How to Stop Being a Dick at the Cinema
I get that the title of this might immediately come across as very condescending and pretentious, and god knows I’d never want to cause controversy, but many recent trips to see movies in the cinema have been spoiled by rude, inconsiderate pieces of shit who seem to want nothing more than to ruin it for everybody else. I’m talking about the talkers, the texters, the kickers, the fiddlers – the list could go on and on.
You know precisely the kinds of people I’m talking about; you’ve paid more than enough money to watch a recent release, only to have the experience soured by a member of the public who considers the local cinema their own private screen room which has no societal rules or regulations. The trailers begin and there’s always some chatter and phone-checking, sure, but then once the film gets underway it’s generally accepted that everybody ceases conversation and stops illuminating the whole room with their iPhone. Not to these wankers, though. To them, you’re just part of the furniture, and deserve no inkling of respect or courtesy.
Still here, despite the consistently moany tone? Well, good, because that must mean you share my sentiment. I’m certainly not averse to a slight whisper or two during a film if necessary (which it rarely is), but – I shit you not – during my second viewing of the recent Rogue One, two gents sat in front of me decided to spend the first half of the movie loudly chatting about the many easter eggs hidden throughout; as if they were making some kind of DVD commentary. Not only did this spoil the experience for my friends who hadn’t seen the film yet, but it occasionally drowned out the dialogue within the film itself. Ridiculous.
Back to the phone-checking: stop. I don’t just mean a quick glance at the time, either; some people will literally sit and text their friends or scroll through Facebook if they lose interest in the movie. Now, I don’t want to be discriminatory, but from a lot of personal experience I’ve noticed that it’s generally the older generations who commit this movie-going crime. Checking your phone is irritating as it is, but the worst part is that because it’s the older crowd who do it, they seem to ignore the fact you can dampen the brightness to prevent such a glaring light in the middle of a pitch-black room. Not only are they distracting from the paid-for movie, but they’re enforcing stereotypes simultaneously. Good job, dicks.
This is a bit of a subjective (and potentially controversial) topic, now: loud children. If I’m seeing a movie intended for kids, like the excellent Moana, then I’ll happily forgive a noisy theatre because I’m essentially on their turf. If, however, I’m going to see a movie that’s clearly for all ages, and a child loudly screams or cries and is not taken outside to be calmed down, then we’ve got a bit of an issue. It’s important to note here that I’m not begrudging the child themselves at all; it’s the parents who are to blame. I fully understand that children can become stressed or uncomfortable and draw attention to themselves in a largely quiet audience, and that’s totally fine. What needs to happen from that point on if they persist, though, is that the parent takes them outside briefly and helps deal with the issue – they shouldn’t just sit there and ignore their children, hoping that they’ll sort themselves out. You know what that is? That’s you, being a dick.
I’ll wholeheartedly admit that this is just a rant based entirely upon some recent poor experiences, but it’s simply not acceptable when everybody is there to watch a movie they’ve paid extortionate fees to see. Take Scorsese’s excellent new Silence, for example; it’s a movie which literally tells you to shut the fuck up in the title, and yet while watching it I had to deal with mumbling couples to either side of me. Enough is enough.
Send this to anybody you know that perpetuates these social blunders, and maybe together we can eradicate cinematic dickery from our movie-going culture.