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Movies that Make Me Sick

I wish I could walk out of a movie (or a book, for that matter), but somehow I can’t stop, no matter how bad it is. I keep thinking, maybe it will get better, or will have all been worth it, or gosh darn it, I paid 98 smackers for my ticket and these 12 boxes of Milk Duds and this 132 ounce bucket of Diet Lemon-Lime-Orange Pizazz (with free refills!), and I’m going to sit through it if it kills me.

There was one movie I walked out of (or ‘out of which I walked’, for you grammar militants), but that was because I get motion sick whenever sloppily handheld cameras are employed to give it that “authentic” look, which in my opinion is missing the whole point of hiring a professional cameraman.

I think the movie was called Italian for Beginners, and it was a foreign film, which meant subtitles, which meant I couldn’t look away from the screen and merely listen to the dialogue. And if I can’t read a book while riding in a car, why would I be able to read subtitles while the cameraman refuses to stand still?

So I just gave up and walked out.

I couldn’t watch Blair Witch for the same reason.

Also? That Paul Williams documentary, Still Alive, which he is, by the way, was a problem recently.

And as much as I’m loving binge-watching Derek on Netflix, I’m having a little trouble there, too.

Is this the wave of the future? This nauseating form of recording? If so, why doesn’t Broadway install mobile stages in their theatres so that the cast is constantly flailing around like a ship in a violent storm, and vomiting overboard into the sea of season ticket holders, I ask you?

willem van de velde, ships on a stormy seaimage via Wikimedia Commons

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36 Comments

  1. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE the series Derek on Netflix. I watched the whole season in ONE sitting. I didn’t even notice the shaky camera work.

    “I’ve been breathing in turps all day, and rubbing twat off a crab. You’ve never heard that in a sentence before, have you?” – Dougie

  2. James says:

    DO you mind if I ask a question here that may seem off-topic, but in a roundabout way is connected to this post? After leaving my original comment on your blog I got a nice little comment reply notification email. I’m curious why you chose the Comment Reply Notification WP plugin? As I’m typing this I notice that I don’t see the usual “get notified of replies to this comment” tick box in the comment box that I usually see on blogs. Mmmm, Maybe I just answered my own question. Thanks! ;)

    1. Margaret says:

      James – These blog settings were setup so long ago that I have no idea why there isn’t a “get notified of replies to…” section on here. Maybe the Comment Reply Notification plugin disables that. I think I installed this plug-in because I wanted to ensure that if I replied to people they would be notified whether they subscribed to the whole comment thread (and good lord, who has time for that?) or not because I’m actually talking to THEM! And I didn’t want everyone getting a email every time someone or anyone commented. I don’t know if that helps any more than what you may have already answered yourself or not, but there you go. :)

      1. James says:

        Thanks Margaret. I’m using Disqus comments so I’ll have to check to see if it already does this. If not, I’ll do like you’re doing by using this WP plugin.

  3. Suebob says:

    I don’t get motion sick in movies, but I’m sensitive to loud noises. I can’t do surround sound, ever. So many movies now seem to be based on how many explosions they can fit in, rather than any plot.

    1. Margaret says:

      Aw, Suebob, that must be frustrating, even not at the movies. I’m thinking leaf blowers in particular. Do NOT get me started on leaf blowers.

  4. blueyes says:

    I sat through Blair Witch but I’m like you, I got very nauseous. Luckily I didn’t puke like someone else did in the theatre no less too. There are a couple more shot like that I refuse to watch as well now. I also have walked out on some other movies just because I wasn’t gonna sit there and be bored when I knew I wasn’t gonna like it after the few 15 minutes. 300 was one such movie.

    1. Margaret says:

      Clearly, blueyes, they need to have airsick bags in the seatback pocket in front you nowadays.

  5. Cheryl P. says:

    I love your tenacity to stick out a stinker of a movie. I am afraid that my Whoppers Malted Milk Balls and gallon-size Diet Coke would be heading for the nearest exit. I tend to avoid a lot of docu-drama type of movies that indicate in the previews that they used handheld cameras. Blair Witchcraft is a prime example. I didn’t make it 10 minutes into the film. UGH. OH, and I hate subtitles. I know, I know…I am such a low life.

    1. Margaret says:

      You hate subtitles? The HELL you say! But seriously, Cheryl, to each his own in the movie-watching department. It’s supposed to be entertaining, not an endurathon. And if subtitles drive you nuts, then stay away, I say.

  6. James says:

    I take it you can’t eat while riding on a roller coaster at the same time after a late night of having nothing to but cheap tequila for a late night liquid dinner? Either can I.

    1. Margaret says:

      I’m just gonna go out on a limb here, Jimbo, and assume you’re speaking from experience. They should have signs at amusement parks that say, “your meatball and fried egg sandwich must be this tall to accompany you on this rollercoaster”.

  7. I love good violence, but I had to walk out of “Looking For Mr. Goodbar”. It was just too graphic for me. On the other hand, I love Quentin Tarantino’s stuff, so go figure. (His vilence seems cartoonish ro me.) One of my favorite movies was “Bullit” which included a chase scene with a dashboard mounted camera over the hills of San Francisco. I adored it, but it might have made you sick. Can you swim? Is it about water? Since I can’t swim, I avoid large bodies of water but love bubble baths. (I hate jacuzzi though. It feels gross.)

    1. Margaret says:

      Clearly I have not seen Mr. Goodbar. But I can’t handle rape or slow torture scenes. Death Wish kicked it off and Silence of the Lambs nearly put me over the edge.

      And I feel the same way about Quentin Tarantino. I can watch his violence because of that cartoony feel.

      I can swim, but if a boat on water is too small……BLEAHHHH!!!!!!

  8. Jack says:

    Shaky Cam got big around the time of the Bourne movies, and is supposed to help with realism and “gritty” feel. As more movies with shaky cam do poorly in the box office, more studios will abandon the overuse of the technique. The Queen has the same problem with 3D and had to take off the glasses midway through Avatar.

    Broadway will incorporate shaky cam one day. Right now they are busy making unnecessary adaptions to 80s and 90s movies. At the rate they’re going, I expect to see “The Blair Witch Project: The Musical” any day now.

    1. Margaret says:

      Jack, it would not surprise me in the least if they made a Broadway musical out of Blair Witch.

      And while I can handle 3D glasses, I can’t seem to handle Progressive lenses. Which is why I have to carry around four pairs of glasses. [Sigh].

  9. Erin says:

    I knew what this post was going to be about just from reading the headline. I seem to remember you walking out of a movie at The Grove once, leaving me alone in the dark. Or, maybe in that same cinema you were actually just telling me about the time you walked out of Italian for Beginners. I can’t remember, but I hear ya – I hate handheld cameras.

    1. Margaret says:

      Actually, Erin, I seem to remember that you were indeed the one who came with me that day. But I recall it being at the Westside Pavillion. Maybe it was the Grove. Hmmmmm…..

  10. Bryan Logie says:

    It’s supposed to convey realism and hopefully it will just be a bump on the road of theatrical history. The use of tech can be seen throughout motion pictures past. From color, to smells, feel (shocking seats), sound (special systems built for movies like Earthquake and Towering Inferno), 3D and yep, “shaky hand cam”. They’ll introduce more aggressive “anti-shake” tech into our handheld devices which will help, except for the quick whirl shots. Who knows. Now that everybody is a director, average Joe/Jane filming technique might start to improve overall as time goes by. But it might get worse in the theater before it gets better. Prepare yourself for the coming of: Cam 2: Head Mount! Wearable computing just might make even more of us vomit in the theaters. Just wait until true holography comes out. We get to look forward to people sitting next to us in the theater elbowing others to “look over there!” when they’re looking somewhere else. It’s all part of trying to get more people out of their houses and away from their home theater systems. I say, bring the class back into theater going. You know, make it so you dress up a little bit and they project the movie through an elephant trunk or a lion’s mouth. Red velvet everywhere. Have the foyer made up in a gaudy ancient Egyptian theme and maybe put a nice restaurant in. You don’t put a roller coaster in an art gallery. Send the kids to the GinorMAX RumbleBUTT arena while you go and enjoy some good theater. Never the twain should meet… ;)

    1. Margaret says:

      Oh my yes! A GinorMAX RumbleBUTT arena would be nice. I have to admit, I virtually NEVER go to the theatre because everyone around me is too rude. I pay too much money not to be able to hear the dialogue because someone is talking, or their cell phone is ringing, or they are kicking my seat. Ugh! I’m getting angry just thinking about it!

  11. You will probably want to avoid “Gravity.”

    1. Margaret says:

      Gravity. Check!

  12. Ben Swilley says:

    Funny. I go one step further and blame video game producers and movie makers for giving us the same symptoms that folks with serious illnesses have. It’s in my blog of Sept. 29 and it’s entitled, “Serious Nintendo Flashbacks and America’s Pastime.” Naturally it’s on geezergrit.com. Anyhow, great minds do think alike…..probably when under constant stress.

    1. Margaret says:

      I’ll bet video games have gotten just as bad, since I hear their budgets are as high as movies these days. You know, because they have to spend so much money on screwing up the view with CGI. :)

  13. Babs says:

    Don’t they know that a large amount of people suffer with motion sickness? I think they should state that a film is not suitable for children under a certain age and also people suffering with motion sickness. There ought to be a way of demanding our money back, if we can’t sit through it.

    1. Margaret says:

      Apparently they do not know. Or care. I think you probably can get your money back, actually. Especially if you do it early on in the movie. It may depend on the theatre.

  14. Indigo Roth says:

    Hey Margaret! They invented the SteadyCam back in the 70s so hand held cameras would produce steady results. Fashion is now rejecting that as a concept. Did you see LARDY JOHNSON AND HIS STOUT FAMILY CROSS A ROCKY DESERT IN A CAR MADE OF JELLO? I reminded myself what I had for breakfast. Several times. Indigo x

    1. Margaret says:

      I love that title, but are you saying I wouldn’t be able to watch it?

      1. Indigo Roth says:

        I think you would require a bucket. Mudguards, even.

        1. Margaret says:

          Yikes! I’m at once intrigued and horrified.

  15. Terra says:

    I share your reaction to films that have a wobbly feel to them. And remember “ending a sentence with a preposition is something with which I will not put.” I think it was Churchill who said that, it always makes me smile. Some of those rules are archaic.

    1. Margaret says:

      I love that quote! And I’m glad I’m not alone in the seasick department, Terra.

  16. The publicist says you obviously did not see the stinker Titanic on Broadway. Not many people did…..

    1. Margaret says:

      Ahhhh, no I didn’t. That makes total sense, of course.

  17. Well same here, there are movies that I just can’t tolerate. I’ll just get up and leave the place after all my purpose of watching a flick is for entertainment not discomfort. ;(

    1. Margaret says:

      You said it, Farrah!