Thursday, January 07, 2010

At the Movies: An Etiquette Primer

When did it become acceptable to talk during a movie in the theater? Today Mrs. Dcat and I went to see Sherlock Holmes, which we had both really wanted to see since its release but had not managed to fit into the schedule. She loathes going to crowded movie theaters and she absolutely hates the teen crowd, especially the one that flocks to the theater at the local mall. So we figured: It's a Thursday, 1:15 in the afternoon, school has started. We would have preferred the other multi-plex in town, but Sherlock Holmes is only playing at the mall. Still, we thought we were safe, especially when there were no more than thirty people seated when the lights went down and the previews came on.

We thought wrong. From almost the beginning a couple at the end of our row was yammering on. They were not kids. And they were not old people. I'd guess 50-something. I am no shrinking violet, so I asked them, loudly enough to encourage a public shaming from what I hoped would be an equally exercised vox populi, to "Stop Talking, Please!" They actually glared across the empty seats to me. And they talked for the remainder of the movie. Constantly. I said nothing else, not wanting to be a hypocrite and wanting to maintain the moral high ground, but I fumed for the next two hours or so. And they were not alone. Two guys, maybe a bit older than I am, on more than one occasion shared their comments with us all from nearly directly behind our heads.

Finally, Mrs. Dcat, who is not as aggressive as I am, finally had it. She went and fetched security. The security guard sat in the back. The two guys behind us, in his row (we sat second from back) did not realize he was there and started talking loudly. They got tossed. But that other couple somehow kept quiet for the two minutes the guard was there, and as soon as he left continued their conversation up into the closing credits. I literally had to wait until they left, because, and this is no hyperbole, there would have been physical violence. It was probably the most self-control I have ever shown in my life. I hate myself for it. These cretins talk throughout the whole movie, and if I punch the guy's lights out, I'd be the one to go to jail. This is an unjust world.

When did this behavior become commonplace? (And it is soul-crushingly common.) It ruined the movie for us and pretty much ensured that we do not go to the movies in the theater for a long, long time. Fortunately we have a great drive-in that does first-run double features for $5 a person, so we'll still get to see movies as they come out, but we will still miss many that we want to see and will be restricted to the time and circumstance that the format demands. No more matinees for us. No indie films, or documentaries, or short-run films that cannot be paired with fairly mainstream fare. Thank God for Netflix, I guess.

[I am exempting movies geared toward the kiddie crowd. Different situation, different rules, different expectations.]

What follows is the sort of advice that should be so obvious that no one has to say it. Or so I would have thought.: If you are one of those people who thinks it is ok occasionally to chat, or to compare notes, or to talk to the screen, or to share your brilliant witticism with us, or to ignore the "turn off your cell phones" rule, it is not. It is not ok. You are a fucking asshole.


Mojodessa said...

You should have said... "SHUT THE F UP YOU DOUCHENOZZLE!!!"
They must have been Yankee fans

Name: Matthew Guenette said...

Back in my early 20s, the girlfriend I had at the time--a totally happy, everyone-be-free type--turned around to the loud mouth teens behind us at the movies and said, loud enough for the whole theater to hear: "What is your fucking problem? SHUT UP!"

Like everyone else, I was stunned into silence. A happy, satisfied silence.

BTW: I'm writing this note rather than watching the Pats, who are submitting what is easily their worst performance in 10 years...

Thunderstick said...

you know what would make this blog good?? If DCat posted here!!

dcat said...

Some would say that my posting less is even better.

Yeah, doing just about anything yesterday was better than watching the Pats. Ugliness.


Ritmo Brasileiro said...

"Back in my early 20s, the girlfriend I had at the time--a totally happy, everyone-be-free type--turned around to the loud mouth teens behind us at the movies and said, loud enough for the whole theater to hear: "'What is your fucking problem? SHUT UP!'"

MARRY HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And reproduce. Often. The world and especially America needs more of those genes in its stagnant pool.

dcat said...

Ritmo --
I agree with all of your sentiments up to the idiotic "stagnant" gene pool comment.