This year has produced three of the highest-grossing films of all-time (Furious 7, Age of Ultron, Jurassic World) and devoted fans have something fun to watch every week. Yet, even with millions of passionate fans driving those blockbusters to immortality, it has never been a worse time to go see a movie. We’re lucky that movie theaters still exist, please, don’t be a dick to the people who keep that possible. Before cineplexes start to resemble the wastelands of Mad Max: Fury Road, here is a refresher course on how to share your theater with fellow audiences.
1. The considerate moviegoer turns her phone off and collects a voucher for a free drink at her next movie. A total dick Instagrams the opening credits of the latest A24 movie playing to impress the (very married) barista at Starbucks.
2. The considerate moviegoer buys popcorn and a soda. After the movie ends she places her garbage in the trashcan. A total dick leaves all of his purchases on the floor and on the seats around him. He also causes the popcorn trough to take off nationwide.
3. The considerate moviegoer leaves the theater and takes her phone call in the lobby. A total dick checks his Twitter/Facebook notifications constantly and insists to irritated patrons nearby “it could be an emergency!”
4. The considerate moviegoer waits until she’s in the lobby to check NFL scores. A total dick created the AT&T ad that encourages their users to watch football DURING the movie.
5. The considerate moviegoer doesn’t smoke, but if she did she would wait until she is outside. A total dick lights up a cigarette and starts to smoke inside of a crowded theater.
6. If the considerate moviegoer doesn’t enjoy a film, she goes back to the box office and takes advantage of the refund policy. Or, she catches something more interesting down the hall. A total dick sits and complains to everyone around that he “doesn’t understand.”
7. The considerate moviegoer claps politely at the end of the film, or if she’s at a press screening. A total dick claps loudly at random intervals to draw attention to himself.
8. The considerate moviegoer leaves her shoes on while she’s watching a movie. A total jackass takes his shoes off to prop his feet inches away from someone’s face.
9. The considerate moviegoer leaves a little space between herself and other audience members. If she is waiting for friends she throws a purse/jacket/etc over two or three seats. A total dick saves an entire row just so he can man-spread.
10. The considerate moviegoer will bring a can of soda in on the sly. A total jackass pulls out an entire paper-wrapped sub and waits to open it up during a quiet scene.
11. The considerate moviegoer understands that theaters are a communal space and should be treated with a modicum of respect. A total dick pretends every other moviegoer is his audience for a MST3K revival.
12. The considerate moviegoer takes advantage of the wine/beer for sale at upscale theaters. A total dick gets drunk at a revival of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark on the three beers he snuck in. He also gets drunk and starts yelling at Harrison Ford like he’s in the movie with him.
A lot of these suggestions might seem like nit-picking, but that last instance was particularly troublesome. A family of four took their sons to see Indiana Jones for the first time when that total dick decided he was more important than everyone else. On what should have been a joyous occasion of a mother and father sharing a movie they loved with their kids ended with the family leaving before the Ark even made its appearance. So, in the future, let’s pretend that every showing is those kids’ first chance to see Raiders of the Lost Ark, because no one gets a second chance to see something for the first time.
Most of the events listed did are based on the real experiences of the author. Except for the popcorn trough (so far).