Before I begin, I want you to think about the following question: why do you go to the movies? Do you go because you’re bored and need something to do? Do you go because you’re a sucker for cliche romantic comedies, spending $20+ to receive the tiniest of hope that it’s possible for someone completely out of your league to fall in love with you? Or are you like me, who chooses to go to a movie to get away from reality for a couple of hours?
I’ve always loved the movie-going experience: the darkened theater, the serene surround sound, beautiful HD imagery, etc. All of those components help bring movies to life, which is exactly why I choose to go to the theater in the first place; it allows me to immerse myself into a different world for a couple of hours, escaping reality and all the stresses and anxieties that come along with it. And by escaping reality, I really mean getting away from the uses of social media, or anything that is technologically related. When I’m watching a movie, I refuse to check my phone. Period. However, just because I choose not to let my phone interrupt my movie-going experience, doesn’t mean other people will, too.
My latest experience at the movie theater was nothing short of horrendous. And no, I am not being overdramatic. When my mom and I decided to go see the new "Beauty and The Beast", I knew that, because it was a Disney movie featuring the amazingly-talented Emma Watson, the theater would be filled with kids. Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against kids, but under the “kid” category comes the occasional over-confident, obnoxious middle-school teeny-boppers. And right when I walked into the theater, it didn’t take long for me to find them. There they were, a group of six, sitting one row above me, throwing popcorn at each other and screaming answers from the questionnaire game being played on the screen. Oh boy. After settling in my seat, my mom and I turned off our cellular devices and silently waited for the movie to begin. The theater was approximately 25% full when all of a sudden another group of middle schoolers came piling in… Now, I seriously have nothing against middle schoolers, but when this group arrived, I just knew that they had no concept of movie etiquette. I kid you not when I say I did a short prayer asking God to give those girls strength to not be tempted to speak or look at their phones throughout the movie. Well, all I can say is, God must’ve been busy that day.
When the movie began, it was actually pretty quiet! For a theater that was 90% full, 60% being kids under the age 13, it wasn’t bad. It was tolerable. However, 10 minutes into the movie, all hope that I had about having a decent movie experience disappeared. Walking in 10 minutes into the movie, was a family of three: a mother, a father, and a toddler. I was admiring Emma Watson’s singing as Belle before it was interrupted by the sound of robotic beeps and boops; clearly unrelated to the movie. Walking up the steps was the toddler, holding an iPad, playing a game at full volume. Are you kidding me? I was flabbergasted. And what was even more frustrating was the fact that the parents thought it was okay for their child to disrupt everyone else’s experience. I tried my best to ignore the bright light and sound coming from the device, only to be interrupted again by the sound of someone yellingacross the theater “could you please turn your device off? Turn it off!” At this point the toddler had turned off the machine and everyone was engaged in the movie. Or so I thought…
I think it was a total of 40 minutes before the next disruption. Crack. Zip. Crackle. Crackle. Don’t you know that you’re suppose to open up wrappers before the show starts? Clearly the girl next to me didn’t know that, so for five minutes all I heard was shuffling of candy wrappers. And once that was done, all I heard was the smacking of lips and obnoxious chewing. Honestly if I didn't know any better, I'd say I was sitting next to a goat. Wait, Belle said what? Oh that’s right, I wouldn't know because I was too busy listening to a candy wrap (pun intended). About twenty minutes go by and my engagement in the movie is at an all-time high. I’m in awe of Belle’s dress as she dances to the famous "Beauty and The Beast" song. The music, the visuals, everything is perfect. And then… *squeaky voice* “song as old as rhyme,” wait what? The girl next to me started singing! I chuckled, rolling my eyes out of disbelief. Never have I ever wanted a song in a movie to end more quickly.
Surprisingly, the group of girls sitting above my mom and I were silent the entire time. The other group, however, not so much. The finale of the movie is arriving, and just when I think I’m going to get through it without another disruption, I start seeing flashes five rows below me in aisle two. Girls in that row started to take SnapChats! It took about three flashes before an individual a row behind them told the girls to turn their phones off. To the individual in isle three, you’re the real MVP and my hero. Finally, the movie ended. The End.
This isn’t the first time I’ve had a movie-experience like this. But it’s never been this bad. To be in that theater was more stressful than anything I was experiencing that day. That should never happen. A theater should be a place to get away from stresses, not add more. It is quite pathetic that technology has gotten in the way of activities like going to the movies. And the behavior of young adults in theaters is completely unacceptable; it is time to lead by example and teach proper movie etiquette. It is unfair to those who are acting properly to have a ruined experience because others don’t know how to behave. My latest movie adventures have been nothing but memories of disruption from the audience. It’s a shame. And unfortunately, because of those events, I have little desire to attend any more movies at theaters. To be quite honest, I’m better off waiting for them to come out On Demand, where I’m able to control the setting, the audience, and get the movie-experience I truly desire. It’s a cheaper alternative, too, and the popcorn is free! You can’t lose.