Watch out. I’m about to ruin your theater-going experience. If you want to enjoy your movies without the nagging of my detail-oriented world, do not read any further. You have been warned.
I am one of those who can’t help but notice the little things. When I enter a theater I am immediately aware of my surroundings. How big is the screen? How comfortable are the chairs? Is the sound too loud or just right? Did I get freshly-made popcorn or the slightly stale stuff from the bottom of the bin? Yet these are minor distractions when I consider my recent experiences at the movies. Drum roll please; I give you the twelve items that irk me most when I’m at the theater. No matter how intense the action scene or how enrapturing the love scene, one or more of these dozen offenses are sure to get up in my face and say “hello”:
1) The sounds of snacks. At the movies I demand the silence that Simon & Garfunkel made famous (get it?) but instead I’m surrounded by crunches, slurps, wrappers, pours, gulps, and chews. Is this a vote for early-onset hearing loss?
2) Cell phones. To the credit of my fellow movie-goers, I can’t recall the last time I heard a cell phone bleep during a movie. But they still buzz. And they light up. And I notice. My peripheral vision gets high marks at the eye doctor but makes me pay dearly at the movies.
3) Ushers with flashlights. Here’s a new one. Ushers pass through the theater once during the movie to check things out. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a good idea with some of the crazies out there. But I see them. I know why they’re there. And my movie gets a “time-out” until they leave.
4) People movement. This one is trending upward. Why are people going in and out of the theater during the movie? Did they not take care of business earlier? Are there lottery winnings distributed in the lobby that I’m not aware of? And what about missing those couple of minutes while you’re gone? Don’t you want your money’s worth? Sit still people!
5) Commercials. I include movie previews in the value of my ticket purchase. But not commercials. Nor previews that are really just commercials in disguise. Nor ads for television shows. Not what I came for.
6) Seat kicks. Which begs the question, are they intentional or is the person behind you overly-aggressive with their response to a given scene? No matter; you never see them coming and once you get one you’re on edge wondering when number two will hit.
7) The louder movie next door. Beware the lure of a soft romance or poignant drama. Hollywood has produced an action-packed blockbuster that just happens to be playing in the adjacent theater. There are no words to describe the moment when a bomb goes off in the middle of a love scene.
8) Ticket/concession costs. Okay maybe this is just me, but it takes time to get over the fact that I just paid more for my concessions than I did for my movie ticket. I know, I know – concessions equal profit margin. But I’m already well into my movie before I can make peace with that.
9) “People” sounds. In addition to the sounds of snacks, I give you loud breathing, distinctive laughs (otherwise known as cackles, whoops, snickers, and howls), coughs, sniffles, and those other sounds better left to the imagination than described here.
10) The wrong movie. I kid you not. At a theater a few months ago our romantic comedy opened with a towering image of Will Ferrell’s face. I knew instantly they’d queued up the wrong movie. Will Ferrell and romantic comedy do not belong in the same sentence. Or movie theater.
11) The person sitting next to you. Admit it, you arrive early and choose your seats hoping no one will sit next to you. And when they do, you wonder who gets the arm rest. Or the drink holder. And what’s that funny smell?
12) Talkers. Sorry ladies, but women who go to the movies together like to talk ABOUT the movie DURING the movie for EVERYONE to hear. They also seem drawn to the seats directly behind me. One time I actually confronted them about it and promptly learned the meaning of the phrase “dagger eyes”.
So there you have it. Life used to be so simple. My gauge of a good movie was getting to the closing credits without wondering where I put my car keys. But those days are gone. The movies are officially a gamble, but only with respect to which (or how many) of the above distractions will be included. I hope you’re enlightened. I’m irked. Enjoy the show.