Surely it is not too much to expect the average human being to be able to go around two hours without speaking/ looking at their phone/ stuffing their face with overpriced junk food?
That is a question I ask myself every time I go to the cinema, and depressingly the answer to that question is predominantly a resounding no!
I, like all avid film fans, like to see as many films as possible at the cinema, as that is of course where most films belong and should be seen. This is especially the case in this day and age in the advancement of technology allowing sound and picture quality to be beyond anything that could have been imagined a few decades ago. 3D is of course a complete gimmick that adds nothing except having to wear an annoying pair of glasses over my actual pair of glasses, and the whole debate of digital versus old fashioned 70mm is very much a debate for another time, but overall more and more films deserve to be seen on the biggest screen possible.
With cinema admissions on the up it seems more and more people are appreciating that these films should be seen where they belong, and, in theory, any passionate fan of films of all kinds like myself should see this as a good thing. Though of course a lot of the films people see are mindless nonsense, it can only be good for the industry as a whole and I believe there is an undeniable trickledown effect that allows the lower budget films that I love so much to get made.
However I use the phrase ‘in theory’ because that theory is very much dependant on those people that attend the cinema behaving in the appropriate manner.
It is an unfortunate fact that before I see any film at the cinema the dominant thought in my mind is not how much I am looking forward to the film (which it should be), but instead it is the fear and trepidation of really hoping that I don’t end up sitting near people that are going to be noisy and ruin the experience for me. Now I admit I have very little faith in my fellow humans overall anyway, but is it to expect people, as previously stated, to be able to go for two hours without speaking, looking at their phone or eating expectations that are too high on my part? I would hope not, but nearly every experience I have at the cinema proves to me that is a depressingly unrealistic expectation to have of my fellow human beings who with every visit to the cinema, I progressively lose faith in and respect for.
A more depressing fact is that I try to avoid seeing big films at peak times and sometimes wait a week or so to see the biggest releases so that I am more likely to be able to attend an empty screening and thus avoid as many inconsiderate cretins as possible. This really should not be the case, but it just is now.
When we watch a film with a few friends or family at home, inevitably there will be discussion, chatter and eating, and that is fine (to a certain extant), though people looking at their phones is still unforgivable! However there are many occasions where I have had the severe misfortune of sitting near people in the cinema who think it is okay to act like they are watching the film at home. They chatter and make random, cringe-worthy comments that would be fine in any living room, but not in the cinema. Unfortunately this behaviour only seems to be on the increase, and is also not specific to any particular generation. I see an eclectic mix of films at the cinema that attract a mixed age range, but have had to put up with various age groups acting in this disgraceful way.
Sometimes chatter can be blamed on the film not being any good or not to the particular taste of the culprit (though if they don’t like it they should walk out like those philistines that walked out of the screenings of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and The Lobster that I went to – good-bloody-riddance!). This is not an excuse, however the main culprit of cinematic misery is one that cannot be linked to how good the film is, and this is food!
People seem to be increasingly treating cinemas like picnic areas and all the way through the film the dominant sound that manages to even drown out the loudest part of the film is the rustling of bags and continuous crunching. People just seem oblivious to the noise they are making, or perhaps it is more likely that they do not care.
The rustling of bags is one thing, but it is the noise produced while eating this food that is predominantly what ruins my own experience of the cinema. It is a complete mystery to me why popcorn has always been associated with cinema (personally I think it is disgusting and it stinks), but mainly because eating it produces a lot of noise! However for some reason people feel almost obliged to buy it and are just unable to eat it quietly and with consideration.
Whenever I am entering or sitting in a cinema and see someone buy popcorn I get the inevitable sinking feeling and just pray that they are not sitting anywhere near me as anyone who eats popcorn seems to do so with their mouth wide open and as loudly as possible. Some people have proved me wrong and have eaten it quietly, so even popcorn can be eaten discretely and this is just further proof that those that eat it loudly are just rude and inconsiderate pigs.
Not only is it a characteristic of the popcorn purchaser that they crunch on it loudly with their mouth open, but they seem to want to eat the piece of popcorn at the very bottom of the box each time. So sometimes all you get is a cacophony of crunching and rustling continuously until that glorious moment when the inconsiderate (and usually overweight) idiot near you has run out of popcorn. Their world has probably collapsed and they feel bloated, but at least I can enjoy the rest of the film in peace!
Unfortunately popcorn and such food is always going to be a part of the cinematic experience as we all know it is how the cinemas make their money, and though the people that pay over the odds for this ‘food’ are ultimately the idiots for doing so, there seems to be no way of persuading people to stop buying it, and so the cinemas will always sell this overpriced rubbish. However when they also sell crisps and nachos, you do truly have to question whether they actually care for being a cinema or just want to be a café that happens to have a film playing in the background!
I consider myself lucky to have a Curzon cinema in my city as they show some great films, but they even sell popcorn. Again, I understand why because of the financial benefits of selling it, but I do really wish they didn’t, and considering their prices and the fact they sell a lot of alcohol (nothing wrong with that – it makes no noise!) they could surely afford not to sell that wretched food!
Cinema chains like Curzon have introduced a new type of cinematic experience; the smaller, more intimate cinema experience in smaller screens. Now this makes sense as some of the films they show would never get anywhere near selling out a huge screen, but the problem with these smaller screens is that it only takes one person in the entire cinema to act inappropriately and it ruins the experience for everyone. I thought that this particular chain would only attract more respectful cinema goers than the multiplex chain down the road, but it doesn’t. It does just seem that the standards of behaviour and levels of consideration and respect that people have for others is on a steady and continuous decline.
The fact is that if there were any justice in this cruel and unjust world, popcorn would be by far the unhealthiest food in existence and anyone who ate the huge amount that most people do eat got severe indigestion for a week, then maybe cinemas would become more enjoyable places. People do not suddenly develop an ability to be considerate to others if it is something they are desperately lacking, so maybe severe health repercussions is what is necessary. However I know this is just a pipe dream of mine.
However, if all of these people are simply incapable of having even the slightest smidgen of consideration for other people, then maybe my plea with them should take a slightly different angle and appeal to their extreme levels of selfishness and focus on the possible effects it has on them.
My question to all you inconsiderate noisy pigs that seem to be increasingly populating our beloved cinemas is: In these times of great austerity and an obesity epidemic, do you really need to spend so much money on food that is excessively overpriced and really is no good for you when you are only eating it for the sake of it?
So please, think about your bank balance and your waist line, and maybe you will reconsider. Then the rest of us can enjoy our time at the cinema in peace without this unnecessary and painfully irritating distraction, the way that we should be able to anyway!