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Geekscape Roundtable: Cinematic Uppers for the Nerdy and Depressed!

Tuesday 1st May 2012 by Joe Starr

Sometimes, the world kicks you in the ass and you can’t deal with putting on real clothes or moving from your couch for a few days.

Depression hits everyone sooner or later, and most geeks have a movie or three that substitute for medication. And until we all plug into an Avengers IV at the end of this week, here are Geekscape’s 24 FPS surefire depression treatments!

Jae Renfrow: Pristiq River

When I get depressed I usually don’t want to feel better, so I watch movies that’ll wallow with me. Like Million Dollar Baby. Oh, it’s all well and good early on. You’re sitting pretty learning gaelic and reveling in the witty banter between Morgan Freeman and grump Clint Eastwood. You get to see a trailer trash girl kick some butt and rise above her fried twinkie family. Next thing you know you’re biting your own tongue off hoping you drown in the blood. That’s life folks.

And Clint Eastwood has another sad bastard movie sitting on my shelf for those moody Mondays: Mystic River. You ever wonder what happened to all your friends? I do. And when it starts getting me down, I just pop in Mystic River so I can watch one child hood friend make another confess to the murder of his daughter so he can sleep at night. I remember doing this to my brother two years ago when I visited him in Kentucky. I kept saying. “Did you kill her? Just tell me you killed her. C’mon, you killed her didn’t you? Just tell me, it’s cool. You killed her. Say it.” And you know what? It works. He was a blubbering mess after five hours of it and I disposed of him in the woods out behind our house. Rest in peace, bro.

But on the rare occasion that I do want to feel better I just curl up with plate of brownies and watch Bring It On. Hot chicks having PG-13 fun, while trying to protect their cheerocracy from cheererrorism. I’m smiling just writing about it.

Time to get the sad spirit fingered right out of you!

Joe Starr: The Last Adapinbender

My primary depression movie is Transformers: The Movie, but sometimes I’ve got more sadness than Hot Rod’s got photon charges.

When that’s the case, I let Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai ease the pain. Cruise’s character Nathan Algren and I have a lot in common: he can’t find peace in his life and neither can I. One time he was ordered to slaughter a village of Native American women and children and sometimes I have tough sets on stage where people don’t laugh as much as I want them to. And Ken Watanabe has a way of delivering lines that make you mourn for the loss of Japan that Was like it’s something you experienced in person and not via Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 when you were in fifth grade.

If I need a little more pick me up, I’ll burn through Book 3: Fire of Avatar: The Last Airbender like it was a bottle full of happy pills. “I don’t think boomerang is coming back, Toph.” Damn it, Sokka, it’s like you know me.

When that isn’t enough, I watch old Royal Rumbles on YouTube. And that’s when you need to start worrying me.

Steven Kunz: Cymbalted Away

Spirited Away has a real heart behind it and to see the amazing animation and the fantastic settings and characters makes it my ‘go to’ if I want to be inspired or become motivated to change things. It’s really enjoyable to see Chihiro initially learning how to be a servant in the bathhouse and watch her grow stronger throughout the film. This movie is also something I go to when I’m depressed because of, once again, childhood memories. I received a Japanese copy of this movie from an art teacher back in high school for the entire summer, a year before the movie came out. It was just a really nice gesture and I showed Spirited Away to friends and family for the entire summer.

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is so ridiculous and over the top in that it is impossible not to feel good about it. It’s a movie you can enjoy simply because of that absurdity. Great example of this would have to be Jay and Silent Bob fighting Cock-Knocker, played by Mark Hamill. How can anyone not laugh at Hamill playing a wacky character parodying the lightsaber fights from Star Wars?

Aliens is not only a classic and entertaining movie, but it also brings back childhood memories for me. This was a movie I first watched when I was in the 4th grade, and ever since I can pop in at any time and easily recall great childhood moments. The whole movie itself brings back a younger, happier time.

No matter how bad things are, you’re not Newt.

Matt Blackwood: Arthouse Abilify

This may sound odd, but my go-to movie when I’m feeling awful is a new one. I love getting lost in a story, and it’s tougher to do that when I already know what happens. I especially like to see a new movie in the theatre. I go all by myself and sit in the front and disappear into cinema for two hours. Being overwhelmed by someone else’s imagination takes my mind off my own problems.

Tim Powers: Thomas the Triavil Engine

My ‘go to’ depression TV show is Trains and Locomotives.

This hour-long show explores the trains and locomotives that aided the growth of travel, further settlement and the development of certain American industries and agricultural ventures.

Archival film footage shows many famous trains that operated dome cars, impressive private rail cars and illustrious sightseeing cars through the years.  You’ll see one-of-a-kind, world class trains that were once the very top for speed, style and service. Trains and Locomotives also features interviews with the people who rode, operated and managed the great trains of America’s vast railroads.

Climb aboard the Super Chief, the showcase train of the world famous Santa Fe Railway, which set the standard for all western passenger trains, or visit The California Zephyr, known as the “Silver Thread Through the West.”   Witness the documentation of a travel mode that provided scenery, comfort and high-class service across the United States – from President Lincoln’s private car to the latest most modern cars that are plying the world’s rails today. The unique and timeless footage captures the excitement of streamlined, steam locomotive hauled trains that will go down in history as a monument to the rail industry, as well as the growth of a the American nation.

Visit the machines of iron and rails that stretched from the first Eastern states along the Atlantic, across the expanse of North America to the new states along the Pacific.  If you like to view the world at eye level, or at the speed of steam and coal, then we welcome all aboard Trains and Locomotives on RFD-TV.

Mark Wensel: River Phoenix Remeron

Not only is Stand By Me my favorite movie, but I have a weird connection to coming of age stories that take place in the 60s. What? I like to watch movies about memories that I’ll never have. Is that so weird?

Anyway, there’s something about the story of four kids in their last summer of innocence. Happiness, leeches, guns and taking care of bullies! Then the end happens and you just kind of become a blubbering mess. Not only that, but the fact that the most talented of the four actors overdosed in the street at the top of his game. A more depressing movie that’s not about mass death there is not.

Matt Kelly: Harold and Marplan

There’s few films that are more hopeful, uplifting and well shot as Harold & Maude. Hal Ashby’s direction and Ruth Gordon’s delivery of Colin Higgins is enough to make you chuckle, smile and L-I-V-E LIVE LIVE LIVE.

The film is filled with beautiful motivational speeches that give you a desire to get up and make a change in the world. It’s been my favorite movie since I saw it over 9 years ago and will probably always be my favorite movie.

How can you still be sad after a wonderfully uplifting speech like this?

‘Mayhem’ Molly Mahan: Lexapro of the Fall

I used to say Legends of the Fall was my favorite movie (after all it is a pretty awesome flick), but then I realized I watch it so much because it was the only thing that made me feel better when I was down. When I broke up with my first serious boyfriend, I seriously watched it every day at least once for two weeks. I was a mess, but the awesome trio of Aidan, Anthony, and Brad made life bearable. It was a reason to get up in the morning (if only to find the remote to turn on the TV and crawl back into bed).

I think the reason it helps so much is because there is no way my life will ever be as bad as theirs. My wife isn’t going to be shot by Irish bootleggers, nor is she going to shear her head before blowing her brains out…possibly because I’m a heterosexual female and therefore will never have a wife, but I digress!

Though I don’t watch it as much anymore (perhaps I am more emotionally stable? Hah, yeah right!), whenever I am down on myself I still recall poignant scenes from the film and imagine myself as the characters. For example, today I was down on myself for whatever reason, so I thought of Samuel in his final scene: Blinded by mustard gas, hearing the voice of my savior and I smile, only to be shot down by the Kaiser’s men. Bastards.

That’s right. Brad’s gonna make everything better.