Wednesday, May 23, 2012

6 Seriously Rude Things People Do in Theaters (Even Though They Definitely Know Better)

When I went to see The Avengers (review coming soon) the other day I was shocked at the behavior of the people in the theater-- it was honestly one of the worst movie-going experiences I've ever had. And it's not even like it was some kind of crazy thing happened, like somebody setting their seat on fire, but things that people should really know better about. Things that are just common courtesy, things they would hate if other people did to them, they were just throwing around confetti?...or something.

And it's not like I don't understand emergencies or that things pop up, but really, there are some things we can all agree on.

1.) Sitting Unnecessarily Close to People

Sometimes there isn't much of a choice where you sit. And sometimes there's only 7 other people in the theater with you. I'm not talking about the former. I know that we all have our seating preferences, but really, we all know that average movie theater seating is first-come-first-served. So when you get to the theater and one of those 7 people is sitting in your seat-- with rows and rows of free seats around in all directions!-- don't sit directly in front of, next to, or behind them. Try to space yourself evenly from the other patrons. No,  you may not sit in the same row, that's still awkward. Be an adult and sit somewhere else. You are not Sheldon Cooper.

2.) Saving a Ridiculous Number of Seats, or Saving Them Too Long

This was the first of the cinema plagues I experienced seeing The Avengers with my friend Jason (@cptmrvl). You know that feeling when you turn the corner into Theater 7 or 12 or 24 or 2, and you see how full it is and your stomach just drops? Then wait! Look! There's some seats there! Great ones, too, wow! You make your way over to them to be told by the guy sitting at the end of the aisle, "Sorry, these are saved."


At the Avengers, this one guy was saving like, 14 seats. Which, okay, yeah, birthday party. Sure. Problem was the movie had been out for like, 2 days at this point and the theater was packed. People were actually sitting in those first three rows right up against the screen where nobody over the age of 10 willingly sits. And he continued saving them after the lights had gone out for the 15 minutes of previews that start at the listed screen time, so these people were technically late.

I already had a seat by this time, but I was distracted from the Dark Knight Rises preview by the guy telling a small group that the seats were being saved. I'm still a little pissed about that.

Look. If it's so important that a large group of people all sit together make sure you not only get there on time, but get there early. If it were up to me, and there were some way to enforce it, all saved seats would be forfeit when the lights go down. Scatter to the winds, people, you were late.

3.) Leaving Garbage

My goodness, people, clean up after yourselves. It's not that hard-- bottles and cups and bags and boxes are empty so it's not like they're too heavy. Garbage cans are provided, you're gonna walk by them anyway.

And don't you dare give me that crap about, "It's their job to clean up after me! If I didn't leave my crap around they wouldn't have anything to do! I'm getting my money's worth!"

No. You're lazy, rude, and selfish. Give the minimum wage high school students and recent college grads a break-- you would have appreciated it when you were in that position. Be the customer you wish you had, it'll make you a better person.

4.) Talking

I can't even believe I'm saying this. Whispering to the people sitting next to you (directly next to you if the lights are down, thank you) every once in a while is one thing. Flat out talking? You know better. It's not like you forgot. There are even at least 5 pre-show commercials reminding you not to be flappin' your jaws. Keep it down, people.

5.) Bringing Your Baby

Little Itty-Bitty isn't so cutsie-wootsie when she's screaming. Don't get me wrong, nobody loves babies more than me, really-- but not in a movie theater. Get a babysitter. If you MUST take the baby to the theater (though Lord only knows why), show a little consideration for the other patrons and take the baby OUT of the theater if and when it starts crying. This was another element of the terrible Avengers experience, a crying baby. Two seats away from me. Another woman in the audience actually yelled three or four times to the guy to shush the baby or take it out of the theater.

I don't understand what the problem is. Get someone to watch the baby. If you can't get someone to watch the baby, go to Redbox, it's way cheaper and if they baby starts screaming you can pause it. And you don't bother anyone else that ALSO shelled out the $10 to go see a movie.

And do people not realize they can get a refund in this situation? "Sorry, Johnny's screaming, we had to leave halfway through." Ta-da! Refund.

Just as bad, also, are children technically too young to be seeing the movie causing a disturbance. Years ago when I saw the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie in theaters there was a 4 year old sitting behind me that drove me up the wall. That time I was the one telling the parent to take their kid out of the theater-- the little boy asked who every character was every time someone new came on screen. AND he kicked my chair. Drove me nuts. And again, the theater was full because the movie had just come out.

I know, I know, how special a trip to the movies can be-- but if you're under 5 there's really no shame in not being able to handle it. Not that it can't be done, of course it can, but it's better for everyone involved if you just take your leave if things go wrong. (And you can get a &*!$#^@ refund!)


This was the worst at The Avengers. And I freaking hate it.

Anyone who's seen me hold my lit cell phone above the head of the person sitting in front of me using their phone at the movies can speak to how much I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I'd rather have a crying baby. I'd rather have a crying baby on my head.

Everyone behind you can see that distracting little square of light. Have you ever noticed that? NO, because you're too busy looking at your phone!

Put it away. If you're so important or absolutely have to be available every second of the day you're too busy to go to the movies.

Set it on vibrate. Get up and go into the hallway if you have to answer something-- you can still see the screen! Sit on the aisle and leave the people around you in peace. Or, better yet, DON'T GO.

Drives me nuts.

There's a time and a place for everything. Movie theaters are not that place.

If you want to bring a small child, if you absolutely need to bring your cell phone, if you're bringing a group of 17 people that have to sit in a group, plan your trip to the cinema accordingly. Don't go the weekend the movie opens. Arrive well before your selected screening begins. Go at an unpopular time (shows will be cheaper then, too!). Excuse yourself if you have to. Shut your mouth. Clean up after yourself.

It really all comes down to the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Look at yourself and think, "If the person sitting next to me was doing this, would I be annoyed?" If you would be, then stop it. You're no more important than any other person in the room.

These aren't difficult things to do, but doing them would ensure a better movie-going experience for everyone-- and wouldn't that be nice?

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