Sunday, February 20, 2011

The (crunch, crunch) King's (talk, talk) Speech

I think I'm officially jinxed when it comes to enjoying a movie at a public theater. We've been happily enjoying watching movies at home for well over a year now, thanks to NetFlix, one of the best inventions in my lifetime. We watch the films we want to watch, when we want to watch them, and can pause for bathroom or snack breaks whenever we want. Best of all, there are no other people around whose mission seems to be to ruin our movie-watching experience. This brings me to the point of my story.

Yesterday, we decided to go see The King's Speech, which is up for a slew of statues at next Sunday's Academy Awards. We went to an early afternoon matinee, and as we were walking across the parking lot to the theater, I said to Peter, "We'll be able to count the number of people in this theater on two hands, but I still bet someone will sit right behind me and crunch on popcorn."

Well I guess I should learn to shut my pie-hole, because that's exactly what happened! We started off fine: two seats on the aisle, about halfway down the left side of the auditorium. We watched a bunch of trailers, and the cursory clips about where the exits are and the gentle reminder to keep quiet during the film. We were about five minutes into the feature presentation when a couple entered the theater and, ignoring the tens of dozens of empty chairs scattered around the theater, plopped their asses directly behind us. 

After the expected "getting settled" noises, out came the trough of popcorn. "Shake, shake, shake," went the bag, as the man tried to coax the most delicious kernels to the top of the bag. "Rustle, rustle, rustle," went their greasy hands, digging again and again into the crinkly paper popcorn container. And then the munching and crunching began. "There's not enough butter on this," the woman said in a loud stage whisper. "Be right back," the man replied. A few minutes later, he was back and the feeding frenzy began anew.

After finally finishing their snack, the commentary began. I tried my best to focus on the dialogue up on the screen, not on the one behind me. After a few minutes of back and forth banter, Peter finally turned around and said with a smile, "I'm sorry, would you please be quiet?" The man immediately replied, "Excuse us...enjoy the movie."

(Peter confesses that what he wanted to say was, "Now that you've finished your popcorn, would you please be quiet?"

To their credit, the couple was silent for the rest of the movie. And as the lights came up at the end of the film, Peter turned back to the couple and said, "Thanks". The man laughed and said, "No problem, we're usually louder than that!"

Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident. When we saw "The Fighter" last month, there were folks seated all around us talking, texting, and eating. And then last year at the Mark Knopfler concert here in Boston, we finally confronted the man seated behind us who was loudly narrating the event to his son.

Some people may tell me that if I'm so bothered by other people's behavior in public, then I should just stay home. But aren't there some unwritten rules about how to behave when you're in the tight quarters of a movie theater, concert hall, or airplane? No loud talking, no eating loud or smelly foods, no kicking my chair - in short, treating others like you'd like to be treated.

As for me, there are a bunch of movies I'd love to go see: "The Social Network", "Blue Valentine," "True Grit", etc. But after yesterday's experience, I think I'll wait until they're available on NetFlix.

UPDATE: A man in Latvia was shot and killed over a movie theater dispute over popcorn. According to this report on The Huffington Post, a man accused another patron of chewing his popcorn too loudly during a screening of "Black Swan". When the lights came on at the end of the movie, the popcorn eater fatally shot the man who complained. I'm thinking more seriously about just staying home and watching movies from the comfort and safety of my couch.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...