Growing up, my mom took me to lots of movies; sometimes she would drop me off and come back. Yet, early on, I was taught what is and is not acceptable in a movie theater. As times have changed, so have the things that we have come to expect from our movie-going experience. This will serve as my list of said rights, with additions made as needed. So with apologies to Bill Maher, let us begin:
Thou Shalt Heed Movie Ratings and Act Accordingly
We have all had it happen. Get psyched about going to see The Mummy on opening night; get to the theater; find a seat and relax. Then it arrives — the family with the parents who bring a baby, a toddler, and a 5-year-old to an R-rated movie. Of course all three kids start crying when it gets frightening onscreen, pulling the entire audience out of the story and back to real-life. Part of being a parent is sacrificing what you want for the sake of the child. Wait for the movie to hit DVD — the rest of us in the audience will be happier and will not be looking for you in the parking lot.
Thou Shalt Put ALL Technological Devices on Silent or Off
In this age of technology, almost everyone has a cell phone, a PDA, or a combination of the two. As important as we like to think we are, nobody wants to hear our latest cool ringtone right as Darth Vader reveals that he is Luke’s father. Even worse are those of you who actually have the gall to answer the phone and talk for 10 minutes WITHOUT leaving the theater.
Thou Shalt Not Text-Message While Sitting in a Darkened Theater
Sure, texting is cool, but it is still annoying in public. The light from the cell is enough to light half of the Eastern seaboard; plus the clicking of fingers on keys is very audible. If you can not stand to be out touch for 1.5 – 2 hours, then you should not go to the movies.
Thou Shalt Get to the Theater EARLY Enough to Get the Seat You Want
As a single person, I run into this problem a lot. I will get to the theater early so that I can get the seat that I want, making sure to leave sets of four seats and two seats on either side of me. Then, right before the movie starts, a group will show up and demand that you move so that they can have the good seat despite not getting there early. In a sold-out movie, I am more forgiving; but this happened to me as recently as Thanksgiving Day in a 1/3-sold theater. I had to move so that the group could be in the center and prop their legs up on the railing, forcing me to sit at the end of the row.
Thou Shalt Not Treat the Theater Like It Is Your Own Living Room
Carrying on conversations is downright rude. If you want to talk through the entire movie, stay home and watch DVDs. An occasional comment is not bad; your life story while I am trying to see if Han and Leia will hook-up onscreen is bad.
These are all I have at this time; I am sure I will come up with more…