On when and if to leave the cinema

May 14, 2010

This Tyler Cowen profile outlines Tyler Cowen’s thinking on why he leaves the cinema if the films is shabs:

“This is one of Cowen’s favorite rules, as it relates to consumption of information. “People should be more willing to walk out of movies,” he tells anyone who will listen. “Most movies — they grab you or they don’t, and if they don’t, just leave. Just go. You have already lost money. Why lose the time?”

Now, i know Big Wool is a massive proponent of the cinema walk out. What i want to know is – when is the right time? There’s always the risk that should you walk, the film then gets good. Is there a hard and fast rule to this? Speak to me.


4 Responses to “On when and if to leave the cinema”

  1. Joycemate said

    I wouldn’t know – I’ve never walked out of a film. You pay your money, you watcha da film.

    The closest I’ve come is falling asleep during ‘Hook’ starring Robin Williams.

    • copelington said

      I spent the last 3 hours of Titanic counting the tiles on the ceiling.

      I suspect this is where my hatred of the cinema stems from.

  2. TBM7 said

    Tyler Cowen is of course bang on the money here: “You have already lost the money. Why lose the time?”

    What he identifies is one of the central tenets of Consumer’s Logic: I have spent this money; I must therefore obtain value for my money. The Consumer then sets off in pursuit of the abstract ‘value’.

    (Another strand from this school of logic is: If it is discounted, it is good value.)

    In the specific example of walking out of films (or giving up on books) there is of course a balancing act to be performed – hence McCrack’s question: when is the right time.

    There are a number of methodologies here.

    The Shakespeare in Love.
    The film is either not meant for you (i.e. you are almost the polar opposite of its intended target audience) or is, simply, shit. Walk out as soon as either of these things becomes apparent to you.

    The Heat.
    You have high expectations of this film. It’s been talked up to the max. It’s by a big name director and/or features some seriously heavyweight actors, perhaps squaring up for the first time in cinema history. But after 90 minutes you realise you’ve spent the last 75 minutes wondering what else you could have been doing. Walk out.

    The Metallica: Some Kind of Monster
    You’ve spent approximately 2 hours thinking: ‘No point in walking out now, it’ll be over any minute.’ But then it carries on. And on. You keep telling yourself, ‘Just 5 more minutes’. Stop doing this and walk out.

    The Crash.
    You’re 20 years old and on a first date with a girl you only just met. You take her to the cinema without knowing what’s on, thinking ‘there’s always something’. You get there and discover that the only practical option (re showtimes etc) is Crash, a David Cronenbourg film based on the book by JG Ballard and centering around a cast of characters who seek sexual pleasure from car accidents. Abandon any thoughts you had of luring your date into The Popcorn Trick, collect both your coats, apologise profusely (“I honestly had no idea”…) and walk out.


    • It’s interesting that you mention ‘Heat’.

      We watched it only recentley. Mrs Cannon thought is was total bobbins. I was certainly disappointed by such a massively hyped film. I thought the ending was quite good, but it was very long. We ended up watching it in two sittings.

      The film did provide me with ample opportunity to perfect my De Niro impression and also develop my Pacino…

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