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.

Sorry dude, do you mind shutting the hell up? You're really ruining A Single Man for me

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…

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34 Responses to “What is the worst thing YOU have ever done at the cinema?”

  1. The worst thing I have done in a cinema is work for Hoyts for a week.

  2. My worst cinema-going experience was watching the “Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada” in my local, quiet independent cinema… There were only three other people in the screen, but two of them were under 7 years old and they brought a picnic. Rustle rustle, click, pop, snap, rustle – I almost bitchslapped the entire family.

    Usually quite a well-behaved cinema goer but if you haven’t copped a feel of your love one during a Harry Potter movie (she really fancied Ron Weasley for some reason) I can safely say you haven’t lived! :-p

  3. Also, one of my good friends is a manager at a Cineworld and has to kick people out of the building for having full-blown fornication in a sparsely populated screening on a fairly regular basis. I guess that’s just Scotland for you, subject us simple people to fancy moving pictures and all hell breaks loose.

  4. Paragraph.. that is the funniest – and grimmest – thing Ive ever heard.
    I too have behaved badly in a theatre..
    When I was about 11 or 12 a bunch of friends went to see My Girl. After about an hour of the movie I asked the girl next to me if she would like to go out with me sometime. She said no. I didn’t enjoy the rest of My Girl.
    Not sure if McCauley Culkin had died at that point or not

  5. I must admit to being a prick as a youngster. I tossed half a can of coke -the entire can; over at the kid 2 (steep) rows down. I have had to deal with every type of deplorable behaviour in a cinema; as I have worked in them for 11 years (both in Melbourne & London) -and there are some unbelievable tales, I can tell you. Death. Cumstains. Hauntings. Upside-down film. Dogs. Chavs. Rudeboys. HIV-AIDS victims eating popcorn with the nacho cheese (LARD/PLASTIC) the list goes on… arrrggh!!

  6. I saw 17 Again with a huge group of my friends, and the beginning credits came on and they all just wouldn’t shut up and stop laughing. So me and my other friend moved up with a bunch of girls while the other guys in the back just kept making noises and throwing skittles at others. 15 minutes later, they get kicked out while were up there just sitting down and being good. Hhaha but I wanted to beat the crap out of my firends cause of how loud and annoying they were.

  7. Where I grew up (Sligo), the cinema was jut about the only underage evening activity in town… so you can imagine.

    All joking aside, it led to a great atmosphere at terrible films where the crowd would get all pantomine – “oooh!”, “ahhh!”, “he’s behind you!”. I can only imagine how irritating it was if you were the one person in the room really into Gothika.

  8. I can’t remember ever doing anything particularly offensive at the cinema, but I did have the cinema to myself – sort of – once. It was the weirdest double feature (See Spot Run, then Harry Potter 1). I didn’t really care to see the former. My mother was the only one in the cinema and she watched the first one and fell asleep half way through Harry Potter. I’m still offended by that.

  9. I threw my own diarrhea at someone during Fahrenheit 9/11. It was quite funny.

  10. I actually didn’t go to the cinema often as a kid (I have been making up for it ever since). I remember going once I would have been about 13 or 14. We were sat towards the back; several rows in front of us there was a group of younger kids from our school were throwing marshmallows at us thinking we couldn’t see who was throwing them. One of the kids I was with was a smoker, he got out his lighter and started setting fire to them marshmallows and throwing them back. One of the staff came in and found these kids at the front with all the burnt sweets around them and threw them out.

  11. Here’s my list (get it?):
    1. Farted during Transformers on opening night… I had to and I was in the middle of the row. Seemed it was less rude then getting up and stepping over people to get outside and do it. Plus, I wanted to see the Cloverfield trailer. Place was packed and the smell was faint but when my wife looked at me, I pointed at the large man in front of us.
    2. Have had certain “needs” fulfilled by young ladies in theaters over the years. However, those were empty theaters. Except the one time when the only other couple in the theater stopped watching “Hollow Man” and started watching us… I gave ’em a thumbs up… they didn’t seem to mind.
    3. When I was 19, me and a friend were sitting 10 rows from the back. He was spitting tobacco into a cup. When he was done, he chucked it over his shoulder and it exploded against the back wall spraying everyone underneath it. That was pretty lame!

  12. when i was ten or so i went to see the lion king with a friend. half way through, he got off his seat, knelt down, and took a wee in the gap between the floor and the seat in front.

    strangely, i don’t remember ever asking him why he did that.

  13. Aiden R: WTF?!
    I was expecting a ‘it ended up on the screen/Michael Moore sux’ follow up, but it didn’t come….?
    I’ve always been quite well behaved in the cinema, but I do remember getting caught up in a chant of ‘It’s a mask!’ everytime someone came on screen during Mission Impossible II. And we were right a lot of the time.

  14. I got a new post up that needs a comment from the Rosses and Aiden… drop by if you guys get a chance!

  15. The worst thing I ever did in a cinema was shout out loud “this movie sucks d***” but the funny thing was someone else shouted back “I Know”

  16. My worst experience at the movies was when I went to saw nothing less than The Dark Knight. I had 4 teens idiots just talking and cuddling the entire time, playing with their phones. The whole shebang…

  17. I threw someone’s phone at the wall breaking it, but to be fair they wouldn’t shut the hell up.

  18. Ha, great topic.

    I threw up after eating two boxes of maltesers when i was a little one

    In New York, the whole cinema descended into argument after someone brought a baby into watch Elizabeth, starring Cate Blanchett. Lots of people disagreed with the parenting decision. Got a bit scary.

    Despite other people annoying me in life constantly, the most infuriated I have been in the flicks was during Downfall. Just as Hitler died the couple in front of me got up to leave and started discussing their train connections home. Wanted to put them in a bunker.

    I have never heard or seen anyone having sex. I go to the wrong cinemas.

  19. I haven’t done anything particularly deplorable aside from getting up and yelling at people that brought about 7 kids under 8 years old to see Gladiator. Granted it was a matinee during the week and barely anyone else was in the theatre, but they were interrupting UNLEASH Hell because they were all running around and talking. If they were watching I would have said nothing. I told their “parents” that not only should they pay for my ticket, but my next seven movies as well because they were so inconsiderate and rude. Turns out they barely spoke English. It was at that moment I figured they’d at least understand curse words and pointing at their kids. I was right and they at least tried to keep them quiet for the rest of the movie.

    Otherwise I’m very fond of telling people to shut up or get out if they talk during a movie.

  20. Haha, sounds like they obeyed the order to unleash hell

  21. That is a great post!

    I have to admit that I dont often talk during a film, unless I have to know if that actor was in a certain thing haha or it will put me off for the entire film. But I guess the worst I do is when with friends, we talk during the adverts and attempt to guess which trailers will be on. I can imagine people around us thinking that we will talk all the way through the film or something.

    I like going to the cinema alone at the early screenings but have not been able to do that recently. I have been in a screening with about 5 other people all also alone, so thats pretty close to a private screening. Although the best had to be when I took my young cousin to see cars and it was just the two of us in watching it.

  22. @ Heather: I’m always terrified to confront people, even if they make noise and getting the cinema staff just seems mostly ineffective. But then I’ve always been relatively lucky with my cinema trip.

  23. Caz.. you and your cousin for Cars sounds great
    Heather.. I actually went to see Gladiator in a packed house in probably one of the biggest cinemas I’ve ever been to – the Savoy in Dublin – and it was brilliant, one of the great cinema experiences ive had, up there with Jurassic Park and Speed, proving that i can enjoy being in a full theatre.

  24. The biggest crime against human decency I have ever done in a cinema – and it’s a BIG one, please go easy on me – is in not standing up and walking out of Attack of the Clones.

  25. …I should add…I still have regrets about that day and some times wish it had never happened.

  26. Watching Transformers 2 and not killing myself.

  27. Not putting the whole audience out of its misery, you mean. Although they would have missed Devastator at the end, the only reason to watch the film.

  28. mcarteratthemovies Says:

    Kai, I’ll never, ever look at you the same way again!

    I’m like Heather in that I try to keep myself contained at the theater because I HATE IT when people talk on their phones/text on their phones/chit-chat/ask 1,896 questions. The only time I “act out” is when I’m in the theater alone.

    However, the WEIRDEST thing that ever happened to me: The usher who took my ticket apparently followed me into the theater, waited until the movie had started and proceeded to hit on me and be super-extra-creepy about it.

  29. All that stuff up there and you single me out, M.? I’m so ashamed of myself! 🙂

  30. Yeah Ross the Cars screening was pretty cool. She still talks about it now and thinks it was brilliant!

  31. oh ho ho – you naughty people… I once had a massive go at a bunch of youngsters who just would not shut up during Miami Vice… unfortunately it was to the point were I suddenly realised that I was the bad guy.

    As for natural reactions my mum recently told me that during the Samuel L Jackson moment in Deep Blue Sea my dad’s reaction (in a packed cinema) was to jump to his feet and shout ‘fucking hell’.

    I have been alone for at least two films – one was I Robot and the other was Shutter Island – attending matinees is indeed the upside of starting work at ungodly’o’clock

  32. movienewsfirst Says:

    Have been pretty well-behaved at the cinema, to be fair. But, my worst cinema experience was when some kids started throwing drinks at the other viewers. This in turn drove a couple of older kids crazy, which started a mini-riot in the cinema. One of the last things I saw, before I left was one kid being dragged by another 12 year old child to another aisle. The security guys came but couldn’t get the situation under control. They had to stop the whole film and evacuate everyone! Classic…

  33. I once brought a prostitute to The Pink Panther. We sat in the back row doing everything and anything and almost got caught by an usher. Time was up after an hour and we left. I never did see the end.

  34. i tipped a tub of chinese stir fry under the seat and a chocolate icecream on the chair for it to melt because the movie was crap and i asked for a damn banana icecream

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