Movie Manners

Often I feel like my life is one long struggle to be less annoying to others. So when someone annoys me, I tend to get righteous. Which is kind of meta annoying, and thus I make it worse. Sigh.

Last night at the movies the person behind me was talking. Not maliciously. Maybe not even consciously. Just saying what came into their head, like, “*gasp* he’s going to kill him!” during a suspenseful scene. But there are manners on both sides–for the talker and for the person bothered by the talking.

Here’s how I wish I would have handled it. Turned after the movie, part of a double feature, and said, “I was distracted by your talking, so I’m going to move. You may be distracting others.”

Not sure the last sentence is necessary.

4 Responses to “Movie Manners”

  1. Steph Says:

    I really feel that our cell phone culture has made people so much more inconsiderate at films. People seem to not care so much about the distinction between public and private spaces anymore, which is really frustrating at places like the movies. I agree that it’s important for the aggrieved individual to address the culprit in a polite way, but I’m always shocked to see how indignant some people get when asked to tone down the rude and disruptive behavior. I once had a concert experience ruined because of some loud drunks sitting behind me (and this was a relatively subdued concert - Feist, not Metallica), and I was so upset about it because despite repeatedly asking them to please save their talking for BETWEEN the songs rather than DURING them, they wouldn’t stop blathering on to each other. There I had paid $35 for a ticket rather than just $10, and their lack of consideration really stung.

  2. gretchen Says:

    I think your proposed course of action is too polite. The person was being annoying! You have a right to turn around in the midst of the movie and say, politely of course, “Could you please keep it down?” Or adopt my father’s declaration of, “Ladies (insert gentlemen, children, as needed . . . ), this is NOT YOUR LIVING ROOM!”

  3. girldetective Says:

    The problem with the encounter is that it makes the talker angry and defensive, especially since they’re very likely unaware of the effect they’re having on others. I didn’t handle it well, and I got a very nasty response. I’m wondering if it might have gone better had I handled my part in it better. Overall, though, I find it easier to sit in less populous spots, away from the maddening crowd.

  4. Steph Says:

    Getting a nasty response can certainly be hurtful, but in the end, the inconsiderate talker is the one in the wrong. I try to avoid sticky confrontations, but at the same time, there is a generally accepted protocol for watching movies at the theater and if someone is violating those terms and subsequently ruining my experience, then I think I’m entitled to do/say something about it. I feel like asking someone politely to please be quiet because they’re distracting you is totally appropriate. If they refuse or cause a fuss, I’d get someone who works at the theater involved and possibly ask for a refund/voucher for a free movie.