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Do You Mind?

Over the weekend, my mother-in-law took our boy on a little getaway with her to visit family, take a trip to the zoo, and have some fun outdoors before the crazy mid-west weather decides to try to give us snow again.  Since my husband and I don’t exactly get these breaks often, we took full advantage and hit the movie theaters, followed by some free Redbox movies, thanks to their mailing list that I highly recommend signing up for unless you don’t enjoy getting things at no cost.  Friday night was a local theater night, where we watched the latest film from WWE Studios, Oculus.  Saturday gave us Captain America:  The Winter Soldier, followed by dinner at a restaurant we used to practically live at.  Redbox gifted us with The Wolf of Wall St and American Hustle, two we sadly missed in the theaters.  Amazing movies; I was happy with all four but I am seriously burnt out on watching anything over an hour for quite some time.

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This brings me to a topic I’ve talked about many times before:  rude people in movie theaters.  For a movie like Oculus, where the viewer knows to expect many tense moments and frequent scenes where silence is used to build tension, it’s an unspoken rule to keep quiet and save the rustling of popcorn and opening of candy for scenes where the music hits loud or people are screaming.  Suspense is easily killed when you have people adding giggles, shaking of ice, or other noises to the movie soundtrack during moments you are meant to be on the edge of your seat.  The girl behind us who thought it was OMG HILARIOUS to burp like a frat boy certainly didn’t help, but she thankfully quit after I gave her the I-Wish-I-Could-Kill-You-With-This-Look stare.

The worst offender in Oculus did none of those things though.  It was an incredibly sick person.  The kind of sick where their sniffles sound like they’re drowning, where their coughs sound like a death rattle, and where they cannot control their bodily functions and obviously cannot stay quiet.  If you’re sick to the point where your brain is leaking out of the holes in your face, stay home.  The argument for going to work while sick can be made if you are one with no sick leave and bills piling up, but there is no excuse whatsoever for going to a movie theater when you are sick as a dog and sound like the Before part of a Nyquil commercial.  You not only kill parts of the movie for people who paid to be there, you run the risk of getting everyone around you sick.  I’m hoping that my husband and I did manage to escape without contracting tuberculosis, but it’s too soon to tell.  Please, if you’re sick, keep your movie night at home.

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During Captain America, things weren’t as bad as far as the typical complaints; I heard no loud popcorn eating and saw no cell phone usage.  Having arrived exactly on time, seating was fairly packed so we were close to the front and almost at the end of a row.  We were hoping to get lucky and not be too close to anyone, but sadly for us, a couple sat directly behind us halfway through the previews, followed by a mother with her two children.  The mother took what felt like ages to get settled in, rustling her bags and giving instructions to the young boy and older female she brought with her.  This was one of the few times I was grateful for the 25 minutes of previews that AMC shows, as it gave the lady plenty of time to settle in and shut up.

Did I say settle in?  Scratch that, I meant the total opposite.  First, her son decided to get very vocal about his displeasure; he began loudly whining while she did the bare minimum to calm him.  I don’t fault the kid at all for this; some children don’t want to quietly sit through a movie and are better suited for home viewings only.  Some children have zero interest in movies if they aren’t cartoons.  Any good parent should know what kind of child they have and adjust accordingly.  My son would get antsy sitting through Captain America, so bringing him along was never an option.  We’ll save it for DVD, where he can watch as he bounces around his room and takes as many bathroom breaks as he pleases.  Thankfully for the little boy, the other female was able to step in and assist; I believe she removed him from the theater, as I didn’t hear another peep once she took action.

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I should clarify.  I didn’t hear another peep from HIM.  The woman was a whole other story.  If I properly describe her, it’ll sound as if I’m describing a scene from a slightly racist comedy, featuring a “typical” black woman at a movie theater.  She was a walking stereotype and that is unfortunately the best way to describe her.  She kept busy saying “I know that’s right!” any time something positive happened for any of the main characters, and especially when Samuel L Jackson was on screen.  There is one scene where [not a spoiler] Captain American lands in a body of water that is definitely not an ocean.  She felt the need to say “Oh, Steve, didn’t you spend enough time in the ocean?” as he entered the water.  Poor Steve definitely got his fill of unsolicited advice, as she consistently told Steve to be careful, watch out, and so on during the ENTIRE MOVIE.  In a normal, conversational tone.  Because if she whispered, Steve couldn’t hear her.  I guess.

The couple behind us, who I initially thought would be basically invisible, are the kind of people who will eventually cause me to snap and become a headline on the evening news as the “Crazed Woman” who slaps a fellow moviegoer.  The male apparently had zero idea what was going on, so the female decided that the best time to explain it was during the movie.  “No, SHIELD is doing ______,” “Yes, he knew him from _____,” going on for entire scenes and explaining things that the most basic fan should know.  And if you don’t, maybe don’t come see the movie in the theater.  Watch it at home where you can pause and have all your questions answered.  Hell, you can even hop on Google and look things up until you know more than the average raging superfan.  The commentary is best saved for after the movie.  Sometimes the post-movie discussion with my husband is my favorite part of the whole outing.

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Movies are expensive.  $15 – $25 for a pair of tickets, depending on the theater and added costs for 3D showings.  $20 – $30 for concessions, depending on how hungry and thirsty you happen to be.  Movies are time consuming.  Over two hours in the theater, plus the drive there and back, which was an hour round trip for us on Saturday.  No one wants to spend all that time and money only to have their experience ruined by other people.  No one should spend all that time and money only to ignore the movie in favor of conversation, updating Facebook, or any other activity other than watching the movie you paid to see.  If you’re unhappy sitting in the theater, LEAVE.  I’ve never seen anyone turned down for a voucher for a different movie if they have a valid complaint; it’s easier for management to give you a free pass instead of argue and possibly alienate a customer.  We all deserve to have a decent experience.  So let’s make a tiny bit of effort and ensure that we all can.

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About Jamie C. Baker

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

Posted on April 14, 2014, in TV/Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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