A group of miffed moviegoers in the U.K. have been demanding "ridiculous" refunds after seeing current Oscar frontrunner The Artist. Apparently unaware that the cinematic homage to 1920s Hollywood was a silent film, they complained that there was no sound. Since doling out the first batch of refunds, ushers at Liverpool's Odeon cineplex have been briefing audiences that the film contains no dialogue. "How could you not know it was silent?" asks Jen Chaney at The Washington Post, noting the inescapable media coverage that aspect of The Artist has received. Here, five other (mostly outlandish) beefs refund-seekers lodged at the cineplexes this year:
1. The movie did not sufficiently resemble The Fast and the Furious
A mere refund couldn't placate one Michiganian who was incensed by the well-reviewed romantic thriller Drive, starring Ryan Gosling as a stuntman who moonlights as a getaway car driver. She filed a lawsuit against the film's distributors, claiming, among other things, that the movie's trailers made it seem like Drive would closely resemble the oft-derided Fast and the Furious series. The frustrated moviegoer detected "very little driving in the motion picture." Easily "the Most Frivolous Lawsuit of 2011," says HyperVocal.
2. It was boring
Tree of Life, Terrence Malick's trippy juxtaposition of modern American life and the dawn of creation famously polarized critics, alternately winning major awards and being snubbed by organizations like the Golden Globes. Moviegoers were similarly split, with unusually high numbers walking out of screenings, bored and confused, and demanding their money back. The exodus led one Connecticut theater to post a sign warning that the film "does not follow a traditional, linear narrative approach to storytelling" and advising patrons that no refunds would be given. "Do people really ask for their movie ticket money back because… they were bored?" asks a flabbergasted Choire Sicha at The Awl.
3. I didn't like the ending
The low-budget horror flick The Devil Inside, a Paranormal Activity-like thriller about a woman who performs unauthorized exorcisms, was a surprise box office hit earlier this month, luring moviegoers to drop $35 million in its opening weekend. After actually seeing the critically ravaged film, however, audiences gave it a rare "F" CinemaScore grade. So displeased were people with the movie's ending, The Daily News reports, that they began shouting "rip-off!" at its conclusion and screamed for refunds.
4. The film's star could do better
Larry Crowne, a recession-era romance which Tom Hanks directed and starred in (alongside Julia Roberts) yielded neither box-office success nor critical praise. According to the U.K.'s Guardian, that didn't stop Hanks from asking a couple at a gas station if they'd enjoyed the film. Not particularly, they candidly replied. Gamely, Hanks refunded them the cost of their tickets ($25), quipping, "We'll do a better job next time!" before driving off. Bad idea, says Chaney. "A whole bunch of people who didn't care for Larry Crowne may suddenly be hitting him up for cash."
5. There was a naked man in the theater
The families who filled a Chicago theater to see Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked earlier this year were all issued refund vouchers, though, in this case, it's hard to argue that they didn't deserve it. According to The Chicago Tribune, a 34-year-old man was also in attendance, "sitting in the front row completely nude."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Ted Cruz is the new Sarah Palin
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
- Fall film guide: All the movies you should see in October
- Why you probably don't have Ebola — even if you shook hands with America's 'patient zero'
- The troubling persistence of eugenicist thought in modern America
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
Subscribe to the Week