Proper Movie Theater Etiquette

Award season is upon us! That means I’ll be spending most of the cold winter weekends inside cozy, dimly-lit theaters blowing all my money on my one true love: movies.

My friends and family have told me that seeing a movie in the theater with me isn’t just an outing; it’s an experience. And when I really think about it, I do have specific rules everyone must follow if I’m going to allow you to accompany me to the movies. In fact, if I invite you with me (er more like drag you there) it means I trust you.

Here are the rules:

  1. No talking. Ever.
  2. No texting. Ever.
  3. No talking on your phone right before the show starts. A woman did this once in a theater with me and I politely (much to my friends’ dismay) went over to her and told her to put her phone away.
  4. No going to the bathroom. If you do, don’t ask me what happened while you were gone. It’s your own damn fault you missed something. Me? I never take bathroom breaks. Even if I really really have to go (Hello “Jurassic World” this summer!) Take care of your bodily functions before the show.
  5. No eating. I can’t eat in a theater. Not even popcorn.
  6. No crinkling wrappers or slurping sodas or making any sort of noise with your mouth. Here’s a cautionary tale: Once upon a time a couple of friends and I went to see “The Artist” in the theater. You know, that weird silent film from like three years ago? A man in front of us had a soda and when it was gone be proceeded to chew on the ice left in his cup for the rest of the movie. Ice chewing. During a silent movie.
  7. No sleeping. Please pull yourself together.
  8. No asking me about the plot. I literally just saw the same thing you did. Pay attention, please.
  9. You need to pay attention so you can discuss things about the movie at length with me afterwards. This is a requirement, not a suggestion.
  10. Laugh often, for a silent movie theater is boring.
  11. Yes, that actor is hot but you don’t need to say so during every scene.
  12. Don’t sit in front of me. Don’t sit behind me. Don’t sit next to me (unless I brought you with me, of course).
  13. Don’t lean over and ask me what other movie that actor has been in. My immediate reaction is to get upset. I assume everyone knows these things like me.
  14. We will not be sitting in the front row. We will not be sitting in the back row. Somewhere in the middle will do. Actually, it’s probably best just to let me pick the seats.
  15. It is perfectly acceptable that I have seen the same movie in theaters twice. I saw the last Harry Potter movie in theaters at least three times. There will be no judgement here.
  16. Do not bring a child to a rated R movie. Actually, don’t even bring them to most PG-13 movies. No one is there to babysit them. When I was a kid my parents barely let me watch Disney Channel (arguably why I turned out so entertainment crazy). Let’s set a good example, people.
  17. I’m all for you sneaking snacks in (even though I won’t be eating any of them), but please do not bring in cans of soda. I’ve been known to get up and search for the idiot who pops open their tab during the trailers.
  18. Don’t put your feet up on the seat in front of you if someone is sitting in it. But if it’s empty go nuts.
  19. We will get to the theater 20 minutes before a show starts. Five of those minutes will be devoted to standing in line and getting tickets. Another five for bathroom time. The remaining 10 minutes will be spent seat selecting and giving you a chance to ask me any last minute questions before the no talking rule begins.
  20. No. I will not be going to see a “Fast and Furious” movie.

 

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