Honestly, I am baffled by the need for this post. I think these rules should be common sense to anyone above the age of thirteen. But, as evidenced by recent incidents, there appears to be a need for remedial education in the field of common curtesy. So, before venturing out to your local movie theater, please review these rules. If you feel that you cannot abide by them, do us all a favor and STAY HOME.

1. Shower and wear deodorant. Especially if you KNOW the theater is going to be jam-packed because it’s the opening night of a movie and also Valentine’s Day. No one wants to inhale your stench. Possibly this is an attempt to gain a little extra personal space, but it is ill-advised. Trust me, your odor carries beyond the extra two inches you obtained for yourself to the other patrons who would like to enjoy their popcorn and candy without retching and gagging.

2. If you must sleep, do not snore. Why you would spend $40 on tickets and food when you could sleep at home for free is beyond me, but to each his own. However, your chainsaw sound effects are distracting. 2a: If your date’s breathing begins to resemble a freight train, it is your obligation to wake them and preserve the peace for the rest of the patrons. After all, you’re the one who chose to bring Rip Van Winkle to the movie.

3. Leave the kids at home. Unless it is a kid’s movie, obviously. If I choose to attend a matinee screening of The Golden Compass, I expect to be surrounded by children. If I’m at a 10:30 showing of Mad Money, it’s fair to assume this will be a child-free environment. I love kids. I love other people’s kids. I do not love spending $40 to hear them scream. If you would like me to listen to them scream, my babysitting rates start at $17/hr. Oh wait, I have retired from babysitting. Scratch that. Still, that means you should HIRE SOMEONE ELSE to watch them or STAY HOME. A two year old has no business being out at that hour anyway. I don’t blame your child for whining and crying, I blame you for bringing her. Also, just because a movie is not rated R and is playing during the day, does not mean it is suitable for children. When I am choking back sobs during a documentary about wetland erosion and it’s role in the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, I don’t want to hear your three year old shouting, “Helicopter! Look, mama, helicopter! Boat! Boat! Look, mama, boat!” as I watch rescue workers fishing out dead bodies from the flooded streets of New Orleans.

4. This is not social hour. Feel free to laugh, gasp, or shriek in fear as the situation warrants. I’m not even opposed to an occasional witty comment as long as it’s relevant to the movie. The audience interaction is part of the reason I love seeing movies in the theater. Do not, however, spend two hours behind me bitching to your best friend about the skanky ho who is trying to steal your man. If you are so worried about it, what are you doing sitting on your butt at a movie theater? Go challenge the be-otch to an old-fashioned cat fight. Just don’t do it during the movie. I’m trying to listen, here!

5. For the love of god, turn off your cell phone. You just sat through forty minutes of pre-show commercials, half of which were aired for the sole purpose of telling you to silence your phone. Some, like the dancing boxes of popcorn, are eye-rollingly annoying. Others, like Martin Scorsese interrupting a child’s bedtime call to his father, are clever. In any case, you’d have to be blind and deaf in order to miss the message. Don’t tell me you forgot. You were reminded. Repeatedly. And if you DO forget, because you are just that dumb, and your cell phone rings during the movie, silence it immediately and hang your head in shame. Do. Not. Answer. It. Also, do not pick it up, look at the Caller ID, and then put it back down so that it can finish its ring cycle before going to voice mail. If you do this, I WILL call you out in front of the entire theater and they WILL laugh at you. Don’t act like I’m the bad guy for doing so. You have been warned.

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