loaded question: What movie(s) do you regret watching?

It’s Thanksgiving in the United States this week, so a lot of people will be thinking and talking about gratitude and blessings and crap like that, so let’s go in the opposite direction:

What movie(s) do you regret watching? If so, which ones? If none, why not?

As a movie professional, I am duty bound to say — and it really is true — that I never regret watching even the worst, most unredeeming of movies. There is always something to learn, even if it’s just how or what not to do onscreen. But I do not expect many movie fans to share my expansive and ecumenical spirit.

(You can also discuss this at Substack or Patreon, if you prefer. You don’t need to be a paying subscriber to comment, but you will need to register with either site to do so.)

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Tue, Nov 23, 2021 12:30pm

As an enthusiastic amateur in the world of film, I tend to feel the same way. I’ve watched some films generally regarded as pretty darn bad, and I’ve always got some enjoyment out of them. Plan Nine From Outer Space is full of enthusiasm outrunning competence. Future World has pretty and fascinatingly cheap locations (and Milla Jovovich who’s clearly the only person who’s realised she’s in a piece of rubbish and has fun chewing the scenery). Apollo 18 and The Last Days on Mars had great openings before they lost the plot. Even Parts per Billion had some arty camerawork.

The ones I come closest to regretting are the soulless corporate product. The Tom Cruise Mummy. The Day the Earth Stood Still remake. The films with nothing to say except “we licenced this name, you know this name, give us money”. Even they have their moments, though if I’d paid cinema money I’d feel distinctly ripped off.

Tue, Nov 23, 2021 1:30pm

The film that immediately popped into my mind was an Edward Norton film called The Illusionist. Long story short (spoilers): the film asks us to root for the forbidden romance between a commoner stage magician and a duchess, but it turns out the solution to their problem is to fake her murder, frame her innocent (albeit unpleasant) fiancé for it, and drive him to suicide as he’s being arrested. Then they meet up and run away and live happily ever after!

Maybe it could be argued that the film was subverting audience expectations and forcing us to question where our sympathies lie, but I don’t think so; I think the filmmakers just failed to thoroughly examine the moral implications of the story. I’m sure I’ve seen and forgiven movies more ethically questionable than this one, but for some reason this just massively pissed me off.

Tue, Nov 23, 2021 10:18pm

I immediately thought of Thor and, nope, my opinion hasn’t changed. Ragnarok was great. The first Thor installment still bites.

There probably are other movies that I regret, but, I have usually just left them once I can’t take it anymore, so, I don’t count them.

Wed, Nov 24, 2021 9:55pm

only three i can think of off the top of my head: Spawn, Something About Mary, and… maybe,The Apostle..

Thu, Dec 02, 2021 2:17pm

Battlefield Earth. Such a waste of talent (in Forrest Whitaker, the Scientologist actors who partook in this movie can all suck it) and money.

Sun, Jan 30, 2022 7:27am

It’s hard to say – one thing that comes to mind is the way watching certain kinds of horror is like playing chicken with myself – like testing my limits and trying to find the spiciest hot pepper, and then ending up with an ulcer from it – but it’s not really fair to blame the pepper – a movie like Wolf Creek, for example – I felt like I’d had food poisoning – but that was because the movie was so well done, so it had an impact – maybe we need a numerical scale of Scoville heat units for movies, like we have for hot peppers? lol