Arts & Culture / Mosaic / May 13, 2010

Film Freak: Letter to my fellow movie goers

It’s Saturday night and the newest blockbuster is out, rave reviews all around and you’ve the cash to spare, so what do you do? You and five friends squeeze into the car and head to the theater. Two large tubs of popcorn, the majority of the contents of which ends up on the floor, two stale over-priced boxes of Milk Duds and an extra-large drink later and you’re sitting front and center with a grin that puts the Cheshire Cat to shame.

Everything seems to be going swimmingly, the lights dim and your eyes open wide. And suddenly a bright red dot streaks across the screen. A few well-aimed salvos of popcorn and an usher waving a florescent orange cone later and you’re back to enjoying the movie.

But wait, what’s that smell? Suddenly you notice the ragged pair of sneakers perched on your right shoulder. And just as you’re about to kindly inform your fellow movie-goer of their ill-placed footwear, a sweaty man in hot-pants squeezes past you, temporarily blinding you. The man to your left answers his phone, the kid in front of you begins to cry, somewhere in the theater someone appears to be reporting the entire movie to their family in Trinidad. And you foolishly came expecting to enjoy a movie.

Truly some rules of common etiquette must be established. And while we’ve all seen the pre-feature instructions, few of us seem to understand exactly what is being asked. My recommendation of martial theater-law seems to be perpetually lost in the comments box.

So instead I appeal to you, fellow moviegoer, for as two civilized beings, we should be able to come to an understanding. So to you, teenage girl on the phone, I humbly ask that you leave the theater to take the call from your friend sitting three rows behind you. To the man without an understanding as to proper hygiene, I will provide you a four-page pamphlet with instructions for the operation of showers.

To the thirty-something-year-old father with a crying child, please entertain the notion of the possible psychological damage you are incurring upon your five-year-old son (In all fairness I, myself, failed to realize Freddie Krueger was not a clown until the doors were shut.) given your choice in cinema.

To the person with the laser pointer, I realize the actors are human and therefore possess genitalia; your helpful signaling is unnecessary.

All I’m proposing is that we all take time to think about our actions in the theater. And I recognize and appreciate you, other viewers who, like myself, have come to watch a movie. We all can get along as long as we respect each other as viewers. The next time you go to see the newest hit, consider the people who, like yours truly, lack the money to afford continually returning to see the movie without your witty commentary.

But perhaps I’m being unreasonable. In which case I will recognize your continued defiance as a sign of free will, and in what I assure you is a respectful and understanding act, proceed to beat you to death with whatever assortment of over-priced neon-coloured theater snacks you’re shoveling into your gaping mouth. Thank you.

Dan Kahn


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