« My Totally Fake 12 of 12 for August 2009 | Main | Snow Leopard/MS Entourage/Address Book NIGHTMARE »

August 25, 2009

Why I Walked Out on "District 9"

I had seen the billboards all year long.

I knew this was gonna be a great film. I mean, look at those cryptic ads! The online movement! The geek fanbase! No reason not to go. It'd be fun!

So, on a total whim, Keith and I popped in to see this District 9 last night.

Let me back up.

I've been sick. Like... in bed since Friday night sick. No, you didn't see that on Facebook or Twitter because I'm pretty dang militant about leaving everyone else out of the loop when I feel like ass. (Well, everyone other than Keith, who has to take care of me.) When folks assume I'm not posting because I'm working so dang hard that I don't have the time, I like that. That's the vibe I want out there. I'm not sick often and I'm not a good patient when I am, so I really do prefer to keep that experience in-house. (Thank you, honey.) And I *reeeeaallllly* dislike all of the, "Oh, you're sick? Poor thing. Feel better," well-meaning but overall whiny-sounding wishes. Very sweet, but really, envision me kicking ass, not getting my ass kicked. Thanks.

But Monday, I had had enough! I had just finished a call-in to LA Talk Radio (that link is an MP3; I'm in at 15 minutes) and decided I felt well enough that I had to leave the house! Had to honor the spiritual call to happy hour and a frosty vodka jalapeño passionfruit cocktail with my hubs, the old-school daiquiri drinker.

Man, that jalapeño is great for opening up "sick head" after three days! (And the cheese plate is good too.)

So, we're in this great mindspace of loving each other and having an impromptu date, celebrating my progress to being vertical for a change. The jazz trio is playing and our waitress is awesome. We're loving life, talking about all of the big plans we have for the $250M we'll win in the lottery this week. It's just a lovely night in Santa Monica. One like so many we've shared in our five years here.

As we walk back up the Promenade toward home, on a total whim, Keith and I pop in to see this District 9.

I knew it was going to be dark. But I thought maybe Ironman +2 dark. Not Ironman +200 dark. (Plus, what made the dark parts of Ironman so live-with-able for me was all the humor and the, um, yum, Robert Downey, Jr., of it all.) Even so, I can handle dark, so long as the ride is good. The story is well-told. The adventure is exciting somehow.

I never got excited. I got grossed out a couple of times. Full on covered my eyes at one point (Keith asked, "Do we need to go?" and I shook my head, sure I could soldier through it). And then I started thinking about Keith's military days and how he still has those war dreams sometimes. I realized we were watching stuff that might cause more of those. And for me too! I wasn't enjoying myself anymore. There was one particular choice that was so distasteful in my mind and heart (I won't share it here, lest spoilers exist in the sharing of it) that I turned to Keith--probably ten minutes after he asked me the question--and said, "Yeah. Can we go?" He nodded. We grabbed our stuffs. Out we went, into the welcoming, warm air and the music of the street musicians on the Promenade, tourists and homeless and locals milling happily together. Laughter. Freedom. Life.

Ahh... much better.

The last movie I walked out of before District 9 was Gone Fishin' back in grad school. I stayed put for Spice World (gleefully so) but couldn't sit through that.

Anyway, I guess I just like my cinematic journeys to be fun rides. They don't have to be HAPPY all the time. They don't have to be schmaltzy or sappy sweet. I do like the dark too. But I like the dark with just enough light that I remember it's just like life. We DO have sweetness if we choose to see it.

Oh, and because one of my fine Twitter followers asked why it is that I don't see a lot of movies, I should set the record straight.

I read a LOT of scripts. I watch a LOT of reels. I consume a LOT of TV and Internet programming. I go to a LOT of plays and showcases and comedy shows. And I attend a LOT of screenings and watch a LOT of things in less "consumer plunking down ten bucks" ways. But, yeah, it's pretty rare that I show up as a consumer and plunk down ten bucks to see a film in a theater with strangers who talk, text, smack on their popcorn, sit right in front of another patron or kick the backs of the seats in front of them, in order to "go on the ride" with an audience like that anymore. It's not as enjoyable an experience as it once was, which means if I have the option (and, because of my job and because of Keith's job, I usually do), I'll watch a screener in my laptop with a glass of wine and a pause button when needed, almost every time.

So, the comment about how long it's been since I had walked out of a movie being an indicator that "I don't go to many movies" was more about the act of seeing movies in theaters than hitting eject on ones I don't like, when I'm watching them from home. :) I do that too.

But to fork over many-many dollars for our tickets, the popcorn, my water, and Keith's soda and then forfeit that money in exchange for our happiness just 45 minutes later is a different thing. That's saying something.

In this case, it's saying, "I like the happy."

(Bonus: Up all night sick. Both the over-extending of the physical before truly well and the emotional turmoil of the film's graphic imagery were enough to keep me doubled over most the night. Whee!)

(See why I'd rather not share when I'm sick? I'd rather it just look like I'm working my arse off. Which I'm happy to get back to, today. Once I watch Glee again, in order to really cleanse the District 9 palette.)

Posted by bonnie at August 25, 2009 2:14 PM


I was the 7th person to walk out during my filming, because the hand held camera made me motion sick. My sister walked out too. We all got our money back.

Posted by: Julia at August 25, 2009 2:24 PM

Julia, I didn't even think about the handheld camera being a factor. I was just so sure it was my "still not well"-ness that made me sick. Didn't even think to ask for money back. LOL Oh well, our donation to the Peter Jackson Retirement Fund. LOL

Posted by: bon Author Profile Page at August 25, 2009 2:35 PM

Not gonna say get well... gonna say get over it and go back to being the awesomeness that is Bonnie!

Posted by: Katy at August 25, 2009 9:08 PM

I can't speak to District 9, not having seen it yet, but I find it kind of sad that one like yourself who has worked so hard to achieve success in the business, to find the cinema so unexciting.

I may not like District 9 either, but a good movie is a wonder to me--especially now that I have a better idea what it takes to get one produced. I'd hate to lose that.

Posted by: Wayne Grantham at August 25, 2009 9:22 PM

Katy, thank you. You're a GMF.

Wayne, talk about missing the point. I never said I lost anything. You've read way too much into my post (and should I say I think *that* is sad?). To assume I don't delight in going on the journey even MORE because of my job is, well, to assume. And you know how that saying goes. :\

Posted by: Bon at August 26, 2009 6:34 AM

ooooh, bonnie! you were all the buzz at trivia last night - "did you hear bonnie walked out on district 9?" "what?!" "yeah! she walked out." "do you know why?" "nope." (5 minutes later) "wow. i wonder why bonnie walked out on district 9. maybe we shouldn't see it." "nooooo... we should totally see it." "i bet i know the scene that made her leave." "shhhh! no spoilers! we haven't seen it!"


we will see district 9, but maybe we'll wait for a rainy day when being inside will be more fun than being out. =)

Posted by: scrappy at August 26, 2009 12:54 PM

Bonnie, THANK YOU for validating my reaction to District 9! It's nice to know I'm not the only one. I saw it with Eric, Travis and Rob, and they all seemed to enjoy it much more than I did. I can accept that it's a well-made movie. Fine. I can deal with dark, I can deal with violence/gore (to a point), but I have no interest in an experience that is just ugly and gritty and nasty - reveling in being those, in fact - all the way through. Why put myself through that? I had to cover my eyes a couple of times, too, and I bet I know which part you're referring to. Oh, ugh. I'm glad other people loved it. More power to 'em. I sort of wish I hadn't sat through it, though. My world just didn't need that added to it. You know. What you said.

Posted by: Catherine at August 26, 2009 9:33 PM

Bon, feel better...as you know I am a huge sci-fi freak and I loved the film...I loved that I didn't recognize anyone (except the sociologist, who I have cast before) but loved what it was saying and it's subtle comments on society. I can see how it's not for everyone...feel better...Mx

Posted by: Matthew Lessall at September 1, 2009 9:20 PM

First off, I have no idea what setting I tweaked, but I'm no longer getting email notification of all comments, so PLEASE accept my apologies, those of you who posted and didn't get a response right away. :(

Scrappy--That's HILARIOUS! LOL I love it! (And, oh, can we please coordinate trivia when I'm in ATL and Athens in February 2010? Pretty please?) Did y'all end up seeing it? I have to say, I may have loved it if I had been in another headspace. Because I ended up being sick in bed another SIX DAYS after that, I have to say, it really could've been the sick. But I'm not hankerin' to go back and give it another chance, if you know what I'm sayin'.

Lemmeknow what y'all end up doing! :)

Catherine--I just want to hug you. I was very grateful to be there with someone who wanted to leave as much as I did. I'm not sure I *could've* stayed, if someone had made me. I was so grossed out and just TURNED OFF.

Like that FB vid people posted recently about text messaging while driving? I haven't seen it. Won't see it. Everyone posts this big-ass warning about how graphic it is and how it will change your life about driving while texting and the comments are just very clearly indicating it's a tough-to-watch vid. So, why watch?

I already know not to text while driving. Why do I want to watch something that might be like "Red Asphalt," or worse, from drivers' ed days, in order to be SURE I "get it"? I mean, I GET IT. There are bad things that happen. There are stupid decisions (sometimes geopolitical in scope) that affect millions of people in really bad ways. I GET IT. Why do I need to have graphic imagery to help me have nightmares about it?

How's about I shape my world in such a way that I contribute to better stuffs? Yeah. Ilikeat.

Matthew--Thank you, babe. I do feel better. Much. I was way sick for way too long, though. Good thing it doesn't happen that often. It's a drag! LOL Mostly I was just so BORED! LOL

Posted by: Bon at September 4, 2009 10:25 PM

My wife and I just had almost the exact same experience. Dinner out, out to see a good SciFi movie (which we both love). 15 min into it I knew my wife was having problems as she has had to leave several movies due to the hand-held style (Saving Private Ryan,, Schindler's list). I leaned over and told her if she needed to leave that it was OK. She stuck it out for another 15 min, then said lets get out of here. I had to agree. The main problem I saw was that it never stopped hitting you in the face, all the while, ramping up the level of depravity. I'm sure that was the moral of the story, but you need to get people to stay through the whole movie to make your point. The theater gladly refunded our money, and it looked like we were not the first to ask for a refund. I write this after just talking my 70+ year old parents out of watching it. The trailers were somewhat miss leading, making it look like a Summer SciFi Blockbuster!

Posted by: Bill at September 5, 2009 6:05 PM

Bill--Ditto, right on, on all counts!

Posted by: Bon at September 20, 2009 11:47 PM

Post a comment

Remember Me?