Movie Theater Manners (or Lack Thereof)

Watching movies in a movie theater (read big screen) is an experience that I love and much enjoy. But one that can be easily ruined mainly by other people. I don’t know what expectations these people have when they go to a movie theater, but to me, when in a theater I try to keep to myself and minimize my impact on my surroundings.

When I say surroundings I mean people, seats, floor, food, everything. Oh, yes, food. How did chomping on popcorn become associated with movie watching? What compels people to purchase overpriced bad popcorn and ridiculously diluted soda? What compels people to chomp and slurp? How can they not realize it is annoying?

Bad habits, yes.  Generations of people being brought up with the conviction that the world is theirs to conquer. An attitude evident from the movie-going crowd to the foreign policy. It might be useful to boost youngsters’ self-confidence telling them they can be whatever they want to be, but it can also be useful to teach them that they should respect other people, because unfortunately, we have to share this world. I know, it sucks, but that’s how it is. There’s a fine line between ruthless go-getters, and obnoxious. Evidently some people think the world is their playground, but sorry to have to break it to you, the movie theater is not your living room. No, you cannot be as comfortable as you are in your livingroom. Until the time comes when movie theaters feature couches, you cannot stretch your legs while seating in a movie theater. Putting your feet up the seat in front of you is gross. (And, by the way, you are wearing these freaking stupid clogs, while you’re not a Dutch peasant and while is not Halloween). All I want to do is turn to you, smile and say as politely as I can “Would you mind putting your feet down? I’m afraid they smell really bad. Thanks!” How humiliated would you feel? Would that put the message across to your brain?

Probably not. Cause probably you were never taught good manners. Or you chose to erase them from your brain. Whether you like it or not you live in a society, meaning you have to respect some rules; this is not a desert island. It’s the same attitude that makes people yelling “liar!” while the President addresses the Congress, the same attitude making that god awful Kanye West snatching the mic away to say his sorry bit. It’s the same attitude of feeling entitled. You shouldn’t though, simply because you are not actually entitled. Not more than anybody else.

So while you take your feet off the seat in front of you, make sure that you keep quiet. Yes, you heard me, quiet. Resist the urge to turn to your companion every 5 seconds and comment or question or sigh loudly or exhale loudly. You can save it for later. And it would save us some aggravation.

And now that you masticated like a lovely bovine and the movie is over and it’s time to leave, can you take your trash with you? I mean really, what’s with leaving it behind? Is it some kind of animal territorial marking behavior, like leaving b.o. or urine behind? Unnecessary.

Unfortunately this obnoxious behavior is noticed in every theater: urban, suburban, arthouse, blockbuster. And actually it extends outside of the theater: people not covering their mouths while yawning, people talking while eating, eating with open mouth, eating like pigs while not in the confines of their house, driving without using the turn signal while turning, picking their noses while driving (yes, though you might be alone in your car, you can actually be seen by others outside your car), people cutting you off while talking, people talking endlessly and loudly…

The bottom line is that we do not have to sustain behavior that encroaches into our spatial, visual, aural space. Manner bullies, cut it out. Please. Thank you.


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