Heading out to the movies is a magical experience, one we all treasure. Hopefully you have a good theater around, one where you can get a decent tub of popcorn without spending $19.75, plop into a soft, clean, cushioned seat and enjoy 117 minutes of uninterrupted entertainment, with great picture and perfect sound. If you can’t, I hope you at least can find a theater without any hypodermic needles stuck in the cushions.
Either way, you settle in and enjoy the show. Munching on your nachos, eating fistfuls of buttery popcorn, sipping sugary soda, and slamming back Milk Duds. You’re transported to a magical world where a teen can swing on webs, a teen can be a wizard, and a teen can have worry-free unprotected sex – hey what the hell man, teens get away with a lot in movies these days. Then, thoroughly entertained, the lights come up. You scan the surrounding area. A veritable concession stand holocaust. Discarded cups in holders. Popcorn strewn about the floor. Crumpled napkins everywhere.
If you’re like me, you’re appalled. Shocked. Disgusted. You gather up your trash, mutter, toss it away. If, unlike me, you get up, leave your trash behind and don’t give a shit, you’re the asshole I’m writing about.
You’re old enough to know better. I don’t care if you’re 10 years old reading this site, you know you pick up after yourself. Trash goes in the trash can. It’s like Smokey the Bear and camping – if you pack it in, you pack it out. We don’t want bears roaming the local AMC Multiplex. Nor do we want bums sitting in the hallways, waiting to pick our seats clean for food scraps.
If you’re thinking of arguing this point, stop right now. You’re an asshole. There is no way other way around it. You’ve got one argument and one argument only: but it’s somebody’s job to clean up the theater!
Yeah, sure. It’s their job to clean up the theater, not to clean up after you. Those are two different things. Popcorn can be messy. Maybe you were watching The Last Airbender and got so pissed you threw your popcorn. Maybe a JUMP SCARE VOMIT SEQUENCE LOUD NOISE in Drag Me to Hell caught you off guard and you spilled your soda. Or maybe you just dropped something by accident. Whatever – that is what the kid is paid $5.75 an hour to clean up.
He is not paid to come in after you and collect your soda cup, your Junior Mints box, your crumpled popcorn bag, your spilled popcorn, your pile of napkins, your nacho tray, and your fucking receipt. You are a lazy, worthless pile of human shit and you should be ashamed of yourself. There are trash cans at the exit for a reason – they’re there for you to throw your own shit out.
What really saddens me is the fact that about 60% of the movies I see in theaters are shown to me at advanced screenings for critics. Meaning all the people surrounding me are professional movie watchers. People who love film, the cinema experience, and going to the movies so much, they found a way to make it their lives, to use it to pay the bills, to see movies three or four days a week.
And yet, in what should be our church, you’re shitting. You’re squatting on the pulpit and making dooky on everything we hold dear when you leave your trash behind. Hyperbole? Sure. But you’re still an asshole.
This has happened at far too many screenings at far too many theaters far too many times. You know what? From here on out, if I see you leave your shit behind and I know who you are? I’m advertising. Don’t be a dick. Take your popcorn bag to the trash.
As for those of you I don’t know, those of you who aren’t critics – the message is the same. Clean up after yourselves. Have some sense of human decency. Take your trash out. We all enjoy going to the movies, we don’t need to see your personal pig sty when the light comes up. Take it easy on the 16 year old kid who already has a shitty job he only took because he loves movies too and gets to see a few for free.
Obviously, whenever those theater lights go up and I see trash, I go past my boiling point – so far past it, I almost enter a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of me punching your fucking face.