Let’s not fool ourselves. There’s a BIG difference between theater and theatre…
Primarily, it’s this: A theatre is where you watch people on a stage, performing a play, giving a concert, whatever. A theater is where you go to watch whatever schlock they’ve stuck Vince Vaughn in this week primarily because it’s air condition and — though you’d never admit it — the idea of eating popcorn for dinner holds a strange appeal for you.
In one scenario, there are people performing whose performance you might disrupt. In the other, there are clearly not. I recently read an article written by a theater manager on proper movie theater behavior, and while some of it makes sense (keep your phone on silent, never have children, don’t leave your wallet, etc.), the web cartoon The Oatmeal provided a somewhat less even-handed assessment of the major issue with moviegoing: Talking in the theater.
Now, I get it. There have been plenty occasions where I’ve been “that guy” at the movies. That guy laughing, that guy texting, that guy making snide comments like his entire life was an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
I understand not wanting people to talk on their phone. I don’t want to hear your phone call in any circumstance — and half that time, that includes when I’m actually on the other end of the line — so that makes sense. And children? I firmly believe a child should spend the first 19 years of their life reading Russian literature in a dark room somewhere, and that’s not going to allow much time for movies anyway, so I don’t ever see that being an issue.
But I’m sorry, the expectation that I’m going to pay $11 to see a regular, non-IMAX, non-3D, non-massage-inclusive movie, sit through half an hour of commercials and trailers and NOT feel like I have license to talk as much crap as I want to through the movie is just unrealistic.
How to get by
The difference is, there are ways to do it. Like my sweet mum once told me (actually it was way more than once, but I only listened one time), “There’s a time and a place for everything.”
If I’m going to see a movie and I know I’m just going for laughs, or as a goof or a way to kill some time and, again, have popcorn for dinner — this kind of terrible decisionmaking is the single best thing about being an adult, kids — I’ll schedule that accordingly. Why not go earlier in the day if you’re going on a weekend? Or go the week after opening on some weeknight?
Nobody goes to the movies on Tuesday. You can have the whole place to yourself and pretend like you’re in your own living room. Put your feet up, lean back. Sit way up front so if there is anyone there, they’ll be well behind you.
You don’t need to throw your garbage on the floor, or be a jerk to the stoner kids working the usher jobs, or start bitching about the prices, but if you want to let loose a little bit, chances are, if you just go at the right time, you can have your fun and not diminish anyone else’s experience.
Just don’t go when I’m there, ’cause I’ll get pissed.