Whenever I’m watching a movie at home with a friend or girlfriend, I stare in astonishment as they get up and walk out of the room to grab a snack or go to the restroom.
“Do you want me to pause it?” I ask. “Not necessary,” they respond.
It doesn’t matter whether the movie is good or not. They could love it and yet can still traipse out of the room for several minutes without a care in the world, and then return to their seat without even asking what they missed.
Meanwhile, I’m sitting on the sofa as if the act itself is a big affront, as if I’m the one who made the movie and am showing it to them for the first time. I always end up pausing the film for them anyway, but that’s clearly for me, not them. How could they just walk out on a movie without pausing? Do they have no respect for the art of cinema? What’s wrong with them?
Nothing. They’re fine, I’m the neurotic idiot.
What Did I Miss?
There are some folks out there who for some strange reason, can’t let themselves miss a second of a film, even if it’s bad. We somehow imagine that missing a single scene ruins the entire movie-watching experience, and that by losing that 45 seconds where a character is probably just peeing or checking their mail, we might somehow fail to grasp some great eternal truth contained within the film.
They tend to be what one might call the “Go down with the ship” types, who feel compelled to finish bad movies and books, would never walk out of an awful film, and will sit in a movie theater needing to pee instead of missing one sacred scene that ultimately doesn’t matter.
Because if they do miss that one scene, it will haunt them, pester them like an itch or burning sensation that won’t go away, and years later, when laying on their death bed recounting their various regrets, chief among them will be the knowledge that they missed a few minutes of You, Me and Dupree.
You Didn’t Miss Anything
So when someone happily frolics out of the room during a movie, they shatter this delusion with their casualness, and it’s a reminder that there are other, probably healthier ways to think and live.
These other types tend to have a more relaxed relationship with escapism like movies and books. They’re often the same people who don’t mind spoilers, can watch sequels without seeing the original, and say things like “I saw part of that movie.” What do you mean you saw “part” of it and not the whole thing? For me, that’s like saying “I read page 78 of that book.”
But again, they’re not in the wrong. While one can appreciate the need to be told a story from start to finish without missing anything, you can totally miss things and be just fine. Few movies are so good that they require seeing every nanosecond, and many scenes are cliched and pee-worthy.
For instance, fun as they are, most sex scenes are badly done and skippable, and if it’s an action or heist movie, you can leave the room during that hackneyed scene that comes after a chase sequence where they’re talking about how long they’ve been in the criminal life. Less yapping, more chasing.
Regardless of the scene, though, nervous purists need to realize that it will be ok if we walk out and miss something. It’s a scene in a movie, not your kid’s baseball championship game, not your best friend’s wedding, and not some comet that won’t pass through the sky for another 450 years.
So the next time someone momentarily walks out of the room during a movie you’re way too into, try joining them. Over time you’ll be more and more comfortable with doing so, and may realize there’s as much happening in the other room as the one where the movie is playing.
Besides, you can always rush back before them and quickly rewind it like a jackass.