Now, normally I'm a very nonviolent person. Despite what you may think of my reading or viewing habits, I normally go out of my way to avoid confrontation in real life. There is, however, one place in the world where this isn't true; the movie theatre. You probably could have guessed that from my review of the Kingdom. I don't know exactly why this is. Well, scratch that, I think I have a pretty good idea of why that is, actually.
I love going to movies. Movies are such a part of my life that seeing a movie in the theatre is almost like church. As technologically advanced as my living room setup gets, and as much as I enjoy lounging back on my couch while eating horribly fattening food, nothing beats being in the audience when the lights go down and the movie starts to roll. It can be magical, and it's always a good time for me. The movie may be utter shit, but that's not the point. The point is the shared experience. One of the best movie-going experiences in my life was Star Wars Episode One. I saw the very first showing in Alaska, and went right along with the crowd as they cheered. They cheered when the lights went down, they cheered when the Lucasfilm logo popped up, and they gave the opening title crawl a standing ovation! Everyone there was there to enjoy the film, and they completely gave themselves up to the joy of seeing this with a theatre full of like minded people. Of course, I went and saw it again with my family a week later, and I couldn't believe I'd been duped like that.
My point is, seeing a movie in the theatre is almost a sacred tradition with me, and I can't stand it when others don't give it the respect it deserves. Of course, I'm not alone in this; I'm probably the last blogger on earth to jump onto this bandwagon. People begin to treat the theatre as a large living room, talking on cell phones, talking to each other, and generally making an ass out of themselves and disturbing those few people left who seem to want to watch the movie.
Over the past couple years, my tolerance for this has dropped WAY off. I used to make do with passive-aggressive looks at the person behind me, hoping they would see my pointed stares and be shamed into silence. That never works. Now, though, I'm much more direct. If people don't shut up in the movie, I lean over and tell, not ask, them to politely shut up. If someone a few rows down won't stop playing with their cellphone, and the light keeps distracting me, I'll get up and go tell them. And, believe it or not, it works almost every time. I'd had a few sarcastic remarks, but they still shut up or put the cellphone away.
It's something I try and encourage my friends to do, because we need to reclaim our theatres. If movies are costing 10 bucks(more in other places, but in Alaska it's about 9.75 for a non-matinee show), why should we have to put up with distractions? For that matter, why would people pay 10 bucks a piece, and twice that probably when snacks are counted, to not watch the movie? Just tell them to shut up. Politely, though, that's probably a bit more unnerving to them.
[I have to mention this: either my spellcheck is getting stupider, or I'm actually getting a bit smarter. This post, and my last one, each had only one mispelling in it, and that was punctuation! Yay me!]