What is the worst thing YOU have ever done at the cinema?
Movie-goers all have one thing in common. We all go to the movies and moan about other movie-goers. But if all movie-goers moan about other movie-goers’ behaviour at the cinema, then who is actually annoying others during the film? Answer: it’s us. All of us.
The horror. The horror. We all have our horror stories from going to the movies. Somebody next to us checked his phone during the film… Somebody started snoring… Somebody gave a running commentary… Yes, for something we all really love, going to the cinema can be a pretty harrowing experience. As if paying one month’s wages to watch one single film (not to mention the 3D glasses supplement – thanks Jim Cameron) wasn’t bad enough, we then hurl ourselves into a darkened room – apart from those stupid ceiling lights cinemas insist on having these days, for ‘safety’ – with lots of people we don’t know, don’t want to be near and probably don’t really like. Especially when they have to ask: ‘Is that James Bond?’ during, uh, Casino Royale.
My usual idea of cinema heaven is this: me. Yes, I know that’s a bit miserable of me. But I enjoy being miserable. And I enjoy sitting in a big room with a big screen by myself. Unfortunately, I’m not sure this has ever happened. There’s always been at least one person spoiling it for me. It’s not that I particularly like myself, I just like watching films by myself.
I’ve tried to be better recently. I’ve tried to enjoy some of the verbal outbursts you get at the movies these days. When I went to see Pixar tearjerker Up, a little girl turned to her parent-in-tow ten minutes in and said: ‘This is sad, Daddy.’ She was right. She may have been six years old, but she was right. That’s still the best review of Up I’ve heard or read so far. I also don’t mind too much when people get genuinely excited by a movie and lose control of their emotions. Like the pesky – but crucially, funny – teenagers who ironically cheered every time Tom Cruise took out a henchman in the closing stages of Mission: Impossible 2. And like everybody, I also enjoy seeing a movie with a packed audience from time to time. Particularly when that movie is Blades Of Glory.
But at heart I am a moaner. I generally don’t want anyone to be in the cinema with me. And if they are I want them to behave exactly like me. But if they did, how would they behave? Would they faff frustratingly with their glasses case just as the film is about to get underway, as I do now that I have discovered that I can’t see things that are far away? (Thankfully, I got my specs just before I went to see Inglourious Basterds. Without them, those subtitles would have been as incomprehensible as the popularity of Vince Vaughn.) The noise of a glasses case box slamming shut is pretty annoying. Would they laugh out loud annoyingly as I often do when a film tickles my funny bone? Gratingly, I have a horrible fake laugh. More gratingly, I use this horrible fake laugh when I actually think something is genuinely funny.
One of my worst cinema-going crimes, however, came while watching Spider-Man in a packed screening room. One of the friends I was with found the film to be incredibly boring, as did I, and about an hour in decided it would be a cool thing to take a call on his mobile phone. Instead of punching him in the face and going all Duchovny on his ass, I just sat there and thought it was highly amusing. I mean, if you can’t tell your friend he’s being a dick, who can you tell? Although there was no telling anything to the friend’s friend who drank a bottle of whiskey, threw up and then fell asleep about half an hour into Forrest Gump. Strangely, I still enjoyed the film despite the smell of vomit filling my nostrils for the next two hours. Maybe it made it a better movie.
My point is that we whine about others spoiling our movie-going experience but maybe we should look at ourselves first. With that in mind, what is the worst thing you’ve ever done at the cinema? Come on, be honest…