"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Million Dollar Movie

Have you ever walked out of a movie? First time it happened to me was when my Old Man couldn’t stand Time Bandits and we left the theater–on 86th street near Lexington Ave–half-way through. I saw it again years later and didn’t think it was that bad. I just remember it being muddy and British.

We’ve all sat through movies we don’t like (I think my mom was trying poison me by taking me to see Chariots of Fire), but for me, a bad movie is always easier to take than say, bad theater. Heck, I’ve even sat through movies I hate just so I could get angry–Born on the Fourth of July, Thelma and Louise and The Crying Game come to mind. But I think the only other movie I’ve ever walked out on is Eyes Wide Shut. I went in not expecting much and hung with it for the first hour or so when I found it campy and unintentionally amusing. But finally it got so boring and pretentious that I happily walked out. And I didn’t feel ripped-off, I felt liberated.

So? What movies–if any–have you ever walked out on?


1 RagingTartabull   ~  May 27, 2010 11:19 am

that is hands down one of the worst movies I've ever seen, what a way to go out Stanley...jeez. Although finding a way to make an orgy unbearably boring is an accomplishment on some level.

I walked out on The Game with Michael Douglas, but not because I was offended. I was killing some time before meeting friends, bought a ticket, and about an hour in decided "I'd honestly rather be wandering around Barnes and Noble right now then watching this"

Came close to walking out on The Passion but figured that would preclude me from lambasting Mel Gibson (I'm against criticizing a movie you haven't seen as a rule) so I stuck it out till the bitter end.

2 Link   ~  May 27, 2010 11:23 am

I almost walked out on Watchmen, but as a rule I try to only go to movies that I pretty much know that I will like. I don't take chances in the theater. Eyes Wide Shut was agreeably horrible.

3 Alex Belth   ~  May 27, 2010 11:25 am

The Game...was that worse than THE FAN? Not the Bacall one but the DeNiro pyscho one. LOL

WE'RE NO ANGELS remake was also muddy and awful, with Sean Penn and DeNiro trying to out-mug each other, sucking the funny off the screen in the process.

4 rbj   ~  May 27, 2010 11:27 am

Haven't walked out of a movie, but did turn off Air America -- horrible movie. I've also not seen the whole of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, twice. But that's due to long nights + many beers. Actually watched all of Prospero's Book, which I think deserves a medal. Sat through all of Knife in the Water -- very boring, and War of the Roses -- just plain bad & pointless.

5 RagingTartabull   ~  May 27, 2010 11:29 am

[3] oh man The Fan. That was amazing though in its level of ridiculousness, every time its on USA I can't look away. "HEEEY BOBBYYYY!!!"

my parents walked out on Righteous Kill, and believe me...for my dad to walk out on something with Pacino AND DeNiro, you know it had to be bad.

6 Cliff Corcoran   ~  May 27, 2010 11:32 am

I've never walked out on a movie. Walking out would make me far angrier than sitting through a terrible film. At least you can discuss the terrible film afterwords (as we're doing here!) and get some value out of the experience. Walking out negates the whole experience and leaves you with nothing.

When you go to a movie you know how long it will be going in and you set aside the time, so it's not like an awful baseball game that stretches hours past when you thought it would be over. You know when the end will be and you cleared your schedule for it. You might as well sit it out. Even in bad films there can be one scene of humor or truth, maybe even one line, that sticks with you. Maybe you'll get a great inside joke out of it. Or maybe the whole thing will reveal itself at the end as something more than what you thought it was and set the entire "bad" part of the film in a new light.

I never walk out of a film.

Then again, I never leave before the last out, either. Maybe I'm just an optimist.

7 a.O   ~  May 27, 2010 11:38 am

I walked out on that POS Mel Gibson did about the Mayans a few years ago. It was about 10 minutes into the mass decapatation scene. I thought, "This scene consists solely of cutting peoples' heads off -- one after the other. I'm not sure how much longer this can go on, but I really don't care."

8 Alex Belth   ~  May 27, 2010 11:39 am

4) I agree with all those except KNIFE IN THE WATER which I really like.

6) Totally disagree! LOL. I don't think walking out leaves you with nothing. For me, it leaves me with the choice not to be subjected to something that I find offensive. Oddly enough though, I never leave a game before it's over, because I think sports can redeem themselves in a way, especially baseball, in a way a bad movie can't. Point well taken about there being a good line or scene buried in there, but for me, life is too short. Actually, I've turned off a TON of movies on TV or DVD, which is almost the same, though less dramatic, than walking out of a theater.

9 Jon DeRosa   ~  May 27, 2010 11:46 am

4 of us went to see M Night Shyamalan's "The Village" and I think all 4 of us wanted to leave, but we never properly articulated it to each other.

When I was really into going to the movies, I would sit through just about anything, because I learned how hard this stuff is to do and could usually find something to appreciate. But now, if I was watching something crappy or offensive w/ 2 of my couple of dozen hours of freedom per year, I would walk out w/ no hesitation.

10 williamnyy23   ~  May 27, 2010 11:47 am

I don't go to many movies as it is, but the only one I've every walked out on was 40-year old virgin. The dialogue sounded like a 15-year old wrote it.

11 Alex Belth   ~  May 27, 2010 11:51 am

10) Perhaps, but a funny 15-year old. LOL

12 The Hawk   ~  May 27, 2010 11:51 am

Walking out on Time Bandits deserves some kind of punishment.

Eyes Wide shut I could see (pun...) walking out of but I liked that movie. Fwiw I think the whole point of the orgy scene was to make it cold and unattractive. It's in all a strangely family-values-oriented story.

I definitely have walked out of movies, but not too many. I like most movies, I think. I did walk out of the Luc Besson Joan of Arc movie, I forget the name. It was a free screening though. What a shitty movie that was. That woman is a terrible actor.

I remember I almost walked out of Bugsy, that was a free screening too. Again it was a terrible performance that nearly drove me a way. Warren Beatty acting nuts does not work.

13 Shaun P.   ~  May 27, 2010 12:05 pm

The only movie I've ever walked out of was Hot Shots! Part Deux. The original was stupid, but funny. The sequel was the most unfunny stupid comedy I've ever seen, and I tolerate a lot of stupid in comedy. Worst $5.50 (it was a Saturday matinee) I've ever spent.

It wasn't the worst movie I've ever seen, though. That honor belongs to "Johnny Mnemonic", which I almost walked out of, but as the group of people I was with were the only people in the theater, we found heckling it to be a lot of fun. How could a movie with Keanu, Ice T, Henry Rollins, Dolph "I crush you" Lundgren, Dina Meyer (later of StarshipTroopers fame), and Tracy Tweed (Shannon's younger sister) possibly suck? ;)

14 ms october   ~  May 27, 2010 12:05 pm

[2] i also typically only go to meetings that i know i would like - so i haven't had the need to walk out on too many.
i almost walked out on one my freshman year in college but don't remember the name now - had one of those british girls (maybe kate winslett) in it - my friend and i couldn't stop laughing at it but it was supposed to be a drama/romance.
but i did walk out on the matrix - i absolutely despised that movie and felt like it was never going to end - my friend and i left that and felt so free and relieved.

15 Shaun P.   ~  May 27, 2010 12:21 pm

[10] Give it another chance! The sequence at the end by itself was worth the price of admission. I'm laughing my ass off while sitting here, just thinking about it.

[8] I feel no qualms about turning a bad movie on TV off - I've seen most of them in their entirety already - but strangely, I can't recall ever turning off a DVD.

16 Sliced Bread   ~  May 27, 2010 12:26 pm

[0] this post cracked me up because:
a.) I LOVED Time Bandits! Saw it twice in the theater, and geeked about it for weeks with one of my best nerdy buds.

b.) the screen-grab above is the only scene in the movie that I thought was any good. hell, it's the only one I remember.

The only movie I ever walked out on was Dogma. Dogshit, as I called it - and I enjoyed some of Kevin Smith's movies (loved Clerks). Bolting in the 2nd act didn't make me feel any better. It was a free screening, but I really wanted my wasted time back. Kevin Smith, you owe me 47 minutes!!

17 matt b   ~  May 27, 2010 12:28 pm

[12] I think you have a good point, re: the orgy scene. I have to say, I think Eyes Wide Shut is...wait for it...a pretty great movie. I've watched it a couple times and I keep finding more interesting things in it. It's certainly not for everyone, not even for all Kubrick fans, but I think it has a lot going on within it and a lot of it was lost on the audience that was primed for a star-studded sex movie. The whole movie plays out like a dream (not surprising given the source material), so a lot of its unreal qualities are deliberate. So is the humor - Kubrick always has humor in his films, but he became so canonized as a "serious artist" that people assume everything is always intended to be serious. I can watch Sydney Pollack pace around that red pool table all day. If you found it boring - hey, I can see it, but it didn't bore me.

I also agree with you about Beatty in Bugsy. I'm a Beatty fan, but I just did not care for him in Bugsy.

And finally - I don't think I've ever walked out on a movie. I was tempted to walk out on Woody Allen's "Shadows and Fog," but I stuck it out. That was a long 80-odd minutes.

18 Cliff Corcoran   ~  May 27, 2010 12:31 pm

The closest I ever came to walking out on a movie was A.I. It wasn't good, but if it ended with the robot kid trapped eternally underwater staring at the elusive blue fairy (representing becoming a real boy) which he'd finally found, but which was teasingly out of reach, it would have been graded up. Instead it went on for what felt like another five hours and got worse with each false ending. Easily among the worst movies I've ever seen.

19 Sliced Bread   ~  May 27, 2010 12:34 pm

I didn't see it in the theater, but I hated Leaving Las Vegas so much that I refused to rewind it.(Be kind, rewind.. phuck that!) My hope was, the next poor schmuck who gave Blockbuster $4 dollars for it, would pop it in, find it where I bailed on it (about half way thru) and realize the movie was not worth his time.

20 Sliced Bread   ~  May 27, 2010 12:43 pm

[18] I detested that movie too, but have gotten sucked back into it a few times coming across it on TV. Worthless story, but visually interesting.

21 Shaun P.   ~  May 27, 2010 12:44 pm

[16] Gotta say, I thought Dogma was hilarious, and even a little poignant too. Carlin's "Buddy Christ" scene is classic.

[18] A.I. was horrible. Was that Spielberg's worst film? I want to say its the last film he ever wrote, but I'm not sure.

22 Sliced Bread   ~  May 27, 2010 12:46 pm

I'm enjoying the horrible reviews for the new Sex and The City thing.

NY Post headline was Sucks In The CIty.. reviewer called it Bitchtar (as in Ishtar - which I also LOVED as a kid)

23 Sliced Bread   ~  May 27, 2010 12:59 pm

[21] I dunno, man. I couldn't hang with it, and it had nothing to do with religion. I just thought it was a mess. I'd say I'd give it another try on your recommendation, but my brain has already rejected it. I don't think I could sit through it with an open mind.

24 Alex Belth   ~  May 27, 2010 1:06 pm

I have never responded well to anything I've ever seen from K. Smith though CHASING AMY has a special place of terribleness in my heart.

25 RagingTartabull   ~  May 27, 2010 1:06 pm

wow, all the Bugsy hate...I really liked that. Beatty's last really good performance in my opinion, plus great supporting turns by Mantegna, Keitel, Kingsley, and Gould. At the very least I'd call it a noble failure.

I didn't see it in the theater so I didn't have the honor of walking out on it, but Gummo might be the single most offensive viewing experience of my life. And I actually liked Kids

26 The Hawk   ~  May 27, 2010 1:19 pm

[18] The funny thing is about AI, I remember everyone and their mother lambasting Spielberg for "obviously" tacking on a "positive" ending. First of all let me say I didn't think the ending was really all that "up", but it was public knowledge at the time that Kubrick's ending was the same as the one in the movie.

All that being said, it's not a real good movie. Robin William's bit alone sinks it to C+ status at best.

27 The Hawk   ~  May 27, 2010 1:20 pm

[24] Terrible movie

28 Alex Belth   ~  May 27, 2010 1:23 pm

SWING SHIFT, i really hated. Especially since I chose to see that instead of SPLASH, cause I thought I was being mature. Was almost blind with fury when I saw HARRY MET SALLY in the movie theater, it was such an ANNIE HALL rip off (though I find I've softened on it over the years).

29 williamnyy23   ~  May 27, 2010 1:34 pm

The most ripped off I ever felt after a movie was the Blair Witch Project. The hype was so intense that I at least expected a few thrills.

30 Alex Belth   ~  May 27, 2010 1:37 pm

29) HA! I worked on the sequel which was marketedly...WORSE! You should have heard the silence at the screening for the studio executives when we finished showing 'em that!

31 RagingTartabull   ~  May 27, 2010 1:40 pm

[30] oh no, Book of Shadows?? That was rough.

I actually liked the original, but I also saw it right as soon as it came out before all the hype went through the roof.

When Harry Met Sally is a total Woody rip-off, but it is an endearing Woody rip-off.

32 cult of basebaal   ~  May 27, 2010 1:41 pm

[23] What, the 'Shit Beast of Golgotha' didn't leave you in stitches???

I loved "Clerks" and really liked "Chasing Amy" (at the time, I haven't seen it since); given that and the cast, I was really excited for "Dogma".

I don't suppose I ever considered walking out, but I don't remember laughing much; mostly I remember thinking it was juvenile and dull.

I saw "Eyes Wide Shut" at the time and remember being disappointed. Never seen "A.I", I avoided it on general principle after hearing really nasty reviews from friends. Oddly enough, both EWS and AI have very well informed and intelligent defenders on Onion AV Club, so at some point I'll probably sit down and watch them both.

I've only ever really, viscerally wanted to walk out of a couple of movies (The Flintstones and Kill Bill, Vol. 1 come to mind). Mostly, I don't go out to see movies in the theatre if I haven't pre-screened them (through reviews from reviewers I trust), so I don't tend to have *really* negative reactions to things. I'll take more chances with stuff on DVD, I don't have any compunction to simply turning something off and sending it back to Netflix.

"Time Bandits" is pretty damn awesome, but "muddy and British" is actually a decently apt recollection of it. It's definitely *very* Gilliam and that's not for everyone.

33 The Hawk   ~  May 27, 2010 1:45 pm

Oh right, Dogma. That was crap too. It's too bad Kevin Smith can't figure out he's about half as clever as he thinks he is. I even unfortunately read a comic book by him once and it was over-written nonsense. The only place "writerly" filmmakers can do more damage than in a movie is in a comic book.

Like others, I did like Clerks but I guess a lot of it was lovable shittiness, cause I haven't liked any of his movies since I don't think.

34 matt b   ~  May 27, 2010 2:02 pm

[25] I didn't say I hated Bugsy, I said I didn't care for Beatty's performance. I especially like Gould's cameo.

[24] The first Clerks made me laugh, but the guy a) just isn't nearly as bright as he thinks he is and b) has absolutely ZERO visual sense or style. Why he directs movies is beyond me.

35 Bluenatic   ~  May 27, 2010 2:07 pm

I'm with all the people who cited A.I. If I had to hear Haley Joel Osment say the word "mommy" one more time, I might have set myself on fire.

Oh, and Time Bandits effin' rocked.

36 glennrwordman   ~  May 27, 2010 2:27 pm

Kind of a cheat, because I manage a theater (hey, Alex!), but I could not get through "Life During Wartime," the Todd Solondz ("Welcome to the Dollhouse") film.

I liked "Dollhouse"--well, admired is probably a better word--but I hated the follow-up, "Happiness," which I found endlessly, pointlessly offensive, despite some really brave performances (especially by the underrated and always dependable Dylan Baker). But I love Michael Kenneth Williams ("Omar" from The Wire) and came to know Ed Lachman, the film's cinematographer, so I figured...give it a chance, man.

Got through about 20 minutes. The film LOOKED fantastic (a lot of that I'm sure was Ed), and MKW was terrific in the scene I caught (and nothing like Omar at all), but...there's a scene with Allison Janney and the actor who plays her son, and just...nope, couldn't get through it.

37 Alex Belth   ~  May 27, 2010 2:49 pm

Never saw A.I. Guess I don't need to waste my time. Todd Solondz. My life isn't long enough to put up with his misanthropic nonsense.

Yup, BOOK OF SHADOWS, that was the one. Good part is that I got to travel to L.A. with the print to show it to execs, then down to Disney World in Florida to show it to the guys who made the original (they HATED it), and eventually to London. The trip to London was one of those stupid things where I was getting paid triple time to fly first class. One of the few financial highlights of my time in the movie business. Hey, the movie sucked but I bought my Technique 1200s from that trip to London.

38 Yankee Mama   ~  May 27, 2010 3:13 pm

I've walked out of one indie film that was simply too decadent for me, but the name escapes me.

I did turn off Ishtar, Swordfish, Dick Tracy and Waterworld when I rented them. I wish I walked out of Eyes Wide Shut. I thought it was self-indulgent crap and I thought Kubrick's last hurrah was a final fart.

I might be in the minority, but I didn't see Moulin Rouge in its entirety. That film irked me.

In general, I don't walk out of films. Not of out optimism, but out of wussiness.

39 Alex Belth   ~  May 27, 2010 3:15 pm

Moulin Rouge I couldn't watch. Too hyper for me, too much cutting. Gave me a headache.

40 RagingTartabull   ~  May 27, 2010 3:23 pm

Baz Luhrmann is a terrible director, and quite possibly an awful human being

41 seamus   ~  May 27, 2010 3:34 pm

Only movie I walked out on was Dusk til Dawn. It was so bad it wasn't even good. I don't get why some like that movie. And no regrets at all.

42 matt b   ~  May 27, 2010 3:40 pm

[39] Moulin Rouge was too everything man, except good.

43 seamus   ~  May 27, 2010 3:43 pm

I agree. AI was terrible. I had it from netflix and it took me a ridiculous long time to get through it. I kept stopping it and retrying to watch it. I barely remember it.

I love Chasing Amy and Clerks. And Dogma. There was that other movie that came after that that they did that I thought was terrible though.

44 Alex Belth   ~  May 27, 2010 3:57 pm

40) Really? He's a shithead? Do tell...

45 matt b   ~  May 27, 2010 3:59 pm

Man, I will have to see AI one of these days. A friend I trust hated hated hated it and so clearly do most of you, and yet it enjoys a big critical reputation. I'm curious, I can't stay away.

I must say, I think Spielberg mainly had a very good decade in the 00's.

46 Alex Belth   ~  May 27, 2010 4:25 pm

45) Better than Marty.

47 RagingTartabull   ~  May 27, 2010 4:28 pm

[44] oh I'm basing that on nothing other than his movies being indefensibly awful...I mean Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge, AND Australia?? Thats someone who needs to be stopped.

48 Jay Jaffe   ~  May 27, 2010 5:16 pm

The one movie I can remember walking out of was Mystery Men, about a group of inept would-be-superheroes. I was pretty bored, my date was downright hostile. We'd nearly walked out of Blair Witch Project a couple weeks earlier. Either the summer of 1999 was a crap one for movies, or she just didn't have a knack for picking movies.

I didn't mind Eyes Wide Shut, though I wasn't crazy about it. What I remember most about it, though, is that my friends and I came out of the movie only to learn that we missed David Cone's perfect game. D'oh!

49 Matt Blankman   ~  May 27, 2010 7:57 pm

[46] Agreed, Alex, and you know I like Marty's recent output much more than you do. In the last decade Spielberg cranked out interesting stuff like Munich, War of the Worlds, Catch Me If You Can, Minority Report.... yeah, there were some clunkers in there too, but it was nice to see him keep an edge even in seemingly escapist fare like War of the Worlds. He's always had chops, even when he's making a dopey kids movie.

50 cult of basebaal   ~  May 27, 2010 9:17 pm

[49] Minority Report didn't make me want to leave the theatre, it just made me want to find Spielberg and the 2 screenwriters and punch them in their mouths. Repeatedly. Lazy, sloppy writing and plot construction really piss me off. So do plot holes you could drive several semis through ...

War of the Worlds is another Spielberg dog. The central premise, that the aliens arrived long ago in advance of human civilization and buried themselves into the ground in the exact locations where the largest cities would happen to develop (reportedly a change made at Cruise's insistence and hewing to Scientological mythos) makes less than no sense when considered. Add in there the ridiculous interlude with Tim Robbins in his basement, Dakota Fanning's never-ending shrill, shrieking and the truly ludicrous 'happy ending' where Cruise's son miraculously shows up alive after last being seen running towards certain death by Alien and ... well, that's some angry making right there.

Which isn't to disagree with you in the sense that Spielberg always has chops. He's a very effective director and technically adept at filming a wide variety of scenes. There are very, very good moments in almost every Spielberg film and these 2 are no exceptions.

But as capable as he as is behind the camera, he's equally flawed with the pen and as the guiding force behind the development and shaping of a story he's continually sabotaged the heights to which his films aspire ...

51 ealemole   ~  May 27, 2010 9:37 pm

You've described my impression of Eyes Wide Shut exactly: campy and unintentionally amusing at first, but ultimately boring and pretentious. Wish *I* had walked out...

I can't decide what it was about the film I found most ridiculous... the performances that seemed like a repetition exercise from a beginners' acting class, the soundtrack that was surely provided by Cadillac -- I swear they used the ding-ding-ding from an open car door -- or the impossibly boring orgy. (How did they manage to make sex so dull?)

Oh, I've got it: the scene where the protagonist convinces a shopkeeper to open up in the middle of the night by saying, "I'm a doctor," and flashing some sort of badge which doesn't exist in real life. (At least, none of the doctors in my family has one...)

I think the thing that bothers me the most about it is how much everyone loved that movie, though. (Including my husband. Alex, you'll have to give him a hard time about it sometime.)

52 Will Weiss   ~  May 27, 2010 10:12 pm

I've walked out of two: "Michael" - After seeing it again, I realize I made a mistake sticking not sticking it out. It's actually serviceable. ... And the remake of "Lost In Space," with Gary Oldman and the inimitable Matt LeBlanc. Just awful. Unbearably bad. That was on the back end of a "double feature" ... It's easy to justify walking out of a movie you didn't really pay to see.

53 matt b   ~  May 27, 2010 10:15 pm

[50] I had given up on Spielberg long ago, and I was pleasantly surprised by the movies I listed before. Of course War of the Worlds is ridiculous - it's you know, about a Martian invation, after all - but there are some remarkably effective suspense sequences in that movie and some really great images.

He's not a writer, so to criticize his writing seems off the mark to me. Look at his filmography: he's got maybe one or two screenplay credits.

[51] I know you don't want to hear this, but the orgy was supposed to be cold and boring and you were supposed to think it was absurd that he flashed his doctor's ID around like a police badge.

54 cult of basebaal   ~  May 27, 2010 11:40 pm

[53] I guess I wasn't clear enough in my last post. When I stated that Spielberg was reponsible for the lousy "writing" in so many of his films, I didn't mean that he *literally* put the words on paper, only that he had the total and final responsibility that those were the words that ended up being captured on film.

How many filmmakers have the right of final refusal that Spielberg has enjoyed for the last 20 years when entrusted with the budgets that he has? You don't count them on hands, but rather on fingers.

Nothing that has gotten into a Spielberg film in the last 20 years wasn't exactly what he thought he wanted to see. Not the story, not the plot, not the characters, not the scenes, not the words. If Spielberg wanted a change and the writer resisted, whose view do you expect prevailed? If something, a scene, a character, a line, has ended up in a Spielberg film, it's because *that* is what he wanted to see. He might not be a 'writer', but he is the ultimate 'author' of every film he has recently produced ...

As to WotW, it isn't that it is a 'ridiculous' film, but rather a stupid one, with bad plotting, bad characters and bad acting ...

55 ealemole   ~  May 28, 2010 12:40 pm

[53] I get your point. I'm not saying Kubrick's an idiot - I'm pretty sure every single thing that bugs me about the film *was* intentional. (And I know that for a lot of people what he was going for "worked".) But the result for me was simply an unwatchable film.

56 matt b   ~  May 28, 2010 1:50 pm

[55] I figured you knew, I hope you didn't think I was being snide. I really like the film, but it clearly is NOT everyone's cup of tea....and that's cool.

[54] I went back and read some reviews of WoTW today and it's funny - we seem to replicate the critical divide on the film in microcosm. Glenn Erickson, otherwise known as DVD Savant (on DVDtalk.com) has a thoughtful review of the blu-ray release running today.

57 ealemole   ~  Jun 3, 2010 9:59 am

[53] Not at all.

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