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What's Your Worst Movie Theatre Experience?

By Rebecca Pahle | Miscellaneous | April 4, 2017 |


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It’s time for another discussion from your profanity-loving Overlords. This time around: Asshole movie theatre patrons, and how to deal with them.

Rebecca: I am irritated by people who see a movie and then demand their money back because the movie was bad. That is a risk you take, friends.
Kristy Is that a thing!?
TK: People do that shit all the time.
Kristy Damn. I worked at an art house theater in a small town and we didn’t deal with that.
TK: It’s one thing if something goes wrong and you demand a refund. Like, when I went to see Get Out and the theater was infested with mice.
Kristy Well. Life is Beautiful. A lot of people demanded a refund because it had subtitles.
TK: A lot of people are idiots.
Seth: If you don’t know something about a movie walking in, leave early for your money back. Didn’t know it had subtitles (maybe, but come on). Didn’t know A Serbian Film wasn’t about the Serbian hillsides—fine, maybe. But after a movie is over, just cause it’s bad? Get the fuck outta here, dickwad.
TK: Yeah, I’m fine if you leave early and ask for a refund.
Kristy I’ve only demanded a refund when the experience was ruined by unruly audience members. Like when the guy right next to me in a sold out showing of Looper played on his phone for the entire final act. Guest services suggested I should have called the theater right there to complain. “That’d show him!” No. That’d exacerbate the problem.
Seth: See, even then I wouldn’t and haven’t asked for money back, because I sadly also consider that a risk in going to the movies.
TK: I don’t think I’ve ever demanded a refund, but mainly because I don’t think I’ve ever been in a scenario that required it. The time with the mice, the manager frantically apologized, offered to comp my meal, and gave me four free passes and we still finished the movie.
Seth: Awww. Mice are cute. No refunds warranted.
Victoria: The only place I would get management involved with an unruly theater patron is the Alamo. Because there are rules there. Play on your phone all your want at AMC. That is the risk I take for going there.
Kristy: Fuck that. The opening ads of every theater say shut your phone off. It’s up to the theater to maintain standards. And if they don’t, they hear from me. But both AMC and Regal suck at this.
TK: I once was at the movies with two shitty teenagers who were making noise and running around. I threatened to break their arms. They stopped. All good. (Although I then followed them out to the parking lot until I saw their mom pick them up, and then told their mom that they had contributed to the worst theatergoing experience of my life.)
Seth: Yeah, TK, I’m not above yelling at people to shut up, turn their phones off, etc. And being aggressive about it.
Kristy: I don’t start arguments, because people are fucking nuts.
TK I usually don’t either, but that one snapped my patience. I will also admit this was a long time ago, when my temper was… problematic.
Kristy: Eh, you’re also a big guy. Being like “This is not cool” probably has much more effect coming from you than me.
TK: This is, unfortunately, true. I will semi-guiltily admit to occasionally using my size to my advantage.

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Hannah: I tell people off at the cinema all the time. Occupational hazard, I guess. But I’ve had years of practice at getting noisy teens to do as they are told, and there is an art to it…. Phrase it as a question or suggestion and use a smile the first time. If that doesn’t work, I deploy my teacher eyes and that normally sorts it out.
Rebecca: I’ve never asked for a refund when theatre patrons are unruly, but I will shush people. That’s about the extent of it.
Jodi: I’ve also been known to look at loud people and loudly say to whoever I’m with “I wish they would shut the hell up.”
Rebecca: You’re my hero, Clager.
Victoria: At the Alamo it’s great because you can just put up a little card that says “HEY FUCK THOSE PEOPLE OVER THERE” and the theater will do it for you. But I usually shush first.
Rebecca: I had a bad experience at an Alamo screening of Rogue One where the guy next to me was literally screaming every time some cool callback happened. I didn’t raise a card, because he wasn’t talking or using his phone, but I wish I had. Completely ruined the experience. He was yelling at the top of his lungs and clapping like a deranged seal.
Kristy: Which is annoying. But at least he’s engaged. But the guy who brought an infant who kept wailing throughout the movie (Prometheus), so he stood at his seat to rock it back to sleep: Fuck that guy.
Rebecca: Look, asshole, I’m a Star Wars fan, too. I’m excited when Darth Vader shows up. But there are other people in this goddamned theatre.
TK: My favorite disruption ever was during The Phantom Menace, when they got to the virgin birth moment and his mom said there was no father. Some dude just burst out laughing, yelled NOPE! and got up and walked out.

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Seth: Yeah, when someone is annoying but it’s because they laugh too much, get too excited, etc., I really try to swallow my annoyance because you don’t wanna hate on someone engaged with the flick in an earnest way.
Rebecca: I was once at a movie where someone shushed someone else for laughing. It was a comedy.
TK: People who bring babies or children to any show after 5PM should be arrested.
Seth: People who bring babies to any movie that isn’t a “bring babies to the movies” screening shouldn’t be allowed in.
Rebecca: There are some movies where it’s more acceptable to engage like that. When I saw The Raid 2 and xXx: Return of Xander Cage, the audiences were into it, and that added to the experience. (Not outright talking, more like “OH SHIT!!!!!!”-type noises whenever Donnie Yen did something cool.)
Kristpy: On the other hand, I saw Taxi Driver once, and the rando next to me cackled. Through the entire thing. That shit was disturbing.
TK: Get Out. The audience was into it. And that was cool.
Seth: Yeah, Get Out is one I tell people to see in theaters for the crowd experience.
Rebecca: Did you see that piece about the guy who saw Moonlight, and people laughed during the “what’s a f—-” scene?
Victoria: I am normally cool with people engaging with the movie, except for one notable exception. In Furious 7, the part where Dom is fake dying and he finally tells Letty they were married. And the people in front of me laughed. And then it gets worse.
Rebecca: W H A T. How dare they disrespect the Vin in this way.
Victoria: That scene ended and the Paul Walker tribute scene started, and they all GOT UP
TK: NO
Victoria: AND LEFT
Kristy: Wow
TK: Fuckers
Rebecca: There are like ten minutes left in the movie! Just stick it out!
Kristy: [Someone] sat next to me during Fast 6 and sighed heavily throughout. I wanted to toss his ass into a brick wall.
Rebecca: Do you remember in A Simple Man, how there was that coda before the movie proper starts that’s a brief depiction of an old folktale or something? The lady next to me leaned over and asked me what was going on. I DON’T KNOW, LADY, I’M WATCHING THE MOVIE THE SAME AS YOU ARE. And then her phone kept ringing during the movie, and she would actually answer it.
Seth: [My worst experience is] the time two guys literally got in a fight over spilled popcorn. Cursing and screaming at each other. While children looked on because it was fucking LEGO Batman.

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Hannah: I sat near a really odd couple during The Force Awakens who wanted to narrate the whole film to each other. I’m amazed they survived. They eventually responded to shushing.
Jodi: Jesse and I saw one movie and we were watching Deadpool the second time in one night. Some idiot kept yelling something during the credits while we were waiting for the stinger or whatever. So I stood up and told him to shut the fuck it before I came up there. He shut up.
Victoria: I went to see The Fellowship of the Ring with my mom, and when the movie ended there was a woman in front us loudly yelling “WHAT? THAT’S IT? THAT’S HOW IT ENDS.” And we walked away we could overhear her saying “THERE’S A BOOK?”
Rebecca: Does she not get that it’s a series?
Victoria: Nope! I definitely don’t understand the type of person who goes to see a fantasy movie opening weekend without knowing it’s an adaptation.
But i at least understand them better than the MONSTERS WHO LEAVE DURING PAUL WALKER’S GOODBYE SEQUENCE. I don’t even think they heard any of the song.

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