Last night I went with some friends to see Avengers: Endgame. This movie was great, but I’ll not review it here. I’ll do that in another few days to make sure I don’t inadvertently give some spoilers 1.
What I want to review with folks is Movie Theater Etiquette, because last night much of our fellow audience members had none.
Endgame was great, the audience not so much.
I knew we were going to be in trouble when the previews started. At that moment the theater sound system kicks in to full gear and floods the room with glorious mixes of sound. The folks in front of us decided this was cue talk louder in order to continue their conversation. When the sound system kicks in, though, you literally have to shout to be heard over the presentation. This is annoying. We actually leaned forward and told the people in front of us they we were trying to watch the film so please stop talking. We had to do that twice. Even worse, during the film someone behind us was trying to explain what was going on to one of their companions, also shouting. I actually turned around and said, “Quiet 2.” These folks got the hint the first time. Look folks, when the lights go down and the sound levels go up it doesn’t mean “talk louder.” It means “shut up.”
I’m annoyed by people on phone calls in confined spaces in general, but if you’re not dropping f-bombs or shouting so everyone has to pay attention to you I just deal. It’s the world we live in. Phone calls in a movie theater after the lights go down, even if it’s “just the previews,” are not ok. We had to explain that to someone who was sitting directly behind us because his conversation was taking away from the previews. Leave the theater. It’s “just the previews.”
The social media impulse to post everything needs to stop in general, but during a movie giving in to that impulse is ridiculous. When you see a cool shot in a film this is not an an invitation for social media sharing. Stop taking freaking pictures during a movie. I mean, are you kidding me? Especially when you leave your flash on. Good grief, take a selfie before the film, everyone will celebrate you’re being “there.” And, if you can’t handle the lure to divert your attention to your zombie-making device during a film, learn the wisdom of turning off your phone. Your instagram feed will not wither and die because you sat in a film for a few hours and didn’t give Facebook’s algorithms more data on your personal life.
If you need to have your phone on because you have kids or need to keep abreast of other important situations, I get it. Moms and Dads need to get out, but still need to be accessible in case of emergency. Sometimes folks just need to take a break from a vigil over a sick family member and get lost in a fantasy for a few hours. Someone might be on call for a helping institution, but still need to relax as much as possible. There are good reasons for keeping a phone on during a film 3. But if you’re in that situation sit near the aisle, as close to an exit as possible, and turn your phon on vibrate. If a message comes in leave the theatre before turning on your blindingly bright screen. During our showing two folks down near the front of the theatre were texting people throughout most of the film. I don’t get it. If you’re not planning on being present at the theater while the movie is playing, just save your money and wait for the home release.
I get the need to react audibly during a film, I do this myself and it can add to the experience for everyone if you’re not speaking at full volume every few seconds 4. My advice to everyone, however, is to learn more reaction vocabulary than cussing. Listening to the person behind me cuss at every cool shot of the film 5 got old around hour two.
On the other hand, even I can appreciate when there’s a good moment to shout out loud. And, even though the person who shouted it was a annoying texter for much of the film 6, shouting “awww yeah!!!” at a great moment was pretty dang fun. Keep doing that.
- But go see it, as someone who has chosen to collect the MCU it’s a fulfilling payoff. ↩
- I never do this, but it was opening night. ↩
- Instagram is not one of them. ↩
- People who possess zero internal dialog need to be barred from movie showings for a month after every new release. ↩
- The same one who had been on the phone during “just the previews.” ↩
- Seriously, if you’re dropping serious cash to see a movie why are you spending half of it looking at a tiny screen. There is literally a giant screen right in front of you. Look up! ↩