by Michelle McGlynn
Why do we go to the cinema? Nowadays we can just watch a film online, in the comfort of our own homes, eating food that doesn’t cost a fortune and there’s no need to travel or queue. The answer is we go for the experience. Like any experience, going to the cinema has its pros and cons. You, my friend are quite possibly one of those cons. Yes, one of the worst parts of the cinema going experience is the other people. This may sound anti-social but it is true. We know it to be true. When there are people in the same screen as us and they do any of the things discussed below, it drives us crazy. Personally, I once ended a blossoming romance partly on the basis that the male in question did two of the following. During a Robert Downey Jr. film no less.
Let us begin with the most obvious of annoyances. People who talk during a film fall into several sub-categories.
People who decide that right in the middle of a film is the ideal time to launch into a full on conversation with the person beside them. Or god forbid, the person sitting more than one seat away, causing them to do that thing where they shout but in a raspy, whisper sounding voice. You are not whispering, you are an idiot.
People who somehow cannot keep up with the most basic of plots and spend the entire film asking questions. Then they have to ask what happened while they were asking the previous question. Why not try sitting quietly and trying to figure it out all by yourself? Clearly your brain requires the stimulation.
People who feel the need to provide a running commentary on what is happening. Oh, he just put the dog in a carrier and strapped it to the roof of his car? He proceeded to drive with the dog on the roof for twelve hours, really? Thanks for telling me that, I had somehow missed everything that was happening right in front of me on that huge screen. So glad you were here to clear that up. Seriously, there are special screenings for those who require someone telling them what is happening on screen.
Phones have become the scourge of the cinema screen. At this stage, we have all had mobiles long enough that we should know to put them on silent when in the cinema. We should know, but there always seems to be one person who is incapable of doing this. The people who carry on full text conversation are worse than that. At least the person who’s phone rings has the decency to be embarrassed, but you just continually sit there texting seemingly unaware that you are incredibly irritating. Smartphones and iPhones have only added to such behaviour. You are live tweeting your thoughts on the film? Well considering your only followers are probably sitting beside you, I will take a guess that no one cares. You need to Instagram the food you bought after the film has started? I applaud your artistic and creative vision. Honestly, I do. You are a creative genius, do not let anyone tell you differently.
As someone who is notoriously late, those who know me are likely to find this funny. Yes, I am late most of the time but going to the cinema is one of the few times when I strive to be on time. But things happen, we all know this. There is traffic, there are queues and various other reasons why you might be late. It is not the late arrival that is irritating, it is how you come in when you are late. Polite people will come in and quickly take their seat ensuring that they disrupt people as little as possible. Like the person who’s phone rings, they have the manners to be embarrassed. But then, there are those people who waltz in late to a film who loudly discuss where they should sit before settling on the seats where they will have to push past as many people as possible and make sure they do all of this extremely loudly. You know who you are. We all hate you.
Food in the cinema is a must. Whether you splash out and pay excessive amounts for food at the concession stands or you run into Tesco and bring in reasonably priced snacks, we all eat when we go to the cinema. However, putting a little bit of thought into what you are going to eat is not that much to ask. There are foods that are just noisy and only get more noisy the more you try to eat quietly. For example, sweets that are individually wrapped in plastic. You are not going to be able to open these without making people want to hit them out of your hand. I was once at the cinema when a person in my row proceeded to eat an entire bag of pistachio nuts. One after another, he shelled them, ate the nut and dropped the shells on the floor. This lasted the duration of the film. Of course, then there are the hilarious and rebellious children who decide not to eat their food but to throw it. We all pity your parents tremendously.
Making a mess
This is just bad manners. I can never understand people who needlessly make a huge mess in the cinema. Some rubbish is inevitable but you are fully capable of picking up after yourself. Yes, there are staff there to clean the screen after you but that does not mean that you should just dump all of your stuff on the floor. There are bins provided and if you were capable of texting throughout the film I assume your hands function and you can carry rubbish to these bins. Simple common courtesy.
I stand not-so-tall at 5’2 and I have made my peace with this for the most part. I know I am small and I know there are some things I will never be able to do. I will never manage to slam dunk a basketball, a heartbreaking realisation I assure you. Being short is fine, except for when a tall person comes along and makes life just that little bit more awkward for you. Why oh why does the tall person walk into the cinema choose to sit directly in front of someone small? Even when the screen is mostly empty, it is almost like they have a radar and do it on purpose. I hope you enjoy your clear view of the film Tall Person, just know that I am glaring at the back of your head and willing it to explode.
Couples wearing face
You are a couple and you are in love. Congratulations, really. I mean, good for you. But the entire cinema does not need you to prove this by mauling each other for all to see. Strangely, most people paid money to actually see the film, not to be treated to the disgusting display you and the ‘love of your life’ are putting on. If you really must do this, why not do it somewhere else where you are not testing the limits of other people’s gag reflexes? Actually, even just sitting at the back would be nice. That way you are not sitting directly in front of someone and subjecting them to a horror that they had not expected. When both people are happy enough wearing face for all to see, at least you have found someone as gross and inconsiderate as yourself. But when you have to grab your significant other’s face in a vice grip, rendering them incapable of escape you have hit a new low. Are you really that much of an attention seeker that you cannot sit quietly for an hour and a half? I mean it is just a little desperate that you need to have attention every three minutes. Honestly, there are toddlers who can practise more self control than you.
The worst of all: Complaining (Ironically)
Yes, I know putting complaining on a list of complaints seems a tad bit strange. But ironically enough, people complaining in the cinema is my number one peeve. If you complain every time someone does one of the things mentioned above, then you become just as irritating as they are. In fact, you are worse because you double the noise and the disturbance. If you loudly sigh, if you tut-tut under your breath or insult them under your breath it does not do anything to deter the person. You simply succeed in pestering the people around you. Leave all your complaining till after the film and we will all gladly join in.
Let Film Jam know what annoys you most when you go to the cinema.