The movies I turned off, or walked out of

31 May 2012

Hot Tub Time Machine. Survived 20 minutes. So horrible I ceased to care whether it might get better. Oh, John Cusack, what happened to the Tapeheads days?

Julia. Tilda Swinton is always good in the depressive, self-loathing mode she mastered for films like We Need to Talk About Kevin, but she rarely appears as she does in Erick Zonca’s 2009 film: as a manic, beautiful alcoholic forestalling self-loathing with as many drinks as possible. But as riveting as she is, this film was unbearable to watch — the tale is so dark, and her character is on such a bleak downward spiral. Survived 35 minutes.

Ten. I want to like Abbas Kiarostami’s films more than I really do; I’m somewhat baffled by my annoyance. I was only able to make it through 15 minutes of this 2002 film, which apparently traces a single Iranian woman chauffeuring passengers in her car all over Tehran (with the camera positioned directly in front of the windshield, often in very long shots). The first scene, in which her son behaves badly and brattily during their ride, simply left me thinking, “Can I stand this for 5 more minutes, much less 94 more?”

Oldboy. But that’s because the Netflix version was dubbed (and badly): survived only 3 minutes. I can hardly wait to see the subtitled version. And the American remake.

The Witches of Eastwick. What’s not to like about Susan Sarandon and a story about witches? I asked myself when I turned it on. Then I discovered what not to like: Jack Nicholson in his Jack phase (ca. 1987), an impressively stupid plot, and the worst directing ever by George Miller.

Ugh. Even making a list like this puts a bad taste in my mouth. Let’s cleanse our palates with an example of how to write an Oscar-winning film, shall we? Courtesy of Cracked:

[Appreciative laughter; murmured approval; catch-phrase.]

9 Responses to “The movies I turned off, or walked out of”

  1. I, too, did not like Witches of Eastwick. May I add a movie that we walked out of? Eyes Wide Shut. I found this movie so misogynistic, I wanted to throw up!

    • Didion Says:

      Never saw it! Perhaps because I heard so much terrible stuff about it.

      Can I just say it’s very handy to have lists of Movies Not To See? So helpful when choosing what to watch of an evening.

  2. servetus Says:

    I remember Hot Tub Time Machine. I think we “walked out” of that together. I also haven’t seen all of Witches of Eastwick. And I haven’t been able to make myself put Hunger in the DVD player.

    • Didion Says:

      Ugh! Remember how we just couldn’t imagine it could possibly improve? What a disaster.

      I haven’t seen Hunger either. It looks a little bit like Julia — something you’ve really got to steel yourself for, and even then it might be unbearable.

  3. Spanish Prof Says:

    I walked out of Superman (the first one) and a Russian version of Snow White when I was 4-5 (early 1980, I think). I freaked out, started crying and saying that I was scared, and wanted to see cartoons. According to my mother´s best friend, my mother called her crying saying that I would grow up not knowing anything about film and I would not enjoy culture. Things change.

    • Didion Says:

      Sometimes I wonder whether I’ll catch one of these films someday on TV and think, “What was my problem back then?” But honestly, I have no problem with the idea of never returning to them.

      It was like discovering that if I didn’t like a novel after 50 pages, I could just take it back to the library. Somehow, the liberation of *not* finishing things was a fresh idea.

  4. Hattie Says:

    That trailer was a hoot.
    Off topic: Did you reading Colson Whitehead on his relationship to slasher movies? It’s in the new New Yorker. LOL funny!

    • Didion Says:

      oooh, I’ve got to see this. I’d much prefer a silly 1950s sci-fi flick, or a sleazy slasher film, than some of the pretentious movies I’ve shut off and/or walked out of.

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