Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Movie Manners, or, How Not to Get Your Ankle Broken.

I mentioned that the question of rude people in movies would be treated in more depth another time... welcome to another time.

I saw a movie the other day (Boogeyman - I am a fan of horror movies, although this one was not great. Well enough directed, but the ending was weak and some of the dialogue was nearly painful) and at it was shown some of the more egregious violation of movie etiquette I have seen in a while.

I was with a friend, and as is our habit, we got there well before the movie, grabbed whatever we needed from the snack bar, and went to get the seats we want. We're both pretty big guys, so we like to sit where there is a rail in front of us, rather than seats, allowing us to stretch our legs out without kicking someone else's seat. The row behind us, in the middle, was a couple. After the movie started, the male of the couple got up to go get snacks. Yes. They were there before the movie, but waited until after about 8 minutes of trailers and commercials and a good 10 minutes of movie to go get snacks. Fortunately, the theatre was empty enough that he didn't have to go past other seated patrons in his row to get out. But off he went.

Several minutes later, he was back, food in hand, and went back to his seat (bumping at least my seat, and I think my friend's along the way) where the woman, who must have been incapable of whispering, began to tell him what he missed. My friend shushed her, and her response was "I was just catching him up on what happened!" I couldn't believe it! Do you think I care what you thought was so important you had to infringe on my enjoyment of the film? If so, you were wrong. And stupid. Then, at several other points throughout the movie, they had to be shushed again. Some people should just stick with renting videos. Talk all you want in the comfort of your own home.

Talking is one of the worst of the habits during movies that bother me. The occasional whisper is fine. But talking at normal volume, or non stop is stupid. Don't do it.

There are also lots of other behaviours that people engage in at movie theatres that bother me, and below is a little list for you:
  • Arriving during the trailers for a movie on opening day or any day if it is a popular movie and making a lot of noise about not being able to get seats in the part of the theatre you want. Guess what? People show up before a movie starts to get decent seats. If your time is too precious to spend fifteen minutes sitting in a theatre, fine. But that means you get those seats down in front. Take them and shut up. Don't compound your self-important stupidity with rudeness.
  • Asking me to move to make room for your party who showed up late. I love movies. I will show up early to get the seat I want for a film. The exact seat I want to sit in, whether it be on the rail so I stretch my legs out, or, in a theatre where that isn't necessary, right in the centre of the screen where I can see it best. Either way, there is no way I am giving up my nice seat to you because you got here too late to find 8 seats together. I know you are more important than everyone else, and there should have been 8 perfect seats reserved for you until well after the trailers started and the theatre was dark, but since someone dropped the ball on that, live with it.
  • Don't kick my seat. Once is an accident. Twice, hours apart is an oversight. Much more than that, and I will break your ankle. And if you have a kid, and the kid is energetic and swinging his feet and they are kicking my seat, I will break your ankle, because you should have taught him better. By about the age of 12 all bets are off though. I'm just turning around, and whichever ankle I get a hold of first is going. And stop that damn whimpering. I can't hear the movie.
  • Repeating lines from the movie. You are a) not as funny as the guy who said it on the screen, so it is not funnier when you repeat the line. b) not as cool as the guy who said the line on screen, so it is not as cool when you repeat the line. c) not in charge of making sure we all heard the line. We did. Shut up. Or d) any of the above, or any other reason why you think you should repeat the line. You are wrong. Don't do it.
  • Asking the person beside you why someone did something, hoping for greater insight than you have. There are two possibilities. 1) you are too stupid to follow your average Hollywood movie. If so? Leave. Go home and read some books. It'll help, and it'll get you out of the way of people who want to, and are able to, enjoy the movies. 2) It'll be explained later, in which case the person sitting beside you has no more insight than you. So shut up.
  • Bringing children into inappropriate movies. Do you remember when The Exorcist was re-released a few years ago? Someone was there with a child young enough that they were carrying it. Hmmm... creepy music, loud sounds, swearing, screaming. Yep. Right where I want my infant. I saw Adaptation, kind of a surreal weird movie in parts, and right behind us was a father and two children of about 10 or 12. I mean, come on! The movie poster was a picture of the star's head changed into a plant pot that had fallen over and was cracked. Does this, and the fact that the writer/director has a reputation for surreality (Being John Malkovich, anyone?) scream to you that kids will enjoy this film? They were bored (they mentioned so, quietly, to their father, who didn't care) but otherwise, remarkably well behaved. But really, why put the kids in that situation?
So, there you have it. My guide to what not to do at the movies. Maybe I should start treating moviegoers like my cats and bring a squirt gun to the movies. Try some negative reinforcement. Just in case, if you are seeing a movie, and all of a sudden the side of your head gets soaked, you might be in violation of one of the things above, and that bald goateed guy with the fluorescent squirt gun glaring at you just might be me.


  • Re: your note on the director of Adaptation... Sadly I don't think people pay enough attention to the directors. Yes they do get more attention that the producers or the writers but not as much as the actors.

    And people go to the movies for the actors. I can't think of the last time I heard someone in the general populace say "WOW! I can't wait to see that new Sam Raimi film" (I don't include our group of movie-going friends as 'general populace)

    I find that people see movies for one of 3 reasons. 1)They like movies. We fall into this catagory. People who go to the theatres to see a film and follow the proper "movie manners". 2)People who have no life. These people are usually alone so they don't talk during the film. 3)People who see a movie because it's the 'in' thing and they want to be 'cool'. These last folk should be put in a theatre all by themselves, so the rest of us don't have to deal with them.

    By Anonymous Dan., at 1:24 PM  

  • I disagree with your thoughts on directors. Lines like "From the Director of Gladiator" are a big part of a movie's advertising these days. The movie going public, in general, is getting more and more savvy about this kind of thing, and with that comes better knowledge. Besides, you are ingnoring the mention of the poster, and the fact that several of the actors, even if I agreed with you, are also known for making unusual films.

    By Blogger Just_A_Rat, at 4:11 PM  

  • Ratty Rat,

    You didn't talk about lasers.
    Unless, of course, I missed it.

    By Anonymous Jorge, at 12:39 PM  

  • True, I didn't talk about lasers. I don't see that one very often. But for the record, it deserves broken fingers.

    By Blogger Just_A_Rat, at 9:42 PM  

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