Movie theater etiquette

Seeing a movie in theaters can be truly magical. We have all felt the excitement of seeing a much-anticipated film for the first time on the big screen. Movies are capable of transporting us to new frontiers and exposing us to new ideas. Such cinematic experiences are like mini-vacations from our ordinarily hectic lives.

Unless, of course, you are in a theater with those people. You know who I’m talking about – the loud talkers, the texters, the noisy eaters, the crying babies and even the occasional snorers. These inconsiderate audience members can quickly turn your cinematic adventure into a nightmare.

Every blockbuster action flick I saw this summer seemed to be interrupted by a screeching infant or blaring ringtone in the hands of a fellow audience member. Surely these people are aware that there are other human beings in the room, so why do they selfishly jeopardize everyone’s viewing experience? Whatever happened to common courtesy?

I don’t know about you, but if I pay a whopping $10 to see a film, I would much rather hear the actual dialogue than the personal commentary of the guy sitting in the row behind me. Unfortunately, talkative individuals do not always understand this concept.

Nor do the excessively noisy eaters – who always insist on rattling their cellophane food packaging in the quietest, most emotional moments of the film – comprehend that there are ways to be delicate and reserved in a public forum of entertainment.

The avenues of disruption in movie theaters have certainly multiplied since the advent of personal technologies such as cell phones and tablets. More and more movie-goers are prone to multitasking on these devices in the theaters rather than simply enjoying their film. The bright lights and alarming noises produced by electronics seriously detract from the audience’s viewing experience and inhibit total immersion into the film world.

Besides, have our attention spans really become so short that we are physically incapable of sitting through a two hour movie without checking our text messages or Facebook notifications? Come on, human race. We can do better than this.

The key to re-establishing some human respect in America’s movie theaters is to take the reform one step at a time. If you do not want to completely turn your phone off in the theater, at least silence your ringtone and reduce the brightness of your screen so you do not disturb others. Devise strategies to minimize the volume of your eating habits. If you must say something during the film, do so at a respectable decibel.

If we all take these small steps to enhance not only our neighbors’ but our own movie-going experience, we can return theaters to the hallowed halls of infinite possibility that they should be, rather than the uncomfortable circuses of human rudeness that they have become.