The 10 Commandments of Movie-Going

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The last few times I've been to the movies have been notably obnoxious, as I've found myself sitting around people who seem to have no idea how to be at the movies. Last weekend, during a viewing of the Woman In Black (don't bother), I ended up next to two girls who were so inept at basic theater courtesy that I felt compelled to - what else? - rant in the form of a blog post. Inspired by my interactions with them & all the others who came before, I present you with The 10 Commandments of Movie-Going.

  1. Thou shalt not contribute copious commentary.
    Movies are entertaining, & sometimes, when you're entertained, you want to tell someone about it. Movies are confusing, & sometimes, when you're confused, you want to ask someone for clarity. Movies are fast-paced, & sometimes, when you're dumb, you want to ask someone to explain. Whatever the reason, limit your comments & questions unless absolutely critical - which is a rarity.

  2. Thou shalt not utter strange reactive noises.
    I have a friend who has a horrible habit of making noises during movies. "Huh!" & "Ha!" & "Oh!" Grunts & sighs & giggles. I have never been as annoyed as I was the few times I went to the movies with her. Nothing takes me out of the moment like an inexplicable grunt. Or something.

  3. Thou shalt keep thy feet to thyself.
    We all love snagging a seat behind an empty one. It's so much more relaxing to watch a movie with your feet up, not a care in the world. But if someone is sitting in that seat? Suck it up & keep your feet to yourself.

  4. Thou shalt refrain from using thy cell phone.
    Your cell phone screen is brighter than you think it is. No, seriously. Turn it on in a dark room & let me know if it hurts your eyes - & remember that the next time you check your texts during a film. If you can't spend two hours away from your cell, you probably shouldn't be going to movies in the first place.

  5. Honor the previews and keep them holy.
    Sure, the previews are not the actual movie, but anyone who knows anything knows that the previews are a major part of the movie-going fun. They're essential to the experience - and though the rules are somewhat more lax during the previews, they still apply. In other words, shhhh!

  6. Thou shalt arrive early or deal with crummy seats.
    I've miscalculated my arrival time once or twice (or always), believe you me. But as much as it sucks, you've got to accept the consequences of your late-coming actions & sit in whatever spots are A) free, & B) easily accessible. It is not OK to arrive 10 minutes after a movie begins & ask an entire row to stand so you can get to a pair of remaining center seats.

  7. Thou shalt practice common-sense snacking.
    Movie theater snacks can be loud. If you neglect/forget to open your treats before the movie begins (mine are usually gone by then...), common sense dictates that you open them at a loud point (i.e. action scene or a time when everyone's laughing) or, if it's a quiet movie, open it at once, even if loudly, & get it all over with. Don't prolong the agony for the rest of us by trying to sneakily open it over the course of 10 minutes.

  8. Thou shalt not laugh loudest at scenes shown in previews.
    The folks who assemble previews have a pesky habit of choosing some of the funniest bits for their pre-production sneak peeks - but when you're at the movie, you know they're coming, so please don't be that person guffawing at a line we've all seen in a million commercial breaks.

  9. Thou shall scatter seating patterns.
    Man Law says that if all three urinals are open & someone is using the one on the far left, you take the one on the far right, not the one in the middle. Similarly, if the movie theater is bordering on empty, don't sit right on top of (or in front of or next to) the few people already seated within. The beauty of a sparsely populated theatre is that we all get our own space!

  10. Thou shalt not clap at the end of the film.
    Others (clappers) disagree with me on this, but I remain steadfast in my belief that clapping at the end of a movie is one of the fastest ways to annoy the rest of the theatre, especially at the end of an otherwise-great conclusion. Unless you're at an actual theatre - which is to say that there are actors on stage taking their bows - save your praise for your Rotten Tomatoes review instead.
And that's all she wrote. Amen!

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