bad movies

The 10 Minute Rule

A survival technique inspired by crap films

I was overseas and living alone when A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) came on TV one night. I knew almost straight away that it wasn’t my kind of flick, but I persevered because a lot of people had told me how great it was. I really wish I’d followed my gut instinct and gone to bed, but I didn’t.

I don’t know who the kid in that movie was, but he had the most punchable face. His dippy haircut and dopey expression made me want to pull him through the TV screen and break his spine over my knee. I know it’s wrong and unfair to judge anyone by their appearance, but hopefully that little dude was just an ugly duckling.

A.I. seemed to go on for a very, very long time. There’s a scene where the kid gets stuck in a little submersible on the bottom of the ocean, and I actually thought that was the end of the movie. I wasn’t happy about sacrificing 90 minutes of my life for what I’d just watched, but I was grateful that I could finally go to bed. I stood up and waited for the credits to roll so I could finally switch off the TV.

But no credits rolled! The movie wasn’t over!

Grumbling, I sat back down in front of the TV and watched in disbelief as that fucking kid discovered weird robot aliens or something on the ocean floor. The saga rolled on. I huffed and puffed in frustration and boredom, but I figured that I’d come this far and should at least finish what I’d started. I can’t really remember what that kid got up to next, but eventually something else happened that made me think the movie had finally finished. I sighed and got up.

But alas, more shit went down on screen. The movie still wasn’t over!

Back in front of the TV I sat, but none of what that kid did next was even remotely interesting or made any sense. I screamed at the screen, demanding that the movie end immediately! Eventually it did, of course, but to this day I have no idea how it concluded because by that time I had entered into a kind of semi-catatonic state of emotional numbness in which I was watching the TV without actually watching the movie. When I finally hit the off button on the remote, it was 1:30 in the morning and I was exhausted, bleary-eyed and really, really annoyed with both A.I. and myself.

AI Rotten Tomatoes This audience score is way too generous – about 64% in the wrong direction…

Unfortunately, I had a very similar experience with Her (2013). I not only hated this movie more than I can say, I have no fucking idea what the fuck it’s supposed to be about.

Even more unfortunately, I also got stung by Prisoners (2013). Holy shit. If you haven’t seen it, don’t. The trailer makes it look great, but the movie itself is very much the opposite. Avoid, avoid, avoid!

Learn from my mistakes, people!

It’s better to cut your losses rather than watch garbage to the bitter end. I have learned to follow the 10 Minute Rule and so should you. Here’s how it works:

Give a movie (this works for new TV shows as well, btw) 10 minutes of your time. If it fails to grab your attention by then, immediately walk away. Quit watching. DO NOT be tempted to give it another 10 minutes, hoping it will pick up. It probably won’t. You WILL be there until the credits roll and you WILL want to punch yourself in the face for being a sucker.

Also, if you say or think “Man, that’s fucking stupid,” or if a show makes you feel like breaking furniture at any point before or after the first 10 minutes, forget it. Walk away. Quit watching. You might be tempted to believe otherwise, but when stuff starts rubbing you in the wrongest of ways, the wisest thing you can to do is call time.

Simply put, life is too short to put up with entertainment that doesn’t actually entertain. There’s a ton of great stuff out there, so don’t waste your time on what fails to make you happy.

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Posted by H.R. van Adel in Personal, 0 comments