An Open Letter to the People Who Ruin My Movie Theater Experience

movie theater

There are some things in life that I’m not particularly fond of, and that I don’t do all that often. Going to the movie theater is one of those things. I will not go unless it’s a major movie that I’m dying to see because I loved and adored the books so much. For example, I always say the Harry Potter movies when they came out in theaters, and Hunger Games. Other than that, I don’t really do movies. There is very little I like about the idea of sitting in popcorn-grease covered chairs in a room with strangers right on top of me just to see something that probably does not interest me in the beginning. Unfortunately for me, my two older kids love to go to the movies, and that sometimes means making a trip to see something animated. It’s fun because they adore it, but I still don’t love it. It’s dirty, loud, it smells and it’s just not where I want to be, ever (parenting sacrifice).

If you take into account just how little I enjoy the movies already, add someone who cannot get their behavior together and works hard to ruin my movie-going experience and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. It doesn’t always happen, but it sometimes happens. And this is what I have to say to those people.

Dear Movie Ruiner,

You are not cool. I mean, not even remotely cool. It’s inappropriate that your behavior cannot be modified to work appropriately in a public setting, and that makes me feel sad. It makes me feel sad for me, because you are ruining my movie going experience. And it makes me feel sad for you, because you are clearly not a good person. There are so many things you are doing that are upsetting me. For one, I don’t want you sitting in front of me taking selfies with your selfie stick and flash in the middle of the movie. But on that note, please check for my unkind and angry gesture in the background of your photo (we will call that an epic photobomb).

Additionally, I do not care much for the fact that you have what I call no “Inside voice,” and that’s kind of sad. I have four kids and they all have inside voices. Sure, they choose not to use them at all appropriate times, but all they require is a gentle reminder. When in a movie theater, there is a general rule of thumb. That rule is that you may carry on all the conversations you deem necessary before the movie starts. You may even whisper during the previews if you’d like; it doesn’t bother me. But once that movie starts, be quiet. It’s just respectful.

Additionally, no one wants to see you making out with your boyfriend/girlfriend or whomever throughout a movie. If you feel the need to grope one another for two solid hours, perhaps you should have paid for a hotel room instead of a movie. Or at least sit in the back row or something. And for the love of all things that have to do with me maintaining any semblance of patience, do not spend your time getting up and down to go to the bathroom if you are sitting in the middle of my row. Either go pick an aisle seat or ask me to trade seats with you. To be honest, I don’t care that you have a bladder the size of a pregnant woman or my 4-year-old, but I do care when it means I have to get up 56 times throughout the course of one movie.

And please, please, please do not bring your small children to a movie that is not meant for them. I fully expect to hang out with a bunch of kids when I see a Pixar film, but when I’m in there seeing something with an “R” rating or whatever, I do not want to hang out with your kids. For one, I’m not expecting to, so the sound of a child screaming is going to make not only me, but everyone else in the theater, crazy. Secondly, I don’t think we have to remind you that these movies are probably not all that appropriate for children.

Finally, when it comes to going to the movie theater, there are some basic rules. You should not put your feet on the chair on which my head is resting, or overlap your arm onto my seat over the arm rest. You can have it; it’s all yours. But I want my seat to myself, okay?

Please, before you think of committing any horrible crimes in the movie theater, remember that kindness and good manners, respect and appropriate behavior are always welcome. These people did not just spend a small fortune to listen to you talk on the phone with your contractor for two hours, or to see your flash in their eyes for the same amount of time. And if you have already seen the movie, please, please, please do not mention what happens next. I mean, really?

We all know you’ve seen it; we heard you mention it 7 times. And saying, “Omg, you will not believe this. Hold on. This is good,” is not acceptable either. Mostly because of rule number one; no talking in the movie theater but also because we don’t want you spoiling it for us. So please, be nice.

Because here is the deal; if I see your mother outside the theater when I’m done with the movie as she picks you up to take you home, I will mention to her that she might not want to allow her kids in the theater again. I’m sure she’s not interested in spending a small fortune to be interrupted, angered and upset by bad manners and little etiquette when she’s in a movie, so she’ll probably be on my side. I would if my kids behaved that way in public.


Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images


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