The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Movies we regret we’ve seen – if there are any?

with 46 comments

A whole bunch of Swedish film bloggers are writing posts on the same topic today: “A movie I regret I’ve seen”.

All of them but me.

Believe me: I thought long and hard about it. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve got a bad memory, I’m easy to please or I’m good at avoiding movies that give me regrets. The result is the same: I couldn’t’ come up with a single one.

Pippi’s prickles
For sure it happens that I come across a movie once in a while that turn out to be pretty bad. But even a bad movie experience can turn into a good one. Actually a seriously crappy movie can be superior to an average one, since it makes for better discussion and blogposts. The more poisonous the rant is, the funnier is it to write and read.

I think I look on bad movies the same way as the Swedish icon Pippi Longstocking regards her freckles. One day she passes a beauty shop and sees a sign with the rhetorical question: “Do you suffer from prickles?”. She enters the shop and says loudly and clearly: “No!”. “I don’t suffer from freckles!”. “But dear child, says the shop keeper, you’ve got your entire face full of freckles!” “Yes, but I don’t suffer from them. I like them!”

Of course there have been occasions when I have had reasons to regret my choice of film for a night. There were several candidates and I picked one and afterwards I realized that I might have been happier with another movie. But usually I’ve had the chance to pick up with the other movie another night, so no harm was done in the end.

Sometimes I’ve regretted talking other people into seeing a certain movie. For instance there was this time when I brought my daughter to watch Pan’s Labyrinth in the belief that it was more or less a standard fantasy movie. Seeing how upset she became I felt like a horrible mother. And taking the entire family to watch Martha Marcy May Marlene as a Christmas movie experience probably wasn’t my best idea. However those regrets are recommendations I’ve made to others, not about my own movie watching, so I don’t think it counts.

Reasons for regrets
While I don’t have any regrets, I still tried to come up with some reasons which theoretically could make me regret watching a movie. I came up with three:

1. Too much gore to handle
At heart I’m a bit of a squishy. Until pretty recently I avoided anything that appeared to contain a lot of violence, especially if it was realistic. Chopping off heads of monsters wasn’t an issue. Abuse of children and rape however was more than I could stand to watch. Nowadays I force myself to watch movies even if they’re violent, movies such as Drive, which is too good to miss out. But I’m sure there are movies that I would regret watching if I did. Movies about human centipedes for instance. So I don’t.

2. A badly advised revisit
Some movies are better in your memory than in reality. You need to pick carefully which movies you visit again or you might end up with an unpleasant surprise.

This includes directors as well. Unfortunately not all of them can keep their hands off their work. So they go back and add 3D or temper with them just for the sake of tempering and getting a few more bucks out of it. I try to stay away from that kind of brush-ups. They’re just bound to give me regrets.

3. A heartbreaking failure
I walk into every movie I see with the best intentions. I want them to be good. I want them to be successful. And especially so when they involve an actor or director who I happen to like and admire. I never rejoice at the failure of someone else. I wish that I hadn’t seen it so I could pretend it didn’t exist.

But all of this is on the paper. In reality I chime in with Edit Piaf:

Non, je ne regrette rien.

And here are the regrets of my fellow Swedes. They’ve written in Swedish, but as always Google translate is your friend.

Addepladde – Paradise Lost
Blue Rose Case – The last house on the left
Except Fear – Grease
Fiffis filmtajm – Flying Virus
Filmitch – Varning för Jönssonligan
Filmr  - Highlander 2
Fripps filmrevyer – Raging Bull
Jojjenito – The Haunting
Plox
Rörliga bilder och tryckta ord – Planet of the Apes (2001)
Voldo – Son of the Mask

Written by Jessica

April 13, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

46 Responses

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  1. I think reason #2 is the one where I feel the most regret. I hate the feeling of deciding a movie you really liked isn’t so hot. I’d almost rather cling to my high opinion, even if it is based on a willful ignorance of sorts. There are a ton of films in my Collection that this could apply to but I don’t want to revisit all of them to make sure because I know some wouldn’t hold up. On the other hand, if people actually follow through and watch some of these films, I might look the fool.

    The only other time I’m really open to regret is about value propositions. While in general terms I’m glad I saw Wuthering Heights because I’m such a fan of Andrea Arnold, considering I didn’t like it makes me regret spending $25 on the ticket to see it at a festival. Other times at festivals I regret seeing anything I didn’t like because that meant I had been foregoing something else at the festival I could have watched at that time-slot; something I might never get the chance to watch.

    Bondo

    April 13, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    • Yes, there definitely are movies I would think twice of before revisiting, not wanting to spoil them. Your memory really can play tricks on you. It’s been such long time since I watched many movies – sometimes it’s 25 years or more. They obviously haven’t changed, but I have. And it can be a bit of a shock when you realize.
      The ticket price for Wuthering Heights sounds outrageous. Is it that expensive to go to festivals? We have high ticket prices in Sweden compared to many other countries but nothing anywhere near that level.

      Jessica

      April 14, 2012 at 12:52 am

      • Well, this particular screening came with a mandatory reception so I got two drinks and some light snacking as part of the bargain which makes it not so bad. The festivals here are typically in the $10-12 range for ordinary tickets, though Tribeca had tickets in the $25 range.

        Bondo

        April 14, 2012 at 3:39 am

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  3. Norwegian wood (2010), very dull movie. I think it will put off people reading Murakami’s novels, which is a pity.
    I also got a box set of 5 John Sayles movies, and all of them disappointed me, which I am surprised about, considering I like indie cinema, and considering the praise he has been given as a director.

    Chris

    April 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    • Oh, Norwegian wood is absolutely dull. Pretty landscapes, but that’s all. I’ve understood though that the novel is much better. I’ve read one novel by Murakami, South of the border, west of the sun, which was very good. And his book about running. Also well written. I should explore his writings more. I’m afraid I haven’t watched any John Sayles; I haven’t even heard of him. But it sounds as if it’s nothing to go looking for.

      Jessica

      April 14, 2012 at 12:28 am

      • The book is marvelous, and I have stayed away from the film because of the lukewarm response the movie have gotten.

        Henke

        April 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      • You have to read Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. It’s pretty close to genius.

        Alex Thompson

        April 17, 2012 at 1:02 am

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  5. Nice post! We have the same philosophic think about the old movieworld!
    Come to think of it, a lot of our blogging friends thinks in that direction…and I guess that´s the normal way to handle film if you´re a real moviebuff!
    Like us! ;-)

    Have a nice weekend!

    Steffo

    April 13, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    • Indeed. Even if some of you other guys could come up with a film you actually regret having watched, we seem to be pretty much on the same page.

      Jessica

      April 14, 2012 at 12:38 am

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  8. Nice post Jessica. You´re right, what´s to regret? Really, it´s just a film even if it´s really really bad.

    Fiffi

    April 13, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    • Thanks Fiffi! Yes, the stakes aren’t all that high. Sure, there’s a loss of time and money, but when you’re a grown-up with a job I think you can take that.

      Jessica

      April 14, 2012 at 12:43 am

      • You are however, mortal. So loss of time is the one thing on my mind when I stumble over a really bad film. I try to avoid them, even though, on the other hand, with no bad films, are there any good ones?

        Henke

        April 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm

        • Exactly. I’d say it’s even good for you to watch a bad movie once in a while just to remind you and help you appreciate the good ones more.

          Jessica

          April 15, 2012 at 5:02 pm

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  10. I concur, it was much harder than I thought to come up with a truly regrettable movie. But in the end, that’s a pretty nice approach I think — that every movie you watch have something to contribute to the whole.

    Sofia

    April 13, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    • It’s nice but perhaps a tad boring. It would have been more entertaining if I’d been seriously pissed off over something. :)

      Jessica

      April 14, 2012 at 12:45 am

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  12. I regret nothing. Not Street Fighter: The Legend of Chung Lee, not Hostel, not Gamer. Sure, those films are terrible, but I ended up having good reasons to see them and felt I said or read something interesting about those films.

    I think some people see bad film experiences as a waste, I see them as an example to learn about what doesn’t work or where a good idea might fall apart in execution. Or why a bad idea can make a film even worse.

    James Blake Ewing

    April 14, 2012 at 1:20 am

    • Exactly. If you see it as an opportunity of learning, a bad movie can be more rewarding than a fairly good one.

      I think it’s all about how your attitude. If you think that way, there’s really no reason to regret any movie.

      Jessica

      April 14, 2012 at 1:23 am

  13. I think the only time I regret seeing a movie is not due to the movie itself, but because of whom I am seeing a movie with. I loathed The Piano, but I still don’t regret seeing it. But there are a couple Peter Greenway films I regret seeing with my wife because she hated them so. And a film I shouldn’t have shown to my youngest daughter. But I don’t regret seeing them myself.

    Steve Kimes

    April 14, 2012 at 3:06 am

    • Yes, exactly. I used to feel a bit uncomfortable watching movies on my own, but nowadays I enjoy it. Noone to answer to!

      Jessica

      April 15, 2012 at 4:56 pm

  14. Although I’ve never regretted watching a movie (the closest I’ve come was with the morally reprehinsible, indefensible The Sinful Dwarf: http://www.kl5film.com/2009/06/sinful-dwarf-1973.html), I have regretted revisiting movies from my youth. Even if the movies are still good, they’re never as good as the memory.

    Dave Enkosky

    April 14, 2012 at 3:30 am

    • Read your review. It seems like a truly horrendous movie. Washing it away with Amelie as you did seems like a good idea.

      Jessica

      April 15, 2012 at 4:59 pm

  15. I very nice and wellwritten (as always) post. The heartbreaking failure is a strong candidate for regrettable movies it goes stright to the heart.

    filmitch

    April 14, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    • Thank you! Yes, I think that’s the most regrettable of all of them. It hurts like tooth ache.

      Jessica

      April 15, 2012 at 4:59 pm

  16. Nice post Jessica, and I totally agree with you. This blogathon was very interesting. Most of us 10+ didn’t actually wrote about bad movies, but something else altogether.

    Myself, I wrote about the “masterpiece” Raging bull, but didn’t write about the film, instead about the loss of an illusion. The loss of an “idea”, that the film was the masterpiece I had thought it was.

    Henke

    April 14, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    • Yes, even though some came up with regretted movies and others didn’t I think we’re pretty much on the same page. A very succesful blogathon btw. So many participants!

      Jessica

      April 15, 2012 at 5:04 pm

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  19. Haha, the Piaf-song, almost a bit scary! :)

    Plox

    April 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm

  20. You pointed out the importance of how you remember an initial movie experience. (I recently rewatched ‘Chungking Express’ 18 years later, and couldn’t remember why or how I liked it do much the first time.) That said, I think that memory a good basis for one class of films I regret seeing – the really bad sequel. In this regard, I couldn’t help but notice ‘Highlander 2′ listed by another blogger above, which is a great example of a sequel so misguided that it actually blemishes memories of an excellent original film, primarily because the sequel uses some of the same actors or settings and/or continues a story-line that was best left untouched. It is these sorts of sequels that I wish I could unsee.

    theskepticalmale

    April 14, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    • Yep, indeed. Sequels should be approached with great caution. They might leave you with regrets.

      Jessica

      April 15, 2012 at 5:05 pm

  21. I like the way you approach the subject! As I wrote myself, I can’t really say that I regret that I’ve watched any film. But depending on how you look at things, there could be aspects of the movie that makes you regret you watched it, as in my own example of “The Last House…”.

    BlueRoseCase

    April 14, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    • Thanks! I honestly think most film fans have few regrets. But a few of you were better to come up with something than I was.

      Jessica

      April 15, 2012 at 5:07 pm

  22. I regret watching three films: The Avengers (the Uma Thurman one), Irreversible (good God, what a horrendous film) and Battlefield Earth.

    Aside from that, I don’t regret much either, Jess. Nice work!

    Rodney

    April 15, 2012 at 11:02 am

    • Thanks Rodney! Sorry for the spam fillter for taking a dislike for you today, holding you up for a bit.

      Jessica

      April 16, 2012 at 8:31 am

  23. I had the same thoughts as you, I never really regret seeing a movie. The opposite is true from time to time. Why did I NOT see that movie at the cinema for example instead of waiting for the dvd?! I also avoid some movies because I think I might regret seeing them, like a certain serbian film or the ones about the centipedes.

    I wrote about The Haunting, not because it’s a bad movie, because it isn’t, but because my (childhood) memory of it didn’t match how I experienced it the second time around. The magic was gone.

    Jojjenito

    April 15, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    • That could make for a different blogathon: movies we regret that we didn’t catch in a cinema, movies that make us want to hit ourselves in the head for being too cheap or slow .

      Jessica

      April 15, 2012 at 5:09 pm

  24. To paraphrase a classic sitcom line: “I regret nussink!”

    Rodney

    April 16, 2012 at 8:04 am

  25. Most of my regrets fall into the same catagories. I tend to regret them for the time and money I’ve spent on them. I also have another catagory which is “Trying to give the audience what you think they want” aka ” Getting bums on seats” films, and I generally run a mile from them.

    Oddly, while I regret having paid money and spent time watching “Anaconda” with my dearly beloved, I don’t regret having seen through it, right to the bitter end, just so we could discover the name of the advising herpetologist, as we often joke about it, and use it as the baseline for a truly awful film!

    Alq

    April 17, 2012 at 2:08 pm


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