Friday, October 09, 2009

Are people really THAT rude?

The other day I received a Twitter reply from a friend of mine after I announced my newspaper blog was done. He said to me: "All the best with the new website and job. Perhaps better to cut down on the movies since theater etiquette is near extinct."

I found this curious, because it was the second time this week something struck me about theater etiquette. Film critic James Beradinelli wrote about this experience he had recently:

Consider the following incident. Recently, I was in a movie theater. Before the movie began, the guy next to me was texting. This behavior continued through the previews and past the start of the movie. I gave him about five minutes before leaning over and politely asking him to stop because the light from the phone was distracting. His response? It was either: (a) "I'm sorry. I didn't realize. Let me just finish this last message and then I'll put my phone away," or (b)" Fuck you, man. I paid $10 for this ticket and I'm going to do whatever the fuck I want to. If you don't like it, you can leave." Anyone who guessed (a) is still living in the late '90s. So I moved. 


I have to say, I blinked at both of these readings. While I do not dispute that inconsideration is on the rise, I've rarely had any truly ugly incidents in the theater. And I think I know why.

For one reason or another, I'm good at tuning out such idiocy. I may notice it at first, but quickly begin to ignore it. Why? Because I get absorbed in the movie - probably to a higher degree than the average bear. It also helps that I tend to sit close, so that the screen takes up my entire frame of vision - tip I picked up in film class. That way, not only does the movie capture my attention, but I tend to be in front of the riff-raff, not behind it. Therefore, it's easier for me to ignore.

Still, I'm far from your typical moviegoer, so let me ask you - do you often encounter such rudeness? How often? What's the sort of rudeness you most run into?

11 comments:

Allison Dickson said...

Ah rarely encounter that sort of rudeness, but it definitely happens. On more than one occasion, I've been cut off on the road and have either honked or flashed my lights, lightly, just to let them know that someone was in their blindspot. They had the graciousness to roll down their windows and flip me the bird. Nice.

I honestly don't know how some people can go through life being so damn unpleasant.

Sir Critic said...

Well, I meant in the movie theater most specifically. ;) I would NEVER question the existence of rudeness on the road. It's un-a-fricken-voidable!

Rob said...

I'm with you, I just don't notice it. But then I also don't understand those who sit in the back half of the theater. If I wanted to have the screen take up less than a quarter of my field of vision then I might as well just stay home and watch it on my TV.

Papergirl said...

I used to manage the theaters in Hamilton. Around 1999-2000, the biggest problem was people with red laser pointers putting them on the screens. It was hard to catch the suspects. My other gripe was how many people would actually ask for money back if they didn't like a film. It happens more than you think.

Sir Critic said...

Rob: I'm with you on not understanding people sit in the back. When you do that, what's the point? Papergirl: At least you attempted to catch the idiots. My personal favorite story of people wanting their money back? Some folks who went to "Boogie Nights" and then angrily demanded a refund because they thought it was about disco dancing. Uuuummm ...

Tim said...

I think that once the film is more than 30 minutes over you've passed the point at which you can comfortably ask for a refund (barring technical difficulties, of course).

On at least two separate occasions I went to a multiplex to see a film only to have the 'plex actually switch films between theaters after I (and other patrons) entered.

Dave Allen said...

The occasional crying baby is all I usually get annoyed by at theaters. Anyone hear of baby sitters? We also wonder about parents who take their five year olds to R-rated gorefests.

HollyGoKimsy said...

I was considering this topic myself lately, which is weighing into my decision to see "Paranormal Activity". One of the last theatrical horror films I saw was "The Final Destination". I sat in one of the first five rows. I had a woman who started screaming with the 3D in the "CHRISTMAS CAROL" trailer and didn't stop until the end credits. I wanted to hit her, and even yelled at her once. It did nothing. It also ruined my must-see-in-a-theater experience. I've also had people bring 7 yr olds to "Black Hawk Down", even though that theater does offer babysitting services. It's not that people are just that rude - it's that they are just that damn selfish. "I paid my money and I'll do whatever I damn well please". Fine and dandy, but that only applies to them - not to anyone else. It's enough to get me to keep my 10.00. My favorite theater is frequented by people over the age of 50 and is underground so there is no cell phone service.

kEnny said...

I'm one of the people texting while the previews are on. I do it to keep track of the shows I might want to see later on, but I don't go any further than that. :-)

Alice said...

Most of my movie-going experiences have been pleasant up here in Canada. We haven't seen too many movies in the theatre with VOD and digital cable, thanks to my hubby working for the cable co. We also avoid busy opening nights and holiday weekends. Ticket prices also keep us home: 31 bucks for the two of us to see Toy Story 3D? Maybe next time. Plus the theatre was so crowded we probably wouldn't have found the good seats. When we do make it into a show, patrons are generally better than Americans.

Kim said...

Hmmm - I probably would have been tempted to say, "Wow - you paid $10 to come in HERE and text when you could have done it for free outside?" What an idiot/jerk. I belong to the "ignore it" club - I'm in oblivion once the movie starts. I don't mind folks texting during the previews much - have to get those last ones in because they will be out of touch for almost 2 whole hours!! It bugs me to see it - but I quickly move on and don't find it that distracting. Fame was the last film I went to see and there was a couple in there with a crying baby - like seriously - over and over again and I thought that I was going to start screaming right along with the kid. They should be thrown out. I dig it if you can't afford a sitter - wait for the @#$% DVD! I do think much of it is because people's sense of "entitlement" these days- they feel their needs/wants are more important than anyone else's.