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What you walked out of

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Mark Kermode | 15:53 UK time, Monday, 6 April 2009

I only just held my nerve for Martyrs while some of you were all but driven under the exit lamps by different cinematic tortures...

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  • Comment number 1.

    I've not walked out of anything. If I paid to see it, then I stick it through to the bitter end. The worst experience in a cinema was "Ocean's Twelve". What a hideously smug and dull mess that was - the only time I have nearly fell asleep in a cinema.

    That said, I do deserve some of the blame sometimes. I sat through the hideous "Pluto Nash" several times, mostly for the purposes of a video review, and, suffice to say, it was agonising.

  • Comment number 2.

    I fell asleep during Troy. My friend kept nudging me awake as my snoring was disturbing the guy sitting next to me. Every time I woke up I kept thinking "Oh no, this awful dull film is STILL on".

  • Comment number 3.


    Curious stuff on films having extreme emotional and physical affects on certain audience members.

    Highlights the motion picture folklore of a man having a heart attack during a screening of Jaws, coupled with the seizure suffered by an individual watching the syringe-through-the-chest sequence in Pulp Fiction.

    Quizzed on the latter, Tarantino would - supposedly - quote Spielberg on the former:

    "This movie (appropriate expletive) works!!"

    Disregarding the validity of these events, are reactions of this ilk a positive sign that a film has made sufficient impact?

    Regarding my own experiences, someone in the auditorium fainted during the last reel of Hannibal. Possibly connected with brain matter nourishment?!

  • Comment number 4.

    I can never bring myself to leave a film, no matter how vile. It's a compulsion to reach the end.

    Here's hoping for the re-release of Irreversible and Last House On The Left. As a 3D double-feature.

    If it's really that immersive someone may actually lose their life.

  • Comment number 5.

    I've never seen The Piano. I do trust your judgement Mark, so I probably never will see it, but I'm sort of curious as to what it's like. I mean WHAT can be in there that's so bad? I refuse to give my money to the people responsible however, so it's gotta be terrestrial TV or nothing.

  • Comment number 6.

    haha my mum loves the piano. it certainly doesn't sound like my cup of tea. i really wanted to walk out of indiana jones 4, once it had gotten to the point where shia la boof had already done the best fight sequence, they had overtaken the russians, and they had just picked up the crystal skull - which should have been called the bad-guy repellent. what a pile that film was.

    oh, and thanks for reading out my comment, as i promised in a post a while back, i shall now refer to you as dr. kermode, so thanks, dr. kermode.

  • Comment number 7.

    The only movie I've ever walked out of was Pulp Fiction. I'll never understand why Tarantino is so lauded. Hasn't anyone ever told him a story is supposed to have a beginning, a middle and an end - preferably in that order? I suspect the whole mix-it-up thing was a vain attempt to conceal that there wasn't actually a story to be found. I'd say that Pulp Fiction is another movie reviewed by its title, except some pulp fiction is pretty good. This really wasn't.

    There is another movie I longed to walk out of, but couldn't: I took my neighbour's daughter to see the first My Little Pony absolutely horrific experience. The little girl loved it; I nearly died of the sugar overdose!

  • Comment number 8.

    I walked out of 'Unbreakable', I think that might be the only one. I went to see 'Step-Brothers' recently and a late middle-aged couple walked out of that, God knows why they were there in the first place. I don't blame them, it was terrible, although the only really funny bit was the awkward hug at the end. At home I didn't make it through 'The Notebook', just couldn't hack that. As a variation on a theme you could ask people which films they wished they'd walked out of, I'm nominating 'Lovers of the Arctic Circle' for one.

    I thought Pulp Fiction was great, Welsh Morgan, and so did my geeky, Christian older sister which is saying something. The whole point is that it makes sense at the end so you should go back and watch it again really. I thought Kill Bill was terrible though, I didn't bother watching the sequel.

  • Comment number 9.

    haha, welsh morgan said "I suspect the whole mix-it-up thing was a vain attempt to conceal that there wasn't actually a story to be found."

    it's funny, i've got no problem with fragmented narrative OR pulp fiction, but it's funny you should say that. when i was at uni, me and my friend wrote a short film that we only shot half of, and so we decided to fragment the narrative so it would replace incoherence with artsiness. :D

  • Comment number 10.

    On the subject of films I wish I'd walked out of, I *wish* I'd walked out of AI at the point where it *should* have ended.

  • Comment number 11.

    Cheers Mark for reading out my comment!

  • Comment number 12.

    One film I'm glad I didn't see in the cinema is Gangs Of New York. I rented it, and after what felt like the first 6 hours I had to stop it and live out the rest of my day. I then went back to it the following morning and watched the next 2 hours, and decided I needn't have watched any of the stuff I saw the day before. So long, so expensive, and so utterly terrible.

    It's interesting about the effect of a director suggesting you will walk out. I am going to see a screening of Eden Lake followed by a Q&A with the Director in a couple of weeks. I've not seen the film and was somewhat anxious to hear you mentioning you found bits of it difficult on the show on Friday. I am not good with graphic horror, and found the clips of Texas Chainsaw Massacre in American Nightmare difficult to handle.
    I fear for my stomach during that screening.

  • Comment number 13.

    The ending of AI is actually very very dark, lots of people think it's a happy ending but it's not... Mechas have evolved into an alien-looking humanoid form. They find David and Teddy. Using David's memories, the mechas reconstruct the Swinton home, and explain to him via a mecha of the Blue Fairy that he cannot become human. However, they recreate Monica from a lock of her hair which has been faithfully saved by Teddy, but she will live for only a single day and the process cannot be repeated. David spends the happiest day of his life playing with Monica and Teddy. Monica tells David that she loves him and has always loved him as she drifts to sleep for her final time. This was the "everlasting moment" he had been looking for, he closes his eyes, falls asleep for his first time and dies.

    I've walked out of The Night of the Museum (waste of talent), I've fallen asleep a couple times in films, I clearly remember falling alseep at Running Scare (2006) and later buying it on dvd and realizing it was quite a interesting film.

  • Comment number 14.

    Dr Kermode.
    Due to your enviously completist knowledge in extreme cinema;
    I am just gagging to know if you have seen the Japanese Guinea Pig films, and if so what you thought of them!
    As if it is ultra sadistic, grainy, offensive, repulsive nastiness you want - that is where you find it.

  • Comment number 15.

    Thank you for reading out my comment Dr. K.

    By the way I quite liked the piano.

  • Comment number 16.

    I will,without hesitation, walk out of anything with Phil Collins on the soundtrack.

  • Comment number 17.

    I found the Piano more effective than barbiturates, and someone threw up all over themselves during the intracardiac adrenaline shot in Pulp Fiction, which was highly amusing.

  • Comment number 18.

    i hate phil collins as much as the next guy, but i would have never walked out of american psycho, and not just coz it feels really short (what with only covering a quarter of the book).

    as for gangs of new york, it's not terrible, but i have a hard time accepting that it's really directed by martin scorsese.

  • Comment number 19.

    "The only movie I've ever walked out of was Pulp Fiction."

    HAHA Thats classic, Mark has to mention that one in one of his up and coming blogs.
    But fair play for sticking all the way through with My Little Pony.
    Grown men who have to watch that deserve a medal if you ask me.
    I salute you Welsh Morgan

  • Comment number 20.

    I'm with you tommus-jay. Indiana Jones 4 was absolutely atrocious. The only film I've ever come close to abandoning at the flick house.

    How the hell did Spielberg go from the outstanding the worst film of 2008?!

  • Comment number 21.

    @IanSchultz - I do remember how AI ended, but the fact is that it felt to everyone I know, and everyone in the screening, that it should have ended under the sea. People were getting audibly restless after that. I think the earlier ending would have been much, much better, but regardless of that, it's just bad film-making when a film makes it seem like it's reached its conclusion, only to go on for another half hour and bore you to death.

    Regarding Indiana Jones 4, I didn't think it was completely atrocious, just quite bad, so I stuck it to the end. My brother says he walked out though.

  • Comment number 22.

    I also nearly walked out of Indiana Jones 4. The bit that nearly did it for me was the line 'I have a bad feeling about this.' Absolutely horrible.

  • Comment number 23.

    Yeah but the pay off for staying was seeing Cate Blanchett's brain explode.

  • Comment number 24.

    that was just a lame cgi version of the ending of raiders though

  • Comment number 25.

    I've never walked out of a film! I left one once but that was because I'd fallen asleep and missed a couple of reels - it was the midnight show on the fourth day of a festival. But usually: if I think it's going to be something I'm going to walk out of, I don't walk in.

    I have switched off precisely one DVD: a camcorder production called Sudden Fury in which non-actors bellow obscenities at each other for the first 15 minutes. Call me crazy, but that isn't enough.

  • Comment number 26.

    Junior, with Arnold Schwarzenegger. I'm not sure why I was there in the first place - or why Emma Thompson was either!

  • Comment number 27.

    The only film I have been close to walking out of, and wished I had was "Blair Witch". Claiming to be new and original it was just a poor rip off of Cannibal Holocaust.

    Boring, slow and of no merit...

    Worst of all I paid for w2 tickets (wife as well) and we both hated it.....

    How were so many people duped by this?

  • Comment number 28.

    cannibal hololcaust is still on my 'to watch' list, but i think with blair witch, it really really depends on the attitude of the person seeing it. if you go into it with the decision that you're gonna run with it, it's really scary, but if you go in and decide early on that it's boring or a rip off or whatever, you'll get nothing from it.

  • Comment number 29.

    There was a lot of hype surrounding the release of blair witch so inevitably it did not not live up to my expectations and sent me to sleep. I also fell asleep in Driving Miss Daisy which didnt impress my date although I didnt get as much of an ear-bashing for that as I did for taking her to see Michael Moore's Roger & Me (It was the scene where a woman killed a rabbit to eat it by beating it with a lead pipe).

  • Comment number 30.

    Insightful video again, Mark.

    Well for me, my patience got tested as a child, when I saw Star Wars: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace at a large Odeon cinema in Nottingham with a play scheme I was at, at the time.

    I remember gettting so annoyed with the seemingly endlessly superfluous action CGI sequences and Jar Jar Binks, that I got bored pretty quick.

    Yeah, even at that age, I was insulted, so I made my excuses to go to the toilet, even though I knew I had to come back so the adults with us wouldn't be worried about me. If not, I would've nipped into Broadmarsh to do window shopping or something ... anything!

    Seriously, when you're routing for the villian all the way, something is seriously wrong...

  • Comment number 31.

    I'm champion at walking out of films.

    Recent escapes that spring to mind are (in order of ascending awfulness):

    Clone Wars. The final nail in my childhood's coffin.

    Diary of the Dead. The bit where she says she put music over the video to "add to the impact" or some such nonsense. You can actually have a film with no music in it y'know (Cloverfield, No Country For Old Men). Tedious emo bilge.

    Burn Before Reading (Leave Before Ending). A film so utterly pointless and devoid of charm, wit or character that until re-watching the amazing No Country last night I'd even forgotten that I'd been to see it.

  • Comment number 32.

    The closest I ever came to walking out of a film in recent years was Juno when the characters started playing a Hole song a horror far worse than the Martyrs and Texas Chainsaw Massacres of this world

  • Comment number 33.

    I didnt walk out butI fell asleep watching Star Trek V the one were they go to find God, and when I woke up my mates had left saying that not only was the film bad my snoring caused them to walk.

    Only film ive walked out was Sex and the City leaving my gf and her sister to sit through the dross.

  • Comment number 34.

    The only film I have ever walked out of was Copland. Which on reflection was an odd choice (I was younger) as it's not actually that bad. A bit long, or rather, the plot is a tad short for the running time. But otherwise it's a perfectly acceptable piece of work.

    I would have walked out of Pret a Porter, but as a young teenager out with my girlfriend I found alternative means of entertainment (which would really annoy me now, but heh! I was young). The film just seemed so 'plastic' for want of a better word. Actually I must revisit this as Robert Altman's work is usually so great. Maybe I've missed a trick. The ending was great (like I said I was young!)

    I kept the faith with Punch Drunk Love, but I don't know why as it was unintelligable, unitelligent s***e!

    Perhaps I should start to walk out of movies more, the only counter argument to this is that of late the film industry would appear to have bucked its ideas up somewhat. Or is it just that I listen to the good Dr more and so have missed the likes of Role Models (no thanks to the sterling comments by his erstwhile Radio 1 counterpart).

    On a seperate point I would just like to say how much I enjoyed Taken. Now that is a film which delivers Entertainment (note capitals), not necessarily food for thought, but what a ride! Loved it.

  • Comment number 35.

    Eye's Wide Shut. I got to the utterly boring conversation between Cruise and Kidman and thought, life is too short and left.

    I almost walked out of the Secretary, but somehow managed to hang on until the disappointing end.

    I also fell asleep in Spawn, if that counts.

  • Comment number 36.

    I didn't, but wish I had, walk out of Batman Forever (was that whole movie shot in close-ups?) Matrix Reloaded (just awful) Superman Returns (Superman as a Peeping Tom. WTF)and Natural Born Killers.

  • Comment number 37.

    I have never walked out of a movie. The closest I have come was when I was forced to watch Breaking the Waves, as part of my Film Studies degree.

    What an awful film. It looks terrible, it's incredibly boring, and the eventual conclusion, when Emily Watson 'Martyrs' herself in order to save her crippled scumbag husband - just no! Then there are those 'heavenly bells' - WHAT??

  • Comment number 38.

    I walked out of No Way Out back in the 80s. I have no idea what it was about, though I certainly did feel trapped in the Streatham Odeon, with Rachel Ward being extremely wooden. Also slept through most of.. oh god I can't even remeber the title, oh yes, the remake of Solaris starring George Clooney's bum - even that couldn't hold my attention!

  • Comment number 39.


    The Piano is outstanding, so beautiful, moving and poignant. Boring! Did we see the same movie Mark?

  • Comment number 40.

    I'm happy to say I've never walked out of a cinema, part way through but did see people walk out of The Passion and also "Standard Operating Procedure".

    Which I cannot blame them, it's a hard watch! I thought about leaving. Not one second is uplifting.

  • Comment number 41.

    I recently watched 'Wolf Creek' while at a friend's house. The option of just getting up and walking out wouldn't really have worked as my house was about a hundred miles away. If I had seen it in a cinema, I would have called it quits after one of the girls is thrust onto a meathook, breaking her back. Disgusting film, made for people who enjoy seeing young women raped and tortured to death.


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