Top 10 Most Depressing Nerd Moments

So I saw One Day the other night and, to be honest, am still kind of depressed about it.  Director Lone Scherfig has made my permanent watch list and I intend to be brutally honest with all her future projects until I get payback for the blatant and hamhanded manipulation of my emotions.  Go back to Denmark.

Anyway, it got me thinking about other movies that have depressed me over the years.  I kind of expanded to include comic books too, since the line between comics and movies is getting blurrier every year.  Here is the list I came up with.  Feel free to disagree with me and let me know what I missed.

10.  The death of Borimir, the Fellowship of the Ring.  I know he wasn’t a main character and traveled towards the dark side as the movie progressed, but he really redeemed himself in the last bit of the film and died a tragic, noble death.  He also had a nice bit of personality and charm when we wasn’t stalking Frodo, so I was sad to see him die (even though I knew it was coming).

9.  The death of of Superman.  OK, I have my issues with Superman (haw!).  However, he has always been a huge part of nerd culture and when DC wrote in his death at the hands of Doomsday it was a striking moment.  I do have a pristine copy of his death in the original poly sleeve, as well as an open copy I read a lot.  Of course, the problem with this death and most of the other comic book deaths I am going to list is you know there is no such thing as an actual permanent death and that the hero will return shortly, albeit often with a different alter ego.  Death in comics is more of a time out.  However, if you are the type who can immerse him or herself into a story and not let such things affect the mood (I am that way) you can really feel the punch when something terrible happens.

8.  E.T. the Extraterrestial dying.  Ok, I was young, but this one hurt.  Gentle visitor from another planet shows up.  His ride gets chased off by big guys with flashlights, and he gets hounded to death literally by scary government types after bonding with a kid about my age.

7.  Leaving Las Vegas.  I know.  Not really a nerd moment.  Still, pretty damned depressing.

6.  Joker killing Robin.  This one sucked, and it was one death that stuck.  It wasn’t even a clean, pleasant death.  Joker beat him with a crowbar and then blew him up.  The saddest part for me is they left his fate a cliffhanger and let the fans vote.  The slight majority of the fans voted thumbs down.  (Joker image courtesy of the DC comic book t shirt category)

5.  Bane breaking the Bat.  While Batman had experience minor defeats and setbacks in the past, never had he been outright defeated.  This moment was less about the physical damage done to Bruce Wayne and more about the destroying of Batman’s spirit (and, to be honest, ours).

4.  Death of Gandalf.  Yes, I knew ahead of time he came back thanks to having read the books about 100 times, but even so the scene of him falling off the bridge is pretty tear jerking.  I had a friend who was listening to the books on tape and when Gandalf died he pulled his car over and called me asking if it was true.  I did not spoil it for him.

3.  The death of Captain America.  Wow did this suck.  Captain America, champion and symbol of all that is good and noble about the USA, branded a traitor and dying to an assassins bullet.  Tony Stark, rot in hell.

2.  Roy Batty’s death at the end of Blade Runner.  Sure, he was sort of the bad guy, but such an engaging character with a massive thirst for life.  All the replicants were cool and in their own way more tolerable than most of the humans.  Rutger Hauer made the movie more than Harrison Ford in my opinion, and when he saved Deckards life as a last noble gesture before dying it really hit me.

1.  The death of Spock in the Wrath of Khan.  I will argue this to my grave as the saddest moment in nerd culture history, and am not ashamed to admit I cried like a little girl first time I saw it.  In fact, I tear up every time I see it or even think about it.  It wasn’t just the end of Spock (in a noble, tragic, and painful death scene) but the end of an era of adventure throughout space that gave me focus when I was getting my ass kicked in grade school for being a nerd.  All that seemed good and logical in the universe was summed up in one character for me and with his death the world seemed just a little more stale.  Yes, I know he came back and they threw a spoiler into the movie to make us think it was coming, but if you read my Star Trek movie retrospectives (I need to finish those, now that I think about it) you know I feel the movies shifted gears from the cool action characters we knew to a bunch of old men kind of bumbling across the universe.

You know, doing this list has actually helped me a lot with the one One Day depression.  I actually got choked up talking about a couple of these, and it put things into perspective for me.  I should have started a blot 20 years ago.  Would have saved me a fortune in therapy.

New movies coming out this weekend, and I think I will pick up the Star Trek movie thread again.  I have just been dreading doing Generations.  I have a show to do this weekend but will try to get something done.  Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu.  Thanks



  • Cassady Toles September 1, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    As a note, the death of Captain America appears to be (like the death of Captain Marvel before it) totally permanent. Yes, there is another Captain America, but it’s someone else (I believe Bucky) who’s picked up the mantle. Steve Rodgers remains dead in primary Marvel continuity.

  • Dave September 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Great point. That is one of the reasons he made the list.

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