I love the movies. Absolutely adore them, as you can probably tell from how many films I review.
Whether I’m watching them at home or making a monthly trek to the theaters, you’ll always find me talking about what’s playing or dropping recommendations when I can. Heck, I even used to work at a movie theater in their operations department, so I’m clearly devoted. I enjoy them a lot.
But not all of my movie-going experiences have been great. Some excursions have been terrible. One of the most recent was during my sixth viewing of The Last Jedi, where a person started arguing with someone over their phone and had to be escorted out of the theater.
Another time a bunch of kids were throwing popcorn at the people in the row ahead of them. During a packed showing of The Eagle Huntress, a woman got very upset with the staff when they told her that she couldn’t take up an entire row of seats.
Going to the movies is a shared experience, and as I started thinking back on how some people are so rude, I started to wonder why. Do they not realize that this is a shared space? Do they not care?
There’s a lot of annoying behaviours that you can encounter when you go to the theater, but here are some of the worst. If you’re doing any of these things you should probably stop, or just stay home and watch the movie later.
1. Talking in the Theater
This is frankly the most common issue that pops up, and one of the most annoying.
I mean I get it. The film is interesting and maybe you’re with your friends. Maybe you want to talk with them about what you’re seeing, just like you would when you’re sitting in front of the TV. However other people in the theater might feel differently. They’ve come to watch the movie, not listen to you talk about how much you hate the director’s film.
If you do need to talk, it’s best to save your chit chat for intermissions or after the movie. If you can’t wait, then whisper. Be mindful of the fact that the people in your immediate vicinity will hear you.
2. Leaving Your Cell Phone On
We’re all attached to our cell phones, and once again I get it. I constantly have my cell phone with me, and unless I’m literally on a plane or in the theater I don’t turn it off. But once those lights dim and the trailers start playing, you need to dial it in. There’s good reasons for this, beyond a phone ringing in a quiet room.
Even if you have your phone set to vibrate, the backlight on the screen will stick out like a sore thumb. There might be distracting items on your phone that will irritate the people sitting next to you. Worse yet is when people start filming the movie with their camera.
I mean, beyond being highly disrespectful to the people sitting next to you, it’s also a form of bootlegging. Seriously, don’t do it.
3. Loudly Talking About Spoilers
This wasn’t as much of an issue ten years ago, but with the spread of the internet into every facet of our lives and the ability to record our lives instantaneously, we now live in the golden age of “spoilers”.
Some people love spoilers. Other people—like myself—hate them. And I mean whatever, if you need to go to a movie already knowing what will happen in order to enjoy it, more power to you. Just for the love of all things pop culture, if you do like spoilers, please do not talk about them in the theater while that movie is playing. We don’t want to hear about how X kills Y from some subreddit that you frequent.
4. Not Respecting People’s Boundaries
Theaters are a shared environment, full stop. You may not be interacting with others on a one-to-one basis, but you all came there for a shared purpose, and you need to treat other people’s personal boundaries with respect.
Don’t skip ahead in line if there’s a queue. Don’t steal seats, or take up a whole row of seats when space is short. Don’t leave garbage on someone else’s chair, and be conscious of perfume or other scents you might be wearing. A lot of people have allergies to scented deodorants, and you’ll be sitting in close proximity to other people long enough to cause a headache.
For these reasons, we’ve found that it’s way better to just watch movies at home. You miss out on the experience, but the practical benefits often outweigh the downsides of movie theaters.