Moviegoing Etiquette 101

Moviegoing Etiquette 101



We went to go see Up In The Air last night.  In an effort to interact with as few humans as possible, we chose the 9:30 PM show on a Tuesday evening several weeks after the movie opened.  We arrived at the theater a solid 15 minutes early to procure decent seats, even though we figured there would be ample seats to choose from.  We were incorrect.  The place was fucking packed.

We picked seats front-middlish, one off the aisle (frequent urinators know the drill).  I noticed a small family to our right, talking loudly – a guy, a girl and a little kid, probably six or seven years old.  (Kids love dramedies about the plight of middle-aged men who haven’t anchored themselves emotionally, and they especially adore the undertones of economic plight/downsizing.)  Surely they would shut the fuck up when the movie started though, we were just in the bullshit ads, not even to the previews yet.

During the previews, they actually managed to get louder – perhaps encouraged by the hilarity of seeing The Lovely Bones trailer for the 8,000th time.   (If I see one more ad for either that or Legion, I’m probably going homicidal.  Enough is enough, I feel like I’m being subjected to “There’s Something Wrong With Esther” all over again.)  Once the movie started, they were in full-fledged conversation mode; I strongly suspect they thought they were going to see Up.  Given that my hearing sucks ass (something I will attribute to my five years of military service, not my five years of listening to Ratt way too loud) I busted out the first “sssshhhhhhhhhh.”  This seemed to incite the female to speak louder.  A woman who’d moved to the aisle seat to my right got even more direct with a “please be quiet.”  The family lady then said, and I’m not making this up, “Oh no you didn’t tell us to be quiet, mind your own damn business.”  They continued chatting and then gave the little kid a video game to play, with the sound on.

Time to call in the artillery, something I’ve never done in my life.  But we didn’t pay the unfortunate price of $12.50 to listen to a family of morons chat. (Not you, kid, it isn’t your fault.  You’ve got a tough road to hoe in life, though.  Persevere.)  It was the first time in my life (I think) that I’ve ever gone to get an usher.  Of course, the kid with the flashlight uses no discretion and asks me to point at them from like three inches away.  Which I did.  The fucking woman went apoplectic and walked out to talk to the usher, feigning as if to hit the woman next to me on her way out.

She came back in two minutes later, at which point they went back to talking as loudly as possibly and basically being fuckfaces.  Now the guy in the row in front of me went to get the usher, who this time took the male outside for a chat.  The guy in front of me added a nice touch though as the lady went into her “oh no you didn’t call security on us again” tirade, he evoked the “don’t be that guy” campaign they show at the beginning of the movie.  This didn’t go over well.

The lady to my right left about ten minutes later, probably (and maybe rightfully) afraid what this person might do as they were walking out.  The guy in front of me got into another altercation with the family after the mother (using this term loosely) kept threatening to spank the kid if he didn’t shut up – he started yelling “spank” after every time the mother said it.  This got the father (again with the loosely) involved, who asked the guy to come over there and say that and then called the guy a “pussy” since he didn’t want to get into a fistfight at Up In The Air.

These fuckheads eventually left about 15 minutes before the end of the movie.  A terrible time was had by all.  If those two asshole parents happen to read this, here’s what I’d like them to take away from this: go kill yourselves.  At least then your kid would have a fighting chance in life.


(Seemingly Unnecessary, But People Are Fucking Morons) Moviegoing Etiquette 101


1.  Shut the fuck up. They even have a commercial at the beginning that reiterates this.  Movies are supposed to provide a brief respite from the numbing grind of daily life; listening to your thoughts/comments instead reminds everyone of the omnipresence of morons.  I think getting rid of the dancing popcorn intro has led to the demise of the theater experience.

2.  Turn off your phone. They also tell you this about 20x.  (Personal revelation: when I was watching It’s Complicated with my parents, my dad’s phone went off during and he had a short conversation.  I was mortified, but at least it was about a co-worker who was extremely ill in the hospital.  It wasn’t “hey, I’m just here watching a movie, what’s up with you?”)

3.  By turn off your phone, I mean it should be unseen and unheard. Maybe taking a discrete quick glance at your messages halfway through would be okay, but holding it so the screen is in front of you throughout is purely a dickhead move.

4.  Take off your headphones during the movie. I didn’t realize this was even in play until last night: the couple behind us, who were also “sssshhhhing” the family, were having their own conversation.  They were attempting to follow social norms and trying to be somewhat quiet, but the fact that the guy kept his headphones on throughout I think bumped up the volume somewhat on insight comments such as “ooohh, he’s a pimp.  That’s Biggie style right there.”  (Personally, I disagreed.  Clooney supposedly modeled his character after DJ Quik and you could really see the West Coast influence in his portrayal.)

5.  If you are gonna smuggle in food, make sure it’s on the quiet side. The price of concessions is outrageous, so I am down with bringing in your own gear.  I’ve even been known to roll with a contraband Fresca or two.  But there is a reason that theaters don’t sell huge fucking bags of chips, they make a ridiculous amount of noise in both the “getting out of the bag” and the “eating” phases.

6.  Don’t kick the seat of the person in front of you. It’s annoying as shit.

7.  Don’t lean back a ridiculous amount and crush the knees of the person behind you. It’s annoying as shit.

8.  If you have a kid – pause, as this may come as somewhat of a shock to many – you are responsible for making sure that they abide by the things on this list, as well. Kids are the preeminent kickers of the backs of chairs.  Make them stop by – another pause as this is shocking to the anti-“spare the rod” crowd – telling them “no.”

9.  Frequent urinators: position yourselves accordingly. No one likes standing up to let your fat ass back in.

10.   Don’t look disgusted when someone sits in an empty seat near you. It’s a movie, by definition a communal event.  If they are following the rules here, it shouldn’t ruin your fucking day so ease off on the sourpuss looks.


Now, about the movie.  Was it good?  I think so.  I’ll have to rent it to confirm.


Chilly17, wasted potential on offer

7 thoughts on “Moviegoing Etiquette 101

  1. I am right there with you, if any of my 4 kids act up, I take them right out of the theater at that point they know what will be coming, they ALWAYS behave. You’re a meathead parent if you cannot control your kids at the movies and should be taken out of the gene pool

  2. Sadly, a decent part of manhattan. chelsea area. i’m imposing a movie theater hiatus of seven months to recover. Except maybe I’ll go see Kick-Ass, that movie looks awesome.

  3. I think 90% of our country’s problems today are a direct result of parents not punching their kids in the face more often. What do you think, chilly?

  4. As someone who was beaten with any number of blunt/painful objects (including, but not limited to: belts, hands, paddles (school only, usually with cause), hickory switches, brooms (handle and working end), faberge eggs and mannequin legs) I’m really not in favor of punches to the face. Spankings to the butt, when young and impressionable, seem to have a positive longterm benefit, however.

  5. We’ve become a nation of pussies. A liitle blood on a kids face never hurt anyone, chilly. Might have saved us from this credit crisis.

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