Vickroy: Blockbuster year means more blockheads at the movies
BY DONNA VICKROY firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @dvickroy January 2, 2013 2:38PM
Moviegoers can be an inconsiderate bunch. | File photo
Updated: February 5, 2013 6:09AM
“Les Miserables.” “The Hobbit.” “Skyfall.”
“Life of Pi.” “Lincoln.” “Django Unchained.”
Yes, indeed, times are good for the movies. Last year was a blockbuster year at the box office, with ticket sales reaching a record $10.8 billion in 2012. For the first time in three years, there was an increase in the number of tickets sold.
We have good movies to thank for that. It is refreshing to peruse the listings and struggle to make a choice.
But there’s a downside to all this action at the theater.
It’s called moviegoers.
Lots of them.
Granted, many are kind and courteous. Many get there on time, keep their feet on the floor and, but for an occasional gasp, sigh or scream directed at the big screen, keep their sentiments to themselves.
Unfortunately, a good number of ticket buyers did not get the memo on cinema etiquette.
You know of whom I write. Perhaps you are one of them, hustling in at the last minute, expecting to find four empty seats — one for you, one for your mate, one for each of your coats — smack in the middle of the center row. Maybe you’re the kind who likes to kick back and rest your soles on the chair in front of you.
Maybe you’ve brought the whole group, including the toddler, to a Quentin Tarantino flick. What’s a few bombs and bullets on the big screen in a world torn asunder with violence? Besides, that little rascal eventually will stop crying and fall asleep in the aisle, right?
Of course, we don’t want to start the new year on a completely sour note — nobody likes a critic. So we’ll make like good parents, good bosses and good friends and start with some positives about going to the movies these days. And then we’ll delve into the serious gripes.
Some good things
1. Being able to buy tickets in advance is smart use of technology. Goodbye, long, winding lines out into the parking lot on cold winter nights. No more driving to the theater, parking and then finding out the flick’s sold out.
2. We love the pre-movie trivia questions. They keep us engaged, keep us off our phones and keep us from polishing off the gallon bucket of popcorn before the show starts.
3. Having the option to sip a glass of wine instead of guzzling a gallon of soda is progress, in our book. We also applaud big, comfy reclining chairs, especially these days when so many movies are nearly three hours long.
4. Thanks to technology, you can now ask at the ticket counter how many seats are left in a given theater before you make a purchase. Plan your seat attack accordingly.
5. Replacing the projector with digital is a win-win. No more awkward pauses and no more watching for the reel-changing symbol in the corner of the screen.
Now for the rants
1. People who bring small children to R-rated flicks or to any night flicks for that matter. News flash: By 8 p.m., small children should be in bed or at least driving a teenage baby sitter crazy.
2. Cell phone lights blazing across the darkened theater. Yes, we know you’re important; we know your friends eagerly are awaiting your texted review. There’s only one thing worse than a person who refuses to turn off his or her phone, and that’s the person who hasn’t figured out yet how to turn off the ringer and set it to vibrate.
3. Too many previews and commercials. The movie time is 2, but the real movie time is more like 2:20 or 2:30. There are so many pre-show shows that if you are a conscientious moviegoer who gets there early, you have to refill your popcorn bucket or use the bathroom or head home to let the dog out before the actual flick begins. When you consider how long many movies are today, the lengthy preview time often means you’re spending half a work day sitting in a dark theater.
4. People who come late and expect to get prime real estate. They stand in the aisles, peering into the darkness, sizing up the crowd, asking questions like “Is anyone sitting here?” and wondering whom they can make move to accommodate their specialness.
5. Slovenliness. It’s a movie, not a frat party. Take your trash with you. We can only imagine what your family room looks like.
6. The way the relative silence between the previews and the feature film gives way to the deafening “WHHOOOOOMMMM!” when the “Dolby Digital Surround Sound” logo pops on the screen. Stop scaring us already.
7. When gallon-size drinks cost less than a normal serving, compelling us to take advantage of the deal while forcing us to interrupt the experience with multiple trips to the washroom, thus turning us into the very inconsiderate slugs we’re writing about.
8. The word “topping.” Hey, we’re taking out a loan to have a special date night. Can we at least get real butter on our popcorn?
9. Previews that are of a totally different genre than the movie you’re seeing. Who wants to head out in anticipation of a comedy or romance only to have it preceded by trailers for teenage slasher flicks?
10. Noisemakers. The quoters (people who’ve already seen the movie and feel the need to repeat dialogue aloud as it’s happening), the chatterboxes (the folks who like to argue with characters or warn the audience that something bad is about to happen) and the snorers (people who should be going to bed, not the movies).
11. Restless legs syndrome. We get that it can be challenging to sit for three-plus hours. The back of my seat is not the place to take out your aggravation.
12. Lastly, but not leastly, the snugglers. If you must get amorous, don’t get movie tickets, get a room.