Saturday, April 18, 2009

you're at the movies, you're not at home

So a couple of weeks ago, we went to the movies. It wasn't terribly crowded when we got there, and that particular theatre has a section of upper seats that are separated from the bottom section by a walkway, so the first row of the upper section is pretty comfortable since you don't have to squeeze past people to get to your seat, and the extra legroom is also more comfortable for the husband. There were a few open seats near the middle, so I asked the man sitting next to the furthest open seats if the two seats I was pointing to were available since I noticed a drink in the cupholder over from him. He sort of grunted a "yes" like he wasn't sure why I was talking to him. OK, then, so we sat down. Later on, a woman came and took the empty seat between us, and she was there with him.

So it's the pre-show, and they were talking kind of loud, more loudly than you'd normally expect, but ok. And then the trailers started, and they were still talking kinda loud. Fine, it's the trailers, and I'm actually paying attention, but it's not the movie itself. And they showed a lot of trailers that day, which yeah, gets to be a little tedious after a while. When they finally showed the inroduction to the feature presentation, the man yelled out very loudly, "It's about time." Ummm, dude, who are you talking to, and why do you think the rest of us want to listen to you?

So then the movie started. And the man talked periodically about what was happening on screen. And occasionally, the woman responded to him. It wasn't non-stop chatter, but it was more than the occasional comment when something major happened on screen. When he was making casual comments, he was also not doing it to his companion in a softer tone - he was just saying it to the screen at regular volume. Because the talk wasn't prevalent, I just let it go, hoping that once the movie settled in, he'd stop. No such luck. Now, mind you, we were seeing "Fast and Furious", so it wasn't quite as disruptive as if we were seeing a more "serious" or quieter film, but having someone talking a lot is really distracting and irritating.

Finally, during one particular section, he was talking so much that I turned and asked him to please stop talking. And the woman then turned to me and said she was sorry, that she'd been telling him to stop talking, but he wouldn't listen to her. Ummm, ok, so we're ignoring the fact that you've also been RESPONDING TO HIM as well? And then I could hear the man getting all pissy about how he was sitting there first, and he can say whatever he wants, and if I don't like it, I can move. Well, dude, if you had warned me when I sat down that you were going to flap your jaw throughout the movie, I would have picked somewhere else to sit. And just because you sat down first doesn't give you the right to disrupt the movie-viewing experience of those around you.

So he still made the occasional comment throughout the rest of the film, and his companion alternated between trying to get him to stop talking and actually responding to what he was saying.

So then the movie ended and the credits rolled. The woman turned to me and apologized again for his behaviour and said something else that I don't really recall but which gave me the impression that he did this all the time. I kind of said "whatever" - I don't remember what I actually said, but I was watching the credits and really not interested in talking to her. After a couple minutes, the two of them got up to leave, and the man made some kind of snarky comment as he walked past - I can't remember what he said. As I was still watching the screen, I said, "Have a nice day," which seemed to infuriate him, and he was jabbering something else at me when the woman pulled him away.

OK, so dude is the one being disruptive at the movies, and all I did was to ask him once to please stop talking, and he gets all indignant and belligerent because I had the nerve to do that? And his companion is the one who brought it up at the end of the movie - I'd said nothing about the matter again, and I didn't engage in the conversation she was trying to start with me, so it wasn't like I was harping on the issue. Yeah, he was annoying with his talking, but I was mostly just trying to enjoy the movie. And he was the one who continued it with his snarky comment on the way out. I guess my wishing him a nice day (my tone wasn't entirely sarcastic) ticked him off because I dared to have anything to say back to him.

And then there's the woman. OK, so you're apologizing for his behaviour, but since that seems to be typical behaviour for him, you must put up with it all the time. And not only do you put up with it, you were participating in the talking at times as well. At the movies, I will make the occasional comment to a companion, but that's usually whispered, or I might react to something on screen with a cheer or whatever, but that's usually with the rest of the audience. If I ever went to the movies with someone who not only felt it was ok to talk throughout the movie, but who felt entitled to do so and got belligerent at anyone who objected, I can tell you that I'd never go to the movies with this person again.

As if the two of them weren't enough of an annoyance, then there were the several parties in the audience who APPARENTLY (TM) thought it was perfectly ok to bring their babies and young children to this movie. They were bored and fidgety and there were at least two babies who cried for a bit at different times during the movie. It wasn't quite as bad as the people who brought their young teens to see "Shaft" as far as exposing kids to movies and language that I don't personally think is appropriate, but "Fast and Furious" is not a kids movie. There wasn't a ton of bad language or sex, but there were a couple of fairly graphic make-out scenes and one scene that ended before two of the characters actually had sex, and there was also a lot of explosions and car crashes and one graphic (though not bloody) on-screen death. So even if you just put aside whether or not your young child should be watching this sort of thing (the movie is rated PG-13), there's also the issue that your child is disrupting the movie, whether with the crying or the talking because he/she is bored or because the baby was delightedly discovering the sound of his own voice and wanted to test it out in the theatre. If it's a kids' movie or at least a family-type movie, I can understand that better. But there is nothing about this movie that fits either of those two categories. "But I can't find a babysitter" is the excuse I've heard on occasion for taking your child to an inappropriate movie and/or letting your child be disruptive. OK. Then you don't get to go. As a responsible parent and hopefully someone who takes into account the movie-going experience of others, if you can't find someone to watch your child, then you don't get to go to the movies for films that are inappropriate for your child to be at. I know plenty of people who find someone to sit for their kids while they go to the movies or who just don't go because they can't.

If you want to talk back at the screen on a regular basis and in a normal tone, do that at home. If you want to expose your children to movies that they really shouldn't be watching yet, I can't help if you choose to do that at home. But if you're used to having to watch a movie while your child is talking or crying or screaming or whatever because you're at home, you don't get to subject the rest of us to the same thing.

Oh, and through all that - I still enjoyed the movie.

1 comment:

Sherry said...

I think that this is all due to the invention of home video viewing. Back in the days before that, the talking wasn't as much of a problem, and actually, the theater ushers would have done something about it if there was a talking problem. I wish that today's theater ushers (not just the Arclight ones) would do more than just pick up trash and tell us which theater is showing our movies. We pay enough $ to go to the theater. It's ridiculous that we have to deal with rude people on top of that.