Friday, July 22, 2011

People Who Talk in Movie Theaters

I currently have two degrees, both of questionable use and value (sorry NYU, I do love you). One of those degrees is in Cinema Studies, or in layman's terms, the study of cinema. It was during the pursuit of this degree that I learned about the wonders of filmmaking: the art of setting a scene, lighting it perfectly, letting a swell of music speak for the characters instead of dialogue - or, in the absence of a melody, sometimes just the silence of a moment, where all you hear is the whir of the projection booth behind you, and you hold your breath to see how the director breaks the quiet.




Dear people behind me, you are making everyone miserable. You are literally ruining this film for the rest of the people in this theater - and what's more, you 100% do not care.

That's the worst part, right? It's not like you're traveling to a different country and you don't know the customs, so you accidentally use the wrong fork and dinner and offend the old lady eating next to you. Everyone knows that talking during a movie is annoying and rude. So when people openly choose to do it, it's that much more obnoxious.

That guy two rows behind is both confused and angry. I feel you, bro.

I don't feel like I need to go too far into why talking during movies in unacceptable;* it's fairly obvious. Rather, I'd like to ponder the different reactions people have to others talking in a movie theater. I myself am a seether. I sit there and grip the arm rests in fury, a boiling pot of angry brewing inside me. Everytime the offender speaks again, more is added to my Hatred Stew. I will occasionally look back and shoot a glare, which is almost never seen/acknowledged by Talky McGee. At the end of the movie, I usually try to stand up first and turn around, piercing my death stare at the assholes. In my head, they notice and are ashamed. In real life, they neither notice nor care. Being a Seether is incredibly ineffective.

My favorite people are the ones who talk back. There's something so satisfying about hearing a "Shut UP" from somewhere else in the theater, and hearing the moment of awkward silence as everyone revels in the fact that these fuckers have been called out. For MOST talkers, this is enough to shut them up for the rest of the movie. Some are a little denser and will continue talking, but if the Back Talkers are bold enough and tell them to be quiet a few more times, usually the message is received.

A movie theater, in my perfect universe.

Why is it more people aren't willing to speak up when someone else is ruining a movie? I guess we as humans are fairly afraid of confrontation - and if someone is openly doing something they full well know is annoying and rude as hell, it's reasonable to assume they may not be so polite if the offensive behavior is pointed out to them. But it really does fucking ruin a film, and I cannot stand it.

*There are certain situations and movies where it's semi-acceptable to talk during a movie. These include obvious ones like sing-alongs or The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Talking is also acceptable in the following scenario:

a) it's opening weekend for the movie
b) it's either a scary film or kind of a terrible one
c) you're not talking over dialogue
d) you have something short and funny to say.

I'm serious, it has to fit all three of those criteria for me to find it okay. Examples: I saw The Crazies on opening night, a pretty solid horror movie that involves people in a town losing their minds. During a quiet yet stressful chase scene in which a Batshit Man pursued our hero, a man in the theater yelled, "That dude is CRAZY!" The whole theater laughed, the man stayed silent for the rest of the movie, and we all continued watching the film.

I also saw Wolverine when it opened a few years ago. This one obviously had a lot of buzz as a comic book movie taking a character beloved by many. Well, it didn't quite deliver...if you saw it, you know why. A man in the theater yelled out, "You ruined my childhood!" at the end. Short, funny, done.

If it's not one of these scenarios, and you're still talking during a movie...well, I hope someone who's not me is willing to call your ass out.

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