The problem with going to a public theater to watch a movie is that the public tends to show up to watch with you. Don’t get me wrong, I like people, but when I plunk down my $7.50 (I’ve been getting the senior discount since I turned 30) I want to be entertained, not annoyed.
Why is it that when the house lights go down, so many social butterflies, know-it-alls and Roger Ebert wannabes come to life? When Tom Hanks is up on the screen I don’t want to hear your thoughts, ideas, complaints or opinions. I especially do not want to hear about what your boyfriend thinks about dating other people, your hip replacement operation or what model car you are considering.
And why do these people invariably walk in late with tubs of popcorn the size of oil drums and enough Coca-Cola to hydrate the Italian soccer team? And why, oh why, do they always sit near me? I have been in movie houses with dozens of empty rows of seats, yet the ill-mannered will always find me. It is like the devil has sent them to torment me.
I have identified five major types of these rude nincompoops who find it impossible to remain quiet for a two-hour flick:
The Narrators: They feel the need to tell their companion, and the rest of the theater, what is transpiring on the screen.
This movie is set in the early ’60s. He can’t believe she won’t sign the contract. Boy, she’s really mad now.
The Critics: Those who feel the irresistible need to enlighten us with their knowledge of all things cinema.
I love the way Scorcese directs this scene. These special effects are sooooo overdone. This plot line is unbelievable. Kevin Costner is a terrible actor.
The Spoilers: The very lowest forms of pond scum, these dopes have one purpose in life – to ruin it for the rest of us.
Bruce Willis is dead! He just doesn’t know it. (Yes, this actually happened to me). The Planet of the Apes is really earth. Rhett is going to leave her and he won’t even give a damn.
The Clueless: This group of goofs is mostly comprised of old guys who are hard of hearing, or small children who have no business watching “American Hustle.”
What did he say? Is that the guy from the hotel? How come she changed her hairstyle? Isn’t this the movie about gladiators?
The Morons: I must admit I’ve never experienced this repulsive bunch firsthand because I avoid the Friday shows at the mall. I am told there are people who shout at the screen as if the actors can actually hear them.
Look out, he’s right behind you! Don’t go back in the house, you fool! You tell him who is boss, Arnold! She’s a liar; don’t listen to her!
I have a fantasy where Liam Neeson stops acting, turns to the loudmouth in the theater and says, “One more word out of you and I’ll come down there and beat you senseless with that box of Milk Duds.”
So here is my solution. I propose we put a guard in the front of the theater, right next to the screen; we’ll call him the rejectionist. He will be armed with a dart gun, and his job will be to tranquilize every person who talks during the movie. I envision myself watching Sandra Bullock float through space while my fellow movie goers sleep peacefully – and quietly. Now, that’s entertainment!