4. Entering the theatre after the film starts
I am surprised at how much this continues to happen, given just how many trailers and commercials theatre chains show before movies. Yet even with that fifteen to twenty minute buffer, some people still arrive shockingly late, and for reasons I will never understand, theatres still sell these people tickets and allow them to enter while other customers are trying to watch their movie in peace.
It would not be so much of a problem if latecomers knew how to enter a theatre and find their seat quietly. But when people fail to arrive on time, they inevitably enter making the biggest racket imaginable, chatting and laughing with their friends, stumbling around the theatre using cell phones as flashlights, and proceeding to loudly speculate about what they missed for the next five to ten minutes. For the viewers who cared enough to arrive on time, it disrupts the atmosphere and experience, especially considering that the first few minutes of a film are often integral to understanding the characters or narrative.
The level of stupidity behind this problem is staggering. First, I do not understand why theatres continue selling tickets after the advertised start time. It is an unfair, unethical practice to other paying customers, especially in an era when the next showtime is typically right around the corner. Second, I cannot fathom the level of disrespect one must have for their fellow human beings to arrive late – making, in essence, a personal mistake – and torment everyone else by making a racket. It’s rude, inconsiderate, and asinine on every possible level.
But you know what annoys me even more?
3. Leaving the theatre a few minutes before the film ends
I have no idea if this is a common problem for filmgoers, but it has happened a ton to me lately, and I find it unbelievably aggravating. Oftentimes, when I watch a film with an audience, people shall stand up and begin leaving, loudly and en masse, when they think the movie is on the verge of ending.
In Looper, for instance, people started fleeing to the aisles as soon as Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character makes his final decision; in Frankenweenie, viewers stood up and started crawling over each other once it seemed the main conflict had been resolved. In both cases, there were another five or so minutes left, to provide literal and emotional closure. Most films – nay, most stories – do this. There is more to fiction than simple conflict resolution, and if you are not willing to stay for the entire story, then you should not come to the theatre in the first place.
It is simply rude to those who actually want to see how the film ends, because moving bodies can obstruct the screen, and the noise people make when exiting is highly distracting. It was extremely difficult for me to concentrate on the final minutes of Looper when a couple sitting to my right decided to crawl over me while the film continued rolling. Their disregard for other viewers left a really bad taste in my mouth, even though I had just seen an excellent film; when such rudeness occurs at the end of a movie, it’s much harder to ignore than at the beginning, because it colors how one remembers the rest of the night.
What on earth compels people to do this? Do they really need to get out to their cars that bad? Do they think a three-minute head start on traffic will somehow solve all their worldly problems? Did they hate the film and decide to vent their frustration by ruining it for everyone? No matter the answer, they are all prats, and I hope to God every single person who does such a thing trips and falls down the stairs on the way out.
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