Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Movies I've Walked Out Of

Yvonne Teh of Webs of Significance has given me a lot of good ideas for blog responses, including the recent nerve wracking 100 Movies challenge, so I'm hoping that she sees fit to take my idea and post her own response. And maybe others will as well?

The challenge is a negative one but one that I'm curious about: films one has paid to see in a theater and walked out of for whatever reason.

I don't think movies you rent or see on cable that you get bored with should count; I'm interested in films you laid down money for and still gave up on.

Here's the list to the best of my memory's ability in no particular order.

Wall Street (1987). The moment when I started to hate Oliver Stone's hamfisted, bludgeoning films. I guess, from a camp perspective, the film could be funny but I don't think Ollie saw it that way; I got the sense that he was patting himself on the back while hitting me over the head with his morally simplistic vision of American capitalism. I saw this at a $1 theater but rode with friends so when I walked out I could only go to the lobby to play Galaga, not flat-out leave altogether. I did return to see the ludicrous ending. Stone makes me embarrassed to be a fellow liberal.

The Name of the Rose (1986). I think I need to give this one another chance but, at the time, the parade of grotesques did not inspire either sympathy or interest in me beyond the first hour. I just had had enough and realized I didn't care at all if the whole cast ended up dead from the plague.

Peter's Friends (1992). I left this wannabe Woody Allen dramedy to feed my parking meter in DC but didn't have the energy to go back inside to the film. Henry V may be a masterpiece but this film really annoyed me more than words could say. Brits as self-absorbed as Americans gabbing about their lives and yet none of them were really that funny or interesting in any way. To my credit, I saw two other films the same day in DC (Howard's End for my fifth time -- I don't know why either anymore -- and Tous Les Matins Du Monde, I think). After seeing half of Peter's Friends, I had to reassess my positive reaction to Branagh's Dead Again which, admittedly, is a stylish Hitchcock ripoff.

You Don't Mess With The Zohan (2008). Yeah, I've got a weak spot for Adam Sandler and while I was enjoying this film's absurd bits somewhat -- not laughing per se just mildly expressing some amusement -- I couldn't take the largely teenage audience and walked out. I got my money back, though, after complaining about the kids in the theater causing trouble and kicking my seat. I am officially an old crank now!

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987). I liked the film's cheesy trailer and loved how Superman was acting as the world's cop much like Klaatu in The Day The Earth Stood Still and ridding the world of nukes BUT after that highpoint, the film descends into sub-Ultraman levels of fisticuffs. I gave up at the halfway mark, I recall.

Always (1987). Again, a film that had a great, sentimental trailer that actually made me tear up a bit. But, the film is a bloated mess of overacting by Holly Hunter and Richard Dreyfuss that even the presence of an angelic Audrey Hepburn cannot save.

It is a strangely liberating feeling to walk out of a film -- you are making a small statement that you were cheated artistically or intellectually and I think that counts for something even if no one else is aware of what you are doing.

The follow-up post to this one will be Movies I Only Saw To Kill Time and that list is much, much longer for me!