Weekend Roundtable: Movies You Regret Buying

We’ve all done it. If you collect movies on DVD or Blu-ray, you’ve undoubtedly purchased a disc at some point that you later regretted. Perhaps it was a blind-buy that you expected to like, only to discover that you hated it. Perhaps you even bought the movie knowing that you didn’t like it, but needed to own it for collectible purposes (or because you wanted to watch the bonus features). In today’s Roundtable, we share our shame.

Daniel Hirshleifer

I bought ‘Ben-Hur‘ on DVD, not having seen it since I was a kid. I mainly remembered the chariot scene, as I’m sure most people do. I had completely forgotten how heavy-handed and over the top the Jesus content was. I started laughing out loud at the ridiculous way Jesus was portrayed. I sold it after one viewing, shaking my head, and went back to watch my Criterion copy of ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’.

Luke Hickman

Back when I was in my ignorant youth, I did a whole lot of needless DVD blind-buying. While some were totally worth it (like ‘Gangs of New York’ or ‘Spy Game’), many were not. One that still sticks out to this day as the worst blind-buy of all time is a title that was recommended to me by just about every friend uneducated in the ways of cinema: the Denzel Washington drama ‘John Q‘. I hated every minute of this horribly sappy and manipulative movie that panders solely to simpleton audiences. I bought ‘John Q’ when Hollywood Video used to run “3 for $12” deals, and the stock was loaded with this title. When I tried to hawk it at a used DVD shop, the store wouldn’t even take it because the market was so oversaturated with this turd. To this day, it’s still sitting in a junk box in my garage. But now that it’s back in my mind, I think I’ve found a perfect “White Elephant” gift for my work Christmas party.

Mike Attebery

Remember the kid in your high school class who got an A+ on every paper, test and project since First Grade? Ever think that kid sometimes got a reputation for straight A work, and the teachers didn’t seem to notice when he turned in something that really sucked? I think Martin Scorsese is that kid. First, let me just say the guy is good. Really good. A master, yes. But for every ‘Aviator’ he releases, he churns out something like ‘Shine a Light’, a self-indulgent, tone-deaf turkey. For every ‘Departed’, there’s a ‘Shutter Island’. Then there’s the worst case scenario, when he releases something that really, really stinks, but it gets so much praise that I blind-buy it, then find myself suffering through something so unfunny, untouching, undramatic, dull and pandering that I flat-out want to pop the disc in the microwave. I’m talking about ‘Hugo‘. My God, do I regret buying that awful movie.

Tom Landy

The last movie I really wanted my money back on was Lars von Trier’s ‘Melancholia‘. After hearing the acclaim for this film, I decided to give it a blind-buy on Blu-ray. Man, what a mistake that was. The first ten minutes are nothing but scenes in super slow-motion that really don’t serve any purpose other than to appear artistic. All these tedious interludes do is make you scream at your TV. Personally, I found them to be more lazy than creative. The rest of the movie is basically just a bunch of unlikable characters competing to see who’s best at pissing each other off. By the way, there’s some kind of sci-fi backdrop going on during all of this, but really, who cares? A much more appropriate title for this pathetic excuse for filmmaking would have been ‘Pretentiousia’.

M. Enois Duarte

Recently, I caved and bought ‘Prometheus – 3D‘, partly because I was hankering for some 3D and curious to see how this turned out. The other reason was simply to give the movie another chance, a second viewing just in case it could persuade me to like it. Turns out, the movie is even dumber the second time around. The Blu-ray presentation is great, but the story actually grew worse over time. I thought that at the least my feelings would remain the same, but the opposite occurred. The movie is insulting to my intelligence and to science in general, like it really doesn’t give two-shits about even the slightest bit of authenticity or accuracy. And the script’s so-called philosophical debate on creationist faith is not as worthwhile as I previously thought. It’s really a grade-school understanding of the issue, especially since so much of the plot is inspired by the idiotic ‘Chariots of the Gods?’ book. I regret buying it, but regret even more having watched the movie a second time.

Josh Zyber

I have to admit that I did this just recently when I trekked out to Best Buy to pick up the exclusive SteelBook edition of ‘The Dark Knight Rises‘ (or, more accurately, I made Mrs. Z trek out to Best Buy to pick it up for me). I didn’t even like this movie when I saw it in theaters over the summer, but the completist collector in me needed to finish the trilogy, in a SteelBook to match the previous two movies. I don’t know how much I really regret the purchase, though. I knew why I was buying it. I suppose that I’ll give the movie another shot and see if it plays better on a second viewing, but I’m in no hurry to do so.

Over the years, I’ve certainly requested my share of review screeners that I regretted, but those don’t really count if I didn’t have to pay to own the discs.

Although not a movie, I felt very foolish after laying out a good chunk of cash for the complete ‘Thunderbirds‘ 1960s “Supermarionation” TV show when it first came out on DVD. I don’t even know what drew me to this. The show was well before my time, and I had no special attachment to it from childhood. It just seemed like something that might be kitschy and fun, and I must have thought that the box set would be… gah…collectible or something. It was expensive, it takes up a huge chunk of real estate on my shelves, and I think I’ve watched two episodes since I bought it. I didn’t hate the series or anything, but the pacing is sooo slow, the episodes are sooo long (why was this an hour-long show??), and they’re sooo repetitive. I haven’t been able to force myself to watch more than those two episodes. I also have the DVDs for the two movies, sitting unwatched on the shelf as well. That’s money I wish I’d saved.

Don’t pretend that you’ve never done this. Go ahead and tell us in the Comments about the discs you’ve regretted buying.


  1. Marc

    It’s got to be “BULITT” for me. Still haven’t made it past the car chase. I watch that scene on YouTube whenever the need arises before I pop in the BD. the sound actually sounds better on my PC upload than that crappy BD. HOWEVER……if it was a brand new 7.1 remaster? Miiiight have to double dip my biggest regret.

  2. Wasp14

    Most of these films are really recent and critically acclaimed, I had to check to see if the list was narrowed down to the last two years only (aside from Ben Hur).

    I started my DVD collection early in my preteens and there a lot of terrible movies in there because of it. Most of them were purchased because at the time it was cheaper to buy them and keep than to rent.

    Most notable of the turds: The Avengers (Uma Thurman), Gossip, the Notebook and various Jennifer Garner movies I bought because of my fandom for Alias. When it comes to regrettable purchases, there are atleast 15-20 in there.

    I tried to only buy good movies for my Blu-ray collection when it started but now Salt, Crash and Nick & Norah’s Playlist found their way in.

    Don’t agree with some of the selections up top (DKR in particular) but if that’s a purchase you regret the most your collection must be full of notch films.

  3. William Henley

    I just want to mention the probably absolute worst movie I ever did a Blind Buy on. It was Hound Dog. Forget the controversy surrounding the movie, the movie was HORRIBLE! Badly written, badly directed, horrible dialect coaches. I blind bought it because everything Dakota Fanning was touching was gold, and there was such controversy around the film, that places that said they would have it for rental even dropped it. Then they dropped the Blu-Ray release of the movie, so I eventually picked it up on DVD. HORRIBLE HORRIBLE movie. I can’t believe they were thinking that was the film that was going to win Fanning the Oscar. Truthfully, I would have nominated the film, and everyone involved with it, for a Razzie!

  4. Gregg Ferencz

    The worst purchase I made over the last couple of years was undoubtedly ‘2012’.
    The theme was intriguing but it is a formula movie that didn’t even get the formula right. What a major waste of time!

  5. Octavia Moravia

    I regret buying Terror is the Man. I was made to believe it is like The Island of Dr.Moreau. Only to see it look like mini Godzilla Man.

  6. Ultraviolet and Chicken Little on blu-ray. Both were bought in the early days where demo material was hard to come by, and both were being promoted heavily as such….

    Oh and Tideland, bought because I couldn’t find a rental copy anywhere.

  7. Sean Winnie

    I bought District 9 on DVD. An okay film, but what I regretted was buying it in the HMV charts for £12.99, whereas you can get it online for £2.99 now. There’s a tenner I’ll never see.

  8. Paul

    I regret buying a few DVD titles that came out in BD before I got around to watching them (have a too large pile of discs like that–CD, BD, DVD, HD DVD, DVD-A, SACD–if it’s a shiny 5″ disc, I probably have too many unopened cases). I rarely blind buy, though, so that mitigates regrets.

    I do have one blind buy title, bought for work purposes, that I regret. It’s a québécois film called Nouvelle-France. Not even salvageable for excerpts (I used historical feature films in class and for research). And I use less than stellar titles (bad films can make for good teaching moments–except this one).

  9. Southland Tales. I looked forward to seeing this movie because I was a fan of Donnie Darko. I figured it would be just as good. The cast involved even made me want to see it even more. The Rock, Seann William Scott, Sarah Michelle Gellar and a ton of people who I have enjoyed over the years (Will Sasso, Janeane Garofalo, Christopher Lambert, John Larroquette, Bai Ling, Jon Lovitz, Mandy Moore, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Wallace Shawn, Kevin Smith, Curtis Armstrong and even Justin Timberlake)being part of this movie, made it seem like this would be good. I bought it the day it came out. This movie is a mess. They tried to cram every movie genre into one movie with such a convoluted story that as I was watching it I just kept shaking my head at so many parts and just wishing it would end. I never stop watching a movie once I start it. I have to watch it all the way through because I don’t believe you can fully judge a movie unless you have seen the entire movie as intended. This just plain sucked. I got rid of it the same day I bought it.

  10. You know, I can’t think of any DVDs or Blu Rays I regret buying. (I think there were a few back in my VHS days)

    There are a couple I kinda regret owning, but I don’t display in my collection, that I either received as gifts or got as freebies with players. – The HD-DVDs of The Hulk, Fast and the Furious and Swordfish. DVDs, there’s 28 Days Later (I just find it boring and annoying) and The Green Mile (Love Shawshank but TGM is just painful and preachy) and… um… that’s it. Oh, I just remembered, I sort of regret buying The War of the Worlds (Spielberg version). It’s a terrible movie in so many ways, but I bought it cheap for the interesting extras, rather than the film.

  11. Nothing I really regret buying as I almost never blind buy anything I havent seen, but the few I have recently, Tin Tin and Hugo were both awesome films. Otherwise I always see the movie before I buy it and am never disappointed in anything that way 😉

    Although I did buy Prometheus at Walmart not realizing there was a 4 disc set that had all the extra stuff (lack of research on my part, which is very rare) and I opened it and found out a day later about the 4 disc set. Needless to say I felt like a moron, but then the 4 disc set was on sale for $15 from Amazon for black friday and I just picked it up again, gave the other one to a friend 🙂

  12. EM

    I’m with Chaz: I generally don’t blind-buy. On the rare occasions that I do, either I’m delighted with the purchase or I’m disappointed. But I don’t regret the disappointments: they were inexpensive, they were of material I was not able to find for viewing otherwise, and I knew the risks. If the material is a disappointment, I simply don’t add it to my library. Really, it’s not so much a “blind buy” as it is a rental with the option to keep.

    • William Henley

      I am usually that way. Most of my blind buys were in the early days of the formats, when you couldn’t rent. Lately, my blind buys have been stuff that is not available elsewhere. Most of my concert discs are blind buys, as well as a few documentaries. Sometimes, though, even if I have seen like a documentary on Discovery or something, the version that gets released on disc is differnt than what is aired.

    • EM

      The other factor making my regrets unlikely is that, when buying for my library, I very carefully choose my movies and TV episodes. Like Chaz, I’ve already seen most of what I buy before I buy it—often, I’ve seen it more than once. Liking the material, even admiring the material is not enough: I have to feel strongly that it is a work I will want to revisit many times over. The work may even feel like a part of me. Mere casual enjoyment does not a sale make.

  13. Ian

    There seems to be a lot of people saying they watched 10 minutes and turned it off because it was such an awful movie. Fair enough if you don’t want to watch a movie in it’s entirety, but why comment and bash a movie that the average person or critic likes when you’ve only watched part of it? That’s ignorant. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but if you haven’t watched the movie, your opinion on it is not valid. I have turned off a movie or two in my day, but when if it comes up in conversation, I say, “I didn’t care for what I saw of it, but I can’t really comment. I didn’t watch the whole thing.”

    • William Henley

      I partly agree with you. If you only watch the first 10 minutes, you can say that its not your style, it didn’t intrest you, or whatever, but it is kind of ignorate to call a movie bad after only 10 minutes.

      HOWEVER, I disagree that you have to watch the ENTIRE movie before you can have an opinion if a movie is bad or not. I don’t think that 10 mintues is enough, but if you get to like 30 minutes or more into the movie, you have seen enough to be able to judge bad direction, bad acting, bad story telling – basically enough of the movie to judge whether or not the movie is bad.

      Of course, this can vary by movie as well. I mean, do you have to watch like a third of “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” to know its a bad movie? You can turn it on in the middle of the movie, catch about 30-90 seconds of it, and judge that its a bad movie.

      Santa Claus and the Ice Cream Bunny is another example – even though I have seen the thing all the way through about a half dozen times, you can tell pretty much in the first 5-10 mintues of the movie that its a bad movie.

      What about the Star Wars Christmas Special?

      Of course, with those three examples, I don’t think you will find anyone who will argue that they are good movies. You may find people who like them, but even their fans are not delusioned enough to say that they are good movies.

      So yeah, 10 minutes may be enough to establish that you don’t like a movie, and even that the movie may have been poorly made, but I disagree that you have to watch an entire movie before you have the right to call a movie a bad movie.

    • Well, When I saw Moulin Rouge in the theatre, the teenage girl sitting behind me sighed heavily, clearly demonstrating how stupid she thought the movie was, every time anybody started singing. I’m way too polite to turn around and slap her, or to tell her to just f-ing leave the cinema. If you don’t like musicals, or you think it’s stupid to use modern songs in a story set around 1900, you should realize almost immediately that Moulin Rouge is not your type of movie, and it’ll clearly be a waste of your time to keep watching, just in case it’ll “get better” after a while.

  14. The movie I most regret buying, is Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. I passionately hated the movie when I saw it in the theatre, but since everybody else seemed to love it, I figured I should give it a second chance. It didn’t work. I still hate the movie, and I think the entire genre is retarded.

    • I can see that. I a friend of mine was clearing out his HD-DVD collection, and it is how I got my copy. I thought it was okay. I would have been disappointed if I had of blind-bought it, but as it was free…. Still, I was expecting something much different than what was delivered.

  15. Dan Hirshleifer

    Josh, I have to say, I bought the steelbook of The Dark Knight Rises for the exact same reason you did: To complete the collection (and because it’s so gosh-darned purdy). I did watch all three Dark Knight movies after getting it, and it doesn’t get any better on home video, sadly. But I’m keeping it to be a completist and also for the special features.

  16. Pyronaut

    I may be in the minority, but if I haven’t seen a movie and am curious about it, I wouldn’t go out and buy it – I’d rent it or stream it. I guess that’s why I haven’t had any regrets about the films I actually buy. I usually don’t watch films twice unless I really like them, and if I don’t like a movie enough to watch it again, I won’t buy it. Simple as that.

    Have I been disappointed in the content of the Blu-Ray’s I’ve bought? Yes. Bloodsport comes to mind because of its lack of extras, and same goes with the first 3 films in the TMNT box set. But I don’t actually regret buying them because I loved the movies themselves.

  17. David

    Bargain bin dvds lead to many “why are my shelves so clogged?” The worst offender was the remake of Friday the 13th. I remember having been immensely bored, so the cheap shock horror perked me up. Only after I bought the bd and rewatched it did I realize my mistake.

    For those that hated the movie choices on the critics list… obviously these are not movies that are hated or despised. Nobody spends money on stuff they hate, they liked them at some point or saw enough value to pick them up. Notice not one person griped about picking up a box set of Troma movies or Jersey Shore.

    I’m just surprised that none of them offered up truly embarrassing titles. 🙂

  18. DemoManMLS

    Oh I got a few I can contribute here…

    Dr. Suess How The Grinch Stole Christmas – This live action adaptation is absolute garbage. It took every fiber of my being to get through this. The only upside is I only paid a whole dollar for it on HD-DVD.

    Terminator 3 – Yeah… not gonna say anything beyond this. Again on HD-DVD.

    Dinner With Schmucks – I bought this blindly and wish afterwards I had rented it. The film had its moments but man did this thing drag on and on and on. Cut this film down 20 minutes and it would of been much better.

  19. Neto

    :S Melancholia a bad buy? Mmmm… It’s the best movie about the end of the world because it works at a psychological personal level with only two characters. But you probably like movies like 2012 and Independence Day 🙁