Time is money. You get out of things what you put into them, so when you put more time into a job, and all goes well, you get more money out of it. If you put more money into an activity, generally you get to enjoy that activity for longer. And when you pay for a ticket at a movie theatre, you’re paying for time spent sitting in the dark, letting artificial light and sound wash over you as you chow down on Twizzlers and popcorn. When you pay for a movie ticket, the price of which seems to just keep getting higher, what you’re really paying for is the experience. And since you’re sometimes dropping upwards of $10 for that experience, you usually want people to be cool during it.
The other day, I went to watch “A Star is Born” out on Pulsar Drive, only to find out that the showtimes were wrong and they were closed. I hopped back into my car to drive over to Tinseltown, only to discover that, thanks to unreliable movie listings, I was a half-hour late to the movie – not a great start.
So, out of breath and irritated, I ducked in during a quiet, tender scene (unless you’ve got a heart of stone or no heart at all, you’d probably at least crack a smile), and got into my seat as quietly as I could so as not to disturb the 20-odd other people in the theatre. We all sat in silence as the scene unfolded. It was really nice, sitting back on those reclining armchair-style seats, just letting the film play.
All things considered, this objectively sounds like a decent, maybe even great experience — great movie, quiet theatre, snacks, comfy chair? That’s a recipe for a good time right there. If that were all, though, I guarantee I wouldn’t be writing this article right now.
Unfortunately, something else was there: in the row in front of me sat three people, roughly my age, who, during this tender scene wherein the protagonists start to gently fall in love (no spoilers, promise), busted out laughing, shoving each other and making each other laugh harder and harder. Mind you, the movie has a lot of funny moments, some worthy of chuckling out loud, but this was not one of them. There was no reason for them to be laughing the way they were, and considering the other people in the theatre, that laughter was definitely inappropriate. I might not have acted on my feelings if I had been on time, or if I hadn’t gone to another theatre entirely beforehand, but I was still feeling irritated by my own mistakes, and I wanted to deal with the problem.
When the group’s laughter came to a lull, I leaned over to them and loudly whispered, “Hey, guys, there are other people in this theatre with you,” and sat back in my seat. They quieted down. I calmed down too, and left the theatre in a very good mood, all things considered. Just in front of me, though, were the three members of the peanut gallery from earlier. I only heard snippets, but I recall them saying: “Yeah, up until the last 20 minutes or whatever, that movie was so stupid” and, when one commiserated, that second person added, “Yeah, and if that square behind us hadn’t shushed us …” and all I could think was, “Really?”
If you think that the entirety of a movie except for a few minutes is stupid, why stay? If you hate it so much, there’s a reason besides emergencies that they indicate the exits at the beginning of every showing. You’re more than welcome to walk out. But if you’re going to stay, please, acknowledge the fact that you and every single other person in that theatre has spent money on this movie. We all put our hard-earned cash toward sitting back and enjoying a film, and if you’re going to sit there hating it, at the very least, sit and hate it in silence. Not everyone in the theatre is going to feel the way you do, but the least you could do is respect them until you’re out of the movie.
Time is money; money is time. If you’re going to disrespect the movie, that’s fine; you’re more than welcome to dislike the movie, that’s fine. But you’re not the only person in the theatre, and the person that you just called a square for shushing you? That person chose to put time and money toward something they thought would be worth it. This square is not going to let anything, including a bunch of laughing kids, get in the way of that.