How Not to Get Beat Up At The Movies 101


I am a nice person. I get through most days fairly happy and not generally spoiling for a fight. I just want that on the record.

Still, there are simply times when a person has just had enough. Lately, I’ve become aware that there are a few folks who could be helped by a primer — a tutorial of sorts — on how to behave in public. You know I love almost all of you, but honestly, between you and me and the fence post, some of our peers are dropping the behavioral ball.

Welcome to the show

Since I am the cheapest person on the planet and somewhat of a homebody, I don’t get out to a movie theater very often. Heck, I rarely make it to the rental store.

I tend to see movies when they show up on television with all the “good” parts cut out for commercials. I think the last movie I saw in a theater was Titanic. Prior to that, it may have been something black and white and sans sound.

Nonetheless, on the rare occasion when I do get out to the movies, I expect all activity and chatter to be contained to the characters on the screen. This, however, is not always the case.

I don’t know if this is a byproduct of the home theater phenomena or what, but far too many people seem to have fallen under the mistaken belief that they are actually at home in their own living room when at the theater these days.

They chat, they text in the glow of a bright blue screen, they take calls. Apparently, I’m sitting with Very Important People who can’t miss a thing — even for 90 minutes of cinematic excellence (or, in some cases, cinematic “OK-ness.”).

This then, is my primer for how to behave at the movies (just in case your mama forget to teach you). These ideas are not all my own but rather are culled from tips and conversations from a variety of theater-going friends.

If you recognize yourself in any of these situations, please, I beg of you, knock it off! It’s either that or you are going to end up on the evening news when someone inevitably assaults you with a $40 bucket of popcorn.

Regarding telephones

First and foremost, there is an apparatus on virtually every cellular phone manufactured after 1989 that can help you turn down the volume of the ring tone. Yes, even if you are carrying one of those huge old bag phones the size of a brick, it does indeed have a volume control.

If you have one of the newer models fashioned after a Chiclet, it definitely has volume control. It may even have an “app” that allows it to tap you lightly on the shoulder to inform you of a new message without disturbing a single soul.

It is not only nice, but also necessary, to use these volume-lowering features when you are in a movie theater. This is really appreciated by those around you who came to listen to the actual dialogue that contains what we believe to be the plot, and not your cellular phone.

Thus, unless you are expecting a call from one of the main characters in the movie inviting you to join the scene, please turn off your cellular phone.

Regarding chit-chat

When you want to say something to your neighbor, please do it so the people sitting three rows in front of you can’t hear you. I think mothers and teachers used to call this our “library voice.”

Better yet, just send your friend a psychic vibe or, here’s a thought, discuss the plot and your opinions AFTER the show.

Regarding children

I’m sure that your infant is definitely advanced and well able to appreciate the sophisticated humor and innuendo of an R rated movie, but at this time it’s probably best that he stay at home.

Neither your baby, nor any patron within earshot, is likely to enjoy listening to your infant wail throughout the pivotal scenes.

You are, however, to be commended for your valor. I would rather take a bullet in the head than try to sit in those seats for two hours, holding a fidgety baby. That just doesn’t sound like a ‘night out’ to me at all. I’d rather rent the dang movie and watch it from the comfort of my sofa whilst baby lounges in her bouncy chair.

Granted, the whole notion of infants at the movies may not be such a bad one. Infants, as far as I can tell, appear to have the good sense thus far to completely resist answering their cell phones during a show.

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  1. thank you that also goes for resturants and church expecially the loud mouth children what happened to an inside voice? it seems as though many parents figurs if they have to suffer thru there kid so should every one else. thanks again for the article i enjoy our column a lot mike


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