How to Go to the Movies: Movie Etiquette

Grand Lake in Oakland, CA

I love going to the movies. Let me rephrase that, I love going to see a movie in the theatre. I love the big screen, I love the previews, I love the popcorn and Jr. Mints, I love the ritual and since I am a shorty, I just adore the stadium style seating that many theatres have these days. And, It’s just fun. I don’t really care about the price of the tickets because I can’t do anything about it. What I do care about is the assholes who come to the cinema ready to have a great time at everyone else’s expense.

Take last night for example. My fella took me out on a date to the movies. The theatre we wanted was sold out, so we went to one of those big cineplex that show something between 8 and 10 films. Not my favorite but it’ll do in a pinch. Needless to say my movie going experience was tainted by the huge lady and her husband who came in 25 minutes late and decided that rather than sit in the loser seats (where late people should be forced to sit – the front section), it would be better to walk down our row, ask four people to move and basically take our seats. I was pissed. And then because of that rude lady I was forced to sit next to a talker. A lady who apparently had never seen a film outside of her living room. A lady who asked her husband so many stupid questions I had to wonder if she was perhaps a mildly retarded 50-year-old.

In honor of the rampant stupidity in US movie theaters, here is Alicia’s Guide to Going Out to the Movies.

  1. Choose the Film & the Theatre Wisely – This seems like a no brainer, but I make sure the movie I choose to see on the big screen will be satisfying, and worth the ten bucks. So I do a little research. I read my favorite film reviewer and see what he has to say. After that, I decide the theatre. If I am seeing an epic film like a Star Wars, or The English Patient I know I want a theatre with a HUGE screen. So I’ll check the listings and make sure I get what I want. I also look for theaters that have a ZERO TOLERANCE for talking.
  2. Choose Your Seat – This is a shout out to all American movie theaters: PLEASE START HAVING RESERVED SEATING! It was so much less stressful to see a film in Prague because you could reserve the seat you want. That means you don’t have to get to the theatre 20 minutes early just to sit next to your friend in the place you would like.
  3. Get There Early – But, since most theaters in the states haven’t caught up to the rest of the world, you should get there early. How early? The house lights should still be on when you walk in and choose a seat. You’ll have enough time to go to the bathroom and get popcorn and candy. “But Alicia, I don’t want to have to sit through commercials and previews.” Too bad. That’s just part of it. It is better to watch a couple of ads than to disturb people by walking in late. It is called being considerate.
  4. Once the lights are down, Shut the fuck up – You are not at home in your livingroom watching a movie in your jammies. You are out in public watching a movie with a room full of strangers who probably don’t give two shits that you used to have the same poster in your room that Ben Affleck has in the movie. Save it for later.
  5. Turn Your Phone COMPLETELY Off – Yeah, texting in the theater is still annoying to people around you. And honestly, how important do you really think you are that you can’t go two hours without checking your phone? If you are waiting for an important call from your sister about whether or not she has cancer, perhaps find a different time to see a movie. Phones should be OFF. That means no texting, no Tweeting, no up dating your Facebook – nothing. 
  6. Keep Your Kid(s) Under Control: Little Jimmy is just dying to see the new  Batman film and you decide that it’s ok. Fine. But there is no “Baby Brigade” showing of that film… What should you do? Have a talk with Jimmy about the movie and how scary it will be. You should also tell him it is a movie for grown-ups and he won’t be able to ask questions while the film is on. In fact, he can’t talk at all. Or run around or throw things at his sister. If Jimmy thinks he can handle it, then take him. And be ready to leave if he can’t handle it. Because when your kids act up it robs everyone in the theater of their enjoyment of the film. And thats not fair.
  7. Oh, and NO SMOKING. 
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One thought on “How to Go to the Movies: Movie Etiquette

  1. I usually have good luck asking someone to be quiet, if they continue to be rude I warn them that I won’t hesitate to ask the manager to remove them from the theater, this usually sparks an applause from others around us and then the culprit typically (sheepishly) shuts the “F” up, ha!

    One time we had these teen girls sitting in front of us snapping several pics of their group at the theater, the first 3 pics were cute, then it got annoying so on the 4th pic I gave them rabbit ears with my fingers and they finally got the hint, doh! If they keep snapping more pics I had several other avenues of vulgar signals to include in their pics 😉

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