Melissa e-mails: “I know you see a lot of movies. Have you ever hated one so much that you walked out in the middle?”

Not for a very long time, but I do remember two occasions where I couldn’t take it — and both times, I had hosted the premieres of those movies!

The most recent was in 1999, and the movie was “The End Of The Affair” with Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore. About 40 minutes in, I couldn’t have cared less about the characters or plot and was so bored that I almost fell asleep. Instead of nodding off, I got up from my aisle seat and made a hasty retreat. The funny thing is that, because I’d hosted, the movie company had provided me with a couple of hundred passes to the movie, which I had given away to listeners, who packed the theater. The next day, as soon as I started my radio show, many of those loyal listeners called to say they’d seen me sneak out of the screening halfway through. I asked each of them if they’d stayed to the end, and they all answered yes, but wished they hadn’t!

The other was in 1984, when I had also invited several hundred listeners to join me at a special screening of “Give My Regards To Broad Street,” a movie written by and starring Paul McCartney. The very thin plot involved his work on a new album being complicated by someone stealing the master tapes. I don’t know if it was supposed to be suspenseful, or a chase, or a comedy, but not one thing worked in the movie except for McCartney performing some of his classics (“Good Day Sunshine,” “Yesterday,” “For No One,” “The Long and Winding Road”). One of the new songs, “No More Lonely Nights,” was nominated for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA, and got quite a bit of radio airplay.

However, the movie was an absolute bomb at the box office because director Peter Webb made a major mistake: he followed McCartney’s script. He should have tossed all of the footage regarding the ludicrous plot and instead released a full-length McCartney concert movie — but I guess you couldn’t do that to someone as rich and powerful as Paul McCartney then (or now). The result was so terrible that my wife and I bolted after about 45 minutes. We hated to do it because we’re fans of his, but we just couldn’t take it anymore. As with “The End Of The Affair,” the next morning I got lots of sarcastic “thanks a lot!” calls from listeners who had been there, including several who said they were glad I walked out when I did, because it made them feel better about doing the same moments later!

Nowadays, I don’t go to every press screening of every movie, but when I do, I feel an obligation to stick around to the bitter (and I mean bitter) end. I never walk out, even if I hate the movie, because there’s always a representative from the film’s promotion company waiting in the lobby to get instant feedback from critics. I’m always honest about what I like or don’t like, never shy about expressing my displeasure for dreck that will later show up on my Worst Movies Of The Year list, which was topped in 2017 by “King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword,” in 2016 by “Nocturnal Animals,” and in 2015 by “Hot Tub Time Machine 2.” Several of those reps have told me privately that they love it when I hate a movie, because I often express my distaste in funny terms.

On the other hand, when I love a movie, I’m effusive in my praise, even if I disagree with my fellow reviewers. In fact, if it’s a film I believe has been wrongly criticized by others, I’ll champion it in discussing it on this site, in the hopes you’ll take my word for it and go enjoy it despite what others may say.

Of course, you can always do the online equivalent of walking out by clicking away from my review in the middle, and I’ll never know.

Previously on Harris Online…