Soapbox: Theatre Etiquette, or How Immature College Kids Ruin Great Cinema

So . . . this isn’t going to be just any other post. This post has absolutely nothing to do with my writing, or even the writing of other authors. No, this is a Soapbox post; a post where I share my opinions on a variety of things.

First up: Theatre Etiquette.

Sorry, midnight showings. It looks like we’re going to have to stop seeing each other. It’s not you, and it’s not even me; it’s other people. In particular, it’s the annoying, immature kids who think their $10 ticket is a license to be complete asses in front of their friends.

It’s not personal, midnight showings . . . I promise. I used to love you. What we had was a good thing, but it’s time to put it behind us. It’s just not the same anymore, and you should know that that’s not your fault.

iron man 2 posterI went to see Iron Man 2 last night at our city’s Rave Motion Pictures. As soon as I walked into the theatre, I knew I would probably be gritting my teeth throughout the movie. A group of college guys — numbering in the thirties, I would say — were sitting in the middle of the theatre. Maybe it was a fraternity thing, maybe it was just a big group of friends . . . I don’t know. But by the end of the movie, I wanted to hurt each and every one of them. A lot.

I don’t know who “Coach Reynolds” is, but I’m fairly certain that he didn’t need to have his name shouted out during every quiet moment of the movie. I also don’t know who “Morris” is, but when you say his name repeatedly (and loudly) and hold out the S at the end, it makes me want to grab the drink from your cup holder, pull out the straw and stab it through your eye.

While this could have been the result of me being a little under the weather, I’m fairly certain I would have felt the same were I the picture of health. I just have no tolerance for people who cannot behave in a theatre. Interestingly enough, many of my pet peeves pertain to theatre experience. For instance, don’t talk to me during a movie; I will generally ignore you. If you continue to talk to me during the movie, I will simply point at the screen, showing you the only place my attention will be until the credits are rolling. We can talk afterward. If I paid to see a movie, I’m generally interested enough in it to actually want to watch it.

Random Fact: I was like this even in high school. I was the one boyfriend who would rather watch the movie in the theatre than make out with my girlfriend. You can make out anytime . . . why pay for a movie to do it?

Now a lot of people will probably say, “Oh, they were just having fun; you need to lighten up.” And that may be true. But there used to be etiquette at the theatre. It was generally assumed that you should not talk during the movie so as not to disturb the people around you. Of course, that was a time when people had manners. Now, people text during movies, holding up their phones so they can still watch the screen . . . while providing a nice glowing distraction to anyone who happens to sit behind them. They talk to their buddies, even if their buddies are three rows in front of them.

I love seeing movies at the theatre. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I just enjoy the experience. However, I’m going to have to start enjoying them during matinees. Opening nights and midnight showings are filled with the kind of people that jack up my blood pressure.

I think I would like to conclude this post with an open letter to Rave Motion Pictures:

rave motion picturesDear Rave,

You used to be my favorite theatre. You always had the movies that other theatres didn’t, and less popular movies managed to stick around a little longer on your screens, giving me the chance to see them that many other theatres could not. But, most importantly, you were my favorite theatre because you understood theatre etiquette. A couple years ago, my wife and I went to see the midnight showing of the first Iron Man at your theatre. Before the film, the manager came into the theatre and told us that we were in for a great film and a whole lot of fun. He then went on to say that everyone in the theatre obviously wanted to enjoy the movie, so anyone caught talking during the movie or using their cell phone would be asked to leave. I had a tremendous amount of respect for that manager; he understood theatre etiquette. I wish I knew what had happened to him, because he is obviously no longer employed at your establishment. Just two years later, and the Rave theatre is a completely different place. Movies start at least twenty minutes late, if not more. Ushers are nowhere to be found. And complete asses are allowed to remain in the theatre and ruin the experience for everyone else. Sorry, Rave, but I believe last night was the last time I will ever be visiting your theatre.

And to the immature college kids: please keep going to the midnight showings and opening nights. That way I have an excuse to wait for a Saturday matinee and save a few bucks. While I will miss being among the first to see a movie, it’s just not worth putting up with the likes of you.

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About [rlh]

Ryan L. Haddock is an aspiring writer, emphasis on the "aspiring." He mostly writes short stories, but that is only because he doesn't seem to have the attention span necessary to write a novel. At least, not yet. He is also a husband and a father . . . yet he is still struggling valiantly against the notion that he has to grow up. View all posts by [rlh]

3 responses to “Soapbox: Theatre Etiquette, or How Immature College Kids Ruin Great Cinema

  • Jerry

    I must agree…… I won’t go into the way is was when I worked at a theatre!! You already know.

  • Rachel B.

    Have you ever approached theater management for a refund? I’ve heard they return the ticket fee if you were dissatisfied, but I’ve never tried it.

    • Ryan

      I think you can only do that if you leave during the movie. I toughed it out to the end, so I doubt they would have refunded my ticket. I’ve had to leave before, and the most I’ve received is a voucher for another showing. Still, it’s worth a shot for future movie-going endeavors.

      But I’m still never going back to the Rave. They used to have standards; now they’ve fallen prey to the same “we’re-too-scared-of-our-customers-to-do-anything” cowardice that irks me so much.

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