Why Everyone In A Movie Theatre Is A Terrible Person

Going to the movie theatre can be an incredibly fun time. Seeing a great film up on the big screen, being immersed in sound and an amazing HD picture, and feeling the floor shake with bass during a particularly high-octane scene in a ridiculously fun and stupid summer blockbuster are all amazing experiences. These things are all unique to the theatre going experience and can make even a bad movie seem exponentially better. While home theatres have tried to replicate the big screen experience, nothing comes close to getting good seats at a great theatre, paying $25 for a ticket and popcorn, and having two solid hours of entertainment. (OK, so the price could definitely come down like $15, but still.)

However, movie theatres aren’t all fun and games. In fact, remember when I wrote just a few sentences ago that going to the movie theatre can be an incredibly fun time? Well, I said it can be an incredibly fun time. It usually isn’t.

While seeing a great movie up on the big screen has the potential to be amazing, it’s usually spoiled by just about every single living person who came to see the same movie as you. And it would seem, especially the ones sitting directly in front of, behind, or beside you.

Allow me to paint a picture with words.

Visualize that you have arrived at your local theatre, paid for a ticket, grabbed your popcorn, and arrived early enough (usually about 30 minutes before) to get a great seat. You’re with a friend, you’re sitting near the back of the theatre in the middle, and the pre-show is starting. You’ve been waiting three years to see the latest superhero/robot/city being destroyed/board game adaptation/tv remake/sequel/horror movie/Jason Bateman comedy and you’re not going to let anyone ruin it. You’ve stayed away from trailers so that nothing is spoiled, and you’ve un-friended that guy on Facebook who always posts statuses about upcoming movies and ruins them for you. Two years ago you wrote in your calendar that this movie comes out today, and after waiting and waiting it’s finally here. You’re so close.

The theatre is filling up but the lights have yet to dim. You still have a prime seat beside you, but your jacket is sprawled out on it in an attempt to steer people away from sitting there. The row in front of you is empty and so your feet are on the back of the chair to dissuade people from sitting there as well.

In comes in a woman, completely alone, walking slowly up the aisle, and contemplating her seating options. This movie is clearly not for her anyway; she must have meant to walk into the romantic comedy in the next theatre. Out of the 14 available seats in the row in front of you alone, she chooses the one your feet are on. You don’t want to be a dick, so you put your feet down on the floor and smile. Nothing can ruin this movie.

As the lights dim and the trailers start, you figure you’ve finally made it. But just then, a few loud screams and laughs come from the entrance to the theatre and about seven morons come in and fill up all of the seats beside and behind you. They talk loudly, call each other “fucking idiots” for a while, and kick the back of your seat a few times. It’s ok; it’s only the trailers, they’ll definitely settle down when the movie starts.

You and your friend exchange a worried glance, but continue watching the trailers and promise yourself that you will definitely turn around and yell at these idiots if they don’t shut up once the trailers end.

Two more idiots walk in, looking an awful lot like the first seven idiots, talking loudly, and using their cellphones as flashlights. They look shocked that there are no seats three minutes before the movie starts on opening night. They half whisper, half shout for their friends. Their friends are of course the people sitting behind and beside you. They cross through your row, stepping on your feet and still talking loudly. One guy’s phone rings and a pop song that stopped being popular nine months ago blares loudly. Since everyone in the theatre is an idiot but you, everyone erupts with laughter. The guy who’s phone rang says “fuck” (obviously) and turns his phone on silent.

The movie begins. Things got off to a rough start, but these people (probably) paid to see the movie, just like you did, and they want to see it also. Everything’s going to be fine now. This is going to be awesome.

Well, fuck me. Now some guy directly in your line of sight is texting. He has one of those ridiculous Andriod Super Cosmo Incredible Touch Wildfire AMOLED phones with the 8.7-inch screen that lights up brighter than the sun. He’s just texting away, not a care in the world. No one else seems to notice. You try to ignore it.

Now someone else walks in and works their way up from the bottom, asking everyone if their seats are taken. This person eventually works their way up to you, who happens to be sitting four seats down from one empty seat. They shout at you a few times, even though the movie has now been playing for ten minutes. You try to stare straight ahead and ignore them. Eventually you slip up and make eye contact.

They say, “Is that seat taken?”

You say, “I don’t know.”

You go back to watching the movie, but they repeat themselves, assuming you didn’t understand.

“Is that seat taken?”

“I don’t know,” you say again. “It’s not mine, the movie started ten minutes ago, come on time next time.”

They are now getting hostile, as if to say “how dare you tell me when to come to a movie.” They say, “I’m sitting there anyways,” and walk past everyone in the row with no regard for anyone’s personal space.

They sit down, and the people in the row behind you start talking. Someone must have said something funny because now twelve people are laughing; despite the fact that the movie is still going on.

Some time passes and the movie is now almost over, and the whole audience decides to laugh at something that’s not funny. This has been going on throughout the whole film.

“Pass me the tennis balls.”

*Cue laughter*

The person beside you has the most awful laugh you’ve ever heard, and on top of that they feel the need to repeat the joke every single time. If anything is even remotely funny, they will repeat it; just in case someone didn’t hear. How considerate of them.

Someone kicks your seat, the person in front of you continues texting, and everyone else won’t stop talking. You promise yourself you’re never going to another movie in a theatre again.

If you can honestly say that none of the people in the above scenario is you, congratulations. Otherwise ­— and I have a feeling that most people reading this are guilty of doing at least one of the things mentioned — you should not be allowed out in public.

Go to the theatre, enjoy yourself, and have a good time; but be considerate. There are people in the world that aren’t you, so try to be aware of that.

If you have to text or talk during a movie, get out of your seat, quietly exit your row, and kindly trip and fall down all 94 of those incredibly awkward half-big, half-small theatre steps that no one can look normal walking on.

Thank you, and enjoy the show.

Jake Horowitz is a freelance writer living in Toronto, Ontario with his TV and computer. His favourite food is milk steak, his hobbies include magnets and ghouls, and he dislikes people's knees. He also obsessively quotes movies and TV shows as a means of interacting in real life.

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  • Shelly

    To quote someone (I don’t remember who)…”Hell is other people.” True that!

  • Bryan Murray

    So Jake , you are one of the reasons why our tickets and concessions are getting more and more expensive…. “The row in front of you is empty and so your feet are on the back of the chair to dissuade people from sitting there as well.”
    Maybe if you kept your feet off the back of the seat in front of you , less seats in the theatre would be damaged

    • Jake

      Well, I don’t kick the hell out of the seat in front of me, I just put my feet on the BACK of the seat if no one is sitting there. Not the top of the seat, because if someone has to put their head there they wouldn’t want whatever is on the bottom of my shoes to be on the seat.

      And I’m all for raising the prices of tickets. That way less terrible people that shouldn’t be allowed out in public would be at the theatre.

      • Molly

        Even people in the upper middle class or high class can be assholes; some people are just jerks with entitlement issues. Depends on your upbringing.

    • Aisling

      Agreed – there’s no reason your feet should ever be on the seatback in front of you.

      Also, on the opening night of a popular movie, be considerate and don’t leave any seats between you and your neighbour. Maybe then you won’t be bothered by someone asking if that empty seat is taken.

  • Allie

    Thanks for this- exactly how I feel every time I’m at a movie. I think these people are taking it a little too personally that you put your feet on the back of the seat.. I do it too, as well as the other tricks to try and maintain my personal movie theatre space. I think they missed the point.. they are probably those annoying people at the theatre anyway.

  • Dave

    You forgot to big other issues that makes for a terrible experience.

    1) The kind of person who has either their own snacks or ones from the movie theatre and insists on eating and drinking so loud. By this they smack while chewing you would think you are siting close to Pacman and slurping or gulping a drink that makes you think the person has not drank in who knows how long.

    2) A person either in your row or the row in front of you who feels the need to get up what it seems like every 15 minutes and take forever to pass in front of you. Whats even worse is how when you look at where they are they might be closer be to the end of the aisle but they opt to crossover along the longer part of the row.

    I should mention there are very few movies I pay for and no matter how good a movie gets a buzz unless I get to advance screening I will not go for the sake of seeing a movie cause of the usual bad experiences and high prices. If I need to see a movie at a theatre and do not get advanced passes I will see it on a cheap day or theatre at a showing in the hope to avoid the bad audience members.

  • Stan

    Rule number one ,never go on a weekend,or to an evening performance.Rule two stay home during summer break ,that’s what Netflicks is for.One of the great things about being retired is having an almost deserted theater to yourself,sometimes I am the only one there.