The Movie Theatre Survival Guide, Part 3

April 2, 2009 at 9:17 am 1 comment

A TREATISE ON COURTESY

Everyone’s experienced it: someone talking loudly during a movie.  Someone kicking your chair.  Someone’s child crying.  Or, some other distraction that occurs in the movie theatre while a movie is playing.  So, what do you do? Well, the movie theatre is a still a public place, so common rules of courtesy still apply, with some exceptions.

Generally, if someone is rude to you, you don’t necessarily have to be rude back.  Preferably, you should be the one to keep a cool head and talk things out rationally.  But, the thing about movie theatres is, if someone is being rude to you (either by accident or on purpose), chances are, they’re affecting everyone else.  For example: talking on a cell phone.  I absolutely hate it when someone does that when a movie is playing.  Before the previews, fine, but once the lights dim, the phone should be put away.  Of course, there’s someone that has to be an asshole and talk on it.  “I’m watching a movie right now.  Yeah, it’s pretty good so far, blah blah blah blah.” Shut the fuck up.  “Hey, I’m sitting down right now.  You comin’ in?  Yeah, we’re a few rows up, and to the left.  You see us?  Over here, I’m waving!”  It’s your friend’s fucking fault they’re late, they can stumble around in the dark to find a seat.  Fuck them.

Now, just like in most situations in a public place, you should be polite.  A quiet, “Shhh…” should suffice.  That should be enough to let them know that it’s rude to be talking and they should hang up.  But what if they don’t listen?  Or, worse yet, what if they tell you to be quiet?  Although the theatre is a public place, you pay to get in.  Because you paid, you have the right to enjoy yourself without someone interfering.  But, it’s still a tricky situation, as you don’t want to anger anyone else.  I’ve seen situations where Person A is talking on their phone, Person B would tell them to be quiet (politely), then Person A would yell at them, then Person B would yell right back.  Next thing you know, they’re both being told to shut up by the whole audience. Then, theatre management and security would walk in, and someone, if not both Person A and B, would be escorted out.  You dont’ want to be escorted out just because someone else was being a jackass.

If someone’s being rude repeatedly, like constantly talking on a cell phone after someone had asked them to stop, then most likely the whole audience would be against this person; in this case it would be OK to be the spokesperson for the mob.  But, I think I’ve only seen this happen, like, twice in my whole life.  Usually, people are rational beings, who will stop being rude when they’re asked to, if asked nicely.

An alternative to talking would be to text.  I hear it’s all the rage these days.  Generally, I don’t have an issue with someone texting as long as it’s quick because the theatre is dark and a cell phone is bright as hell.  If someone’s texting for a minute or more, it’s too long and the light coming from that thing is enough to distract me.

Another thing that bothers me: people constantly getting up out of their seat, especially if they’re in front of me.  I’m not a tall person by any standards, so someone getting up and blocking 50% of the screen is a nuisance.  I understand that your bladder may be small and maybe it wasn’t a good idea to inhale that large Coke you bought at the concessions stand.  So, go ahead, get up and take a piss.  But if you’re having to go to the restroom 4 or 5 times during one movie, that’s an issue.  Unfortunately, if you’re the one being distracted, there’s not much you can do, as it’s someone’s health that is the concern, and someone’s health trumps your enjoyment of a movie.  I know this is a stretch, but if possible, maybe you can have the offending person sit at the end of the row, so when he or she gets up, they won’t bother anyone.  And what if the person is sitting behind you, and keeps kicking your chair when they move.  If it happens repeatedly, you can ask them to please be careful when they get up or shift about.  Don’t be rude about it, just ask them to not kick your chair.

Now, for a really tricky situation: a child in the movie theatre.  There are several things to keep in mind when faced with a crying child, or a child that’s making too much noise.  First, who’s fault is it?  If you went to see a children’s movie, or some movie where there would be a high attendance of children, then you should be ready to accept all that entails.  Still, a crying child and a parent who isn’t doing their duty is another matter.  If a child is crying and won’t stop, it should be the parent’s responsibility to go with that child out of the theatre until the child calms down.  If they don’t, you can most certainly ask them to do so.  You don’t have to be a dick about it, just say something like, “Ma’am (or sir), your child is upsetting the other children.  Could you please take your child outside until he/she calms down (i.e., beat them till they shut the hell up?  I’m kidding)?”

What if it isn’t a children’s movie?  Now that is something else that makes me question the parenting skills of others.  I remember hearing about parents bringing their kids to see Watchmen. Do these people not look at a movie’s ratings?  IT’S RATED ‘R’, DON’T BRING YOUR KIDS! When I was young, my parents brought me to see some ‘R’-rated movies, and though I don’t consider them to be bad parents, it probably wasn’t the best thing in the world for them to do.  I don’t regret seeing these movies, but if I ever have children, I most certainly will not take my 7-year-old to see an ‘R’-rated film.

Next time on The Movie Theatre Survival Guide: Returns, Refunds, and Really Bad Seats.

(images found using Google Image Search)

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The Movie Theatre Survival Guide, Part 2 Review: “A Haunting in Connecticut”

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