Sunday, August 8, 2010

Movie Etiquette

After years of being irked, in the words of Howard Beale embodied by Peter Finch, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore."

It is time that I deliver the 9 Movie Theater Commandments. I have seen hundreds, most likely closing in on a thousand films in theaters all over the country. From Reno, Nevada to Hilton Head, South Carolina. From New York, New York to Boise, Idaho. I have seen films in the large chain multiplexes to small art house cinemas. I like to think that besides seeing the films and learning something or other about the human condition I have also learned and mastered what it takes to enjoy and allow others to enjoy a film on the big screen. So without further ado, I present the 9 Movie Theater Commandments.

9. Please save the make out sessions for the car or a hotel. I do not need to hear two people sucking face while I'm trying to focus on the complicated plot of Inception. Yeah, it was funny on Seinfeld during Schindler's List, but that was a sitcom. In real life, stay in the parking lot and save twenty bucks.

8. I was in a sold out showing for Dinner for Schmucks and there was actually someone complaining to theater staff that her and her friend's seats were stolen. Saving seats is not illegal at the movies. It is a fact of life. But to avoid an incident like the one involving the schmucks, clarity is the best quality. Leave at least one friend to stand guard over the seats. Items of clothing are best used when distributed equally and visibly over the seats in question. And never respond to "Are these seats taken?" with something like, "Haha, uh huh. They are. Next time try working on your punctuality, movie geek." They might have really big friends who steal your friends' seats.

7. No throwing food. In the dark, and while sitting down, that big headed dork in front of you could be a Jersey Shore castaway tweaking on PCP. And those pieces of popcorn you threw at him could resemble napkins thrown up into the fan at D'Jais and then he starts fist pumping and hits you and ten other people and ends up ruining the movie for everyone.

6. If you have an annoying laugh please try to control yourself. If you don't know that you have an annoying laugh, chances are none of your friends want to sit next to you during a comedy, and the one who gets stuck next to you never ends up enjoying the movie. So please, do all of the movie watching public a service and save the comedies for movie nights at home.

5. I don't care what ethnicity a person is because this is not directed at any one race. I have seen people of all races and creeds who are guilty of this. With that said, stop asking questions or making suggestions to the characters on the screen. They cannot hear you and will never answer you. The only thing your questioning and suggesting does is annoy the hell out of the people in the theater and make you look and sound like an ignoramus. And if you are one of these people, an ignoramus is an idiot.

4. Pee before the film starts. If you need to go, I'm only letting you by twice; once to go and once to come back. Any more than that and I just might push you over the row in front of me.

3. Don't put your bad parenting skills on display by bringing your seven and eight year olds to see Predators. You're a horrible parent, and possibly a horrible person, and you are keeping the door to your kid growing up and becoming a mass murderer that much more ajar than it probably already is. Save yourself and society by checking out Toy Story 3 instead.

2. Nothing rips me out of a movie trance more than a damn text message or ringtone. How can you not realize that everyone within earshot and eyeshot wants to tear that phone out of your dead, rigor mortis-ed hand (they've all killed you) and shove it "where the sun don't shine." Silence is golden and darkness is preferred.

1. Babies. Everywhere else, cute as can be. In a darkened movie theater, a crying baby makes baby punchers out of nuns. Get a babysitter. Call your mom. Leave a bottle in the crib. Roll down the car windows. Give the bum on the corner a fifth of Jack and tell him you'll be back a little later. I don't care. Just don't bring the infant into the movie theater. It shows a complete lack of class, respect, upbringing, couth, caring, parenting, money, responsibility, sense; you name it.