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Movie Theater Etiquette

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Last night, I attended what I call the “geek peek” or first showing of a comic book film. I do this for just about every comic book film; these films (and the comics they’re based on) are to me like sports are to other people.

Like sports fans, I take the main event seriously. I purchase my ticket in advance and arrive early to make sure I’m one of the first to get in the auditorium so as to get the best seat. I consider watching movies in a theater to be an event, especially comic book movies. The screen is huge, the sound powerful, the seats comfortable and the darkened theater the highway down which the movie I’m watching takes me for a (hopefully) fantastic ride into a world that is not my own.

Sadly, we no longer live in a time where the movie theater and the movie watching experience is respected. There are people who clearly have little to no social skills or are simply rude. I imagine these qualities extend to all areas of their lives, but in a movie theater, these qualities are magnified a thousandfold.

I have no problem with people enjoying themselves at the movies; that’s what movies and movie theaters are for. I DO have a problem with spending almost ten bucks to be interrupted by other people’s lack of social graces or common sense. I’ve had many experiences at the movie theater over the years that have galled me, but last night’s experience brought a new level of disgust.

A guy sitting two seats down had also arrived to the theater early. He had a good forty minutes to get snacks, but instead, leaves DURING the movie and then returns with a large and loud bag of popcorn and a soft drink. He then proceeds to practically force fist-fulls of popped corn into his mouth, almost as if he was averse to chewing and breathing. At one point, I thought he had pit his hands in a race against his esophagus. Between loud, crunching gulps of popcorn, he sucked down soda like a zombie apocalypse survivor siphons gasoline out of an abandoned car so they gas up another car and narrowly escape being eaten by the living dead.

It didn’t take long for him to finish the beverage. Common decency/sense/manners direct most people to stop sucking on the straw in their cup at this point. Not so with my row-mate. Afterwards, he moves on to gobbling down the ice in his cup, crunching it loud enough to compete with the digital surround sound. Having finished the ice, he returned to the remaining popcorn, then proceeded to emit a series of burps loud enough to be heard by a friend of mine four seats away.

I’ll admit I’m a bit driven when it comes to going to the movies, but I think most of us can agree that there’s a serious lack of awareness on the part of far too many people that they are, in fact, in a public place and are supposed to act differently in that environment. I don’t know how people act at home and I really don’t care. You can eat, drink, and pass gas like a pig all you like, but please, do it at home. Unless you’re willing to pay me an additional ten bucks for having to witness the spectacle you make of yourself instead of the one offered by Hollywood.

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