Have You Ever Walked Out of a Movie (or a Book)?

Over the last week I’ve been reading a science fiction book called The Three-Body Problem. It was recommended to me a while ago, so I got a Kindle sample. I couldn’t get into it.

However, it’s been recommended to me a number of times since then, so last week I just went for it. I bought the book and have been reading it every night. But must admit that it’s just barely holding my interest. There are some interesting concepts, but I’m 65% of the way through the book, and nothing has really happened. In fact, as far as I can tell, the big reveal of the book just happened.

I’ve walked out on books before. If I’m not eager to read more after several consecutive nights, I let it go. I think I like The Three-Body Problem a little more than those, but it might just be that I’ve gotten this far…maybe it gets really good in the final third. Someone mentioned that the second book is awesome, so that carrot on a stick has kept me going too.

As far as I can recall, I’ve only walked out of one movie, and it was more because of a girlfriend than me. It was years ago, and I took my girlfriend at the time to see a movie about deadly vines. It really isn’t even my type of movie, but I had read the book and wanted to see how it was depicted on the big screen. But my girlfriend was terrified of snakes, and the vines reminded her of snakes–I could tell that she was miserable. So we got out of there.

I don’t mean for this to be negative–I’m not looking for anyone to hate on certain books or movies. I’m just curious if you’ve ever made the choice to walk out after already investing some of your time and money in something, and what made you draw the line. I’m curious!


15 Responses to “Have You Ever Walked Out of a Movie (or a Book)?”

  1. Joe Pilkus says:

    Long before I had 35 years of RPG experience under my belt, I remember trying to read Quag Keep, a story that should’ve absolutely captured my attention, but the pace proved so slow, that I couldn’t get past page 50. The story focused on a few teenagers, who like my friends and I played D&D, but were pulled into this alternate universe. Great premise, but horrible execution.

  2. Aaron White says:

    (Twitter follow here who chatted about it) I admire you for gritting through it, and holding out for book two. The reveals mount, but book two really is “significant scifi”.

    I have absolutely walked out on all manner of media (board games included! Though never a Stonemaier one!)

    There’s too much good media to consume, too many authors or creators that are better at imparting the joy of communicating more succinctly to suffer through those that don’t put in that effort.

    The challenge I have is that there is virtue in exercising ones grit. In particular of relevance to Boardgame theme tropes, I remember when I set out to read Lovecraft his repetitive adjective heavy writing was a real slog- but I forced myself through it to develop some attention-power and was glad I did, some of his ideas about cosmic scale etc were beyond his time.

    So I don’t know how to strike the balance, it’s a slippery slope down and an uncertain to pay off one for the way up. I think if we find value in the occasional slog itself, we can make sure to find the right balance that keeps us open to great content poorly-packaged.

  3. Alex says:

    How funny. I am also at exactly 65% through The Three Body Problem also! It hasn’t held my interest (I’ll stop and read another book and come back to it.) I will definitely finish, but I have had the same thoughts as you. I do like how much science is incorporated into the story.

    The two books in the last 5 years that I have come close to walking away from were Snow Crash and The Wind-Up Girl. I switched from kindle to audio to finish those. Again, both popular and highly regarded sci-fi novels that just didn’t ignite my interest. I’m just not a quitter;)

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      That’s quite a coincidence! I listened to an audiobook of Snow Crash during a long drive, and even then it was a bit difficult to get through. I loved Seveneves by the same author, though.

  4. Derrick Hodge says:

    I was so stoked to read this series and when I got The Three Body Problem for Christmas a few years back I was over the moon. And then I read it. I really struggled with it. I managed to finish it, but had ZERO desire to finish the trilogy. I walked away and haven’t looked back. And now I could barely tell you what it was about.

    My general philosophy is if a book does grab me in the first 75 pages I will out it down and come back to it later. And the vast majority of the time when I come back, I get into it and enjoy it.

    I’ve never walked out on a movie in the theater, but I have stopped watching things at home (which I guess is fairly equivalent).

  5. dmvp says:

    I don’t recall ever walking out on a movie, but I have stopped reading many books. (I have also stopped watching shows on Netflix, etc) IMO if a book hasn’t captured your attention by the 2nd or 3rd chapter, it’s not worth my time. I’m reading for enjoyment/entertainment so if I’m slogging through too many irrelevant details and nothing exciting has happened I just stop reading. For Netflix, if the show has too much gratuitous sex and /or swearing it’s just not the show for me. Again, I’m looking for entertainment and relaxation and those types of things just don’t = entertainment for me.

  6. esotericfulcrum says:

    Not that I can recall. Though I try to be aware of the sunk cost fallacy. In fact my Legacy game group made the decision to start a campaign of SeaFall, with the agreement that we would call it quits if we weren’t enjoying it. There is a lot of mixed press about it, and we have a lot of games on our list.

    For the record, we enjoyed it, and finished the campaign, before moving on to Betrayal Legacy.

    Also for the record, Charterstone, our first game, has been our favourite.

    🙂

  7. Ken Franklin says:

    I walked out of Dawn of the Dead after 10 minutes.
    I walked out of a George Carlin concert after he started to riff on how funny preparing to commit suicide was.
    I couldn’t get into the Game of Thrones books – too much gory bloodshed.
    In my opinion, Life is too short, and too full of tasty, uplifting experiences, to endure wearying experiences. Your mileage may vary.

  8. TMac says:

    Like DMVP, the only thing I can remember dropping has been TV series. Shows I’ve dropped in the last couple of years:
    1) The Crown: After two episodes I was so bored that I found myself angry about having used my time on the show. Laura kept watching it, and admittedly, some of the later shows I caught were better.
    2) Mad Men: The sheer amount of smoking (and drinking) made me feel sick. I couldn’t keep watching it.
    3) House of Cards: I loved this show when it started, and I appreciated the shock it often provided. Eventually, though, the fact that the main characters were so unctuous, unethical, and ruthless got to be too much for me.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      I hadn’t thought about TV shows for this post (I drop them much more often than books and movies), but it’s interesting to see this list. I stuck with Mad Men throughout.

  9. Shawn McCool says:

    If you don’t like the flavor, you won’t like the book.

  10. Brent Keath says:

    I usually try to talk to friends or read enough reviews about books or movies before spending any time on them so that I can avoid doing this. But every once and awhile it’s bound to happen. I think it’s better to accept the time you’ve already lost reading or watching something bad than it is to continue going through it and potentially wasting more time.

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