I’m a meticulous man by trade. So when I go to the movies, I get steamed that people don’t follow my simple rules. I would show you the video that perfectly sums up my feelings, but unfortunately YouTube doesn’t have it. So here are my rules for going to the movies, and I’ll sprinkle in some stories of the unfortunate souls who violated said rules.
1. Turn off your phone (this means everyone). Not only is it distracting to everyone around you, but it is disrespectful. That said, I would have loved to show the phone of those <expletives> who sat next to me opening night of Inception. I don’t know who they were, but these two guys were wearing matching fedoras. Now, I’m all for expressing yourself, but matching fedoras is a no-no in call circles (especially boy bands). Every time this little punk checked his phone, I wanted to grab it and throw it the length of the theater. The movie wasn’t in 3D, but the image of a phone being thrown across a room during a movie would illicit a response. Those who understood the gesture would applaud, while the 12-year-old tween who got beamed by the projectile would ultimately quiet down herself. If she doesn’t, call an usher to have her escorted out.
2. That was a nice set-up for my number 2 point. Shut the up. During the movie, no one cares what you have to say. The dark of the theater is supposed to mimic the illusion of live theatre. So, dad, stop asking questions because you weren’t paying attention. I love nothing more than to answer them and discuss the movie…after we leave the theater. Now, the occasional one syllable response is funny, but keep it to one per theater per show per year. This isn’t Rocky Horror Picture Show or The Room,
NO ONE is in the theater. We should all enjoy that luxury.
When I went to see Blue Valentine, a couple of elderly women talked through the trailers (a somewhat forgivable offense), but when the movie started, I actually said something. Now, I’m partly a chicken for not saying something everytime someone disrupts the movie experience, but I am so desperate to hold on to that illusion of isolation, I will pray to every god to smite that person dead.
so audience participation is illegal. If you violate this imperative directive, all ushers have been trained to remove you from the theater one appendage at a time. Keep your trap shut for the 90 minutes or so it takes to watch the movie in its entirety. When the movie starts, I want to imagine
3. If you know what is going to happen, keep it to yourself. I almost couldn’t go see Love and Other Drugs because someone guessed what the third act was about. Based on the trailer, they weren’t far off. Fortunately, she was wrong enough to give a fresh view of the end. Some people have trouble following this one, more of a problem during home viewings than in theaters, but it should be strictly adhered to. I know the ending to a certain Denzel Washington movie because someone at work was an <expletive>.
4. Outside snacks are ok, in fact, many encourage it. Being a veteran movie usher/janitor/jack-of-all-minimum-wage-trades, I know that theaters make almost all their green on concessions. Since I’ve been on all sides of this argument, I just wanna leave this at: be smart, be economical, and don’t flaunt it. Open the items quietly and wait for the lights to dim, if you do.
5. These next two are for parents. Dumping your kids at the theater on a Friday night is borderline negligence. Now, I know that you never tell a parent how to raise a kid, but I’m willing to take the bullet on this one. It’s ok that you let your daughter go to Justin Bieber’s concert movie, but have the decency to teach your kids the necessity of quiet during a movie. I don’t know how I learned it, but I learned it at a young age. I learned pantomiming helped. Also, you don’t need to explain your bathroom break during the fight scene. Just now that you will not be caught up on any account. If you are, the ninja ushers will decapitate you. They are blood crazed, so don’t tempt them.
6. Moms and Dads, keep your little addition to your family at home. When I went to see Unstoppable, This little kid proceeded to ask if every train was Thomas the Tank Engine! He kicked the seats, talked throughout the entire film and his parents did nothing to stop it. I was so offended, I almost called child safety services or Cruella Deville to shut him up.
7. Making out, sexual acts, actual sex, and the like are inappropriate for the movie theater realm. Yes, Diner made the idea funny, but this isn’t encouraged at any point. We all break this rule (who hasn’t made out through an entire movie?), but there are some guidelines to follow if you indulge in this behavior. A) Keep it to yourselves B) Keep it quiet C) Don’t be obvious about it or do it in front of a crowd. That’s what the back rows are for.
Now, there are some other little items to explore, so I may need to supplement this later. If I missed anything, please let me know. Also, there are always exceptions to the rules. If you are disabled in a way that necessitates breaking this rules, you have the rare opportunity to ignore theater law. But, those with you don’t share your need, can NOT follow your example. Sometimes a blind person will go to a movie, but they are more than welcome to have a narrator chosen by Russian Roulette. They deserve to know what goes with all the things they hear. Deaf people should (whether they want it or not) have an interpreter (or find access to Rear Window Captioning. Yes, that’s a link to wikipedia.) so they can more comfortably enjoy the film. Plus, my girlfriend’s mom would get a chance to see Gnomeo and Juliet all the time (You’re welcome Joan, you avid reader of my blog you!).
As a special treat, here is an intro video from my favorite theater chain of all time, The Alamo Drafthouse.