I love going to the cinema. Love it.
I love the big screen, the Dolby sound system and the impact of totally immersing myself in the story. In the art of cinema, I can allow myself to believe anything. Kids can fly? Sure! People can be shot at solidly for 2 hours and survive unscathed? Why not! Animals can talk? Absolutely! People fall in love in a single glance? Well OK OK, I may be pushing it a little I know, but why the hell not? Movie magic is what it's all about.
I like to arrive early, get myself comfortable, turn off my mobile phone and sit for a while... still in expectation. I am captivated from the moment the lights dim. I watch intently through the previews, mentally noting what might be good for future viewing. And as the feature begins, I am quiet, and still in anticipation of uninterrupted entertainment.
Whilst I find joy in this, I am sorry to say the pleasures of big screen viewing are fading fast. Of course I am not at the cinema alone. There are others too, and I am afraid to say that not all of them share my dedication, and herein lies the problem. After a particularly annoying viewing last week, I wondered, not for the first time, why I choose to watch a movie in the company of complete strangers. Yes, the movie was fine, it was my fellow movie goers that disturbed my enjoyment.
Behind me sat the bag rustlers. They arrived as the light faded into the previews and then rustled into their supermarket bags, scrambling to find sweets and crisps to crunch on throughout the first half of the movie. To the right I had two people who insisted on talking throughout the previews and in all quiet moments during the movie. And to the left I had the greedy arm rest guy who elbowed his way into my space and then sat jiggling his left foot on his right knee so it bumped up against me.
The mobile phones were on silent. Though I may well ask why, given they chose to answer regardless and discuss the days adventures as they walked up the aisle, only to discuss the movie they were watching (missing) as they stood INSIDE the cinema doors and THEN concluded their conversation as they returned to their seats. The resulting shushes were ignored not once, but on three similar occasions.
As for the patrons who are weak of bladder, is it not possible to request a seat on the aisle for ease of exit? And do you think you could warn your friend BEFORE the movie that you may have to leave during the movie, INSTEAD of telling them at full volumed whisper before your hasty scramble for the exit mid-movie.
Aye aye aye. Is there not some sort of cinema etiquette written that can be signed and sealed at the time of ticket purchase? Seriously! It could go something like this...
I (insert attendees name here) do solemnly swear to abide by the following cinema etiquette:
I will arrive on time and take my seat prior to the dimming of lights.
I will empty my bladder prior to entering the cinema and agree to desist from drinking copious amounts of coca cola resulting in numerous visits to the bathroom...
I agree to turn off my mobile phone and not to answer it until the final credits have rolled.
I promise to reduce all rustling of bags to a minimum, making noises only during high volume levels in the show.
I will not talk, fart, slurp my drink, burp or sing along with the soundtrack.
If laughing is required I agree that it need not be accompanied by snorting, slapping of thighs or nudging of the stranger beside me.
I will not kick the seat in front of me. Nor will I remove my shoes and rest my feet on their armrests.
If I happen to fall asleep, I will not snore or rest my head on the shoulder of the stranger beside me.
I will not ask fellow patrons to explain the plot mid movie.
If I have seen the movie previously, I will not nudge the person beside me and tell them the next bit is "really funny", "really scary" or "really really sad".
In short... I will endeavour to enjoy the movie, without distraction and make sure that I do not interrupt the viewing pleasure of any other patrons, allowing them to do the same.
When the movie is over, I will not leave any residue of my choc-ice on the arm rest or chewing gum planted on the seats.
And finally, as I walk past people waiting to enter for the next showing, I will not exclaim loudly, "Oh I can't believe he died, I didn't see that coming! That was soooo sad."
Signed, (insert attendees name here)