Monday, March 17, 2014

Riske Business: 10 Reasons to Walk Out of a Movie

Take back your life!

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:
10. 3-D
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.
9. Re-watch Fail
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).
8. Ulterior Motives
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.
7. Anger
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!
6. Maturity and Ex-Girlfriend Hexes
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.
5. Life Choices
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.
4. Proven wrong
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.
3. Boredom
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.
2. Complete and Utter Indifference
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.
1. Opportunity cost
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.
Bonus: Dirty Birds
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?


  1. Such mixed messages on this site. First Patrick tells me to literally "Watch Anything", now Adam tells me to walk out. Help me out here, I need someone to think for me!

    But seriously, my only walkout experience was when I saw Freddy got Fingered on opening night. Literally everyone walked out of the theater within the first half of the movie (maybe 15 people). I'm sure this is due to people being utterly appalled by the content (not sure if that matches any of your categories). My friend and I stuck it out though. I understand why literally everyone on earth hates that movie except me, but I find it works as a comedy and as a horror movie.

    Adam, Your pop story is the funniest and strangest thing on this site since "The Appeaser...".

    1. Thanks Matt! Listen to Patrick - he knows what he's doing.

  2. It's so hard to find someone on the internet who doesn't have a giant hard-on for Nightmare Before Christmas. So yay Adam Riske!

    I've only walked out of one movie in my life. It was a sneak preview screening of Bee Movie. After ten minutes of uninspired bee puns my friend and I got up and left. I hated it that much. And I sat through the entirety of I, Frankenstein so that's saying a lot.

    1. I too sat through I Frankenstein and there witnessed numerous walkouts from other patrons.

  3. The only time I've ever walked out on a movie was Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which I was enjoying. My date, however, was bored and she wouldn't shut up about how bored she was, nor would she stop making lame "jokes" about what was onscreen. About an hour into the movie I couldn't take it anymore so we left. It was our last date.

    I've seen plenty of movies since theatrically that I haven't liked, but once I buy a ticket I'm in it for the long haul. I came down with the flu about half an hour into a screening of The English Patient. I felt fine going in, got body aches and nausea about a half hour in, and once I got home found that I had a fever of 103 and everything in my body wanted to get the hell out and FAST. If I made it all the way through THAT movie feeling like that, I can stick with a shitpile movie that may not get any better.

    1. I hear ya. I usually walk out of about 2 or 3 movies a year. The list crammed together might make it sound like I leave after everything.

  4. I wish my 8 year old self could have walked out of ICEMAN. What were my parents thinking?

  5. I have never:

    (a) Walked out of a movie; or

    (b) Had a categorically bad blow job. (TMI: But I'm pretty sure I've masturbated to Halle Berry in Monster's Ball)

    I guess I'm just so selective about what I actually go to the theatre for, I'm rarely ever that disappointed. Either I'm pretty certain I'll like it before I go and I do, or, like, you said I should and you were right. So can't really relate but always enjoy reading about your movie-going experiences! I'll have to check out your bad blow-jobs blog sometime too.

    1. Start with the 'Like You Were There' columns on the BBJ blog.

  6. I went to see Attack of the Clones for a second time when it was re-released in IMAX (back when that sort of thing was less common). I made it about a third of the way before I realized it was the same bad movie, only bigger. I left. Otherwise, I have never walked out of a movie, no matter how much I dislike it. I can't even turn a movie off once I start it on Netflix. I have to know that at least I've seen that movie and can now have an opinion on it. It's probably a sickness.

    1. I meant to add that I almost never have walked out of a movie in my own home - like you, once I start I'm in to the bitter end. Judging from your movie shelf you're a bit of a collector like me - do you think on some level we're "collecting" watched movies, and good or bad, it's another notch on the bedpost (so-to-speak) if we finish (so-to-speak)?

    2. That's probably it. I just know that if I don't see a movie, I haven't seen it (BRILLIANT). And I'd always rather see something, even though I don't disagree with Adam saying it would be better to spend that time on something I would enjoy.

    3. 9 times out of 10 (or probably even more) if I start a movie I'm damn well going to finish it because a) I probably paid for it and b) I have an OCD that dictates if I don't watch something through to the credits then I can't talk about it. I did walk out of a movie recently, but I'm not saying which one. I was just so uninterested and there were so many other things to do. But I plan to give it another shot when I have more time to give to it.

      One more thing:


    4. I agree with both Patrick and Heath that I feel somewhat obligated to see a whole movie before having an opinion about it. That is why I saw Jack and Jill and stayed the entire time.

      However, there are some movies like the new 300 sequel, where I am so uninterested while watching it that I don't even care about having an opinion.

  7. I've honestly never walked out on a movie, I just can't do it after forking over $40 on most nights to see Hollywood's latest rehash. Even when I am watching a movie at home I at least try to brave my way through it, sometimes like when I watched Pearl Harbor it took me 3-4 nights to finish it off.

    The only thing I will do during certain movies is take a long break in the lobby, walk around a bit and try and clear my head. I did that for both Transformers: Rise of the Fallen and the first Hobbit movie. I had already seen them, but was forced to go to second screenings with friends. Since I didn't like either movie the first time I checked out midway, did some quick shopping and came back to my seat near the end. In the case of Transformers the 3D was starting to make me nauseous as well, so I was glad to get the heck out of dodge.

    When I know a movie is horrendous I often drift away and start thinking of what my plans are for the week, like when to do the laundry or does my car need an oil change. Or at other times I'll put myself into the mind of the filmmaker or an audience member to try and figure out how anyone thought this movie could be good. I did that for We're the Millers last year, and at times I was screaming at the audience in my mind asking why they found the movie to be funny. They kept laughing and laughing, well I just sat in my seat dejected that this is what is seen as a comedic hit these days.

    I have made it a goal of mine to find an opportunity to walk out of a movie, it's a shame I didn't follow through with my plan for Pompeii a couple weeks ago, but I'll find the right one soon enough.

    1. I did a lobby walk during Need for Speed and it was the most satisfying part of the movie. That and Poots' smile which I agree with Patrick is very lovely.

  8. Like Sol I'm pretty selective on my theater choices, so I haven't walked out of a theater. I've turned off movies in my home because something else comes up or I'm not emotionally prepared to deal with what is on screen. I did that last week with Irreversible. A week night when I need a night off from homework is not the time to watch Irreversible for the first time. Who would have thought? The only movie I've ever turned off never to revisit (as of yet) is Antichrist. I felt like I had gotten everything out of the movie that I wanted to, and just didn't really want to watch genital mutilation. I actually found a lot of positive things about the movie, but was just too uncomfortable with continuing to watch.

    1. I stuck it out through all of Antichrist but I think being in a packed theater helped because the audience was sharing in the discomfort with me. I have never seen Irreversible because of stories like yours. I know hardly anyone who didn't regret the experience after watching that movie.

    2. *shudder*Antichrist...*shudder* I saw the whole thing, but it definitely scarred me. And in retrospect, I wish I had just walked away from it.

  9. I do remember going to a screening of Drive Angry 3D. It was held in a the biggest theater and was likely sold out. By the time the movie ended I swear almost half the audience had taken off. Counting the number of people leaving was more entertaining than the movie itself. Although I am not really sure what they expected, especially the parents who brought small children to a movie like that.

  10. When I used to manage at the movie theatres (more than a decade ago), I would just walk out of any movie that I could tell wasn't worth my time. You see, not paying helped give me the freedom to just say no.

    By the way, I had a Tricia moment too when I went to see "Spiceworld". What the hell was I thinking?

  11. Interest timing on this article. I have only ever walked out on one movie in my entire life... the dubious Sin City. But to be fair, I nearly made it to the end. There was about 30 minutes left, so there's a feather in my cap. I don't usually go to movies just to go to the movies, if I think a movie looks bad I'll usually just wait until it comes on to redbox or Netflix to see if I wanna give it a shot. If I don't like it, fine I'll just turn it off, but in the theater I usually get this feeling of "I drove here, I paid for it, I'm not letting this movie beat me." Which is kind of counter intuitive I suppose, it's already beaten me.

    But back to Sin City. I suppose my walk-out was a mixture of boredom and being proven wrong. I remember watching Josh Hartnett's hammy acting during the prologue and thinking "Is everyone going to be like this? Is this a thing?" I liked some of the stuff with Mickey Rourke, but overall I absolutely hated it. When Jessica Alba showed up, I had just had enough. I remember looking up at the screen, and being completely lost. Not because it's confusing or I couldn't follow, but because I had spent the last 15 minutes looking at the couple in front of me thinking "I wonder how their date is going. Is this their first date? I wonder if he took her to dinner first. Is this like a full night out, or just a quick trip to the movies?" Once realizing that I had no interest in what was happening on the screen, I asked my buddy if he wanted to walk out too and got the delightful response of "more than I want to wake up tomorrow with both my legs."