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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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    Mass Walkouts at “Watchmen”!

    By kyle | March 12, 2009

    I don’t believe it when someone says 25 percent of the audience ankled a screening of “Watchmen,” as this dubious report claims. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many people leave a screening.

    I am, however, willing to believe that lots of people think the film is so complicated that it requires them to pay attention. It is, for a movie, dense. That’s why it’s brilliant. And my estimate of the incidence of idiocy among the population attending superhero movies is considerably higher than 25 percent. But let’s be clear about one thing: This movie is not that hard to follow. If you are capable of reading a book that has more going on it than a Nicholas Sparks paperback, you can figure it out. It isn’t “Gravity’s Rainbow.” What sayeth you, Hunter Tremayne?

    Topics: Comic Books, Movies | 10 Comments »

    10 Responses to “Mass Walkouts at “Watchmen”!”

    1. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      March 12th, 2009 at 1:29 pm

      Warners were wise to have their press embargo: when you open a picture wide, aiming it at everyone, knowing that the that picture isn’t designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator then you always run the risk of the the lowest common demominator leaving the theater. What does it matter if Joe Schmo doesn’t like it? Who cares if people walk out of it? So what if it’s not making more money than Titanic? It’s not like there’s a sequel to made, after all. What do I think? I think I loved it, am eagerly awaiting the director’s cut, and will see it again ASAP.

    2. Jana Says:
      March 12th, 2009 at 2:26 pm

      75% of the audience walked out of the sold-out, opening day screening of “Eyes Wide Shut” that I attended in suburban Seattle-area.

    3. kyle Says:
      March 12th, 2009 at 3:55 pm

      “Eyes Wide Shut” was a masterpiece.It’s a Stanley Kubrick movie, what did they think they were going to get– “9 1/2 Weeks”?

    4. kyle Says:
      March 12th, 2009 at 3:57 pm

      @Hunter, well said. It is strange how bloggers get personally attached to box office proceeds, as though it affected them in any way. The movie speaks for itself. I don’t really care how much the grosses are, except to the extent that if interesting movies make money, studios will make more interesting movies.

    5. Jana Says:
      March 12th, 2009 at 4:14 pm

      @Kyle, it was very distracting actually, to try to concentrate on the film while hordes of viewers were getting up to leave, and being vocal about their distaste for the film. In retrospect, it was probably unwise for me to see it on opening day, considering the ratings controversy and the decision to black-out sex acts in certain scenes. I’m sure the controversy drove the attendance numbers.

    6. kyle Says:
      March 12th, 2009 at 5:13 pm

      I guess I’m a little insolated since I rarely attend public screenings, and anyway New Yorkers are probably more likely to ostracize people who act like jerks at arty movies. But whenever I do go to the multiplex with real people, I am appalled by the rudeness.

    7. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      March 12th, 2009 at 8:47 pm

      I think walking out of a picture is enormously rude to the other people watching the picture, so I have never done it, but I can name the pictures that I seriously considered walking out of:

      Punch-Drunk Love – during Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s tirade

      Far From Home – at the sheer boredom that came from recognizing how the movie would end within the first five minutes

      A Beautiful Mind – the thought that this picture was even in the same room as The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring (by far the best of the three LOTR movies) was ridiculous to me

      Finally – a special case – Zulu: my father’s habit was to lead the family into a movie at any point and leave when the scene we came in on came around again. The scene in this case was the final attack by the zulu warriors on the beleaguered and exhausted British garrison. After that initial scene was over and while the titles ran, I told my father that if he made me leave before that scene was repeated I would leave the theater right there and then and never see another picture with the family ever again. He relented; the British won again; I fell in love with the movies forever.

    8. Robert Says:
      March 13th, 2009 at 10:00 am

      Perhaps people are walking out due to the viciousness of the violence, not because it’s complicated.

    9. kyle Says:
      March 13th, 2009 at 11:28 am

      Hunter, my God, you almost sound….patriotic.

      Or maybe you outgrew it.

    10. Jules Says:
      March 15th, 2009 at 12:17 am

      Zulu was an unpleasant film. Surprised Caine’s career survived that mess.