Let’s consider for a moment that I have seen thousands of movies in my lifetime and more than likely have seen far worse than these. Also, keep in mind that I saw ‘Like Father, Like Son’(1987) close to 5 times in theaters. I was 11. It was the first time I was allowed to go to a movie with just my friends. And so I took advantage of it for a month. I ate a bag of plain M&M’s every time I saw that movie…because I could. Since then my tastes have been refined. I walked out of 3 of these movies physically, the other two, mentally…
Harlem Nights (1989)
Eddie Murphy’s a funny guy…let’s go see this. I went with my parents, and although I had heard my parents swear, there was something thrilling and dangerous about hearing ‘fuck’ used so liberally and unnecessarily. My Mom didn’t feel the same sense of excitement, and an hour in to this comedy we walked out.
Johnny Mnemonic (1995)
Hey, that idiot from Bill & Ted’s is trying to be an action hero. To this day I want to punch Keanu when he delivers the line ‘Double cheese & anchovies?” (It’s in the trailer here… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9m3FD-RQXU) When he followed up this movie four years later with one called ‘The Matrix’ (1999) I proclaimed that I’d seen it when it was called Johnny Mnemonic, and it was terrible. It was years before I swallowed my pride and saw ‘The Matrix’. Keanu may surprise us all one day with an award winning performance…possible…but he will always be saddled with this piece of S.
I went to see this with my friend Ryan on a rainy afternoon. But this movie wasn’t ruined by a soggy bun (see Magnolia), it was ruined by James Spader getting sodomized. This isn’t the Academy Award winning movie Crash (2004), it’s a movie about people getting into car wrecks, getting turned on, then having sex. It was based on the book by J.G. Ballard, the guy who wrote Spielberg’s ‘Empire of the Sun’ (1987). I was let down by two favorites. I’m sure this movie maintains some artistic merit, but this was James Spader’s follow-up to Stragate. Stargate!! Instead of a fun quirky movie, I felt like I was in that car with Spader being raped. If memory serves, ‘Brokeback Mountain’ has nothing on this movie. And when it stopped being subtle and went graphic, both Ryan and I threw up our hands with an exhausted laugh. We looked around the sparse theater to confirm everyone else was seeing what we were seeing. I gave Spader the benefit of the doubt and shrunk in my chair to wait it out. When the credits rolled, Ryan, having no such sense of propriety, stood up and gave a standing ovation. I was already too far shrunk in my seat to be embarrassed by his sarcasm.
I don’t need to justify this. I went because of a girl. I’ve done far stupider things to get a girl. I was ready to leave during the trailers. But I waited for her to realize what a waste of life this movie was. And when she did, 15 minutes in, we walked out. I’ve never regretted it, though I do regret the effort I made for the girl.
Well, here’s the thing. I liked this movie. I went with a group of 15 friends, and I was the only one who was gripped by the piece. But about 30 minutes in, Ryan (the same Ryan) went to get hotdogs and I forgot to specify what I wanted on it. When he came back he had made my hotdog the way he liked it…saturated in Relish. And I mean a LOT of relish. Through the wrapper I could feel that the Relish had in fact made the entire bun soggy and it was falling apart. It was a gag-reflex moment. Because he had treated, I didn’t want to offended, but there was no way I was going to stomach 2 cups of Relish. So I took the hotdog, thanked him quickly and set the hotdog on the arm rest and leaned forward towards the screen as if to signify ‘I’m too enthralled with this film to eat right now.’ I thought I was free and clear, but after Ryan finished his hotdog, he nudged me not to forget mine. I hushed him and leaned closer to the film. I wasn’t paying any attention to the movie. I was too aware of my situation. I kept up this exhausting performance for over 2 hours. I missed the point of the movie and wanted to be so far away from that ridiculous situation and that ridiculous hotdog. Later, I rented the movie and loved it, but it will forever be associated with an uncomfortable chair, a soar back and watery Relish.