It’s what I did while watching Oliver Stone’s dreadful Nixon, a dull, overstuffed journey into the life of Tricky Dick. The darkness of the theater, the film’s length and the fact that walking out would mean deserting my friends all prevented me from running the heck outta there.
So I writhed. Shifted in my seat. Tapped my fingers.
As Father Merrin from The Exorcist might cry: “The tedium of the movie compelled me!”
What else can we do in the face of such cinematic horrors? It’s even worse when you’re at a screening, where one must maintain a kind of politesse. Your power to criticize vocally is taken away from you. You’re even removed from any light—so there goes your ability to exit without stepping in someone’s popcorn.
The movie is your master. And you can’t do anything about it.
That’s why, these days, I prefer watching flicks on TV. You can always change the channel if, say, Nixon graces your screen. You can always go to the kitchen to get a snack or spend an inordinate time in the bathroom if the film takes too long.
The power of TV compels me … to embrace it. As well as remember that we still have the capacity, as consumers, to avoid the worst movies.
More power to us.