Art by Travis Wilker
One of my favorite actors is Jake Gyllenhaal. If he’s in a movie, I’m going to watch it. It’s as simple as that. But as I was rewatching Zodiac for the 400th time earlier this week, I got extremely stressed out when I got to the basement scene. That scene always stresses me out, even though I’ve seen in 400 times. And then I realized, Jake Gyllenhaal has been in a lot of movies with scenes that stress me out. And since I like to power rank things, we’ll be power ranking the stress levels that different Jake Gyllenhaal scenes gave me.
6. Donnie Darko – People Following Orbs
I am in the minority that thinks Donnie Darko is not a good film, but I do think it is a very interesting film to think about. One of the things about it that keeps me up at night is when Donnie sees everyone emitting orbs from their bodies that they unknowingly follow the direction of. The idea that we don’t have free will, that all of our actions are predetermined, stresses me out very much. The fact that the lowest ranking stressful scene of Jake Gyllenhaal’s is still extremely stressful shows you how stressful Jake Gyllenhaal likes to make me.
5. Nocturnal Animals – Highway Confrontation
There’s a part in Nocturnal Animals where Jake Gyllenhaal, his wife and his daughter are traveling down an isolated Texas highway when they get into a violent and tragic confrontation with a couple of young dangerous men. The thing that makes it the most stressful is that it keeps giving the characters opportunities for everyone to just walk away peacefully, but then it inevitably devolves back into being very dangerous and threatening for them. It’s like this can only end badly. It’s very stressful to watch.
4. Nightcrawler – The Crime Scene
There’s a part in Nightcrawler where Jake Gyllenhaal arrives at a murder scene before the cops do. It starts with him filming the murderers leaving and then he goes through the house filming the dead bodies and blood and it’s very stressful.
3. Prisoners – Racing to the Hospital
There’s a climactic scene in Prisoners where Jake Gyllenhaal, after having a shootout and rescuing a young girl who is dying from poisoning, is driving as fast as he can through a blizzard to get her to the hospital. It is blizzarding, there’s blood running down his face that gets in his eyes from a gunshot wound, and you’re just stressed out the whole time that he’s gonna crash or not gonna make it in time to save the girl. It’s very stressful.
2. Enemy – The Final Scene
This scene makes my brain cry, that’s all I can say about it.
1. Zodiac – The Basement Scene
I have never been more stressed out in my whole life than every single time I watch this scene. One of the white rabbit tips that Robert Graysmith follows leads him to the house of a Robert Vaughn. While there to check a few tips, he discovers the tip he was there to confirm implicates Vaughn as the Zodiac killer. Then they go into the basement, another Zodiac red flag as he mentions having a basement in one of the letters, where it’s dark so Vaughn can check his records for the tip. While down there, Graysmith hears noises upstairs. He asks if they are alone, and Vaughn only creepily replies with “Would you like to go check?” and the whole time you’re just like NO NO NO NO PLEASE LEAVE JAKE GYLLENHAAL GET OUT OF THERE. It’s the most stressed out I’ve ever been in my whole entire life, and it wins the power rankings.