QUIT: Feeling Like I Have to Finish Every Bad Movie I Start

[Part of my mission to “live deliberately” involves ruthlessly cutting out anything that saps my time, energy or money to no good end. I’m calling these things my “Quits,” and this is the first of many items that will find themselves on my Quits List.]

credit: Vu Bui (license)


I’m Afraid This Movie Might Suck.

It’s such a letdown. You snuggle into the couch with your significant other and a bowl of popcorn, ready to while away a relaxing evening with the movie of your choice. The opening credits roll. The first scene unfolds. You watch. You munch. You don’t laugh (or cry, or scream) as much as you thought you would, but you’re hopeful. Then, slowly, the first suspicions begin to creep in:

I think this movie is going to be awful.

If you’re like me, you try to quell those suspicions for a little while in the hopes the movie hasn’t found its groove yet. You’ve been looking forward to movie night, and people have told you this movie is pretty good, so you’re willing to give it a chance.

But it just keeps getting worse. So you glance over at your s.o. to see how they’re reacting. You toss out an innocuous comment to test the waters, like, “Well this is…different…than I expected…” You hope s.o. responds with outright disgust, because by this point you’re pretty sure the movie is crap, but you don’t want to say so if s.o. is actually enjoying it.

In other words, if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably end up watching the whole damn movie, because by the time you’ve finally decided it’s unsalvageable, you’ve already wasted half your night watching it, and you figure you might as well see how the stupid thing ends. It was only a dollar at Redbox anyway, so what does it really matter?


Why It Really Matters

Of the 24 hours I have at my disposal each day, when you subtract things like work, sleeping, eating, errands, and necessary personal upkeep, I figure I have roughly two hours each day in which to do whatever I want. Or at least it feels that way most days. I can only imagine how much time people with kids must have. (I’m guessing something like negative seven?)

And for each of those two-hour slots, I have approximately 157.6 things I would like to do, including sleeping more, communing with nature, catching up on my List of Books I’ve Always Wanted to Read, and miscellaneous arts and crafts. So for a movie to fill up one of my precious free time slots, it had better be as good (or least not much worse) than any of the 157.6 other things I could be doing instead. Squandering what little time I have for myself is not in line with the whole deliberate-living philosophy.

Granted, my compulsion to finish every movie I start only accounts for a tiny portion of the ways in which I waste my own time, but I’ve got a lot of time wasters to weed out, and you’ve got to start somewhere. So the next time those suspicions start to creep in, I’m going to check with s.o. immediately, and if we’re in agreement, I’m calling it quits.

Unless s.o. really likes the movie, in which case he can finish watching while I go do my arts and crafts.

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  • i am in full support of you quitting bad movies! i recently started doing this myself, and my friends were surprisingly very vocal about their disapproval.

    here’s the thing, though… i LOVE stopping bad movies. i used to get mini-panic attacks just thinking about it. it’s like you say, i thought it might not have found it’s groove yet. or my favorite rationalization was that it could get REALLY AWESOME right after i stop it.

    that never happens. NEVER has it ever happened. stop those bad movies and do one of your other 7t896tuw890779 things you have to do in your day. it’ll feel great.

    • cordeliacallsitquits

      Hey, Deanna. Thanks for the support! I’m afraid I haven’t gotten to your level of boldness yet in actually relishing stopping a bad movie, but I definitely aim to. I think partially it’s a feeling of guilt that makes me hesitate, as in, “someone spent all this time writing/producing/acting in this movie, and it would be rude if I didn’t see it through to the end.” And partially it’s a sense of “hey, this thing got produced, which means there were people who believed in it, so there MUST be something redeemable about it, right?”

      But you know what? I don’t owe anyone in Hollywood my appreciation for expecting me to sit through dreck–and you’re totally right; hoping for the best has


      yet turned out well for me. Sometimes I think my time would be better spent writing a movie of my own (it couldn’t be much worse). Bravo for taking a stand!

  • Shani

    I wonder if you watched “Bobby Z”…and if it was the movie that brought you to write this post. While reading, I thought of how my s.o. and I cuddled on the couch to watch this waste of time. He said it wasn’t so bad. I don’t think we were in the same room; we couldn’t have been (have you ever seen “Bobby Z”!? DON’T!!!) Kudos for killing the time-suckers in life 🙂

    • cordeliacallsitquits

      I have not seen it, and thanks you to, I will make a point to never do so in the future! 🙂

  • Brad

    I stopped watching “Magnolia” half an hour into it. Best decision I ever made when it comes to movies, or so I was told, by my roommate who finished it.

    • cordeliacallsitquits

      I finished it, and your roommate was right. 😀

  • I love that analysis–is this movie better than, or as good as, all the other things I could be doing? And if not–drop it!

    I was an English major in college, writing emphasis, and an aspiring novelist now. One of the most valuable things any college professor ever said to me was: “Every single other thing you let into your life will get into your way of your writing.” And it’s true! Which doesn’t mean I don’t let other things into my life (friends, and a paying job come to mind) but on those extraneous things–those things that fill that free two hours of the day–I definitely think about whether this is important enough to let it get into the way of my writing. Like bad movies.

    That same professor also once told us about some movie adaptation of a book, and said that our lives would be better off for not seeing it…too bad I can’t remember anymore which one it was.

    Anyway, thanks for the post, and good luck on NaNoWriMo!

  • I’ve been thinking about this myself. Partially about movies but more about bad books or anything else that isn’t keeping my interest. I tend to finish books even if I’m not liking most of it, just so I can write it on my list. I’ve gotten better at dropping some books.

    Great post!

    • 🙂 You can still put that ‘bad book’ on your list – the list of “Books I never finished (and why)”.