The (Anti)American Dream

To understand this list you have, first, to understand what the American Dream is and what ideas support it. I think a visit to the Wikipedia will refresh your memory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Dream

The (Anti) American Dream is just the opposite. The Non-American-Dream. The ugly face of the American Dream. The flawed American Dream. The American Dream lies to you, if you prefer.

This list intend to include movies that can be used to demonstrate that the ideas behind the AD are flawed, are unrealistic, and can actually take you to hell. The movies I have included in this list tell stories of people who fail in life no matter they do what the American Dream says you have to do to succeed. Movies that show that America's way of life and the ideal of the American Dream are just an impossible fantasy and show the flaws of the AD ideal. Movies that show that getting the American Dream does not equal becoming happy inside. Movies about people who tried to pursue the American Dream and failed. In short, movies that show a more real America than the over-sweetened version that Hollywood portrays.

If you want to make a suggestion, please remember that, for any movie to fit in this list has to have a negative or uncertain ending, but be a story that shows that the whole system affects the individual in a bad way, that the individual's hopes and dreams that feed the American Dream are unrealistic (even if you are socially competent, a good person, hard-working, well educated, etc.), because fighting hard for what you want does not equal success, no matter your intelligence or human qualities. What is more, even if you achieve it, a dream of success, of economical and social success, does not equal happiness or inner fulfilment. On the contrary, stories of struggle and surmounting tragedies successfully are indeed part of the core of the American Dream, so not fit for this list.

If you like this list, you might be interested in my I have an ethical dilemma for you. Free entry :D
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1.
Running with Scissors (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Young Augusten Burroughs absorbs experiences that could make for a shocking memoir: the son of an alcoholic father and an unstable mother, he's handed off to his mother's therapist, Dr. Finch, and spends his adolescent years as a member of Finch's bizarre extended family. (116 mins.)
Director: Ryan Murphy
 
2.
Crash (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Los Angeles citizens with vastly separate lives collide in interweaving stories of race, loss and redemption. (112 mins.)
Director: Paul Haggis
 
3.
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The drug-induced utopias of four Coney Island people are shattered when their addictions run deep. (102 mins.)
 
4.
Sunshine Cleaning (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
In order to raise the tuition to send her young son to private school, a mom starts an unusual business -- a biohazard removal/crime scene clean-up service -- with her unreliable sister. (91 mins.)
Director: Christine Jeffs
 
5.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus. (101 mins.)
 
6.
Precious (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
In New York City's Harlem circa 1987, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction. (110 mins.)
Director: Lee Daniels
 
7.
Palindromes (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Aviva is thirteen, awkward and sensitive. Her mother Joyce is warm and loving, as is her father, Steve, a regular guy who does have a fierce temper from time to time. The film revolves around her family, friends and neighbors. (100 mins.)
Director: Todd Solondz
 
8.
My Blueberry Nights (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A young woman takes a soul-searching journey across America to resolve her questions about love while encountering a series of offbeat characters along the way. (95 mins.)
Director: Kar Wai Wong
 
9.
What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
After his father's death, Gilbert has to care for his mentally disabled brother, Arnie, and his morbidly obese mother, which is suddenly challenged when love walks into his life. (118 mins.)
 
10.
Mississippi Burning (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Two FBI agents with wildly different styles arrive in Mississippi to investigate the disappearance of some civil rights activists. (128 mins.)
Director: Alan Parker
 
11.
A Time to Kill (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A young lawyer defends a black man accused of murdering two men who raped his 10-year-old daughter, sparking a rebirth of the K.K.K. (149 mins.)
Director: Joel Schumacher
 
12.
A Raisin in the Sun (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A substantial insurance payment could mean either financial salvation or personal ruin for a poor black family. (128 mins.)
Director: Daniel Petrie
 
13.
American Beauty (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter's best friend. (122 mins.)
Director: Sam Mendes
 
14.
8 Mile (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A young rapper, struggling with every aspect of his life, wants to make it big but his friends and foes make this odyssey of rap harder than it may seem. (110 mins.)
Director: Curtis Hanson
 
15.
Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
An alcoholic falls in love with and gets married to a young woman, whom he systematically addicts to booze so they can share his "passion" together. (117 mins.)
Director: Blake Edwards
 
16.
The Big Lebowski (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
"The Dude" Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it. (117 mins.)
Director: Joel Coen
 
17.
Happiness (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The lives of several individuals intertwine as they go about their lives in their own unique ways, engaging in acts society as a whole might find disturbing in a desperate search for human connection. (134 mins.)
Director: Todd Solondz
 
18.
Barfly (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Based on the life of successful poet Charles Bukowski and his exploits in Hollywood during the 60s, 70s, and 80s. (100 mins.)
 
19.
Ordinary People (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The accidental death of the older son of an affluent family deeply strains the relationships among the bitter mother, the good-natured father, and the guilt-ridden younger son. (124 mins.)
Director: Robert Redford
 
20.
The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Seven year old Jeremiah is pulled from his foster home and thrown into a troubled life on the road with his teenage mother, Sarah. (98 mins.)
Director: Asia Argento
 
21.
Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
An unattractive seventh grader struggles to cope with inattentive parents, snobbish classmates, a smart older brother, an attractive younger sister, and her own insecurities in suburban New Jersey. (88 mins.)
Director: Todd Solondz
 
22.
Buried (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Paul is a U.S. truck driver working in Iraq. After an attack by a group of Iraqis he wakes to find he is buried alive inside a coffin. With only a lighter and a cell phone it's a race against time to escape this claustrophobic death trap. (95 mins.)
Director: Rodrigo Cortés
 
23.
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A determined woman works with a hardened boxing trainer to become a professional. (132 mins.)
Director: Clint Eastwood
 
24.
Falling Down (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A borderline personality disordered defense worker frustrated with the various flaws he sees in society, begins to psychotically and violently lash out against them. (113 mins.)
Director: Joel Schumacher
 
25.
Where the Day Takes You (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A group of teen-age runaways try to survive in the streets of Los Angeles. Drugs, prostitution, violence... (105 mins.)
Director: Marc Rocco
 
26.
The Soloist (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A Los Angeles journalist befriends a homeless Juilliard-trained musician, while looking for a new article for the paper. (117 mins.)
Director: Joe Wright
 
27.
Eastern Promises (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A Russian teenager living in London who dies during childbirth leaves clues to a midwife in her journal that could tie her child to a rape involving a violent Russian mob family. (100 mins.)
 
28.
Fast Food Nation (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
An ensemble piece examining the health risks involved in the fast food industry and its environmental and social consequences as well. (116 mins.)
 
29.
Accidents Happen (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
There are dysfunctional families... and then there are the Conways. After a family tragedy, 15-year-old... (92 mins.)
 
30.
The Rise and Fall of Their American Dream (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Violence consumed their destiny. (123 mins.)
Director: Nash Bhatt
 
31.
The Great Gatsby (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A Midwesterner becomes fascinated with his nouveau riche neighbor, who obsesses over his lost love. (144 mins.)
Director: Jack Clayton
 
32.
Dancer in the Dark (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An east European girl goes to America with her young son, expecting it to be like a Hollywood film. (140 mins.)
Director: Lars Von Trier
 
33.
Sling Blade (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Karl Childers, a simple man hospitalized since his childhood murder of his mother and her lover, is released to start a new life in a small town. (135 mins.)
 
34.
The Deer Hunter (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
An in-depth examination of the ways in which the U.S. Vietnam War impacts and disrupts the lives of people in a small industrial town in Pennsylvania. (183 mins.)
Director: Michael Cimino
 
35.
John Q (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
John Quincy Archibald takes a hospital emergency room hostage when his insurance won't cover his son's heart transplant. (116 mins.)
Director: Nick Cassavetes
 
36.
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A former child star torments her paraplegic sister in their decaying Hollywood mansion. (134 mins.)
Director: Robert Aldrich
 
37.
On the Waterfront (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses. (108 mins.)
Director: Elia Kazan
 
38.
Man Push Cart (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A night in the life of a former Pakistani rock star who now sells coffee from his push cart on the streets of Manhattan. (87 mins.)
Director: Ramin Bahrani
 
39.
Chop Shop (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Alejandro, a resourceful street orphan on the verge of adolescence, lives and works in an auto-body repair shop in a sprawling junkyard on the outskirts of Queens, New York. In this chaotic world of adults, Alejandro struggles to make a better life for himself and his sixteen-year-old sister. (84 mins.)
Director: Ramin Bahrani
 
40.
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An African American police detective is asked to investigate a murder in a racially hostile southern town. (109 mins.)
Director: Norman Jewison
 
41.
Monster's Ball (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
After a family tragedy, a racist prison guard reexamines his attitudes while falling in love with the African American wife of the last prisoner he executed. (111 mins.)
Director: Marc Forster
 
42.
American History X (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A former neo-nazi skinhead tries to prevent his younger brother from going down the same wrong path that he did. (119 mins.)
Director: Tony Kaye
 
43.
Half Nelson (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
An inner-city junior high school teacher with a drug habit forms an unlikely friendship with one of his students after she discovers his secret. (106 mins.)
Director: Ryan Fleck
 
44.
Revolutionary Road (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A young couple living in a Connecticut suburb during the mid-1950s struggle to come to terms with their personal problems while trying to raise their two children. (119 mins.)
Director: Sam Mendes
“ As much as RR is a depiction of the constrictions of high expectations in marriage, and the pressure of society and the establishment on the individuals, RR gives an example of why getting the American dream does not equal happiness, or a dreamy life, or that the American Dream will fulfil you. ” - Imdbidia
 
45.
Brothers (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A young man comforts his older brother's wife and children after he goes missing in Afghanistan. (105 mins.)
Director: Jim Sheridan
 
46.
Winter's Bone (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact. (100 mins.)
Director: Debra Granik
 
47.
Little Children (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The lives of two lovelorn spouses from separate marriages, a registered sex offender, and a disgraced ex-police officer intersect as they struggle to resist their vulnerabilities and temptations in suburban Massachusetts. (136 mins.)
Director: Todd Field
 
48.
Elephant (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Several ordinary high school students go through their daily routine as two others prepare for something more malevolent. (81 mins.)
Director: Gus Van Sant
 
49.
Dark Days (2000 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A cinematic portrait of the homeless population who live permanently in the underground tunnels of New York City. (94 mins.)
Director: Marc Singer
 
50.
The Joneses (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A seemingly perfect family moves into a suburban neighborhood, but when it comes to the truth as to why they're living there, they don't exactly come clean with their neighbors. (96 mins.)
Director: Derrick Borte
 
51.
Stroszek (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
In Berlin, an alcoholic man, recently released from prison, joins his elderly friend and a prostitute in a determined dream to leave Germany and seek a better life in Wisconsin. (115 mins.)
Director: Werner Herzog
 
52.
Of Mice and Men (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Two drifters, one a gentle but slow giant, try to make money working the fields during the Depression so they can fulfill their dreams. (115 mins.)
Director: Gary Sinise
 
53.
The Wrestler (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A faded professional wrestler must retire, but finds his quest for a new life outside the ring a dispiriting struggle. (109 mins.)
 
54.
Gummo (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Lonely residents of a tornado-stricken Ohio town wander the deserted landscape trying to fulfill their boring, nihilistic lives. (89 mins.)
Director: Harmony Korine
 
55.
House of Sand and Fog (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
An abandoned wife is evicted from her house and starts a tragic conflict with her home's new owners. (126 mins.)
Director: Vadim Perelman
 
56.
America 101 (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Two Mexican brothers get smuggled over the border to try and find their "America Dream". (86 mins.)
Director: Mark A. Russell
 
57.
Funny Games (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Two psychopathic young men take a family hostage in their cabin. (111 mins.)
Director: Michael Haneke
“ Although initially the movie looks awkward in this list, my discussion with Jean-Lafose in the comments below has make me include it.

I think these kids, having everything shouldn't be doing this sort of thing or American Society, creating these monsters. The question I would ask is American Society and the American Dream the ones to blame? Are the American Dream and the high rate of serial killers/psychopaths directly connected?

JLafose points out that two young men decide to take a sh*t on their [the family's] aspiring little piece of "American Dream" lifestyle and makes a good example, since it can illustrate that the "American Dream" is just that, a dream and not a possible reality. ” - Imdbidia
 
58.
The Company Men (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
The story centers on a year in the life of three men trying to survive a round of corporate downsizing at a major company - and how that affects them, their families, and their communities. (104 mins.)
Director: John Wells
 
59.
Paris, Texas (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Travis Henderson, an aimless drifter who has been missing for four years, wanders out of the desert and must reconnect with society, himself, his life, and his family. (147 mins.)
Director: Wim Wenders
 
60.
Serpico (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The true story about an honest New York cop who blew the whistle on rampant corruption in the force only to have his comrades turn against him. (130 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet
 
61.
After Hours (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
An ordinary word processor has the worst night of his life after he agrees to visit a girl in Soho whom he met that evening at a coffee shop. (97 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
 
62.
Gone Baby Gone (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Two Boston area detectives investigate a little girl's kidnapping, which ultimately turns into a crisis both professionally and personally. (114 mins.)
Director: Ben Affleck
 
63.
Waiting for 'Superman' (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim reminds us that education "statistics" have names: Anthony, Francisco, Bianca... (111 mins.)
 
64.
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A naive hustler goes to New York to seek personal fortune but in the process finds himself a new friend. (113 mins.)