I can say with great confidence that I’m a rather laid back guy. It takes an awful lot for me to lose my cool, but there are certainly a select amount of pet peeves that can destroy my demeanor while watching a film. I imagine a few of these pet peeves are predictable and afflict many of you as filmgoers, but even if it seems like I’m preaching to the congregation, let this serve as a friendly reminder.
1) Walk Out and Refund: It’s one thing for a person to walk out of a film that they find to be an abomination. That’s fine. I get that a film can take a person by surprise, but for someone to demand a refund is just absolutely ridiculous. The whole point of seeing a movie is to see whether or not you can connect with it. It’s a new experience. If the film doesn’t meet your expectations or cause a profound effect, then hate on it as much as you want, but don’t expect a sympathetic handout in return. Think of it this way: How often do people go into a restaurant, order something new off the menu, and demand a refund because it wasn’t good? I’d like to suspect there is a select few who do that, but the fact of the matter is the world operates on the notion of caveat emptor. No one should be surprised or stunned when a film doesn’t end in their favor. Not everything is guaranteed, and for people to think that they’re entitled to anything outside of the opportunity to enjoy a film is beyond me. This becomes a bigger annoyance when specific details about the film (plot synopsis, reviews, run time, etc.) can be easily found on the internet, a tool that we use to a nauseating level in everyday life. You should be informed about the product you’re about to spend money on. If not, and you find yourself in a blind buy, don’t get pissed off when you irrationally think you got slighted.
2) Movie Chit Chat: Let’s face it, most movies don’t last long. Yet, for whatever reason, there is a group of people who must talk during a film almost as if it’s as significant as breathing. Apparently two hours of silence is too much to ask. Asking a friend to explain a plot detail is legit, but to be having a full blown conversation is not only rude, it’s stupid. Hey, I feel for you bro. I’m sorry that sweet Nancy of your fancy broke up with you, but I didn’t pay ten dollars to hear you breakdown to your closest bros in a dark theater. If I wanted to hear about some stupid ass drivel spewing out of someone’s mouth, I’d turn on any major news network (I’m looking at you Fox). That way I don’t have to spend any money on shit that will only piss me off. Even more so, if you are going to pay double digit dollar amounts to see a movie, you might as well watch the movie. Otherwise, if you need to talk to someone so badly, save your money and talk anywhere else but the theater. Or, if you want to waste your money and get your verbal jollies, call a phone sex operator. At least they’ll pretend to care about what you’re saying.
3) Parents and Their Kids: Here’s a concept: Watch your fucking kid. Nothing is more annoying than a parent who has zero control over their children. This one is elusive, but every once in a while I come across a parent who lets their children run around like a pack of gazelles being chased by a hungry lion. If a parent can’t find an ounce of parental duty at the bottom of their bucket of popcorn, we should all rise up and demand that theaters adapt to this issue. Initially I thought about putting the sugared-up bastards on a leash, but let’s really lock’em up. I say we get dog kennels, install them in the front row and make sure the kids are caged. Don’t worry, water dishes will be provided upon request.
4) The Theater Comedian: What is it about a dark room that suddenly gives someone a pair of balls to speak out of turn? Enter in the theater comedian, a skeptical viewer who decides to toss in his two cents as if he was John Madden on Monday Night Football. Every once in a blue moon the theater comedian delivers a worthy quip, but more often than not they stumble and deliver a stupid joke that evokes an awkward laugh or chirping crickets. Listen man, this isn’t the Apollo or even your high school history class; keep your miscalculated quips to yourself. I understand it’s tempting to say something “funny” in the dark. Who knows, you may catch lightning in a bottle, but if I wanted to hear your standup routine, I wouldn’t seek it out in a theater. Instead, I’d be looking for your YouTube channel where you’ll surely be delivering “A” material at no charge.
5) I Went to Film School…: If I want to test my gag reflex, all I have to do is cruise through the message boards of IMDB where a handful of elitist snobs verbally gang rape a dissenting film opinion. “What’s that? You think Alvin and the Chipmunks is a good movie? And you had fun watching it? Well, that’s a stupid opinion. You’re obviously devoid of any intelligence. I went to film school for sixteen years. I’m clearly an authoritative figure on the subject!” Don’t get me wrong, there’s always room for constructive discourse, but often in the online world, especially in regard to film, message boards are crawling with these insufferable pricks who think they can patronize a person’s opinion simply because they were a grip on Dorf Goes Fishing. Now, I do recognize that a film school graduate has a level of expertise in judging something as objective as editing or sound mixing, but they don’t dictate whether or not a person’s feelings toward a film are valid. If you like a film, then you like a film. It’s a simple as that. A film school education doesn’t give anybody the insight or power to patronize your love or hatred for a film. Let trolls be trolls.
Okay, so maybe the last one isn’t related to seeing a film in the theater, but nonetheless, it’s a cardinal sin in my book. I assure you, my profane language will be limited outside this post. Unless of course it turns you on, then all bets are off.