I have had a lifelong love affair with the movie theater. Nothing compares to the smell of the popcorn, the excitement of the previews or the anticipation of going on a two-hour adventure without leaving your seat. Over the years, going to the movies has been my family’s escape from rainy summer afternoons and cold winter nights. It is the cure-all for any kind of cabin fever!
Except most of the time it is not.
Most of the time, I walk into the movie house in disbelief that I just spent $40 on 3 movie tickets. If I’m still in denial, the concession stand will drive the point home. Another $40 later, convincing myself that you can’t put a price on togetherness, we enter the theater ready to begin our family adventure – and that’s when it happens.
We meet the first of the one dozen assholes who ruin every movie.
1. The “I’m reserving this entire row” lady. Oh, you mean we can’t sit here? Or here? Or there? They’re on their way, you say? So my kids and I should sit in the front row while your 14 friends walk in 15 minutes into the movie and get a prime spot? Excuse me, (in my best Bon Qui Qui voice) Sacurrity!
2. The “I’m here alone, so I’ll just sit right next to this mom and her two young kids” guy. The entire row is empty and you take the seat directly next to my kid!? You, sir, are a creeper. Don’t be offended when we immediately stand up, find new seats across the theater, pull up the sex offender registry and compare your face to the pervs on the screen. You know, just to be safe.
3. The “waits for the movie to start then digs through her purse to find (and start eating) a homemade tuna fish sandwich” lady. She always sits two seats away from me.
4. The “brought my own loud, crackling, individually-wrapped hard candies to eat throughout the entire movie” guy. He’s usually there with the Tuna Fish Lady.
5. The “Persephone” mom. Has a kid with a 15-syllable name and whisper-yells it over and over again while the kid runs amok. “Persephone, stop running!” “Persephone, come here!” “Persephone, do you need to potty?” “Persephone MaryEllen Von Sclittensteiner, get back in your seat!” Lady, Persephone is clearly not ready to go to the movies!
P.S. Now Creeper Guy knows her full name.
6. The “outside voice” family. I’m not sure if they’re hard of hearing or just oblivious to basic movie theater etiquette, but these guys walk into the theater loud-talking and only revert to their “inside voice” once the movie starts.
7. The “violently rock my chair back and forth for the entire movie” kid. He sits in front of me at every showing.
8. The “kick the seat in front of me for the entire movie” kid. He sits behind me at every showing.
9. The “let’s make out in the back row of an 11 a.m. G-rated movie like we did when we were teenagers in 1991” couple. Gross. Go sit with Creeper Guy.
10. The “summer camp field trip to the movies” group. Did I really just spend $80 to be surrounded by 35 raucous 11-year-old boys chaperoned by two college freshmen?
11. The “catch a snooze” guy. He falls asleep the moment the lights dim and provides his own soundtrack of light snoring for the entire film.
12. The “walking up and down the stairs looking into the crowd” theater employee. Is he searching for bootleggers? Is he counting the number of empty seats? Is he going to wake up Snoring Guy? Arrest Creeper Guy? Share a sandwich with the Tuna Fish Lady? Why is he looking at me? What is your job, man?! I no longer have any idea of what’s going on in the movie because I’ve been watching you for the last 10 minutes.
As the credits roll and the lights come up, I collect my half-eaten cauldron of popcorn and my remaining 75 ounces of warm, watered-down soda. I follow the herd to the lobby and try to keep myself from calculating how many Redbox movies (53) or months of Netflix (10) I could have paid for with the money I spent surrounded by assholes. Only for you, Chris Pratt. Only for you.