Greetings, Dear Reader. It is late morning here in New Hometown, Florida on Friday, July 23, 2021. It is going to be another scorching summer day. The current temperature is 86˚F (30˚C) under sunny skies. With humidity at 53% and the wind blowing from the west-southwest at 4 MPH (6 KM/H), the heat index is 99˚F (37˚C). Today’s forecast calls for scattered rain showers and a high of 94˚F (34˚C). Tonight, scattered rain will continue, and the low will be 76˚F (25˚C). The Air Quality Index (AQI) is 34 or Good.
Have you ever gone to a movie in a theater (cinema in the UK) and walked out before it is over because it is so bad you can’t stand to watch it anymore? I usually don’t; even when I lived in Miami and went to the movies more than I do in New Hometown, I went to trashy films along the lines of Hot Dog…The Movie and Message from Space and stayed at least until the end credits started to roll and the house lights went up. It didn’t matter if I went alone – which I sometimes did after AMC opened a theater at the old Midway Mall/Mall of the Americas in the late 1980s̶ or in a group; once the tickets, popcorn, and sodas were bought and I was seated in a screening room, it was a total commitment.
However, in all my years of going to a theater to watch a movie, I have walked out of two films that were so bad that I didn’t care about the misspent admission money: John Derek’s Bolero (1984) and Jeannot Szwarc’s Santa Claus: The Movie.
In both cases, I was with my “regular crowd” of friends, most of whom I knew all the way back to my days at Tropical Elementary School in the Westwood Lakes neighborhood of unincorporated Miami-Dade County. And on both occasions, we left well before the movie ended.
Per the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), Bolero is a 1984 erotic comedy drama written and directed by John Derek. IMDb describes the plot thusly:
Set in the 1920s, a young woman sets out to lose her virginity. Her mission leads her to a Moroccan sheikh and a Spanish bullfighter.
I guess we picked this movie out of prurient curiosity, but the idea that Bo Derek could play a virgin barely out of her teens was ridiculous. Not even the copious displays of attractive naked women kept anyone’s interest past the 30-minute mark. It was almost comical how we rose from our seats and walked out – a master comedic director like Harold Ramis or Carl Reiner could not have come up with a funnier scene than that of a coed group of college-age moviegoers walking out of a softcore porn flick.
A bit over a year later, in November of 1985, one of the members of the group (who shall remain nameless cos I don’t want to embarrass him) insisted that we go see Santa Claus: The Movie.
This $50 million dud was the last film produced by Alexander and Ilya Salkind, the Hungarian-born, Paris-based father-son team who made The Three Musketeers duology and the first three Christopher Reeve Superman films in the Seventies and early Eighties.
This is what IMDb says about Santa Claus: The Movie:
The legend of Santa Claus is put in jeopardy when an unscrupulous toy manufacturer attempts to take over Christmas.
This time around, I don’t think we got past the 30-minute mark before most of us decided we’d had enough of Santa Claus: The Movie. Four of the five in the group – except the guy who really wanted to see it – got up and said, “Let’s do like the trees and leave.”
This time around, the getting-up-and-leaving was more acrimonious, with the Dudley Moore fan protesting about leaving before the movie ended, but it was four-to-one against staying, so the holdout reluctantly (and angrily) said, “Okay, okay…let’s go.”
Trust me, the ride back home was less than pleasant, since Mr. “Let’s See Santa Claus!” was also the Designated Driver and sulked moodily for the rest of the night.
Since then, I’ve seen only one movie so bad that I wanted to leave even before it ended – Michael Bay’s 2001 Pearl Harbor – but I had been invited by one of my then-neighbors and I thought it would be impolite to even suggest we leave. So…I watched that sorry mess in its entirety.
How about you, Dear Reader? Have you gone to a movie that is so bad that you’ve left the theater before it ended? Let me know in the Comments section below and share your story!
 The AMC 14 at Mall of the Americas closed its doors in December of 2015 even though Star Wars: The Force Awakens had been scheduled to open there on the 18th. I only found out it was closing when a friend and I went to the theater and wanted to get tickets. “Sorry, we are closed,” said an employee. Luckily, my friend had a smartphone and checked to see what time the Dolphin Mall’s Cobb 19 theater was showing The Force Awakens; we made it to an 8 PM screening with about five minutes to spare before it started.
 Of course, when I run into a bad movie on TV, or even a good one that I don’t feel like watching, I can switch the channel and watch something else.
 Yes, This is an actual quote. I ought to know; I said it.