It's sunny outside, with green foliage and clear skies -- the perfect time to spend your day in an air-conditioned room with no windows wearing stupid 3D sunglasses, being bored for three hours straight. That's right, it's summer movie movie season, and every weekend brings a new event to your friendly neighborhood cineplex.
And the only thing worse than spending fifteen bucks to be bored by the recent studio-drivel blockbuster is having some asshole ruin it. We want to make sure that never happens for you, and if it does, you can at least be prepared. So here's the five people that ruin the movie theater experience for everyone -- namely, you.
The Social Media Guru There's a kind of rebellion in the Social Media Guru, one that's almost admirable. People who pull their cell phones out during a movie are almost universally reviled, to the extent that most theaters devote a good amount of time, pre-show, to reminding you not to do it. But there is always one person who assumes all those "please no talking or texting during the show" announcements are for everyone else.
"Oh, no," they say, "that didn't mean me. I have to live-tweet The Zookeeper for my sixteen followers."
@rulesaremadetobebroken, 7:10:11 pm: Kevin James just fell down again! It's so funny because he's fat! #zookeeper
The era of smart phones has made this problem into an epidemic. People are no longer happy to talk to their friends, they have to talk at everyone. All of the time. And the screens are fucking huge. Seriously, if you're in a pitch black room, and someone loses their keys, what do you use as a flashlight? The display of your smart phone.
Some jerk two rows down flipping on an iPad to send a quick work email during the second-act twist of Green Lantern is the equivalent of shining a Maglight in my face. It's 8 p.m. on a Friday, man! You work at a box shipping company! There is no such thing as a box-shipping emergency! I just wanted cosmic adventure, man. Now I have to follow you home and murder your family pet.
The Confused Not all summer movies are Inception, though if they were, I'd probably stop cutting myself. Most of them have plots that are relatively easy to follow, some variation on the monomyth, except for substituting in sexy robots or "urban" aesthetics (rap music) or (CG) cars crashing into one another. Rarely is one confused during a summer movie, in regards to plot (beyond "Why the fuck is that happening, that's so stupid").
Yet there will often be someone who either doesn't understand what's happening, or can't get their head around the suspension of disbelief that usually comes with the territory of film-going. This person needs answers. And they need them from whoever is nearby.
"Wait, why did he do that? Oh, is that his dad? Those actors look so alike. I can't tell them apart."
Honestly, this person is usually someone older, so you feel bad doing a snarling-turn-in-your-seat glare. He's a retiree who spent his years working a blue-collar job, putting kids through school and playing with his loud, annoying grandkids. When you reach a certain age, you stop giving a shit about what people think. And now, to get two hours of peace and distraction, he's at Rise of the Planet of the Apes at 3:30 in the afternoon, and goddamn it, monkeys just can't do that.
Inappropriate Laughers If Jaws were released today, it would have no chance.*
We get it, hipsters. Everything is funny, everything is ironic, everything caters specifically to you. For kids these days, it's cool to think everything is stupid. Even stuff that's awesome. So you'll often find the inappropriate laughter in groups of teenagers, with bonus points if they're wearing a pre-faded T-shirt adorned with a logo for something they're too young to actually like.
Things that, it turns out, are funny: Retro logos. Anyone speaking in a different language (especially one of those hokey Asian languages). Emotion. Sincerity. Romance. Violence. Periods of time that aren't right now and the accompanying music and fashion. One-liners. Badassery. Characters that aren't just like you. Images flickering on a giant screen creating the illusion of motion.
There's nothing more terrifying than going to see a movie you've been excited for on a Friday night only to discover, once you walk in, that it's rated PG-13. Watching a movie with a bunch of young hipsters is like watching MST3K, except instead of the robots, you watch someone watching the robots.
*Things that would be HILARIOUS in Jaws:
The shark. The Vertigo shot on Capt. Brody. Quint's monologue. The opening death scene. "Smile wide, you son of a bitch." The way everyone dresses and wears their hair. The Jaws theme. Everything Richard Dreyfuss does/says. Quint's death. LIKE, EVERYTHING.
JAWS IS PERFECT, YOU INGRATES.
Parents Your kids don't belong at any movie that doesn't have characters farting or people falling down or isn't animated (Sadly, Pixar doesn't release movies as often as we'd all like. But hey, The Zookeeper is coming out this summer!), and that's just the way it works.
I remember being five, man. I wouldn't even get why Vin Diesel is cool; he would just look like a scary gnome to me and I'd totally have a year of Vin Diesel related nightmares, and then you'd buy me The Pacifier. Watching it, I wouldn't be scared anymore, but my soul would be invariably bruised forever.
I just want to eat a bunch of popcorn and run up and down the fun dark stairs. And when I don't understand what's happening, I'm gonna ask you what's going on. Loud, because I don't understand how to control the volume of my voice just yet. I've barely mastered tying my shoes, people.
Look, I understand this just fine. I grew up with a single mom, and she was young, and she kinda had no idea what to do most of the time. So we went to the movies. A lot. There are only so many animated movies about talking toasters released in a year, and there are only so many animated movies about talking toasters a grown person can watch in a year.
So she started taking me into every movie. One of my first memories is of Albert Pyun's sortofmasterpiece Cyborg, starring Jean Claude Van Damme. What I'm trying to say is, parents, go ahead and take your kids (if they're well-behaved) to whatever movie you deem fit for their eyes. But if you do that, there's a damn good chance they'll end up just like me.
Fidgeters Movie theaters are not good for movie fans. They have "special" screenings that aren't prints (Yah, I'd love to watch the Lord of the Rings blurays in your theater for thirteen bucks apiece. I also eat paste), XD3D presentations (that doesn't mean anything) with a five-dollar markup, no system for dealing with the people listed in this article, bad line organization and twelve-year-old projectionists that have no idea what they're doing.
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Even the good stuff they do for us can backfire. Seats in movie theaters have become increasingly comfortable over the years. Stadium seating, big comfy padded chairs that rock back and fourth. In short, it's the perfect way to make sure it's super easy for the dude behind you to kick your chair until you get motion sickness. You also have perfect listening position for the instance when the person behind you gets super bored and start tapping out rhythms with his feet (though the last time that happened to me, it was maybe someone just trying to keep up with the cadence of Sorkin's dialogue in the Social Network. Or maybe he was an idiot and his girlfriend dragged him to the movie about nerds having funny conversations. He looked like a 1980s teen comedy villain, so I'm gonna go with the second option).
You can also tell perfectly when the retiree has to make their way to the bathroom six times, due to the lighted staircase on your left and right, as well as when the Social Media Guru runs out, glowing phone in hand, to take a call from his mother-in-law, or when the little kids start running up and down playing whatever game little kids pretend to play these days ("You be Osama, we'll be Seal Team Six"). You can also tell when the teenage hipsters walk out, laughing hysterically, to sneak into a "way less gay" movie (Zookeeper is starting in the other theater in five minutes).
Here's the way it works: In a movie theater, anything you're doing that isn't watching the movie is disruptive. Not understanding that means you're kinda dumb. Yeah, you bought a ticket, but so did everyone else. This place isn't your living room. You don't wear your boxers and bring a TV tray with you to the Olive Garden, so when you're in a movie theater, put away your giant bag of snacks you brought from home, and shut the fuck up.