Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, October 21, 2013

Thanks to Madonna,here's another look at misbehaving at the movies

One of the classic debates that film goers have had time and time again has nothing to do with favoring a certain actor,director or genre and everything to do with movie house manners.

Recently, Madonna attended a screening of 12 Years a Slave at the New York Film Festival where she spent most of her time texting away. When one of her fellow attendees asked her to stop(since the tapping noise and light from her Blackberry was distracting), her charming reply was "This is for business,enslaver!" Yes, she said that,folks at that particular movie.

As a result of that, the theater chain Alamo Drafthouse publicly declared that she would not be welcome at any of their theaters,which has a strict "no text,no talking" rule,until she apologizes. Given the lady's ego, that apology is never coming(plus, I feel that she owes me my money back for sitting through the likes of Shanghai Surprise and Evita). This whole kerfuffle made me think that it was the proper time to go over a few common complaints and/or solutions to the rude movie patron problem.

1) Loud is not always welcome:

Some films are enhanced by vocal audience participation,such as an action flick, a comedy or a decently scary film. Others,however, are best enjoyed with a reasonable amount of silence. Some might object to the volume of popcorn crunching or drink slurping ,particularly during key scenes of a movie but in my opinion,popcorn is sacrosanct for any  screening.

Loud talk and behavior stands out the most when watching highly dramatic material that all but demands complete concentration and for someone who treats a serious movie in the same way as a two steps away from a direct to video release,the full wrath of the audience is richly deserved:

2) Sometimes, it's better to switch seats:

While confronting a noisy movie goer should be a simple matter, it may at times be best to not directly tangle with that person. He or she may take your polite suggestion as a challenge to fight or defiantly turn up the volume on their antics.

Calling an usher or getting the manager ought to be a court of last resort. A safer move,if possible, is to change seats and hope that someone else will take the initiative. With any luck, you won't run into that person again,especially if they find less than funny films to be downright hilarious:

3) Get yourself settled before the movie starts:

 If you or the person you're going to the movie with is particular about where to sit or how to locate the "acoustic sweet spot" in order to enjoy the show properly, arrive early enough so that you can get all set up before the feature presentation begins. If you can, try to have all of your ducks in a theater row by the time the trailers start to roll and please don't be pushy about things:

4) If you can't handle a horror movie, don't go:

This sounds very specific but it can be applied to other types of films that provoke immediate reactions such as sadness, anger or disgust(any Jackass movie comes to mind for all three). Horror movies do have a drawing power for the squeamish amongst us and while covering your eyes is fine,freaking out is not.

You knew what you were getting into(or should have,based on poster art alone. Horror movie posters are never subtle,people) when you bought your ticket,so either bail out or sit tight,just as long you don't ruin the movie for those who wanted to see it:

There are more points we could go over but I think we can all agree that a) Madonna is too white a shade of pale to call anyone an enslaver,b) that if you really have business to attend to, you shouldn't be at the movies in the first place and c) texting during a movie is just plain wrong. A movie theater should be a cinematic oasis of art and entertainment away from the everyday world, not an extension of it.

Perhaps in time, people will regain the art of movie house manners and these discussions will no longer be necessary.  In the mean while, refraining from texting at the movies would be a good start. The only fighting at the movies should be onscreen, not off:

1 comment:

Thaddeus said...

I like all of your tips. Sometimes, I;m the guy who will say something to someone about what they're doing, but I have other moments where I can't be bothered.

I was at one of the two 42nd street theaters when a guy in the very front rows just pissed his seat. I wasn't gonna say s--t to *that* guy, right?

But yeah, sometimes you get the guy who argues with his wife through the credits and into the film. My brother had parts of 28 Days Later by two women who treated Boyle's picture like a B-horror film (think People Under the Stairs, or even Scary Movie).

Texting after the trailers, tho, is just ridiculous, and they can't build that Alamo Drafthouse on the UWS soon enough, imo...