A movie theatre has always been a sacred place for me. From the time that I was a little girl, I remember treating a trip to the movies like a trip to church on Sundays, but without the kneeling and smelly incense. I might be taking my role a bit too far, but as a budding movie critic, I believe it is very important to concentrate on the movie and not on what so-and-so is saying about so-and-so at the local high school.
Last weekend, I went with my father to see 42, the movie based on the true story of baseball legend Jackie Robinson’s remarkable rise to fame as the first black man integrated to an all-white baseball team in the 1940s. Both my dad and I loved the film— I went to see it because I have an obsession with Harrison Ford, who played Robinson’s mentor, Branch Rickey, and my dad wanted to see it because he has an obsession with Hollywood biography movies with happy endings.
One thing my dad and I definitely did not love about the experience, though, was the group of 13, 14 and 15-year-olds whispering and giggling behind us through most of the film. They are the reason I almost dread seeing anything but R-rated movies in theatres anymore.
I simply do not understand why a group of teenagers would want to spend the $10 it takes to see a movie in theatres, and then waste the money (whether it was their own or their parents’) by not paying attention during the movie. If they wanted to go somewhere to goof off until their bed time at 10:30 p.m., why not go to the mall, arcade or Starbucks to bother people? At least in those places, talking at a louder level is more socially acceptable.
Besides obnoxious teenagers stage-whispering to their friends and kicking your seat, my other issue in movie theatres are the cell-phone checkers. Everyone knows that at least one image of movie theatre information before the previews is dedicated to asking people to turn off all their electronic devices before the movie starts. The theatre recognizes that a few people, if any, will actually turn their cell phones completely off, but they at least expect people to turn their phones on silent or vibrate. That’s just common courtesy.
But of course, you will still find the few people that feel the need to check their phones the second they feel the vibration in their pants. And they will light up their phone and shine that bright light right into your face, completely ruining the dramatic tension of the romantic moment for you and everyone else sitting in the vicinity. Just how important was that text message or email that they had to check it mere seconds after a notification going off?
My advice for the movie lovers like myself who go to see a movie in theatres because you want to see the actual movie and not be bothered by reality for a couple of hours, is to speak up when you see a potentially annoying group. If there is a group of 30 13-year-olds, yelling and running up and down the theatre stairs to meet more friends in the hallway, you already know that they will be a disturbance through most of the night. Tell an employee about the group, and they will be silenced or thrown out in no time.
If you are one of these rude and disruptive people, then please don’t go to the movies. Don’t waste your time and the entire audience’s with your loud whispering and obnoxious laughing. Spend your weekend nights somewhere else, I beg of you.
But just in case the teenagers cannot stay away, see R-rated movies from now on. At least the teenagers that sneak into those movies usually get caught within the first 10 minutes.
By May Pickett