

Allen- a sad sack of a man who has a crush on his next door neighbor but who also gets off calling random girls and saying super inappropriate things to them

Kristina- has a crush on Allen and when they finally go out (a rare moment of happiness for me because I felt sorry for her) reveals that she killed the doorman who raped her and cut his body into little pieces.

Helen- whom Allen has a crush on. She wrote a book about being raped as a child but that never happened and now she wants nothing more than for that to happen.

and finally Bill- a therapist who is a pedophile. He enjoys drugging his young son’s friends and raping them.

And to top it off, none of these people ever really learn a lesson, except maybe Kristina who was arrested. The movie ends with the family sitting around the dinner table and continuing their misery exactly as before. The only thing that surprised me as the credits rolled was how the movie didn’t just end with everyone killing themselves.

Final review: 2/5

Up next: Vinyl


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