4. Ted – Forced Adoption

Giovanni Ribisi as Donny and Aedin Minks as Robert kidnapping Ted in Ted

From the mind of Seth MacFarlane (and two of his fellow Family Guy writers), Ted is a brilliantly funny and thoroughly ridiculous film. Telling the story of a magical bear who still lives with his now grown-up human, Ted explores the idea of how to hold onto one’s childhood while still actively maturing. Perhaps that’s overselling the depth of Ted, but there are some interesting implications to its story.

One of the most major developments of Ted comes shortly after John (Mark Wahlberg) is approached by Donny and his son Robert, who offer to buy Ted. When John refuses, Donny kidnaps Ted, and that’s where the upsetting scene begins. Abruptly snatched away from his home, Ted continues to joke with his captors, until the boy becomes enraged and rips Ted’s ear clean off in a display of instability.

It’s upsetting in the sense that it’s incredibly disturbing, particularly as the scene is still largely played for laughs. There’s also one or two touching moments in the scenes that follow that threaten to elicit real tears, but only because the dark and unnerving nature of this scene softens the audience up and primes them for further emotion.