Monday, March 17, 2014
Riske Business: 10 Reasons to Walk Out of a Movie
The next time a movie is absolutely not working for you, wait 60 minutes. If it has not gotten better, leave. Trust me; it’s a wonderful and empowering experience.
If you stick it out, you lose. If you leave, you win in some strange moral way. “But what if the movie gets better?” you may ask. I say don’t hold out for the 5% likelihood that happens, but instead get your ass out of the auditorium and be one step closer to self-actualization. Sometimes movies rob you of your time and provide you with nothing of value. You don’t have to put up with that.
Here are some reasons I have walked out of movies:
During the 3-D craze of the 2000s, I had a few times where I tricked my brain into thinking a 3-D screening of a particular movie would be a fun experience. It always seems better as an idea than in practice. For example, I went to see the re-release of The Nightmare Before Christmas because I thought that the added dimension would give the movie an interesting tactile quality, similar to watching the animators moving the characters as I watched them. Guess what I got? The same tedious movie, only nutted up closer to my eyes. I was closer to the boredom. So I got up, said “F**k it” (you have to say “F**k it” every time you walk out of a movie to get maximum satisfaction of the walkout) and threw my 3-D glasses into the recycling bin on the way out of the theater. This is the one major benefit of 3-D – you have something to whip into a receptacle so your verbal “f**k it” becomes a verbal and physical "f**k it." See also TRON: Legacy 3D, which is where this phenomenon truly caught fire. That movie had so many ‘f**k its’ that auditoriums showing TRON: Legacy 3D had to go on maternity leave.
Sometimes actually good movies are ones you can only watch once. Prisoners is an example -- when you know the mystery, not a whole lot is left. It doesn’t diminish from the movie, but it’s just not particularly re-watchable. The most recent example where it resulted in a walkout was Captain Phillips, a movie that almost made my top ten list last year. I was in the theater and became restless around 30 minutes in. I realized I was doing something that Patrick has mentioned he has done with Inception – chasing a moment. I was chasing the climax of Captain Phillips and that touching scene at the end where Tom Hanks breaks down in shock. But as I re-watched Captain Phillips in the theater, I knew that I would have to bide my time for two hours to get to those scenes. In other words, I was waiting patiently to see a man cry. What is wrong with me? Once that notion popped into my head, I couldn’t stay so I got up, whispered “f**k it” non-verbally and watched American Hustle (maybe not as good of a movie but a much more re-watchable one).
This one is embarrassing. Recently I went to a midnight showing of Donnie Darko at the Music Box and left before the movie even started. Why go in the first place? Because, in truth, I didn’t care about seeing the movie. I just wanted to get the new Music Box calendar and have some of their refreshments. I’m presently on a diet and have come up with a ton of weird rules and reward systems for myself. For example, I have cut out pop (it might be called Coke or soda in your parts), except I’m allowed to have one at the movies. So one Friday night, I really wanted a pop (on top of the new Spring Music Box calendar and their popcorn, which was a nice throw-in too) so I drove 45 minutes to get what I was looking for. I walked into the theater, bought my ticket, nonchalantly picked up a program as if that wasn’t a big reason I was there, ordered popcorn and a pop and devoured those items (not the calendar) in the lobby. I still had about 15 minutes before Darko started, so I thought either a) I could stay even though I didn’t actually want to – I have seen the movie many, many times or b) be in bed in 45 minutes. Once option b entered my noggin, it wasn’t even a debate – “F**k it.” I drove 45 minutes to drink a pop. I just hope no one at the Music Box realized what I did or reads this column. If they do, f**k it.
I walked out of Grown Ups 2 because people were laughing. I sat for 20 minutes absolutely appalled by how lazy and mean the jokes were, but to my amazement there was a row of people having a grand old time. This offended me more than anything in the movie. I was there to watch a social experiment in movie laziness and these people were there to genuinely enjoy themselves -- and it was working! I felt dirty in that auditorium, like I was watching a racist comedian on a night he was killing it. So I said “F**k it, I am not the same species as these people” and left. What makes you laugh is subjective...except in the case of Grown Ups 2, where if you laugh you are wrong and maybe a bad person.
I have also walked out of movies to get away from certain actors/characters. Case in point: the kid from Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. I think he has "problems" so I’ll be nice, but seeing the movie through his point of view was agony. Ain’t nobody got time for that. F**k it, I’m out Oscar bait! BTW…how does a movie get a Best Picture nomination with only one other nomination? Yeah, the rest is not noteworthy but if you add up all of those meh’s you get one of the best movies of the year? Makes total sense to me!
Quick flashback to 2002: my college girlfriend didn’t want me to want to watch Jackass: The Movie because I should be above that type of thing. So I didn’t – when she was around. When she was gone, I watched it over and over again. The mean lady left my life in time for the sequel and I saw that movie twice on opening day. I loved it. Then I went to see Jackass 3D and sat stonefaced. "Why isn’t this working?" I thought, but I stayed the entire time. Cut to last October, I went to see Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa and laughed once in the first minute but then not at all for the next 45 minutes. So I said to myself in resignation “F**k it, I’m too old for this shit” and left. You win Tricia. I am finally the man you wanted me to be.
JB has mentioned certain movie-going experiences make you doubt your own existence. I had that feeling when I paid almost $20 to see Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3-D. I had not seen the movie in about 10 years and was curious if it was still bad (of course it is, you stupid Riske). I sat there and realized it was still bad before the opening crawl ended, so I said to myself that I just needed to ignore all the shit and hang in there for the pod race and the Darth Maul fight near the end. The pod race came up and for some reason my ‘F**k it’ gene was on full alert, so I walked out as the pod race was beginning. It was similar to burning your hand and begging for gauze but then turning it down once it gets to you.
I also went to see the much-maligned Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer by myself at 11pm on a work night where it played to an audience of just me. The experience was comparable to someone giving you a categorically terrible blow job and you’re embarrassed for both of you and want it to stop. So I said “F**k it, you can stop,” kissed Silver Surfer on the head and took off. I wish Fox would have used my analogy on the poster.
Sure, Parental Guidance appeared to be shit. But I needed to see for myself. For some reason I wanted to stick up for that movie. Part of the reason was that a family comedy led by Billy Crystal and Bette Midler shouldn’t exist in 2012 and I wanted to support that (it was a movie that should have been released in 1992). The other reason was that I was on a The Guilt Trip and Jack Reacher roll of seeing movies that looked bad but ended up being good. My heart sank when I realized Guidance (what we call it in the streets) was maybe even worse than the reputation that preceded it. So I said “F**k it” and went home to watch pre-game for the Super Bowl.
Sometimes a movie is so mind-numbingly boring that your brain goes into overdrive, frantically reaching for random thoughts to provide something of interest to you. Such a thing happened when I went to see Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. I was so bored I imagined standing on top of my seat and stage diving chest first in the rows in front of me. I couldn’t take it after a while, so I said “F**k it” and walked out of the movie. What tipped the scale for me was I remembered how nice it was outside and I desperately wanted to go for a drive or a walk on a sunny summer afternoon.
My most recent walkout was just last weekend when I went to see 300: Rise of an Empire. I didn’t enjoy the original 300 (which I found to be repetitive), but I became interested in the sequel due to the praise for Eva Green’s performance. So I went and Eva Green is good in the movie, but it wasn’t enough to keep my interest. I decided to leave once I realized I cared so little about the outcome that I didn’t even want to read the Wikipedia summary when I got home. If you are in a movie where that’s the case, say “F**k it” and leave.
Most of the time people stick it out through a bad movie because they feel obligated. I never understood that. Sure you lost some money (which you actually didn’t because you can just go into a different theater and see something else) but don’t you value your time enough to not have someone rob it? Back in 2004, I got my first new car. I was so excited to drive it somewhere. Being a man of limited imagination, I went straight to the movies. I am a fan of Oliver Stone so I said to myself “How bad can Alexander be”? OMG was it bad. I sat there for an hour and checked my watch about 46 times before finally reaching the point where I couldn’t sit and watch that piece of garbage for two more hours so I said “F**k it” and left. I walked out and saw Christmas with the Kranks. It sucks too, but in a way that’s at least fascinating. My point being – your time is more valuable than money. Respect it.
This is not one of my personal walkout stories, but it is my favorite walkout story. I went to see Monster’s Ball after it received a bunch of Oscar nominations back in 2002 and there were about 50 people in the theater. After the big Halle Berry-Billy Bob Thornton sex scene, one single man left the theater right away. After another minute, one or two more left the theater. Then another. After about ten minutes, I would say about ten people (all men by themselves) got up and left. I stayed because Riske don’t dig on grief nudes.
I feel bad for those guys – not because they’re monsters who wanted to get to their balls, but because they truly had to work for their titillation. They had to watch a guy die on death row, a suicide, a boy getting hit by a car and lots of Peter Boyle racism to get their mojo running. Go quietly into the night dear sirs and may your balls never be blue.
Your turn! Do you walk out of movies? Which ones and why?