I Walked Out of Two Movies and Learned Two Lessons
This title makes me sound like a protester. But if you know me well, you know that I don’t own a megaphone, and I can’t create a poster board. Plus, I’m an introvert, and I like praying in my closet.
And yet. Last week I walked out of two movies. Same theater. Same day. What gives?! (And no...this time I'm not sharing the names of the films.)
I only sat through the first movie for twenty minutes. All I wanted was a popcorn-worthy, no-thinking-required movie experience. But, after twenty minutes, the CGI plus the hollow acting overwhelmed me.
So, I left. And for your information, I didn’t light my hair on fire, chain myself to the railing, or shine my iPhone flashlight on my face to get everyone to come with me. I simply got up and walked out. Everyone probably thought I needed to use the facilities or refill my skittles.
I asked the manager if I could swap my ticket for another movie. “The movie was really bad,” I said. He looked at me, “Yes, but remember, you chose this movie.” He was right. “Of course. You’re so right.” He handed me the new ticket, and I walked to my new theater.
The movie started, and when the first scene came to an end, I thought to myself…aww, yes, much better acting, a solid use of special effects. No wonder this movie was highly rated both by the critics and audiences.
But then it happened, the daughter started talking back to her mom and the stepdad was a bumbling idiot. I knew why the filmmaker was doing this: he wanted us to feel compassion for the daughter and to see the story through her eyes, but I didn’t like the strategy taken. The film was making a subtle, subversive statement.
Yes, I realize sometimes parents can be foolish and children wise, but films use particular situations, scenes, relationships to make generalizations about the real world. This generalization armed and aimed at the family, something I’ve seen in dozens of other films, only served to feed the cultural wave of disrespect towards parents, and especially father-figures.
Come on! Parents have enough to care for...they don't need movies throwing them under eighteen wheeler again and again...
But, the movie was fun, and I spent six dollars, so I waited.
When the movie was ⅔ over, the little voice started. “You’re wasting your time. You only spent six dollars.” I calmed the voice as long as I could…and then I left.
Back to my car. And I drove away.
I was reminded of two important lessons that day.
There are two types of bad stories. The first is bad due to its artistic failings. The second is bad due to its worldview.
Time is valuable and limited. Scripture says our lives are like a mist--we are here one moment and then gone the other (James 4:14). Wisdom calls us to consider how we use our most valuable resource: time.
Have you ever walked out of a movie? Why? Was the film bad for reason one or two?
P.S. Would you like a practical guide on how to watch a movie with a Christian perspective? I'd love to send you my webinar and booklet titled, "Engaging the Trojan Horse: Watching Movies with a Christian Perspective. Just email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll send it to you for free.
Dane Bundy is president of Stage & Story and cast chaplain at LifeHouse Theater in Redlands, CA.