December 11th, 2006

Movie Etiquette

Movie theatres. We all go to movie theatres to enjoy movies, right?

This weekend, I went to the local movie theatre at South Keys mall here in Gloucester (one of the suburbs of Ottawa) to see a movie with Stef. What movie it was doesn't matter. Suffice it to say, I was annoyed and pretty frustrated when I came out of the theatre. Why? Because people don't have any theatre etiquette.

You've all experienced it personally, right? You're completely immersed in a movie monent, when someone decides to open that crinkly bag of candy or whatever. The movie moment is ruined, by the cellophane noise explosion or the soundscape of eating and savouring food rather than the magic unfolding on the screen.

However, it goes beyond food. With the endless variety of pocket-sized electronics that go "beep!" in the darkness of the theatre, not to mention the piracy police that cruises back and forth in front of the screen during promotional previews, its getting harder to suspend one's disbelief at movie theatres these days. You know, someone's cellphone rings, and they answer it and talk in a low voice during the movie for the next ten minutes or so, or someone talks to their friend or seat neighbour about something in the movie.

People should never be so disrespectful of movie magic, and so with Christmas some three weeks away, I offer the following guidelines in the spirit of the Christmas season...

JohnK's Rules for Going to Movies

1. Just shut up. I don't care if you get the joke. Furthermore, I don't want to hear you explain the joke to your best friend in the next seat. Talking during the movie is just rude

2. Teach your children. Children, who grow up to be adults, learn their behaviour from their own parents or role models. While children get a lot of slack while talking and blabbing through movies, parents need to teach their darling angels Rule 1 above.

3. Turn off the battery operated toys. I don't care if it's a cellphone, a glowing pen, or your IPod, turn it off. No beeps, no lights, no whistles. Movie theatres are dark for a reason.

4. Before buying a ticket, check the ratings and advisory on the movie in question. Don't whine in the theatre about the abundance of snakes in Snakes on a Plane or the gory elements of Turistas. If the advisory for the movie is one that deals with extreme violence expect that. If you don't want to see that, don't go to the movie and ruin it for the rest of us.

5. Keep your feet on the floor. Don't put your feet, clean and non-odourous though they may be, ont he back of the chair in front of you. It won't make it comfortable for the person in that chair, for one, and it will make it more difficult for people who have to leave the theatre for some reason.

6. A surprise ending should surprise. There are so few surprises in movies these days, given the formulaic nature of movies that we see these days, that these moments are rare. Don't be a nasty person and spoil the surprise for me, or the friend you're sitting next to.


So there you have it. My basic guidelines for going to the movies. Now be good, and go and see a movie this week! :)
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