Over the last two years, I have watched a number of films at the cinema and it has become increasingly obvious to me that some people do not understand proper etiquette when watching a film in the cinema. The amalgamation of poor etiquette reached a culmination last night, inspiring this article. Poor cinema etiquette has become painfully obvious to me after witnessing the actions of a particularly selfish individual, so please allow me to enlighten you all on what I consider basic manners and consideration for others at the cinema.
I begin this discussion with the problematic use of a particularly potent aromatic food, nachos. To whoever decided to introduce the particularly crunchy, smelly and at times messy food into the cinema, you sir are a moron. The cinema, once upon a time consisted of a combination of soft drink or water with popcorn as the choice of food. Often when one reaches the end of the popcorn and more noise is created, if you feel the need, as I do, to reach the end of the supply of food then simply wait for louder moments in the film to do so. Do not, as some people do, wait for the particularly quiet moments where important narrative details are being discussed, to then generate so much noise it is both distracting and is somehow louder than the cinema speakers.
When a group of us went to see Captain America: Civil War, my friend had the unfortunate luck of sitting next to a particular individual. This man decided that instead of buying all his confectionaries before the start of the film he would do this during. I am not overly sure how he managed to convey his order to the, for lack of a better word, concession stand at the entrance of the screening room. A distinctly American thing to do, and why did he did not wait there to receive his food then proceed to his seat. When his food was ready it was brought to him, again during a moment of dialogue and obsurcing our view, he then accidently dropped the food which, if it had been less than an inch closer, would have landed on my friend’s leg. Ten minutes later and the entire ridiculous affair started again. Why is this an appropriate new measure for a cinema to have, it is one that distracts others from watching the film we have paid money to see. His constant coughing and sniffling was irritating, though a common cold is not something to be able to hide easily, it can be stifled through the wondrous application of tissues and water. Not through spicy foods which are known to have an effect on one’s nose and throat making them worse in regards to sound produced if one does not have a tissue.
The second foul and admittedly this is a new one for me at least. The man proceeded to eat his ice by crunching it in his mouth. This is not a comment on the cinema but on the individual, who showed a severe lack of common sense and courtesy for those surrounding him. It is an unusual habit and one I though was commonly understood not to be done. Let it be known, that my friend who sat next to this individual did ask him to stop crunching ice which was responded to in a vague non-committal way and then proceeded to continue his selfish actions.
Finally, my last two and most consistently found annoyances in cinemas are, talking and the use of phones. Based on the amount of money one pays to watch a film, it is something you have chosen to do. For you to then sit through the film and talk for any amount of time loud enough to be audible is incredibly rude. As a film student, with an absolute passion for comics and comic book films and who loves to discuss them, I could talk about them for days and days. If I am able to possess the self-control needed to resist the urge to talk for the duration of the film no matter how long it may be, I feel everyone else should be able to do the same.
Phones, the most common annoyance in a cinema to the extent they have employed an actor, normally one who is well-known, to read from a script with the lines to the effect of ‘turn off your phones’. Therefore, there is no protest you can make that justifies constantly looking at your phone which acts as beacon of light in dark room. When I saw the Minions film, a woman sat in front of me and to the right, she spent her time scrolling through Facebook instead of watching the film. You have paid money to look at facebook, a free service.
All I ask, which I do not feel is particularly difficult or a high demand is for consideration to others and to exercise a certain degree of common sense. People have paid money, or have waited a long time to see these films, they have not paid for you to potentially ruin the entire affair for them.
To those who feel the same as I, let there be something to be rejoiced, taking action does help. The friends I was with both spoke to members of staff after the film finished, the staff were very apologetic and issued us all with compensation. There is something to be said about small victories.