Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The turn and glare

When did going to the movies stop being a hushed, magical experience where everyone gathered around the miracle of flickering images and become a free-for-all? In the last couple of years, I've noticed a staggering decline in decorum at the cinema. Perhaps I'm just noticing this now because I'm getting older and more curmudgeonly. So curmudgeonly, in fact, that I use phrases like 'a staggering decline of decorum', which makes me sound like my dentures are pinching. But I digress. The last few times I've gone to see a movie (on both sides of the Atlantic) I've encountered some appalling behavior.

There were the two pre-teen girls at 'The Producers' who shared a large tub of popcorn and whispered and giggled so loudly that we had to ask them to be quiet three times. There were the people behind us in '13' at Cornerhouse last night who talked at normal conversation pitch through the ads, trailers, credits and the first bit of the film. I like to watch the trailers, dammit. And don't get me started on the mobile-phone related disturbances. At some movie recently a phone rang loudly, and instead of shutting it off, the person answered it. I almost had a heart attack. Then there was the whole family texting happily away during 'King Kong.' Father and two are-they-really-old-enough-for-mobiles sons, faces bathed in the blue glow of their handsets, seemingly oblivious to the big ape. Why do these people go to movies?

Here's my strategy for dealing with bad behavior at movies:

1. The turn and glare

2. A second turn and a longer, more malevolent glare, perhaps with a raised eyebrow

3. Turn, glare and 'shhhh' meaningfully

4. The same again, but this time with hands raised in the international sign of "what gives?"

5. Getting verbal. This may actually require getting up and walking to another section of seats. "Excuse me, would you mind being more quiet/turning that off/doing that outside? We're trying to watch the film." This makes you feel like a prim librarian from central casting, but it usually works.

6. Another verbal entreaty, with the addition of either a. sarcastic comment or b. threats to fetch management and have them bodily removed. In cases of extreme annoyance, both.

7. Go to manager and demand free tickets (it's never actually come to this, but I would.)


Anonymous said...

I've demanded money back from a film show before ~ because the usher was sitting at the back and did nothing about the bloke answering his mobile phone during the film and chatting away completely oblivious to the noise he was making.
We threw popcorn at him and he turned it off. Half an hour later it rang again and again, he answered it.
I got my money back for the film, and a personal ~ yes, personal ~ apology from the manager, who acted like it was his arse if he didn't get me to smile before I left. I actually left with a voucher for a free showing, and my money returned, so yes pal, I was smiling.
You're absolutely right ~ if you can't shut up for just 2 hours, don't come in the cinema house.

Bang on pal. Keep up your blog! And I've never heard of myspace...

Kate Feld said...

It's encouraging to hear that someone actually got free tickets in these circumstances. And I like the throwing popcorn strategy - simple, but probably effective

Anonymous said...

You know what? I did exactly what you listed there, the turn and glare, it didn't work though. In the end I had to walk over there and get verbal, politely of course. Still didn't help.