On Monday, I am heading to the IMAX Theatre to catch “The Wizard of Oz” re-release in 3-D. I am so glad that school is in session, because I get so stressed out when I go to a theatre and there are a bunch of teenagers. Aren’t the majority of them the worst in theatres? I was NEVER like that in public. But I digress… Actually, some adults are horrible in public, too.
I’d love to live in the magical dream utopia where everyone agrees to focus only on the movie they just dropped 12-plus dollars to see. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world — but fortunately, I havefound a few modest compromises that I think could end this war once and for all:
From my friends at yahoo.com, “8 Simple Rules For Not Being A Jerk At The Movies…..”
1. No cell phones during the movie
No calling. No texting. No checking the time. No doing that thing where you cup your hand over the screen. Need to check your phone while the movie’s still running? That’s fine — as soon as you feel it vibrate (and itmust be on vibrate), quietly leave the theater and do your calling or texting in the lobby.
2. Don’t scream at someone who’s still using their phone as soon as the lights go down
There’s an important corollary to the aforementioned cell phone rule: All moviegoers deserve the courtesy of a 60-second window to finish using their cell phone as the movie begins. I’ve seen people get screamed at the second the lights go down in the theater because they’re in the middle of turning off their phones.
3. If you have to talk, make it a single, whispered sentence
A few examples of things it is okay to whisper to someone in a movie theater: “I’m going to the bathroom.” “Will you pass the Goobers?” “I need to text someone, so I’m going to the lobby instead of doing it from this seat.” While you’re in the theater, just sit back and watch — you’ll have plenty of time to talk about the movie after the movie.
4. Don’t put your feet on the back of the seat in front of you
Movie theaters aren’t airplanes — there’s enough leg room for everybody. Your feet should never touch the seat in front of you, even if it’s empty — and especially if it’s occupied.
5. Make sure the screening is kid-friendly for your kid
Yes, you should check a film’s MPAA rating and watch a trailer before taking your 6-year-old to Insidious: Chapter 2 or Machete Kills. But I’m talking about something a little more amorphous. Something like Iron Man 3, for example, is a great movie for some kids — but not all of them. You know your kid better than I do — what makes her cry out in fear, what makes her want to jump up and down in her seat, etc — so plan accordingly. (And worst to worst, many theaters now explicitly offer kid-friendly screenings with discounted ticket and concession prices.)
6. Pick up your own garbage after the movie
Yes, there are underpaid teenagers who come in with brooms and rolling garbage cans at the end of each screening — but are you really that lazy? There’s a garbage can immediately outside the entrance of each movie theater, so it really couldn’t be easier to clean up after yourself.
7. If anyone violates any of these rules, ask them —politely! — to cut it out
Yes, it’s irritating when someone’s breaking movie theater etiquette, but you’re only adding to the overall disruption if you yell at them about it. Stick with simple and polite: “Excuse me, will you stop using your phone?” is a good baseline, and being relatively nice about it decreases the chance of an argument.
If the person refuses, get up and complain to the first employee you can find. I hate doing this, because leaving the theater to lodge a complaint is much more damaging to my personal movie-watching experience than tolerating a rude moviegoer — but for the good of the rest of the theater, sometimes you have to fall on the sword.
8. If you don’t want to follow these rules, stay home
Do these rules seem too strict to you? That’s okay — this is a great time for home video. Movies are coming out faster on DVD, Blu-Ray, and a wide variety of streaming services. TVs have never been bigger or better quality — and you can even get them in 3D, if that’s still your thing. So stay home, pop some popcorn, and text your way through the movie of your choice. The rest of us will thank you.
Do you agree with me? Maybe if we all unite, things will change!