That's a pretty extreme response. I think I've only walked out on one movie--some arty piece of douchebaggery that I saw when I was an undergraduate. It opened with an animal--I think it was a badger--getting run over by a car. And it went downhill from there. I stuck it out for another ten minutes, then told my friends I'd meet them at the bar.
The thing is, unless it's truly repellent, most people are too curious, intellectual, or cheap to walk out of a movie. Or, like my friends, they want to find out whether there was any point to the badger-flattening.
Even when you hate it, staying for the whole movie is a shared experience. Maybe especially if you hate it. Because then you're united against a common enemy, and your group has survived a test of character and endurance. You've bonded. You're a band of brothers, and now you can go to a bar and rip apart the people responsible for that pile of cinematic sludge. The mockery, scorn, and vituperation my group of amateur film critics heaped on the badger-squashing movie would have impressed Jonathan Swift himself. At the very least, it would have landed us all a spot on the Mystery Science Theater 3000 team. So there's that.
At any rate, I know my movie-going limits. I know I'm going to be uncomfortable at an R-rated movie. It's going to have embarrassing sex scenes or creepy drug use or dead bodies getting stuffed into a wood chipper or John Travolta getting shot on the toilet. So I don't go. And I certainly don't bring my kids.
What kills me is the reports of people walking out of Watchmen because they made the mistake of bringing their five-year-olds. Idiots.
How do I know they're idiots? It's because once--just once--I subjected my innocent child to an R-rated movie.
OK, it was The Blues Brothers. And it was on DVD.
And I don't know if you've noticed, but the print on DVDs and CDs is getting really small and hard to read. So since parents aren't getting any younger, I suggest that the R ratings and Parental Advisory stickers need to be a LOT MORE OBVIOUS.
Anyway, back to The Blues Brothers. I saw it when it was originally released, and I knew there wasn't any sex, creepy drug use, or violence. I was sure my son would enjoy it. For one thing, it's filmed in Chicago. And it has a lot of classic musical performances. And come on--John Belushi!
But I forgot about the FUCKING language.
Belushi dropped about five thousand f-bombs in the first five minutes of the movie--so many that my son--not me, my son--checked the DVD cover and discovered it was rated R.
Well, I let him finish watching it. And not just because I'm lame, but because he'd already heard the worst of it. Also, I didn't think it would be responsible parenting to let him miss the scenes where they drive their car around a mall and crash into Daley plaza.
Well, this morning one thing led to another and I spent a few minutes watching Blues Brothers clips on Youtube.
And the weird thing is how normal all that crazy driving starts to look. Crash through a window and drive around a mall? Why not--as Belushi notes, there sure is a lot of space. As for driving through the window into the Daley center? Hey, it beats waiting in line at the Cook County Assessor's office. Drive up one side of a drawbridge while it's opening and fly over a dizzying space to the other side? OMFG! How fucking cool is that???? Wow! I really, really want to go out right now and drive around.
So I've come to a couple of important conclusions about R-rated movies--even as seemingly innocuous sex-and-violence free ones like The Blues Brothers.
Obviously, children shouldn't be allowed to watch movies like this.
And neither should their mothers.