The Jamies Are Cursed

Do you remember the scene in Scream 2 where Jada Pinkett Smith’s character forgets to use her inside voice while in the movie theater?  Even better, what about the scene in Scary Movie 2 where Regina Hall’s character takes it to a whole other level with her loud obnoxious behavior and ends up being stabbed by just about everyone in the audience in order to get her to shut her trap.  It’s funny because it takes the typical annoying moviegoer and exaggerates the bad behavior to the point where it’s just over the top.

My husband and I have awful luck with movies, but never would I have expected to have an experience as awful as what we had Friday evening.  Along with two friends who will probably never see a movie with us again, the husband and I went to Houlihan’s for dinner and drinks before walking down to AMC to catch Paranormal Activity 3.  I was beyond excited about this movie, especially after seeing the preview that stated the last 15 minutes would mess me up for life.  The show was sold out so obviously we expected a bit of noise, but we’ve been to sold out shows before and it honestly hasn’t been too bad.  During the previews there was quite a bit of talking, but it quieted down once the movie started.  Oh wait, no it didn’t.  It got worse.  It got so bad that at one point I had my stuff in hand and was ready to walk right out of the theater, someone I’ve only done once before because I just couldn’t sit through Deuce Bigalo.

The talking went on almost nonstop; people making comments and swearing and acting as though they were watching this movie in the comfort of their living room.  This isn’t a loud action movie where some chatter is barely noticed, this is a horror flick with the majority of its scenes at a low volume.  It’s hard to be afraid of a loud bang when the audience is adding their own soundtrack of “awww shit girl, did you see that?!?”  Even more bothersome was the laughter.  I get that it’s funny sometimes when something silly makes you jump, but it’s unacceptable to carry on as if you’ve just discovered laughter.  It comes as no surprise that there were cell phones out; two ushers came in eventually after someone exited the theater to complain and told half a dozen moviegoers to put their phones away, but people who don’t care about keeping the volume down certainly don’t care if their phone is distracting you.  There were also a great number of people coming in and out of the theater throughout the whole movie.  Other than the movie I walked out of, there has never been a time where I’ve gotten up in the middle of a movie for anything; a bathroom trip can wait and I don’t need a refill on soda or popcorn bad enough to miss a scene.  Overall, the atmosphere of the theater felt more like a really dark keg party than it did an enjoyable fright fest.

All four of us received movie vouchers for a free show sometime in the next year, but in my opinion it doesn’t make up for it.  I can’t have a do-over on watching a movie for the first time and I have no doubt that when we buy Paranormal Activity 3 on DVD, we’ll see and hear a lot of things that will be totally new to us as I’m sure we missed quite a bit due to the noise and movement in the theater.  I told my husband on the drive home that they should do more to shut people up and keep them from acting like morons.  Flashed on the screen for a few moments before a movie is a little warning about cell phones and talking, a reminder to keep it down and behave.  No one listens to it.  The two ushers coming into the theater did result in a drop in volume, but it was brief because the audience realized that these people weren’t going to do anything but whisper to a few people to put their phones away.  The audience acted the way they did because they’re low-class and allowed to act that way.  It’s easier to give out vouchers when people get upset than it is to control a bunch of idiots.  There is no fear of being thrown out of a theater.  There isn’t any risk of getting in trouble.  Acting like an ass is perfectly fine because no one does a thing to stop it.

My husband said that the ushers really did everything they could do and they couldn’t take on a mob of morons themselves without the risk of physical harm or even more noise and disruption.  But come on, AMC, the little theater in our town has a cop there every single night, their car parked right outside the exit doors as they stand cross-armed in the middle of the theater.  If they can swing it, why can’t you?  Some kind of security there would be a great deterrent to people who think they can act like an ass without consequence.  I guarantee that if a cop came into the theater that night and picked one idiot out of the many to escort from the theater, it would have put the fear in the rest of the idiots and they would have toned it down.  Actions speak volumes; a warning on the screen prior to the movie means nothing if you can’t back it up.

I’m not going to argue my husband’s point that there was nothing they could do because I already talked his ear off about it on the drive home that night and it’s going to have to be one of those agree to disagree things with he and I.  He was right though that in our case on Friday, there wasn’t anything more they could have done.  I would just like that to change.  I’d be all for paying a couple of dollars extra to see a movie where the audience is 21 and over and there is a stipulation that in this particular showing, you must shut the hell up, keep your phone away and keep your ass in your seat.  I would rock my Skull Candy ear buds in every movie if there was a plug in the armrest that would broadcast the movie sound right into my ears, effectively reducing the noise around me.  I’d happily drop $50 to watch a movie at home on the same night it hits theaters; we usually spend close to that at AMC with tickets ($20) and snacks ($20  -$25) and you really can’t beat the comfort of our couch and our HD flatscreen.  I’m just not willing to sit back and accept the fact that people will talk and text and laugh and disrupt the audience and there’s nothing that can be done to stop it.

I’m not certain when it became acceptable to be rude and act like an ass, but I’ve noticed that as the years go by, people’s behavior becomes more and more horrendous and unpleasant.  Finding someone with manners has become a shock to me; I’m always amazed when the chick at the drive-thru says “you’re welcome” or someone at the grocery store says “excuse me” instead of wordlessly pushing past me.  I appreciate when people compliment my son’s manners, but in all honesty he’s not doing anything above and beyond, he’s just simply being polite.  Unfortunately, society has been flooded with an abundance of bad behavior that makes the people who know how to act look like the odd ones out.  Imagine a non-smoking concert that has numerous concert goers that smoke.  It only takes one person to break the rules and light up before a person or two around him does the same.  More people see it and even though it’s wrong, they do it because other people are so they won’t be alone.  Pretty soon every smoker in there is lighting up, even though it’s not allowed, and all the non-smokers who expected clean air have to suffer.  The same thing happens with bad behavior; if it’s not stopped it just spreads until every low-class person around is doing it.

My husband and I won’t be returning to AMC for quite some time; I have zero excitement about using our vouchers for a free movie and I’m glad we have a year to use them because I have no desire to go back to that place.  I’m happy sticking with our little theater in town; it doesn’t have the do-it-yourself popcorn but it also doesn’t have people who make Scary Movie’s Regina Hall look tame by comparison.  It’s just pathetic that I have to avoid a theater that I enjoy because I’m outnumbered by people who shouldn’t be allowed in public without a muzzle and shock collar.


About Jamie C. Baker

“Long time no see. I only pray the caliber of your questions has improved.” - Kevin Smith

Posted on October 24, 2011, in Crazy People, Friends and/or Enemies, Fun!, Life, TV/Movies and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Sorry for the long comment. You hit a nerve…lol.

    I remember coming to California when I was 19, fresh from rural Connecticut.

    Besides touching a palm tree, one of the first things that was new to me was the rudeness. People would walk through doors right in front of me and not peek behind them to see if they should hold it open so I had to do the “leap-flail-grab-the-handle” dance quite often.

    When I went on my first dates in California, one of the things girls always pointed out that they liked a lot was how polite I was, or gentlemanly, and I always thought…”these California guys are IDIOTS.” I couldn’t believe that me acting like myself, with my mamma’s manners, gave me a leg-up on the local hard bodied surfers and juice heads.

    While I’m at it, I’m also tired of parents who don’t stop their kid from kicking the back of my seat on a plane or in the theater, or taking them outside if they start screaming at a restaurant, or leaving their strollers in the middle of where people walk, or even bringing strollers to very crowded outdoor events with large crowds trying to shuffle past each other. Not only is my ankle tired of getting banged by your stroller, or someone using their stroller as a battering ram to get through the crowd, but if someone falls and lands on your kid crushing it…whose fault is that?

    I’d also like to give a shout out to the Vietnamese girls that my wife and I had dinner with for a mutual friends birthday party a few months back that managed to speak in English the entire night, but switched to Vietnamese after I handed over the bill with our contribution inside. I put in more than enough, but who knows what they thought, especially since they felt it necessary to switch languages. Coming from someone that is always “that guy” that picks up the balance of the bill when everyone else at the table chinces out (to the point where my wife tells me not to do it anymore before every event)…I always pay my fair share and THEN some. For all I know they might have been talking about the weather. Very rude.

    I too say excuse me when walking in front of someone at the super market, but I rarely hear it myself. What about that video that is viral now of that toddler in China that got hit by a car twice and a dozen people walked by her while she was bleeding on the ground. I mean…is that where this rudeness ends?

    But I will tell you the absolute worst rudeness I have encountered in California. It is so bad and so pervasive that it is woven into the social fabric of this state. I have coined it, “The Social Auction.” See…if you want to have a party, or plan a trip to go wine tasting or maybe put together a hike in the local mountains and you want 10 people, then in the state of California you will have to invite 100 to get the 10.

    The reason for this, as I have learned once too often by throwing a big bash party at my place for all of three people, or paying up-front for a six room rental house for a weekend on the ocean in Ensenada for a total of two couples, is that Californians accept all invites, and as the date approaches, they lay out all their offers before them and through a mental auction process, decide which invite is the one they feel like showing up at. On rare occasions, they will email you to withdraw their acceptance of your invite, but mostly, they just don’t show up. You will never get a phone call.

    In Connecticut, that never happened. If someone said they would be there, they would be there, it was never a question. You knew exactly how many people would show and if people wanted to bring friends, they would call and ask first so you were not short of something.

    Naturally I tried to circumvent this CA insanity on one of my invites (it was a cabin in Big Bear, CA – a local mountain resort) by collecting money up front so I would not get burned again. The buy-in was $60 per couple for the whole weekend, this included a four bedroom cabin with a BBQ and a jacuzzi in the woods up in Big Bear…beautiful place. I would get two responses….1. I can’t afford it or 2. Let me check and get back to you (which never happened). Now…remember…if I had not mentioned the money, all of them would have simply accepted and one person would have showed up leaving me on the hook for the balance.

    Now keep in mind, that one of the reasons I continued to pursue inviting anyone at all to anything was being constantly bombarded by this anomaly:

    CA LOCAL: “Hey, what did you do this weekend?”
    ME: “We went up to Big Bear , got a cabin.”
    CA LOCAL:”OMG, that sounds SOOOO…COOL…what did you do?”
    ME:”You know, went shopping, BBQ, jacuzzi, rented a boat and went out on the lake.”
    CA LOCAL:”OMG, that sounds SOOOO…COOL…we should ALL go!”
    ME:”Oh…um…really? Well…okay sure, I can put something together.”
    CA LOCAL:”OMG, that sounds SOOOO…COOL…let me know, k?”

    This left me with a couple of conclusions. 1. I am a loser and have no friends, 2. Your average Californian is piss poor and just plays pretend, 3. Californians are flakes by nature and don’t respect other people’s time or effort.

    All of this happened in my 20’s and I am close to 40 now, so I think I would have to say it’s a mix of all three.

    1. I have high expectations for someone to be my “friend” and to be honest, I have not met anyone in California yet (except my wife) that has met this expectation. There are guys I will drink and joke around with, guys I will talk shop with, guys I will camp or hike with, guys I will help from time to time…but nobody I would call a true friend because they have all let me down in one way or another.

    2. Yes, everyone I know is piss poor. I hate it. They all say they want to go, or do whatever it is, but under the stupid assumption I guess that it’s free. We can’t plan anything without people complaining about the cost, and it’s not like the buy-in is ridiculous. We’re talking about $50 or maybe $100 for something really cool and everyone whines about the price. Basically the only way to guarantee everyone shows up for something is to pay for it all yourself. Then they see it as a free ride and you are guaranteed a turnout. I did this once, and it was a full house.

    3. This is a fact. Californians are flakes. And now I am one (without the flake part). Money or no money, friends or no, you can not count on anyone to actually show at your event. A friend of mine who just won’t give up, has taken his workaround to this problem to the extreme. I watched as he got burned a few times the first way – big party, no guests. The second way, buy-in-when-you-get-there, no turnout. Now he is going for the trifecta. He gets on Facebook and posts 10 different weekends that a particular event could occur and asks 100+ of his “friends” to let him know which weekends they are available. He will tabulate the results to see which weekend has the most people available and go from there. Yes….in California…it has come to sh** like this if you want your “friends” to hang out with you. He has not been successful with this either. When socially cornered, Californians will simply ignore the invite.

    When I attend THEIR events, it’s always the same two options. 1. Someone’s house…alcohol…maybe shooting pool, chips and salsa or 2. Replace house in #1 with local dive bar. That was cool when I was 20, and it’s cool occasionally, but if you try to do anything more than that in California like coordinate a cruise or sky diving or a weekend cabin or an epic hike….forget it. If it costs more than chips, salsa and beer, it’s not happening, unless you pay for it all.

    Who knows, maybe I am a But if being a winner means flaking out on people at the last minute, never accepting an invite and meaning it, or only hanging out with people if they pay me to…I’d rather be the loser.

    • Another Connecticut native! I lived there from 8 years old until 16. The difference between how people acted there and how they behaved in Georgia was amazing. There was the bit of Southern hospitality, but there was also the bad attitudes of people living in Atlanta as well as the stuck-up ritsy folk from Buckhead and rude tourists from all around. What irritated me the most was the sense of entitlement people had; working customer service does not mean I am your slave, yet people would treat me and other working folk as though we owed them something and should expect to be talked down to. There were areas I avoided downtown because people acted as though I was a homeless leper since I wasn’t covered in Coach and Dolce & Gabbana or other designer overpriced clothing and accessories. I’ve dealt with people similar to your Vietnamese friends as well (and I’m sorry to say that certain members of my family are guilty of that behavior too). Lucky for me, it’s generally Spanish that people switch to and I understand enough to get the jist of what they’re saying.

      This “social auction” thing sounds beyond frustrating. My husband and I were recently a tiny bit put off just over someone being late to two events, so I can’t imagine dealing with expecting 10 confirmed guests and only getting 2 or 3 out of the bunch. It sounds like people there are more concerned with the event that makes them look the best rather than the event that would be the most fulfilling. I’d rather be “boring” and have a Netflix night with my husband on a Saturday than waste my time at a flashy event somewhere just because it would make me look like a perfect social butterfly. I also don’t understand why a simple invite is supposed to equal a free dinner/trip/etc. I’ve never been invited anywhere and expected to have my way paid, nor have I invited anyone somewhere with the plans to pay their way. Exception being a concert recently where I bought the ticket for a friend, but he was on his own as far as dinner beforehand and anything at the venue. If I don’t have the money for something, I’m not shy about letting my friends know and I wish people wouldn’t act like not having the cash to blow is something you should be ashamed to admit.

      *mental note to self: never live in California*

  2. There was a quote I read recently from an author about 100 years ago, that said the end of every great Republic starts with people focusing too much on themselves. Of course, it was said much cooler than that with lots of old English…but that was the jist of it.

    The blogger referencing the quote said it sounded a lot like Facebook.

    I started thinking about that, and the Social Auction, and things my wife tells me that she sees on her Facebook…and it sort of all comes together.

    Almost everything everyone posts on Facebook, according to her (I don’t have it), is about trips they went on, things they just bought, things they did…it’s very ego-centric. It’s not like average Facebook people are having deep philosophical conversations about the arts, humanities, economics, investments or politics. A cousin in the family recently posted some pictures from Ibiza which was fine, but I guess he got a lot of thumbs up or whatever, which apparently encouraged him to post pictures from a hike we all did together two years ago on Catalina.

    So the social reinforcement on Facebook of doing something “cool” is like pouring gasoline on the “Keeping up with the Joneses” fire, or should I say, “Outdoing the Joneses” fire. It was enough for him to actually reach backward in time and post something he did two years ago. I don’t think that’s how Facebook normally works.

    Anyway, now it seems to me that Facebook has just taking Jonesing into the 21st Century and the only purpose of it is to out do your neighbor. Although, it’s not your neighbor anymore is it? It’s not like the 50’s where you tried to have as nice a car and a yard as your neighbor next door…now you are competing with your friends, all of their friends, and all of THEIR friends around the world to see who is the coolest of the cool, has the mostest money, stuff, trips and events. If that isn’t a recipe for debt and absolute personal financial tragedy, I don’t know what is. And what kind of country will we have in the future from a generation that buys into this?

    Forgot to talk about your movie problem…lol. It has gotten so bad for us, that we never go see movies anywhere near when they are released now. We will wait several weeks, trying to see it right before they pull it from the theater…and we will go to either the latest show they have or the earliest (cheaper) to avoid any residual kids and crowds. Harder to do with the IMAX 3D ones, but they too are around for a few weeks. Once you set it up that way, it’s not so bad. There is always a “new” release to see that is 8 weeks old….haha.

    • And that is one of the many reasons why I’m not on Facebook 🙂

      I like your movie strategy. Generally, we try and hit the theaters during odd hours and only after the movie has been out for a few weeks. Unfortunately, my husband and I are magnets for bad behavior and we tend to have at least one obnoxious person per theater. I used to think I was just being oversensitive, but when it’s not only me that’s bothered but my husband as well (a VERY patient man) as well as other movie patrons, I feel as though I have a legit reason to be bothered. I keep waiting to hit the lottery so I can buy a theater & have it to myself when I want to see a movie.

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