Reel etiquette for
the really oblivious
by Jake TenPas
When it comes to commentary on movies, could
you keep it to yourself?
There are certain rules of etiquette that
you would think need never be said aloud. They’re just so obvious,
so self-evident that even a diehard “Real World” fan
should be able to figure them out on their own.
Finally, when you go to the movie theater,
you turn off your cell phone (this includes text messaging),
sit in front of someone shorter than you and, most importantly,
you keep your mouth shut good and tight. It really couldn’t
be any simpler.
Nobody wants to hear what you have to say
about the movie, not even your girlfriend, who pretends
to be laughing
when you make the oh-so-clever comment about the totally
Yes, doofus who sat behind me during “Chronicles
of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” I’m
talking to you.
Evidently, when the giant words came up
on the screen before the movie asking you not to smoke,
not to talk
and to turn
your cell phone off, you assumed that they were aimed
at someone else.
Though I will thank you for not smoking.
That was downright generous of you.
Also, thank you for not breakdancing, singing
opera, urinating, shooting off firearms, practicing birdcalls,
game Simon, doing jumping jacks or setting off pipebombs.
After all, the pre-movie warnings didn’t
specifically ask you not to do any of those things, and
yet you were
able to figure them out all on your own.
Kudos to you, sir.
Yet somehow, you decided it would be OK
to maintain a monologue of sub-Nascar-announcer intelligence
entire motion picture. At one point, you even thought
of a critique so witty that you had to lean over my girlfriend
and yell it to your buddy sitting two rows below.
I can only wish that I had heard it, so
that I might have had the hearty laugh you so selfishly
kept to yourself
and your dim-witted friend. Alas for missed opportunities.
Speaking of missed opportunities, it’s
with increasing frequency that I hear the movie industry
the decline in theater receipts.
Hmmm, why wouldn’t people want to
go to the theater?
Oh, right, maybe it’s because at home you don’t
have to pay $7 for popcorn, get packed in like sardines
and then have to listen to the dumbest human beings in
the world rant relentlessly over the quietest, most delicate
scenes in the movie because they’re not holding
The problem is, footage of a mushroom cloud
set to a soundtrack by Cannibal Corpse and edited by Oliver
hold these people’s attention.
If movie theater chains really want to rake
in the dough, I suggest they go back to the way it used
to be and start
kicking people out who talk during the movie.
I know, it’s crazy to think that those ushers that
stalk the perimeters of the movie theater like ineffectual
border guards might do something beside watch for the sinister
menace of food and drink not bought at the concession stand.
In this instance, I don’t want to be sane.
What I want, is to be able to watch the
movie I just paid $7.75 for, plus whatever I might have
the concession stand, without having to listen to some
reject from Mystery Science Theater 3000 do his best
imitation of an auctioneer snorting crushed No-Doz.
What I want is for parents to teach their
kids the simplest of manners, and when they aren’t
capable of that, movie theaters to step in and do it for
Until then, I’ll continue to have a few choice words
for anybody who can’t figure it out for themselves.
None of them will be “please.”
Reprinted with permission of the Corvallis
All Rights Reserved.