If you want to find examples of awful people disregarding their fellow human beings, you don't have to look far in New York—just ride the subway! But there is another place where folks seem to increasingly forget that they are in public and that others might not like what they are doing: Movie theaters. Ladies and gentlemen, it is time we all did something about the plague of poor patrons defiling our nation's cineplexes!
Everyone has dealt with rude idiots in movie theaters over the years, but the problem seems to be getting worse. To wit: read the horror story that was Drew McWeeny's recent This Means War screening in LA (seriously, go read it—you'll want to cry). Who wouldn't want to pulverize a moviegoer who won't shut up, won't stop rubbing her feet on your leg and refuses to acknowledge they are doing something wrong? Clearly, something needs to be done. So, we've put our heads together and written down five basic don'ts we can all follow to make the moviegoing experience a pleasant one for everybody:
1. Don't use your cellphone, period. Not as a flashlight, not as a clock and definitely not as a communication tool. When the lights go down, your phone should go off. And if you must have your phone on for whatever reason (really?), for the love of god turn the brightness down as much as possible.
2. Don't talk. Really, you shouldn't be talking at all in the movies (unless you are at Rocky). However, if you must (really?), please do so as quietly as possible. Nobody wants your opinion, commentary or wisecracks.
3. Don't touch other patrons or their stuff. Don't kick their seats, don't touch their legs, don't rub their arms, don't kick their bags. People like their personal space, and you should respect that. This rule also applies to couples! Holding hands is fine, but in a crowded theater please, please, please keep the PDAs to a minimum? The only exception is the shared arm rest...which generally goes first come, first serve (unless your seat mate is a really big person in which case, you lose).
4. Don't be a cow when you eat. Yes, concessions are a major part of the movie experience. Everyone loves popcorn! But that doesn't mean you need to eat the stuff a gallon at a time with your mouth wide open so we can hear you chew. And if you are going to eat a candy that needs to be unwrapped...either unwrap it before the movie or don't unwrap it at all.
5. Don't save so many seats. Yes, it can be hard to get your whole group to a big opening weekend screening at the same time. Yes, it is nice to send your buddy Jorge in to save a seat—we've all done it. But have some respect! One person can reasonably save two seats (one with a bag, one with a coat). Beyond that—unless a person has just gone to get (quiet) food from the concessions—you are just being rude.
Those are our five big don'ts, though we do have a few lesser ones we'd be happy if people would also adopt (don't bring chatty children to movies clearly not meant for them, don't be a moron and clap during the credits). But that's just us. What are your movie theater rules?