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.)