The Ten Worst Behaviors Of Modern Moviegoers

10. Making Stupid 3D Jokes

3D films. Sigh.

I don’t like them. You probably don’t like them. We would all be much happier to just pay five dollars less and see the film projected flat and at its proper brightness. But the fact of the matter is that 3D is here, and for the time being, it’s here to stay.

So can we please stop acting like it’s some revelatory novelty every single time a 3D movie begins?

Let me put it this way: You know how before 3D movies a graphic usually appears telling you to put on your 3D glasses, and once you do so, the picture of the 3D glasses pops out at you? And you know how half the people in the theatre will inevitably say “Oooooh…” in their most sarcastic voices? And all the children will reach out and try to touch the fake, pop-out image of 3D glasses? And some college kid jackass in the row behind you will say “Oh my gawd, it’s totally like, coming right at me!!!” And then, when a 3D movie preview begins and the MPAA approval message will raise itself off the green background, everybody makes the exact same jokes?

Yeah. Stop that. For the love of God, please stop making lame, recycled jokes about 3D and pretending you are clever. You are not. You are stupid.

This is far from the most pressing issue modern moviegoers present, but it is oddly one of the most ubiquitous and obnoxious ones, making me dread 3D screenings even more than I already do.

9. Complaining about free movie screenings

This is not a problem many will identify with, as it comes from the many press screenings I attend to write film reviews, but it’s still one that vexes me to no end. As many of you may know, most movies are screened publicly a few days, or even a week or two, before their commercial release, both so critics can see the film early to write their reviews, and so audiences can disseminate hopefully positive word-of-mouth. These screenings are free – tickets are usually given away online these days – meaning you get to see a new movie early and without paying a dime. For 3D or IMAX films, that could mean a full twenty-dollar value.

So why on earth do so many people complain when attending one of these screenings? I’m serious. It happens all the time. The most prevalent problem is people moaning about bad seats, or being at the end of the line. When I used to attend these screenings without press credentials, there would always be a group of teenagers or grumpy old people moaning about how ‘they handed out too many tickets.’ It’s true. Studios do hand out more tickets than theatres can hold to ensure max capacity. How do I know this? It says so on every single ticket, along with a friendly reminder to arrive thirty minutes to an hour early to ensure good seats. To my mind, you have no right to complain about something when you were previously warned, in writing. At that point, it’s your own damn fault.

Viewers have an odd sense of entitlement across the board at free screenings. No matter how many press screenings I attend, I will always get five or six dirty looks from people who hate the idea of reserved seats (a small number are taped off for the press), and sometimes, viewers simply take taped-off seats without asking, causing more work for studio representatives and theatre employees. Often, you see people refusing to surrender or turn off their cell phones, and chewing out hired security for simply doing their jobs. And invariably, people refuse to quiet down when someone walks to the front of the theatre to deliver a message about keeping phones off during the screening.

Here’s a personal favorite of mine: At this week’s press screening of Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, the film began four or five minutes late, which is a common occurrence when so many people are being funneled into the theatre. It was apparently a big issue for some audience members, who began clapping rhythmically to get the film started. Talk about disrespect.

I could totally understand being vexed by late start times, seizure of cell phones, or overbooked theatres at a normal screening where one pays for a ticket. But when the movie is being shown not only for free, but early, viewers need to cut those in charge a little slack. Be grateful. Be respectful. It isn’t difficult.

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