It's a pity that there are so many pre-trailer advertisements that beg and plead for an audience to turn off their cell phones, pages, and to shut up during a movie. It's even more of a pity that people don't. Is the American public really that inconsiderate now, to think that any one person's phone call or, god forbid, text message is so fucking important that it deserves to ruin a movie for the people seated near that person?
Please. If I had my way, movie seats would hang over a pit of molten lava, and programmed to collapse even its occupant makes too much noise or answers a phone call.
Anyway, on to some basic rules for movie theater etiquette. Like most etiquette guidelines, you already know all of these; you probably just choose to ignore them.
1. Don't talk. Ever. If you don't understand what's going on, save your questions for the credits. There's no way your obviously more intelligent companion is going to be able to explain things to you quickly and quietly, anyway. You're stupid, that's why you asked the question. If you see something that makes you think of a joke, save it for the credits. If it's a truly funny thought, it will remain funny well after the movie is over. Otherwise, keep it to yourself and remain shut the fucked up. And when you leave for snacks or a bathroom break, don't ask, "Did I miss anything?" when you return. It's a movie, it doesn't pause for you. So, yes, of course you missed something, you moron.
2. Turn off your fucking cell phone. Off. Not down, not on vibrate, not on "flash annoying little lights." Turn it off. If you're a doctor on call, go rent a movie and watch it at home. Or leave word with the ushers and have your calls sent to the theater's office. In case you hadn't noticed, because you're too busy picking your own nose, vibrate actually makes an shitload of noise, especially in a theater that's otherwise (hopefully) quiet. And sending text messages? Do you realize how fucking bright that screen is? Put it this way, someone in the back row of a theater with stadium seating will be able to see you tapping text into your phone, even if you're in the front row.
3. Don't get loud, obnoxious food. Popcorn is the exception, since so much of movie culture is built around it. But if you must buy that candy that comes in a crinkly plastic bag, open it before the movie starts, pour it into a cardboard container, and eat it out of that. And don't think you're sneaky. No amount of ninja training can prevent those bags from making noise. Trust me. It's like a leather jacket or a diaper. Everyone can hear it. And don't chew your ice.
4. Refrain from your own sound effects. Laughing is permissible. So is screaming. However, saying "ooh" or "ah" in amazement, stating "ouch" or "god damn" when a character is hurt onscreen, or providing other extraneous commentary reminiscent of the 1960s Adam West Batman is, for the most part, entirely unacceptable. In fact, it's basically a violation of rule 1.
So, please note the emergency exits, shut the fuck up, and enjoy the show.
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