Warren Foster
Warren Foster

A how-to on considerate cinema-going

Yesterday I went to see Invictus (good, not great, bring tissues) with my usually sufferable parents but was promptly reminded of why I have not seen been to the cinema with the pair of them since the disastrous Liar Liar (circa 97) incident — which saw an embarrassed younger brother and I seeking refuge in a corner several rows away.

Details aside, the Invictus experience didn’t go down too well at first but a few well-placed death stares saw us all seated happily by the end credits (at which point my mother felt it was safe to clap rather obnoxiously). Still, I thought, with the festive season in full swing and cinemas sure to be packed with visitors, some still using terms like “bioscope” and “talkies” and others just being plain rude — it would be prudent to go over some basic film etiquette.

Don’t obfuscate
I love a good game of “Where screen? Where screen? Where screen? There screen!” as much as the next kid but let’s keep it going during the trailers only. Once the thing we paid to see is under way, we want to see it. So please, be seated and stay that way until it’s over. If I have the foresight to pee beforehand and get my goodies in good time, you should have no problem.

Be settled
Once seated, keep your legs to yourself, don’t kick the seats or rest your feet up on the arm rest in front of you. It’s an arm rest, get it? ARM rest. Let it sink in.

Be still … and don’t fart.
Don’t bring noisy food packets into the cinema. Technically you’re not allowed to bring any outside food in anyway and purchasing the criminally overpriced popcorn and Whispers is considered “part of the experience”. If you must, open the chips, etc before the film starts. Also, and this should go with saying but experience tells us otherwise, please don’t fart or burp. And, please for the love of all that is good on this planet turn the volume on your cell off (or better yet, turn the phone off entirely). If you must use it, turn the backlight off or duck your head and arms into your sweater and type to your heart’s content — you’ll look ridiculous but at least you’ll be liked for it. Don’t even think of answering that call.

Keep comments sparse and don’t talk
And on that note, some commentary is encouraged but this is not the place for you and your buddy to catch up. Also, thou shall not prophesize. If you see what’s coming next, chances are we all did, you are not as smart as you think you are. You are twice a moron if you’re the guy who stated during Invictus “Now watch, the plane will go off course and fly over the stadium.” The film is a biopic, you didn’t see it coming — you saw it happen, 14 years ago.

No groping
Couples please, hold hands and go no further, it’s not that dark. If you make out in front of me I’m going to ask if I can join in since, you know, you’re sharing with everyone.

Know what you’re in for
To avoid disappointment, read up the synopsis before purchasing tickets. Not every Sandra Bullock film is a romcom and not every computer animated film is meant for children. Your brat is going to hate Avatar. Know what will be a holiday treat for them and take them to see that. I’ll do my part and dutifully avoid those.

OK, I think that corners it from me. Feel free to add more film peeves. Really it’s about common courtesy people, the cinema is a shared public space and a shared experience we can all enjoy while giving due consideration. Happy Holidays and see you at the movies!