You may recall this dialogue from the start of the Charlie’s Angels movie:
LL Cool J: Another movie from an old TV show.
Mad Bomber Guy: What are ya gonna do?
LL Cool J: Walk out.
(The punchline being that they are on an aeroplane, which leads into some sky-diving action.)
That got me thinking about walking out of movies. It seems to be the ultimate sign of a bad movie if it causes someone to walk out. I thought back to all the movies I’d seen and I could only think of one where I’d actually walked out, and two where I came really close.
The Near Walkout I
I can’t even remember what the film was, but it was some costume drama that would have come out around 1993 (possibly Scorcese’s “The Age of Innocence”). I was seeing it with my friend Renee and the film was just dragging along and being very dull and boring.
So we briefly discussed it and decided to walk out if it didn’t get better soon. Then disaster struck. Renee had recently got her nose pierced and somehow she managed to knock the stud out. She tried looking for it, but the theatre was too dark to see it. We had to wait until the film finished so she could locate the stud.
From what I can remember the film actually got better and I didn’t totally hate it, but it would have been a walkout if it weren’t for that pesky grunge-era jewellery.
The Near Walkout II
Generally speaking, the films of Jean-Claude Van Damme are pretty choice, but I think it’s fair to say that the 1995 film “Sudden Death” was just shit.
Usually in most Van Damme films there’s some reasonably plausible excuse for why there’s this guy with a French accent in the midst of a bunch of Americans (“This is Jean-Pierre from the Quebec FBI.”, “I grew up on a shrimp plantation in New Orleans.”), however in “Sudden Death” his Euro origins are ignored – he plays a character called Darren McCord.
The plot of the film has been described as “”Die Hard” in a hockey stadium”, but “Die Hard” was pretty cool and “Sudden Death” was shit, so its an unfair comparison.
I was sitting there in the theatre watching it and I realised that I knew exactly how it was going to end. The mad terrorist was going to be beaten by Van Damme, and the hockey stadium full of people would be saved. There was no suspense, no action, no drama. It was just a matter of the film getting on with filling in the blanks.
I considered walking out. Sitting there watching the rest of the film seemed like such an incredible waste of my time, even worse than the time I accidentally had dinner at Renee’s grandparents’ place (fish with white sauce and vegetables, canned fruit salad and vanilla ice cream).
But something kept me there, in the theatre. Perhaps my desire to see all of the films in Van Damme’s oevre, or maybe just laziness. However, I was on the verge of seriously walking out.
The Big Walkout
My only real walkout was due to the film making me feel sick – literally. When “Breaking The Waves” came out there was a bit of publicity surrounding the fact the the hand-held camera work was causing some audience members to experience motion sickness and people were even walking out because they felt so ill during the film.
So when I came to see “Breaking The Waves,” I thought I was pretty hardcore and would be able to handle it ok. However, I was getting over a bad cold and had been feeling crappy most of the day. I sat in my usual position (centre of the third row from the front – it’s where all the energy focuses, man) and was sure I would be ok.
But about two thirds of the way through the film I began to feel really ill. I didn’t want to leave because I was really enjoying the film, but my enjoyment was soon overridden by an increasing wave of nausea. I realised that I would have to leave or risk puking. So much to my regret I got up and left.
I ended up getting “Breaking The Waves” on video and watched it to the end without feeling nauseated.
So I’m yet to actually walk out of a movie in disgust. It’s probably not likely to happen because it seems that most films that make it to the cinemas in New Zealand aren’t that bad. Maybe I could rent a really bad video and walk out on it?