The Ultimate Guide to Cinema Etiquette – certified 18.

Cinema has changed in the last ten years, that goes without saying.  But it seems that nowadays, people don’t give two hoots about the pleasure of watching a film in a darkened room that is not in their house.

It is a lingering pain in the ass, when one person ruins the fun for everyone else.
So, here is a comprehensive guide on how to make the most of the cinema experience:

1.  SWITCH OFF YOUR EFFING PHONE!!
Those who know me personally know that this is a pet peeve of mine.  It doesn’t matter if you want to check the time – if you are in a rush or just passing the time, there is no point in paying to watch a film that will last at least 90 mins.  Switch it on airplane mode or better yet, switch the damn thing off.  In a dark room, little flashes of light can distract the most ardent of filmgoers.  There is an advert asking to switch off your phone before every fucking film for a damn reason!

If you don’t – be sure you don’t end up like this lady from the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas, who has been forever shamed for texting during a film:

2. The art of silence
Confused about a plot development?  Wondered who a certain actor is?  Don’t ask during the film – it is rude and distracting.  Leave until afterwards or stay around for the credits.  Same goes with conversations that are left over cocktails or coffee.  Want to natter?  Do it elsewhere.

3. Quiet snacks and drinks
Loud popcorn eaters can be a pain.  Indulge in snacks (pre-opened before the film starts), such as chocolate or even better, gummy sweets.  And that bottle of Coke?  Open it before the film – you don’t want to be responsible for breaking the tension in a pivotal moment with the fizz from your pop.

4. Arrive on time or early
I lost my rag once when a couple arrived to a screening of the The Road ten minutes into the film and spent five minutes dawdling in my eyeline trying to decide where to sit.  I told them firmly to sit down.
There are 20 minutes of ads and trailers that you can afford to miss for toilet stops or to get necessary nibbles, but not the first five minutes of a film.  If you do get there late, respect those who have gotten there on time and just sit down quietly at the back.

5. The kids are (not) all right
Patience and tolerance can get you so far.  But in certain screenings, you will get teenagers who think they own the damn screen and disrupt it with their constant texting, nattering and being complete idiots.  Or kids that are too darn young to know how to keep quiet.
Thank the lord of late night screenings and matinees.  For those who have the balls to tell them to shut up and not be told to ‘fuck off’, well done.  If they are your own kids, tell them to quieten down before someone else does.

6. Get comfy before the film starts
Everyone fidgets now and again.  But there is a fine line between fidgeting and kicking the seat in front of you because you just can’t sit still.  It’s damn rude and when someone does it to you, you know you’d probably be pissed off if it was the other way round.

7. Travel light to the cinema
Seats in cinemas are small enough as they are, without volumes of shopping bags rustling by your feet.  Shop after the film, store the bags away in a car or shop another day.  Plus, you don’t have to fret about missing bags and not being able to see anything, which would like to a violation of rule 1 (use of mobile phones).

Now that the ‘rules’ are perfectly clear, people should know by now the basic rules of cinema etiquette.  If it is still not clear, maybe this short advert by The Muppets will help:

Spread the word 🙂

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