April 11, 2008

What movies have you walked out on?

This is a topic that came up in the comments thread here. Rather than add my own contribution to what was — let's be honest — a thread hijack, I'm starting a new thread.

For reasons I can no longer recall, I walked out on the 1968 movie "Petulia." Trailer:

The walk-out took place circa 1970, and I just wasn't in the mood for that sort of thing. I can't remember why. Oddly, I stopped walking out on movies, so for many years, this was the only movie I'd ever walked out on. I was giving everything a chance, or maybe I felt like I was wasting money if I didn't consume the whole bad/boring/pointless thing. And I must have averaged a movie a week for the next 30 years.

Then in 1998, I went to see "Antz" — a computer-animated movie voiced by Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, and others. The giant closeups of the ant faces were literally making me ill — even angry. I walked out, and I have never viewed another computer-animated movie, even on TV. Channel-surfing, I've occasionally glanced at a few minutes of some highly praised thing like "Finding Nemo" or "Shrek," but it has only reconfirmed my visceral hatred of the medium (which extends to live-actor movies with a lot of CGI).

The other movie I walked out on was Spike Lee's "Summer of Sam." This was 1 year after I walked out on "Antz." I was watching an opening sequence with a couple of ordinary people in a car, and I knew the story was that they were going to be murdered. I didn't want to sit there and watch. I'd paid good money to watch a movie I thought was going to be good and to my taste, but I suddenly felt that I didn't want to be subjected to it, and without wasting any time thinking about it — I had to decide quickly or I'd see the murder — I got right up and left.

I kept going to movies in 1999, which turned out to be one of my all-time favorite years: "The Matrix," "Being John Malkovich," "Fight Club," "Man on the Moon," "Election." I thought we were entering a golden age. But the next year seemed entirely different to me. Was CGI leaking into everything, making me sick? That was the year of "Gladiator" and "The Perfect Storm" (which I avoided). I saw some things that were praised that I hated, like "Traffic" — which I didn't walk out on. After that, I became a lot more selective, and I haven't had to walk out on things. In fact, I force myself to go through with the experience once I've selected a movie. For example, this past year, I saw "Into the Wild" and "Across the Universe." (I'm a sucker, apparently, for titles that begin with a preposition and end with "the [something vast].") With both of them, I had to struggle not to give in to my urge to escape, and there were some good things I would have missed if I'd indulged my ever-present desire for flight.

What have you walked out on? When did you conquer a strong urge to flee and did you regret your submission? Oh, I'm only talking about movies, you know. Unless you want to hijack this thread too.


Sofa King said...

I've never walked out on a movie, but that's because I find movie tickets to be expensive enough that I'm conservative about what I go to see. I generally only go see something if I'm already pretty certain I'll like it. The rest I'll catch on video.

ricpic said...

I walk out of most movies at about the 75 minute mark. For one thing my ass starts tingling by then (down Titus, down); for another, the movie is usually winding down and the ending is obvious; lastly, I hate being caught in the slow shuffle when the theater empties out.
Only that rarity, a 4 star film, holds me to the end.

Pogo said...

My girlfriend walked out of The World According to Garp, and we had such a big fight about it because I thought it was okay that we didn't talk to each other for two days. It seemed to make her question me as a person that I did not also hate hate hate that movie.

She married me anyway. We have never ever mentioned that movie again. I blame Robin Williams. And John Irving. Simon Birch was fine, but A Prayer for Owen Meany, the book on which it was based, was horrible. Irving creates awful characters who think and do awful things to a nugget of a good story.

I should have walked out of The Cook The Thief The Cannibal and the 9th Circle of hell, but I was caught in the 'sunk costs' economic fallacy. I don't walk out of anything, except socialist sermons and dangerous bars (for similar reasons).

Robert said...

"The Producers". Got ten minutes into it, and my wife and I were both ready to hit someone. We left, went to the box office and requested our ticket money back. When they asked why, we said because it sucked worse than any movie we'd ever seen, and we'd seen "Evolution" with David Duchovny. They gave us a refund.

Beth said...

Years ago I walked out of some awful thing called "Partners," a copy-buddy film with John Hurt and Ryan O'Neal. Hurt played a simpering pansy and O'Neal was a manly man cop. It was appallingly bad.

More recently, I fled Moulin Rouge mid-way through Nicole Kidman's first number. By then, I think, it was the third scene and the I found it frenetic. The music had maintained exactly the same tempo and volume, with no variation; John Leguizamo's portrayal of Toulouse was grotesque and lisping -- I have no idea on what grounds he decided to play him that way -- and it just all made me sick. I later watched it on DVD and liked it a little better with the ability to stop it when I wanted to.

rdkraus said...

I don't think I've ever walked out. What does happen is, sometimes when a movie ends, my wife and I walk out in semi-silence and, as soon as we get outside, we both start laughing about...

1. how bad that was.


2. how people (or critics) who recommended it are out of their minds.

rhhardin said...

I haven't seen a movie since the 70s. There's the ultimate walk-out.

Oh except the excellent cane toad short that the guys from work rented for a day, um it must be on DVD...

This must be it, very entertaining.

The highlight was the American scientist who lost a cat, stepping easily out of scientist framing into a victim role.

People in the reviews miss the point.

MadisonMan said...

That trailer for Petulia (what a name!) is hilarious.

Your reaction to computer animation is very interesting -- and I'll have to ask (I know the answer is NO) if you saw Enchanted, which uses old-fashioned hand-drawn animation, and also some computer stuff. Some film student at the UW should hook you up to an EEG and record your reactions to various parts of that film. I've developed bad headaches in movies at times -- but I've never been able to pinpoint a cause, so I'll have to be more aware of cgi.

As I said in the earlier hijack, I walked out on My Blue Heaven. Steve Martin was just terrible in that movie. I've also fallen asleep in movies (so has my wife) that start dragging. That's a better thing to do than walk out, I think. Out of Africa was a snoozer. Ditto that Warren Beatty/Annette movie that had Kate Hepburn swearing. Zzzzzz.

Wurly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruth Anne Adams said...

I walked out of "Big Top Pee-wee." It might've had something to do with being on a bad date or the movie being a sequel. Never before or since.

Ann Althouse said...

"U2 3D" gave me a headache (that lasted for days), but we paid a lot of money and I didn't want to bother the people I was with.

I should perhaps have worked this little point into the original post, but it's too picky to even be an exception: I walked out on "Visions of Light" because of a defect in the movie screen — and got my money back. Bought the DVD. I loved it too much not to be completely distracted by my anger at the theater -- the now demolished Hilldale -- for having a screen with a black line down the center. The movie was a documentary about black and white cinematography, so I was really upset about the travesty.

George said...

"Cats Don't Dance." "Out of Africa." "Valdez is Coming." "Wings of Desire." "Big Trouble in Little China." "Talladega Nights." And the Star Trek movie in which Uhura sings. I also should have walked out of "Muppets From Space."

Yeah, 'Petulia' is awful, but it does have the Dead playing "Viola Lee Blues," starting at about 1:00. Great shot of Pigpen. That's a very young and high Bob Weir in the cowboy hat.

Another bad '60s movie is "The Graduate." It was on TV last night. Excruciating watching Hoffman and Bancroft.

PS—Ratdog plays Charleston tonight.

Trooper York said...

I haven't gone to the movie house in 20 years. Even though I watch a lot of movies. But ever since they invented wide screen TV's your home screen is just about as big as the one in the multiplex. And you can eat your own food and freeze the show to go to the bathroom. You don't have to listen to crazy people scream at the screen or get in a beef with assholes who talk on the phone during the movie. Now a first run movie is on pay per view in about a month. The cost is about $5 instead of at least $20 if you go with your wife. So for me, I haven't walked out of a movie because I don't walk in.

John K. said...

I made the mistake many years ago of suggesting to my ex-fiance and her very traditional Catholic parents watching on video the The Brothers McMullen, a movie that had been recommended to me. At one point in the movie one of the characters exclaims "Fuck God," and all holy hell broke out in the living room, courtesy of the mom rather than the dad or the fiance. "Did you hear what he just said?!" Oops. The movie was immediately turned off. The woman I ultimately married more than ten years later is much more laid back, and her parents are out of the picture.

Brian said...

I was talked into going to see Anchorman with Will Ferrell. After 20 minutes of listening to the crowd around laugh, my date and I looked at each other (after either of us not having laughed), got up and walked out without a word.

While that relationship didn't work out, it was something that we both agreed on.

After "friends" askes me to reconsider viewing that movie, I've learned to make better choices in movies..... and friends.

Ger said...

I've only walked out on one movie - "The Lord of The Rings" - the late 1970's Ralph Bakshi version. I was not stoned enough to appreciate it I guess.

I almost walked out of "Aguirre, The Wrath of God". I was too stoned not to.

Katie Bee RN said...

My husband and I walked out on The Brave One with Jodie Foster. Somehow it disturbed me when everyone was cheering because the torn cop gave Foster the gun to shoot the bad guy in cold blood in his apartment. Just crossed the line for us. And we walked out on the end of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. MY butt was asleep and the cheesetastic factor had kicked in!

chickenlittle said...

I walked out of "Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer" just after the first dismemberment scene.

former law student said...

True Romance.

None of the reviews had mentioned how sickeningly violent it was from the opening scene.

downtownlad said...

Gladiator was the worst movie ever made. Should have walked out on that.

Freeman Hunt said...

Scary Movie 3

I don't think this requires explanation.

Freeman Hunt said...

We watch a lot of movies though, and that was the only walk out. I've forced myself to sit through some pretty terrible crap. The worst may have been A Walk to Remember. We generally stay through everything, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

PatCA said...

I walked out on Clerks. Even if we are destroying our civilization, I don't have to watch it happen.

Kovacs said...

I hope you've seen "Petulia" since walking out on it, Ann. It's a great movie. I wish I had walked out on "Summer of Sam," but I stayed til the bitter end. I'm almost always willing to suffer all the way through a bad movie for the bragging rights.

Two movies come to my mind: "Who's That Girl?" and the Kurosawa movie "Ran," because the place was packed; my girlfriend at the time couldn't see to read the subtitles and there was nowhere to move to.

r said...

I really wanted to walk out on Silence of the Lambs. Despite the critical acclaim, the violence got to me. If it wasn't that I was driven to the film, and there was nothing to do but sit in the lobby, I would have done it, too.

BTW, I am disturbed by cgi too. I don't mine cgi animated animals or animated inanimate objects, but CGI people or other things that are supposted to look real bother me. The people either look a bit too real, or not real enough, not sure. Beowolf would have make me insane had I seen it. "300" was pretty bad too.

Freeman Hunt said...

Two movies come to my mind: "Who's That Girl?" and the Kurosawa movie "Ran,

I love Ran!

Sofa King said...

Scary Movie 3

I don't think this requires explanation.

The hell it doesn't. You ought to explain why you were in that theater to begin with. Maybe is was a mistake? Were you trying to see some other film?

Cedarford said...

downtownlad said...
Gladiator was the worst movie ever made. Should have walked out on that.

What! You don't like gladiator movies??
How about locker rooms?
Ever seen a grown man naked, Billy?

bill said...

Only recall one. Some British movie from the late 80s -- some drama about a local acting company that had decent reviews and a couple of good actors. Got up after twenty minutes and asked for a refund.

For rented movies, there's Peter's Friends (Rita Rudner). About halfway through it we asked if anyone was enjoying it. No one was, so we stopped.

I remember seeing Liquid Sky in the early 80s. Protestors outside and a lot of people walked out cursing the rest of us for staying.

Freeman Hunt said...

You ought to explain why you were in that theater to begin with.

Heh. Movies are my husband's job. We used to go to almost everything. Now we have a toddler.

Susan said...

Julie Christie's character Petulia could best be described as "kooky". In the late '60s we all wanted to be kooky.

Kovacs said...

I'm sure "Ran" is great, Freeman--it was a strictly a logistical issue. On those rare occasions it comes on cable, I always feel a little guilty--but not so much that I've actually gotten around to watching it.

AllenS said...

As long as the big tub of buttered popcorn hasn't been consumed, I'll stay to the end.

Middle Class Guy said...

I have never walked out of a movie, though there were some that I wish I had.

Pogo said...

Like Trooper, I watch most movies at home. It makes it considerably easier to walk out.

However, my wife never gives refunds. What's up with that?

Palladian said...

The Island of Doctor Moreau.

madawaskan said...

I dare you all to sit through-

Lust, Caution!

Jeremy said...

I walked out of Summer of Sam also. Also Magnolia - Tom Cruise's character was too repugnent in mixed company. Or any company, actually.

Finally, I also walked out on the Joe Pesci/Danny Glover buddy comedy Gone Fishing on the grounds that it was hilariously the worst movie ever. That's only half right.

madawaskan said...

The Matrix, Fight Club, Election those are all really good movies-which reminds me-

which movie were you glad someone dragged you to-or was better than you thought it would be?

I'd have to say The Terminator.

Jim Hu said...

I don't recall ever walking out... but I have a vague memory that I must have done so at least once. There are definitely movies I wish I had walked out on - walking out is really hard when it's movie night at the home of some friends.

dtl: You obviously have not seen enough movies if Gladiator is the worst one you've ever seen.

Prince of Tides comes to mind as one of the most painful movie memories that hasn't been completely suppressed. I'm not sure whether it was worse than Teorema which I think I sat through for a film class in college. When a movie reduces you to mind numbing indifference, what's the point of ranking?

Now that I have my iPhone, I could try to discreetly read Althouse in that situation... but my wife would be mad at me if I did that, since it wouldn't be discreet enough for her.

knoxwhirled said...

I saw some things that were praised that I hated, like "Traffic

ugh I hated that one too. The plot line with Michael Douglas's daughter was perhaps the most annoying out of many, many annoying things in that movie.

tjl said...

"Pulp Fiction." At the point when Uma Thurman throws up, we both knew we hated all the characters and didn't care what happened to them.

Balfegor said...

I walked out on Napoleon Dynamite in a theatre. I watched it later on DVD and it turned out to be fairly amusing, but the theatre (a theatre in that most miserable hole of holes, Baltimore) was so grotty that I could not bear it. The tater-tots bit was sick-making in that particular environment.

nina said...

I don't have to walk out. I simply take a nap. I do that a lot when I am bored with the film. Most often, I get bored with it faster than whomever is with me so I think it's a good solution. Unfortunately, I sometimes also sleep through good movies. I wish I slept as well in airplanes. I wish seats on airplanes were as comfy as they are these days in movie theaters...

ZPS said...

Ann! I highly recommend giving Summer Of Sam a second chance...it's one of my favorite Spike Lee movies, and probably in my top 100 movies of all time. I loved it. Adrien Brody is in it!

The only movie I walked out of ever was that horrendous Star Wars Episode 1 Phantom Menace thing. After an hour I didn't even know what i was watching...video game? children's cartoon? student film? Total garbage...as we the 2nd two that came out over the next few years.

If the new Indiana Jones isn't good...I am going to be VERY angry.

Trooper York said...

"However, my wife never gives refunds. What's up with that?"

My wife doesn't give refunds either. They think being with us is payment enough.

They do have a point.

Sheepman said...

I walked out of the second (in terms of being released) Star Wars movie at time when the cost of a movie ticket was not a trifling matter to me. I haven't seen a Star Wars film since.

"The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover" and "Ran" were two great cinematic experiences for me, but I can see how if you weren't into those films they would be unpleasant to sit through.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

American Beauty.

Moose said...

Ever since I forced myself to sit thru Prospero's Books (because I lived in Ann Arbor and *everyone* said it was *fantastic*), I have had a severe allergy to "important" movies.

The Thief, the Gynocologist and their Vomit Bag was one of those that I didn't see in the theater, and was forced to watch at a friend's house (you, know its *fantastic*, you have too!). I walked out of their house when I couldn't convince them to turn it off.

I generally tend to wait until movies that I might not like come out on DVD rather than spend $12 on something I'll regret.

Marshall said...


The movie started out depressing, and just kept getting worse.

Noonz said...

I walked out of Weekend at Bernies 2 after a few minutes. In retrospect, I wonder what came over me that caused me to walk INTO Weekend at Bernies 2 in the first place.

Thankfully, the multiplex makes bad decision-making easy to correct. I ducked into the hall showing Sleepless In Seattle, which happened to be just starting up, and watched that instead.

It's not a big fave of mine by any means, but Casablanca compared to WaB2.

Zeb Quinn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sean mahar said...

i don't recall ever walking out, but there was one movie i definitely wanted to leave though i was unable. it was a small screening of a truly, deeply dreadful movie (i've lost the name on purpose) about a gay undercover cop who had infiltrated a small LA gang who falls in love with the overcover detective trying to bust the gang. because of the size of the room and the number of people at the screening, my wife and i felt trapped; that it would have been impolite and intrusive for us to wind our way out while others might be enjoying it. no one else was leaving so we thought maybe we just didn't get something wonderful about it.

when the movie ended, there was a tense silence for about 30 seconds, which was pierced by someone near the front of the room who exclaimed for us all:

"piece of sh*t!"

after which we all exhaled and communed in our detest of the piece of sh*t we had just subjected ourselves to.

michael farris said...

The only movie I remember walking out of was the Blue Max (I was around 12 and it was all talky talky and not shooty shooty).

I was completely tempted to walk out on both Cook,wife,thief dead lover and Propsero's Books (which had a steady stream of desertees). But I was with people and didn't feel like waiting somewhere else. I later got roped into seeing two more movies by the same director (whose name I've taken a vow to never utter or write) both times with people who claimed to like enjoy the results.

On the other hand, I forced family members to watch Paris, Texas (well I rented it and insisted on sticking it out to the end for which I was never completely forgiven).

D-Day said...

Spice World.

EnigmatiCore said...

"which movie were you glad someone dragged you to-or was better than you thought it would be?"

Two come to mind. I had absolutely no desire whatsoever to see "A Fish Called Wanda". It is now my favorite comedy of all time.

I also had no desire to see "Aliens." Loved it. It hasn't stood the test of time like some others in the genre, but it was good fun.

John Burgess said...

The only film I felt compelled to walk out of was 1965's 'Repulsion', with Catherine Deneuve. She was at her most beautiful, Polansky was in his stride, but the material was just too emotionally strong for me.

I don't count triple-features at the drive-ins when alternative activities lead to early departures.

'Petulia', IMO, is a good in capturing the period. Even better, though, is 'Joanna', one of Donald Sutherland's earliest films.

Pogo: Wow! Just Wow! 'Simon Birch' sucked so bad that Irving had his name taken off of it. Owen Meany, however, is one of Irving's best, IMO. Guess that's why we're permitted to have opinions!

I've seen a lot of films that weren't worth their ticket price, but I tend to be (with age) far more discriminating about what I'll go to see. Marginally interesting films get put on my Netflix list now where I might have gone to see them in a cinema earlier.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

It was probably 1981 or '82 and I was dragged (almost physically) into see a flick called Arbor Day.

Napoleon Dynamite was another one I walked out of, but it was playing in the living room. Allegedly intelligent people had recommended it to me, but it was less entertaining than watching paint dry at the barbershop.

But then, I really don't think anyone has made a GREAT movie since The Duke died.

John Burgess said...

Oh, meant to add:

Peter Greenaway films are definitely not for everyone. While I hated "The Cook, et al." and "8-1/2 Women", I really did like "Prospero's Books" and "Pillow Book". They're not linear films, don't actually have much, if any plot, but are visual masterpieces.

bwebster said...

I know I've walked out of a few movies over my lifetime (I'm 55), but I honestly can't remember what they were. As per other comments, I'm pretty picky about what movies I go see in the first place, so the chances of the movie containing something so offensive (or just mind-numbingly bad) that I want to get up and leave are rare.

Beyond that, I'm pretty much a 'sunk costs' kind of guy -- I'm already there, I've got my popcorn and soda, and there might be some redeeming bits towards the end.

Of course, the really interesting thing about this thread is how many people walked out of films that others (including me) liked. Chacun a son goût, indeed. ..bruce..

ldellevigne said...

Prospero's Books! ha!

The only film I've ever walked out on. It was at a reviewer-filled preview screening. The film reviewers left before we did. They probably ended up giving it good reviews anyway!

madawaskan said...


A Fish Called Wanda

Love it-own it!

It's K-K-K-Ken c-c-c-coming to k-k-k-kill me!

Hoosier Daddy said...

which movie were you glad someone dragged you to-or was better than you thought it would be?

Jerry McGuire

corporate law drudge said...

Did Althouse walk out on Nashville?

Synova said...

The movies I go to I usually like well enough. And when we rent movies the ones I want to watch are usually bearable, even if they're bad.

And my husband and I have watched a whole lot of very bad movies all the way to the end.

There was a Kevin Bacon one, though, that was billed as a shoot 'em up, and we'd just started watching it... oh, I remember... it was all the older boy sports hero and the younger boy always in trouble... and it didn't take long before we both looked at each other, said something like, "Ugh." and "Lifetime television" and turned it off.

It might have finally been getting around to the shooting parts but by then we both hated it so badly I think that we'd probably have not had the right reactions to the violence and gone with something closer to "You idiots! Why did you miss!" when Kevin Bacon didn't die.

al said...

I wish I had walked out on Reds. To this day I can't recall why my wife (then girlfriend) and I went to see it. Must have been the great reviews. What an incredibly boring movie.

former law student said...

My favorite part of A Fish Named Wanda:

Wanda: Are you really Italian?
Otto: Absolutamente. Sì. My name is Otto. It means 'eight'.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I didn’t see it at the theater but I pulled A Knight’s Tale out of the DVD player right around the time the cast was singing Queen’s We will Rock You and doing ‘the wave’ before the jousting started. I figured it could only get stupider after that which was beyond my comprehension.

A good friend of mine loaned me Local Hero to watch which is in the top 5 of the the worst movies I ever saw. I'm still pissed at the 2 hours of my life wasted on that one.

He's now hiding out in protective custody in Kentucky now.


Smilin' Jack said...

The Royal Tenenbaums, Igby Goes Down, Signs, Syriana.

Movies I should have walked out on: Summer of Sam, A.I. I only stuck out A.I. because I became fascinated by how, just when you thought it couldn't possibly get any worse, it magically did. A monumental achievement in awfullness.

Movie I thought going in that I would probably have to walk out on, but that actually turned out to be pretty good: The Mothman Prophecies. Great soundtrack, too.

Hoosier Daddy said...

My favorite part of A Fish Named Wanda:

Otto: Oh you English think you're so superior don't you? You know where you'd be without us? The old US of A? The smallest fucking province in the Russian Empire! That's where! Without us you'd all be speaking German right now! (breaks into the Horst Wessel)

LarsPorsena said...

"The English Patient" made easier by a temporary glitch with the projector.

halojones-fan said...

I don't walk out on movies, because if it looks like something I'd walk out on, I just don't go.

Actually, I would have walked out on "The Astronaut's Wife", but I was there with a group--and I had ridden with someone else.

Pogo said...

When my wife walks out on me, I usually give her a refund. And a coupon for the next one free.

John Burgess said...
"Wow! Just Wow! 'Simon Birch' sucked so bad that Irving had his name taken off of it. Owen Meany, however, is one of Irving's best, IMO."

You could be right; I'm no judge of novels, and he's clearly popular. But criminey, every other chapter he'd veer off into this lengthy diatribe about living in Canada and how much he hated Reagan. Good God but I thought my ears would bleed and I would pee jalapenos. I skimmed whenever he'd write how much this supposedly religious young man hated religion. By the end I was sticking pins under my fingernails so that pain would compete with the scream of my dying soul. I often wondered why Irving didn't instead take his name off of Owen Meany.


I mean I did not like it, Sam I am.

Mike said...

Batman and Robin.
I didn't walk out of "The Hulk" only because my brothers and I were taking my sister to the movie and she wasn't saying anything or agreeing that we should walk out. It turns out she was asleep. [sigh] She had the best time of all of us. Half the audience walked out on that one.

Trooper York said...

Isn't it nice when almost everyone posted a comment and we can all get along. Let's all sing kumbaya.

It just goes to show you how many sucky movies there are out there.

Next a post about TV shows that make your eyes bleed.

Trooper York said...

I just want to say that I would totaly watch MILF Island, so take that Tina Fey you smarty pants.

Pogo said...

I wanted to become a serial killer of films if only to eradicate the stain on my spirit from having seen
1. Pulp Fiction
2. House of Sand and Fog starring Jennifer Connelly
3. The Upside of Anger with Kevin Costner.

If all copies of these could be destroyed, maybe then there would be peace in the world.

reader_iam said...

I walked out of "Deep Throat" back in 1979.

Prior to that, I also finally walked out of a movie that I now, and from shortly thereafter, count among my top movie picks, because I was temporarily overwhelmed. That would be Bergman's "Cries and Whispers." Fortunately, since I later went on to work at that art house, I got to see it a number of times for free. (Unfortunately, the same job meant I ended up having to see bits and pieces of "Deep Throat" again a few times, too, but, well, you know, life's a trade-off.)

Roger J. said...

I am with Allens: I wouldnt walk out only because I feel I would be throwing away my hard earned money--and if there's still popcorn, it seals the deal for staying.
That said, there are plenty of movies I wished I would have walked out on. The English Patient took forever to die. I kept saying, I will leave when he dies.

Scrutineer said...

The nearest multiplex had a Dollar Tuesdays promotion when I was in high school, and "rolling out" whenever a movie got annoying became a tradition. It's harder to fall victim to the "sunk costs fallacy" when you paid virtually nothing in the first place.

Can't remember everything we walked out on. The one that really sticks in my mind was bailing on She's Having a Baby during the lawnmower dance.

@ downtownlad: Gladiator was awful, but Titanic was worse.

Craig said...

I was at a

reader_iam said...

Wow! Craig almost immediately walked out on a comment about walking out on a movie (or movies)!

How meta!

Tricia said...

I *almost* walked out on The Sixth Sense. I only stayed because I heard that there was a twist. I'm so glad I stayed because the payoff was worth it.

Craig said...

I saw No Country for Old Men just two weeks ago and a couple walked out 3 minutes into the movie when the second or third violent act happened. I could understand that if we weren't seeing it in March, but isn't it a little late to be shocked that this movie is violent?

This isn't entirely appropriate to do here, but Althouse, did you ever see this? It's still making me laugh and I thought you might appreciate it.


Josh said...

Needful Things. I'd read the book and found it marginally interesting, but the movie just bored me to tears.

Fahrenheit 9/11. Wasn't about the politics or Michael Moore (I've sat through his other movies); I just found it insanely boring. It was the same stuff I'd been reading over and over for the last year on various blogs/discussion groups.

Honorable mention: Van Hellsing. I didn't walk out, but I did fall asleep for the last half.

Kirk Parker said...


"I hate being caught in the slow shuffle when the theater empties out"

You miss so much good stuff that way. Like the time, when we were leaving after seeing The Fellowship of the Ring, somebody behind us said to their companion, "That was sure a wierd ending, it just kind of stopped."

Or the time my son went to the The Crucible. The theater was dead still as the ending credits started to roll. Then someone--not in a particularly loud voice, just a normal talking volume, but still the entire theater could hear them because of how quiet it was--said, "Ohhhhhhh.... that sucked!"


Out of Africa? Really???     Oh, wait, that's right: in the theater you can't turn the sound down and just enjoy the scenery. :-)

Revenant said...

My big regret is that I didn't get the chance to walk out of Titanic, since I waited to see it on cable.

EnidV said...

I walked out of Short Circuit when I was in high school. My friend and I snuck into Ferris Bueller. Much better option. I'm not sure why we chose SC to begin with...

Should have walked out of Joe vs the Volcano, but only paid $1.50 so it wasn't a huge loss. Oh, and Ishtar - wow, that was bad... Again, I was in high school. Like others, I've become much more discerning as I've gotten older.

Richard Fagin said...

I walked out on Woodstock. It gave me a headache. I was only 12. That about sums up what side of the culture wars I'm on.

TMink said...

"Author, Author" I walked out on. Boring and a waste of time.

I stopped reading Hannibal because I decided that the violence was supposed to titilate me and it was repulsive.

I have less tolerance for bad music than other art forms though.


Kirby Olson said...

I went to see Ilse, She-Wolf of the SS with a bunch of drunken friends after high school graduation. The opening scene had Ilse with a chain-saw dismembering an American prisoner of war in a concentration camp while they were both half-clothed.

I RAN OUT, and threw up. Maybe from the alcohol?

doctorfixit said...

"Do the Right Thing"
the insufferable Spike Lee

"Hotel New Hampshire" Is that the one with someone getting hit in the head with a baseball bat ? My date walked out immediately with me in tow. Is that another crappy John Irving thing?

Pogo said...

Is that another crappy John Irving thing?

I am beginning to see a pattern.

Ann Althouse said...

"House of Sand and Fog"

That's the first movie I ever blogged about. First or second day of the blog. I was trying to invent a style of blogging about (not reviewing!) movies.

"I *almost* walked out on The Sixth Sense. I only stayed because I heard that there was a twist. I'm so glad I stayed because the payoff was worth it."

I remember watching the whole thing interested in seeing the reputedly great twist... only to learn that the twist was just that thing I figured out at the beginning. I had some elaborate other ideas for what the twist might be.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Moulin Rouge - what was that about?

I would have walked out on Notting Hill after about an hour, but my wife who is incredibly cheap wanted to finish it, as it was paid for. Now if a movie includes Hugh Grant I don't walk in.

save_the_rustbelt said...

We took our grandson to see CARS at noon one day, there were about 12 people in the theater.

The sound was so loud my tonsils vibrated.

We asked to have the sound turned down, and they did, but the adjustment barely helped.

When grandson got antsy we left and both him the DVD.

One more reason to avoid theaters.

Larry J said...

I don't recall ever walking out on a movie. The closest I ever came to walking out was the 1979 movie "Quintet". At least half of the people in the theater did walk out. I stuck it out thinking it had to get better. It never did.

The movie starred Paul Newman, a fine actor and man. This may be the worst thing he ever did in his life. If he clubbed baby seals, it wouldn't be as bad as inflicting Quintet on the world.

Personally, I love many of the animated movies. Several of them are the most original movies made in the past 20 years. As for CGI, it can have its place in a movie but shouldn't be the reason for the movie being made. Movies like "The Rock" are little more than a series of CGI explosions held together by a weak plot. They suck.

bill said...

"Pulp Fiction." At the point when Uma Thurman throws up, we both knew we hated all the characters and didn't care what happened to them.

Funny, I was ready to walk out until that happened. Movie became interesting at that point. Not really interesting, more like tolerable.

Favorite movies that have been mentioned and why I prefer to go to movies by myself:

Wings of Desire
Big Trouble in Little China
A Knight’s Tale
Local Hero
Joe vs the Volcano
Do the Right Thing
Notting Hill
Moulin Rouge

Zachary Paul Sire said...

People always complain about A.I. and Moulin Rouge...but I loved them.

The best movie I ever saw that someone I was with wanted to walk out of was Ghost World. I will never ever forgive her for that. Ghose World is my favorite movie.

MILF Island would make a great action adventure film. But only if they cast De Borah as the lead.

I changed by screen name, btw, because I want my name to appear on my blog.

MadisonMan said...

Moulin Rouge - what was that about?

That was about the longest 8-hour movie I've ever seen! (Actually, I stopped the dvd and watched something else)

That was about Nicole Kidman and Ewan MacGregor stealing our money!

That was...

Pogo said...

The teenagers in our house loved Moulin Rouge.

For me it was a Robin Williams musical, hypercaffeinated, herky jerky, and shameless mugging for the camera.

It reminded me of when I took our 3 year old to Sesame Street on Ice. A sonic disaster, frenetic pace, ceaseless noise. Boom! Crash! Ha Ha Ha! La La La! Phththth!

I would have slit my wrists, but the jacket was rather new and the child was unable to drive.

Smilin' Jack said...

"I *almost* walked out on The Sixth Sense. I only stayed because I heard that there was a twist. I'm so glad I stayed because the payoff was worth it."

I remember watching the whole thing interested in seeing the reputedly great twist... only to learn that the twist was just that thing I figured out at the beginning.

That "twist" was so stupidly bogus. Like someone could wander around a crowded city for a year without noticing that no one can see or hear them, and they cannot move any material object. How is Bruce supposed to eat or use the bathroom? Maybe he never bothered to flush when he was alive?

Really, "Suddenly he woke up--it had all been a dream!" would have been a better "twist." I would've demanded my money back if the acting hadn't been so good.

Finn Kristiansen said...

Walked out of a film only once. It was a double bill ofClash of the Titans and Barbarella at St.Marks Theatre in NYC in early 1980's. I was about 13 or so, with my sister two years older, and my mom gave us permission (to see Titans). My sister walked us out of the Barbarella portion due to nakedness/weirdness.


Some people are walking out of some good films-Ran, Magnolia-and some not entirely bad films: Gladiator.

There is a difference between walking out because the film is truly bad or perversely shocking in a way you can't abide, compared to leaving because you chose to see a movie that is not typically "your taste". In the latter situation, the problem is not the film.

For example you went to see a "Tom Cruise" movie in Magnolia and didn't realize that the film is so wide and some of the changes so pivotal, that walking out because Cruise (not the main character by any means) is vile misses the whole point of the film, thus depriving yourself of the character changes that occur across 4 to 6 equally major characters.

Some walkouts have integrity, and some walkouts are due to short attention span, rigidity, ignorant bliss (in not researching a flick ahead of time), or truly awful taste (like, you are an Adam Sandler fan and thus everything else falls short in your mind).

John K. said...

The movie with the best twist is Frailty, which has a one-two sucker punch(es) at the end that I never saw coming.

Kevin Walsh said...

Pulp Fiction, almost.

But I have even sat thru Trog.


rcocean said...

"Flags of Our Fathers". A witless, stupid movie inferior to the book in every way.

Didn't walk out of "Pulp Fiction"
but half the audience did. And tried to watch "Petulia" on DVD but turned it off, 40 minutes in.

jacklink said...

I have never walked out on a movie. Not once. I have seen people walk out and have ripped a dvd out of my mac, slapped it into the Netflix envelope and walked through a winter's night to get it into a mailbox and out of my immediate realm.

I saw In Bruges (great flick, Martin McDonagh is brilliant) a few weeks back and noticed the two humans in front of me were giving each other the telling glance. They got up 20 minutes in and walked out. Too bad for them. They missed a great flick.

The Netflix experienced involved Anchorman...a movie generally praised by my peers. I just couldn't watch that movie and didn't find it funny at all. Am I alone here? That was a cold walk to that mailbox.

I had to turn off Bringing Out the Dead with Nicholas Cage. Utterly painful thing, watching that movie.

Revenant said...

That "twist" was so stupidly bogus. Like someone could wander around a crowded city for a year without noticing that no one can see or hear them, and they cannot move any material object.

That's a standard trope of ghost mythology, one which the movie spelled out again -- ghosts often portrayed as being (a) fixated on one thing and (b) blind to the fact that they are dead. That was the case for Willis' character and pretty much all the other ghosts in the film.

You're imagining Willis going about his daily life as normal. But all we ever actually see him do is obsess over his wife, and over helping the one kid. That IS all he does! That's the trick -- for the entire movie we assume that he has a life other than what we see on the screen, when in fact he doesn't.

Ralph said...

I don't mind cgi animated animals or animated inanimate objects, but CGI people ....bother me
I find those synthetic people absolutely revolting, on TV or computer, stills or live action. Won't go near them on a big screen.

I had Althouse's experience with the Sixth Sense. Was the boy going to be dead, too? Glad I didn't pay for that one.

Loved Liquid Sky 25 years ago, would probably hate it now. Several movies I wanted to leave because the sound was too loud, at least one I did. Wish I'd left Wild Wild West and Striptease (whose only redeeming feature was my step-monster was ill immediately after it). Except for the final LOTR, those were the last two movies I've seen in theaters.

Meade said...

Sofa King said...
"I've never walked out on a movie, but that's because I find movie tickets to be expensive enough that I'm conservative about what I go to see."

But your time has to be worth something, doesnt it?

I haven't read this entire thread so someone else may have already pointed out that most movie theaters will give you a free pass for a different movie if you just take your ticket stub back to the ticket counter before the credits roll. Tell them you didn't like the one you walked out of but wish to buy popcorn and candy and see another movie some other time. You don't even have to give them a reason for not liking the one you walked out on.

Gretchen said...

Very tempted to walk out on Congo. It was a horrible movie made from a good book.

And we shut off The Truth About Charlie. Bad bad "remake" of Charade, a pretty good flick.

Eli Blake said...

I remember walking out on a movie called, 'Future Kill.' It was a horrible movie.

Two years ago I didn't let my kids even watch the remake of the 'Shaggy Dog' (the version with Tim Allen) because in the trailer it showed him as a grown man running over a little old lady with a walker and sending her flying. I don't personally find anything humorous about the idea of a large man bowling over a little old lady, in fact I find it disgusting so I told my kids we weren't going to that movie (even though they originally wanted to see it. But the whole episode gave us a chance to have we a long talk about violence and respecting elderly people.)

Meade said...

"...a long talk about violence and..."

Poor little captive audience members.

sydney said...

I've only walked out of one movie in my entire life - Passolini's The Canterbury Tales.

blake said...

Y'all are a bunch of lightweights. Lightweights, I tells ya.

I've seen so many movies I've enjoyed listed here that people walked out on. But I'm not gonna fall for it like Rev and try to convince you they were good or anything.

So, let's see. I walked out of Man Who Fell To Earth. I was a little too young and there with parents and/or guardians. (The opening scene with...uh...Candy Clark and--is it Buck Henry?--taking photos of themselves while having sex...) They've been showing it like crazy on cable and I've been meaning to sit down and watch. Though, now that I think about it, it was following A Boy and His Dog, which itself is pretty chock full of sex, cynicism and violence. So go figger. (You can watch "A Boy and His Dog" online at bmovies.com, too! Ain't the 'net grand!)

I dragged same parents and/or guardians out of East of Eden. Also might've been a good movie but we had just seen Rebel without a Cause and I didn't have any inclination to sit through the exact same movie set a few years earlier on a farm, or whatever.

Like others, I try to see movies I know I'll enjoy, or am able to find some merit in. So I haven't walked out of a movie in decades.

I did make a very, very long bathroom/popcorn run during Troy. I can watch bad movies all night long, but Troy struck me as a sort of vandalism (kind of like East of Eden) of one my most beloved stories.

(I didn't have the same problem with A Knight's Tale, perhaps because the use of "We Will Rock You" up front tells you exactly what they have in mind. Although, had I been looking for something a little truer to life, I would've been pissed.)

Otherwise, let's see, I endured Hilary and Jackie and most recently The Constant Gardener. Oh, wait, no: Atonement. Crushingly disappointing.

I almost stroked out during The Grudge. I don't know if the movie was--well, okay, I'm pretty sure it wasn't a masterpiece--but it was mostly due to going on the opening night of a Sarah Michelle Gellar movie. The kids in front of me would not shut up, would not stop using their cell phones, would not... By contrast, a premiere night showing of Nightmare on Elm Street 3? The audience supercharged that movie. And not entirely because you never knew if someone was just gonna up and shoot someone else.

Mostly I go to movies when there's few or no other people around. Mostly.

For me, the kiss of death is boring. I can take a lot of bad if it's not boring, and boring takes the shine offa whole lotta good--like many of last year's award winners.

blake said...

Wait, Future Kill?

Was it worse than you expected?

CnOBay said...

When I was in high school, I walked out of such gems as Saturday the 14th and Cheech & Chong's Nice Dreams. Very highbrow movies! My walking out improved as I got older with a special focus on Oscar nominated (winning sometimes!) movies such as the English Patient, Moulin Rouge and American Beauty. If you could sometimes only watch a film without listening to it -- sigh!

john marzan said...

Lars and the Real Girl.

reader_iam said...

Damn. I wanna go to the movies with blake, or at least meet for coffee or a drink, whatever, afterward (agreement, or disagreement, notwithstanding, on account of their being beside the point).

blake said...

Reader, I have friends who call me up and say, "Hey, I'm trying to remember the name of that movie that came out last year with the that guy..."

"The Departed?"

"Yeah! Thanks!"

They usually get mad at me if I can't figure it out from the expression on their face.

Revenant said...

Anyone else here think "Joe vs the Volcano" is a great movie?

It is widely hated, but I've always thought it was a misunderstood classic.

blake said...

I don't know if I think it's a masterpiece, but I do think it's under-rated.

My favorite Meg Ryan performance(s) by a long shot.

Freeman Hunt said...

The Netflix experienced involved Anchorman...a movie generally praised by my peers. I just couldn't watch that movie and didn't find it funny at all. Am I alone here?

No. We watched the first ten minutes on cable at my in-laws' house before my husband asked me, "Have you laughed?" "No." "Me neither." "It's actually really annoying me--it's actively annoying." "I agree." And off it went.

Tibore said...

Huh... I, too, have never walked out of a movie theater because of the movie itself. I came close once because of a theater, though: That one time, the idiots working a theater in question 1. Didn't know that volume does not equal quality and had theirs cranked up to rib-shaking levels, and 2. Either had a broken or cheap-ass projector that couldn't throw out enough light to make the film look right; as a consequence, the damn thing was dim and muddy the whole way through. (Yes, it was the projector; I'd seen the movie beforehand at a different theater. This was a second trip to fulfill a promise to someone that didn't make it the first time).

But, I've never walked out because of the film itself. When I was in high school, if the movie was bad enough that everybody in the audience was reacting badly, my friends and I would just MST3K it. That absolutely made "Freddy takes Manhattan" bearable, because the movie itself was utter tripe, even to an easy-to-please highschooler.

In later life, I simply became more selective, but I usually still stuck through a film just to see if it got better. For good reason too; for one of my now favorite films, the first time I saw it, I was tempted to walk out on it (or at least fall asleep). The first half/three-quarters were so painfully boring that I was in anguish; long, slow, slow-developing, talky, seemingly self absorbed in the setting and characterizations to the detriment of the plot (i.e. too much "acting", not enough storytelling...). But I stayed and got rewarded. The movie was Eastwood's Unforgiven, and it's one of my all time favorites now. The last quarter of the film makes everything that came before worth seeing. It also taught me viewing patience, and the value of waiting for the film to develop at its own pace.


More in the spirit of the thread: I've stopped plenty of tapes & DVDs before the end. The standard bearer for not watching through was Troma's "Terror Firmer". Yow... you all complain about other films, but I guarantee you that nothing holds a candle to that. And I say that having seen more than one Uwe Bol movie. What a disaster of a flick.

ballyfager said...

Early in this thread someone mentions The World According To Garp. Well, I never saw the movie but the book was so bad I hate John Irving to this day.

I think he was trying to be Joseph Heller. He missed.

knoxwhirled said...

If all copies of these could be destroyed, maybe then there would be peace in the world.

While you're at it destroy the books too. House of Sand and Fog is a pointless and infuriating read.

T Migratorious said...

I don't recall ever walking out of a movie, but I observed one hilarious walkout. When I was in college, my (first) husband and I and another couple went to see some "Swedish sex manual" movie at a campus theater. About halfway through a couple in the third row got up and the guy announced to the crowd, "I think we've learned enough to get us through tonight," and they left to uproarious laughter.

That was 35 years ago. Still makes me laugh.

Eric said...

I don't walk out often, but the last one I did walk out on was Persepolis, because I didn't realize it was animated, and I just couldn't sit through an animated film. A shame, because the subject matter interested me and I know I would have loved it had it been "real."

Brian said...

I walked out on Doomsday - which may still be showing in some theaters - because after about an hour, I realized I didn't care about what happened next. Nothing offended me, and it didn't absolutely suck, but there was for me zero suspense.

I walked out on the 2007 version of Sleuth (with Michael Caine playing the older man) after too long - maybe an hour - because the film and characters were so unremittingly ugly, I almost felt implicated in the ugliness by staying. No big surprise, actually: Elderly lefty icon Harold Pinter wrote the screenplay.

blake said...


Shoulda read my review.

Animation is very dicey. The responses here to CGI I think illustrate (heh) that very well.

I have a hard time watching the heavily "realistic" CGI like Beowulf but I love, love, love Pixar.

Ants on the other hand is weirdly ugly. Partly the brownish color scheme, but mostly the ants themselves--they're over-humanized in a way that invokes the Uncanny Valley.

One can get used to it.

By contrast, the same year's A Bug's Life goes cartoony enough to avoid the feeling. It's probably Pixar's weakest film, and it's still very, very rich and watchable.

I think a lot of the reaction to CGI is generational. I don't see a lot of kids complaining about it.

Kirk Parker said...


"My favorite Meg Ryan performance(s) by a long shot."

Does she avoid her usual excessive perkiness?

Flood said...

I walked out on Waking Life. It was dizzying, pretentious and insufferable. I was with a group so I couldn't really leave but the lobby was infinitely more entertaining.

Also, Wolf Creek. I don't know what I expected, but I liked the barren landscape of Australia before all the standard bloody horrors happened. Then I'd had enough.

blake said...

Wolf Creek illustrates a pet peeve of mine. The "based on a true story" movie where the bulk of the movie consists of parts that nobody could possibly know.

Nice to know that the Aussies are at least as prejudiced against their rednecks as we are against ours, I guess.

essaybee said...

oh I wish I had stopped by the day this was posted!

Only movie I ever walked out on: The Wall.

anon3334 said...

wait, tyou walked out of a 1968 movie in 1970? Movies played for two years after their release back then?

Ann Althouse said...

Back in the days of no VCRs, they played movies from the recent past on campus very frequently. It cost $2 to see them, as compared to 50¢ to see an older movie (at Cinema Guild).

blake said...

Not only that, there were revival houses, at least in some urban areas, and lots more 2nd run theaters which would dabble in old movies.

I'm not nearly old enough but I saw War of the Worlds and When World's Collide as a double-feature when I was a kid.

VCRs put a lot of those places in the grave, as have home theaters. (sigh)

Amanda said...

I walked out on The Majestic. God. Everything about that movie was snore and boring.

I also walked out on Bewitched (Nicole Kidman/Will Ferrell, I think) because it was just plain STUPID, and I have a tolerance for shitty comedies.

Lara said...

On my best friends 13th birthday, her mother got us into Saw 3, and she loves scary movies. By the first half hour, it was down to me, my best friend, her other friend, and her mom and sister. 15 minutes after that, I walked out, me and three others who had walked out previously, sat on the bench, trying to forget the experience. I'll never see an R rated movie with her again. :]