- Don't even bring your phone into the theater.
- Don't bring an infant into any movie. If you can't afford a sitter, you can't afford to see the movie in theaters. Period.
- If you're going to take children to a movie, do your homework. Movie reviews exist for a reason. The best reviewers give an informed opinion without completely spoiling the plot. Likewise, the MPAA rating system is imperfect, but most movies are rated PG, PG-13 and R for a reason. You really want your six-year-old sleeping in bed with you for a month after being traumatized by Akira, because you just assumed all animated films were kid-friendly?
- Even if they're usually well-behaved, most kids don't know how to sit through a movie. They were raised on DVDs, where they can stop the film at any time to ask questions, get a snack or go potty. Kids who are not trained will scream, cry, wander around and ask questions in their "outside voices" the whole time. You will have to teach them how to behave. That means you have to go with them. Don't you dare treat the theater like a drop-in babysitting service. I will find you.
- On the flip side of the equation, if you're seeing a movie primarily marketed to children, you lose the right to whine about how the theater has too many rugrats. If you can't stand kids, go see a late-night showing of the film.
- You came to watch the movie, so watch the movie. It's OK to laugh, cry, "aww," even gasp in the theater (as long as the movie's actually scary), but wait to discuss the plot points afterward. Don't sing along with musicals, unless you're at a screening that encourages audience participation. And no matter how much common sense and/or lung capacity you possess, the people on the big screen aren't going to hear or heed your unsolicited advice.
- Concessions are meant to be food, not ammunition. No matter how annoying the kid in front of you is being, that doesn't give you the right to fling popcorn and Junior Mints at the back of his head. You can, however, talk to his parents or an usher and get him removed from the theater if he's being a real twerp.
- If you take it into the theater with you, carry it out when you leave. Yes, that means popcorn buckets, candy wrappers and soda cups. Put them in the trash as you go; don't just leave them for the ushers.
- If you arrive at a showing early, take a seat in the middle of a row so people can fill in on either side of you. If you suffer from a weak bladder, a weak stomach, ate a honkin' bean burrito half an hour ago, or have any other medical issues that require you to make several exits during the showing, sit at the end of a row near the exit so you can leave the theater as necessary without having to leapfrog madly over other patrons.
- I wish I didn't have to point this out, but don't see a movie in theaters while you're sloppy drunk or stoned out of your gourd, and don't bring drugs or alcohol into the theater with you. If a flick is so bad that you have to be wasted to enjoy it, maybe you should just go get your money back and watch it on DVD.
- Speaking of getting your money back, if you've stumbled into a real turkey of a film, you don't have to make a big indignant song-and-dance number out of it. Not everyone else may share your opinion of the film. Just leave quietly and ask the management for a refund. (And don't wait until the end of the movie to do it. If you sit stoically through a stinker and then ask for your money, they will question your motives and your sanity. And you won't get a refund.)
- Our final rule buries the needle on the Grossometer, but it has to be stated anyway. Do not have sex, or anything like it, in a movie theater. Those ushers aren't paid nearly well enough to clean up after your shenanigans -- not to mention that you could be arrested for public lewdness, and possibly for general stupidity.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
How to behave in a movie theater
If you're any kind of film buff, you know that we live in an age of uncountable riches. Titles from all over the world, representing close to the entire range of cinematic history, are available at our fingertips. But there's one unfortunate side effect to this plenty: in the age of DVDs and Netflix, people have forgotten (or have never learned) how to behave themselves in a movie theater. So shed your couch potato ways and school y'selves!