Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Please Kill Yourself Guide to Proper Movie Theater Ettiquette

I wrote a version of this years ago in either the first or second physical copy of Please Kill Yourself (it also ran in the Daily Cougar with WAAAAY less cursing). I was going through copies of the back issues but I couldn't find it so I'm writing it again. Dig. 

I love movies and even though many of my generation seem to prefer watching a butt cam version of new flicks on their computers or HD televisions I still adore going to the cinema and slouching down in a pitch black theater and being totally immersed in a film. However, over the years it has become more and more difficult to properly enjoy a movie without having some mouth breathing asshole (or group of them) ruin the entire experience. I totally get why people prefer to wait until a movie comes out on DVD to check it out because the ordeal of going to a movie theater and the insane amount of annoyances that come with the task (I use that last word deliberately) almost negates whatever pleasure I can wring out of the experience. Yes, I am that ADD that the actions of my fellow moviegoers can completely fuck up my reading and enjoyment of a film. But, I do believe that, as in any other facet of society, there are common behaviors that should be observed for the betterment of all involved.

Mrs. Debauchery and I almost exclusively attend films at Sundance Cinemas (it used to be the Angelika) downtown for a couple of reasons. The nearest Alamo Drafthouse is too far away (this will be corrected soon when the Midtown franchise opens up and despite my hatred of everything that exists in Midtown Houston my love for the Alamo Drafthouse overrides it), they have a full bar, it's ten minutes from the Heights, super clean and comfy but primarily it's because the crowds are fucking decent, film loving human beings that can behave themselves. Also, 99% of the time NO asshat teenagers. Last night, Mrs. Debauchery and I ventured to the Edwards off of Weslayan because we wanted to check out Sinister and it was the only theater nearby that was screening the flick. Big mistake. For one thing, and I hadn't been to that theater in so fucking long I forgot how horrible it is, it was overrun with shithead kids and their yuppie parents who didn't seem to mind them darting across the compound like Danny Boyle style zombies and screaming their fucking heads off. But the adults behaved way worse. I'll get into that below in our official guide to proper movie theater etiquette.

Really, that could have been the entirety of this post but I guess I should explain it a little more, right? It can't be that difficult to not say a word for 90 minutes. Okay, and maybe this is just me and my neuroses, but when I watch a movie or listen to a record for the first time I devote 100% of my attention to it. It's only fair the artists, ya know? I mean, they worked their asses off on this piece of entertainment and to truly appreciate or digest what they're throwing at me I feel that I should have my concentration focused solely on what they're trying to communicate...not some fucking assholes seated in front of me constantly opining on the film as it unfolds.
When we got to our seats last night, the entire god damned theater was in conversation and we figured this was a bad sign. Well, 75% of the theater got quiet when the movie began but two drunken twats next to us and a couple in front of us provided the wife and myself with a running commentary throughout the WHOLE FUCKING MOVIE.
Look, shitheads, no one gives a FUCK what you think is going to happen, you're reaction to what we all just experienced on screen or your personal estimations of the characters and their behaviors. "Oooh, he done fucked up!" or "Oh man, he's gonna die next" or anything of the sort is not relevant conversation. You wanna express those opinions? Fine. Do it after the last reel is over in the lobby, tweet your friends or blog about it. So, instead of communicating your most instant, base reactions to the film just keep that dialogue internal so it doesn't break my concentration. You know, filmmakers aspire to provide such dramatic elements as tension and your blathering destroys that. Seriously, try and watch a movie like Audition in the middle of a middle school cafeteria on a Friday and tell me that it works the same as if you were left undisturbed.
The couple in front of us last night kept chatting away and I (admittedly, very petulantly) kept kicking the back of their seats every couple of minutes hoping they would get the hint. They didn't and constantly shot me the look of death. Oh, I'M the asshole? Once I decided that technique wasn't working I began unleashing a torrent of hot, vegetarian (I ate a soy burger with a ton of avocado before the movie), Jameson infused farts and wafting them over their heads. I know they inhaled them by the disgusted looks on their faces when they turned around mere moments after my ass unleashed the fury.
By the way, I do understand their are moments in movies when the audience wants to cheer in unison, scream, laugh or whatever. I'm totally cool with that. In fact, the communal experience is what makes film going so fantastic and things like midnight movies such a blast. However, 99% of movies we all go to see aren't The Room or Rocky Horror or Grindhouse so let's keep that in mind when you're watching Movie X next Friday.

Rule #2: Your Phone No Longer Exists in the Theater
Look, I'm totally addicted to having an iPhone. I'm constantly checking Twitter and Facebook and all that jazz but I am capable of severing those digital ties when I enter a movie theater. It's not like I'm going to miss out on some Earth changing event in the hour and a half when I'm watching a movie and if some shit did happen I kinda think the theater staff would stop the flick and inform us that aliens had made first contact. Mobile phone screens are incredibly bright and distracting when your surrounded by darkness. It's jarring enough when I get up in the morning to turn off my alarm (I haven't awoken with the sun up in almost a year now). Last night a group of shithead teenagers rushed into the theater and ALL OF THEM immediately began their phonekakke ritual. The couple at the end of our row had already asked them, politely, to knock that shit off but they didn't get the hint. Against Mrs. Debauchery's protestations I got up, walked to rows up and three to the right and said, "Turn those the fuck off and shut the fuck up." They looked at me like I just Sandusky'd their little brother and put everything up. Even though that tactic was successful, Mrs. Debauchery was still PISSED at me. I fail to see the problem with what I did. It's not like I recreated this video, which I must say, is AWESOME!

Rule #3: Get to Your Seats on Time
This ain't fucking NASA shit, people. You know what time the movie is going to start. You checked it out on Fandango before you left the house, it's blasted across the marquee where you purchase your ticket and it's even printed on your fucking ticket. If it says, 8 p.m. it's gonna start relatively close to that so why not get their by that time? People who walk into movies late are the most likely to violate the two aforementioned rules. Inconsiderate assholes is what they are. In fact, why don't theaters institute a policy where they quit admitting people once the movie has started or quit selling tickets to it 15 minutes before the start time? When I went to press screenings in college my biggest complaint was that the last motherfuckers to arrive got to sit in the press row (the primo seats in the middle of the theater) after they scrunched us all dead center because most of the press assigned to a screening doesn't go. I wonder why. Why reward such irresponsibility? These shitbirds would talk and talk and text and text while people who were being paid to study and exalt an opinion on movies were trying to work. Granted, if I did the same shit to these drooling dolts as they worked a Sunglass Hut kiosk at the Galleria they wouldn't have a hard time rearranging the Ray Ban's through the disturbance. But, I think the jobs require different levels of talent, intelligence, and skill.

Rule #4: When it comes to evening screenings, leave your kids at home
I'm in my 30's now, so I have a lot of friends who are parents. I'm an uncle, too. I get that it's rough to find a sitter so you and your spawn shooting pez dispenser of a spouse can go out and enjoy a nice evening. And if you should choose to take your kids to see a horror flick at a matinee I have no problem with that (I saw Night of the Living Dead for the first time when I was 9). You know your kids limitations and should you choose to inflict their developing psyche's with wanton gore and tits and cheap jump scares, that's fucking aces with me. But...when you drag them to see a movie when it's HOURS after their bedtime that's when I get all Andy Rooney. Kids get cranky when they're tired. They get worse the longer you try to keep them in a situation they absolutely abhor. Children are very much like women when it comes to vaginal probes in this respect.

Rule #5: See Rule #1

If you want the TL;DR version here it is.

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