Which movies have you not been able to finish?
Some things are just too darn difficult to follow through right to the end. Monopoly. Baseball. The Oscars. But surely setting aside a measly two hours to watch a film in your own home should be no trouble, right? Wrong…
Ironically, this is a post I have been meaning to write for some time – like Super Mario Bros 3, I just never felt able to complete it. Admitting you decided to switch off a classic movie part of the way through because you were bored, tired or disgusted is not easy to put into words. There have been a number of times when I have sat down to watch a film, only to find ten minutes in that there is something else I’d rather be doing. Like holding my hand in the freezer for an hour and 45 minutes. Of course there are some films everyone should try to see, but at the same time movie-watching should never be a chore, and if you’re stuck watching something you don’t like you should have the balls – and the sense – to turn it off. You should also have the nerve to not be ashamed of it either, even it it means dissing what others call a classic.
I have never walked out of a movie at the cinema (that’s a subject for another post as I’m sure many of you have). There have been times when I should have walked out of the cinema (if Tim Burton is a regular reader of our blog, he will once again realise I am referring to his Planet Of The Apes) but I’m usually selective – perhaps too narrow-mindedly selective – enough in my viewing choices that I rarely go to see a complete dud. In the comfort of my own home, however, things are entirely different. I had gone a long time without ejecting a DVD in frustration seven minutes after inserting it, but recently my patience seems to have deserted me.
Let’s start with a biggie. I was round at the less-than-humble abode of RvR contributor Lester Square a few weeks ago when I slyly noticed he had a still-packaged copy of acclaimed Italian crimefest Gomorrah hiding behind his TV. After much faffing (Lester argued he might watch it that weekend, even though it had been sitting behind his TV for more than a year. Thankfully, Mrs Square was on hand to persuade him otherwise) he allowed me to take it home. And so I left Square Towers with Gomorrah, although I forgot my umbrella. If I could go back in time, I would swap them around.
A few days later I slid Gomorrah into my DVD player and sat back ready to enjoy it. And then… nothing. Gomorrah just didn’t grab me at all. Its disparate tales of Naples drugs gangs were so disparate that I didn’t feel any connection to any of the characters. I didn’t care who lived or died. It was all a bit… cold. I could tell this was the type of film I was ‘supposed’ to be liking but I didn’t enjoy it. I gave it 40 minutes. And then it came out of the DVD player. I had a fair idea of what the movie was going to be like – I wasn’t expecting Goodfellas-style gangster entertainment – but I just didn’t get it. Put simply, I was bored. Perhaps if I watch the remaining one hour and 40 minutes (!) it will all make sense. But you know what? I’m not sure I’ll ever do that.
Another movie I watched a few weeks ago got nowhere near the 40-minute mark. There may be some people out there who have seen Laurel Canyon and think it’s good, but don’t let them talk you into watching it. In fairness, the couple who lent it to me on DVD informed me it was shit, and I quite like shit films, but this was a whole new level of shit. Laurel Canyon opens with Christian Bale performing oral sex on Kate Beckinsale. But don’t let that fool you. Frances McDormand… I’m not sure what else you could have been doing during that week of filming – washing your hair, chopping tomatoes – but you should have done it instead. Laurel Canyon defiled my DVD player for no more than ten minutes. I actually turned it off to fold some clothes. That’s how good those ten minutes were. Judging by the synopsis, I got out at just about the right time.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, I review movies quite regularly. Which means no matter how desperate I am to turn off The Ugly Truth or Law Abiding Citizen or Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead or The Informant!, I have to see them through to the end. Gerard Butler… is he the new Vince Vaughn?
But in your own time and in your own living room, I don’t think you should force yourself to finish a crap movie. Among the other films to be switched off early are Music And Lyrics (Drew Barrymore definitely went to acting school with Kate Beckinsale), Dude, Where’s My Car? (exactly like Wayne’s World, except you won’t laugh. Not in the first 17 minutes, anyway) and The Player. Yes, that’s right, Altman’s ‘masterpiece’ The Player. It came out of the VHS machine – yes, this was a while ago – within minutes. But then Robert Altman always was the king of dull movies.
WHICH MOVIES HAVE YOU BEEN UNABLE TO FINISH AT HOME?