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At the Movies: Etiquette for the Movie Goer

Image Credit: Morgue File

The summer movie season is in full swing but a disturbing trend is occurring at theaters across the country: movie patrons are forgetting, or just plain ignoring, the common courtesies involved a night at the movies. The energy on the opening night of a big premiere is like nothing else but a few small factors can add up to a bad time if left unchecked. Here are few suggestions to preserve the experience for everyone:

Cut Down on the Loud Talking: How many times have we all been to a good movie that would have been great if those three people up front weren’t focused on imitating Mystery Science Theater 3000? An occasional joke or whisper is fine; commentary on every scene and/or performance in the movie is not. Some of you are probably thinking “Hey, I paid for a ticket and I can do what I want!” but a ticket for admission is just that, a ticket for admission. You didn’t buy a pass that lets you dictate the experience of others. Take a moment and think about the other people who paid for a ticket to watch a movie with a minimum of distractions which leads to the next suggestion…

Silence your cellphones: There’s a growing desire to make movies more interactive through mobile devices. As a patron, the worst thing you can do in a dark theater (aside from yelling fire; never do that as it is not only disruptive but also illegal) is pull out your cellphone and start talking or text messaging away. Many people can’t afford to be out of touch during a two or three hour movie and that’s understandable. Be courteous to your fellow movie-watchers and step outside if you must. Having your phone or iPad out during a movie is also a good way to get exited from the show and then you’ve just paid for a ticket you didn’t even use. Putting your phone on silent or vibrate goes a long way toward letting everyone enjoy the movie!

Don’t be Captain Cologne: My fiancee and I once settled in at her favorite theater for her annual birthday movie. Much of the theater was full, but our row had some empty seats so she sat about one full seat away from the next person. Halfway through the film my fiancee excused herself for the restroom…and didn’t come back. A couple of other patrons got up and changed seats. I didn’t understand why until the lights came up. The person near my fiancee was spraying a bottle of cologne all over himself and had been for most of the movie.  Our side of the theater reeked of it. She left because it was making her sick and she spent the rest of the evening so sick we had to cancel the rest of our plans. If you need to put on cologne, it’s probably a good time to go to the restroom, rather than aggravate the allergies of everyone around you or, better yet, do it at home.

Control your Children: Kids are part and parcel of the modern cinema experience. Allowing a child to throw a loud tantrum without addressing the issue shouldn’t be. Disruptive children should be taken outside the theater until they settle so that everyone can enjoy the movie. Yes, it’s inconvenient but the rest of the audience is thinking the same about the child that won’t stop crying about the outrage of the moment.

No one can force you to observe any or all of these suggestions but think about the things that bother you about others when you’re in public and keep that in mind when you’re out. The more good examples we set, the better the experience is for all. Now find a great movie and enjoy it!

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