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Nightmares in the movie theater

Posted: January 14, 2014 10:30 a.m.
Updated: January 15, 2014 5:00 a.m.

I went with a friend of mine to see a movie this weekend. We had both been looking forward to seeing the movie for awhile and finally had the time to get to the theater. We chose to visit a nice theater in a nearby city where tickets are a bit more expensive to account for the plush, stadium seating. We arrived about 20 minutes before the showing, bought our tickets and found a nice seat, near the back in the center.

I soon was reminded, all too vividly, why I never go see movies in theaters anymore. There were maybe five people sitting directly in front of us and they were all chatting loudly during the previews. However, when the movie itself began, they were completely quiet. I was temporarily relieved, thinking maybe this won’t be so bad after all.

Wrong. About 10 minutes into the movie, a group of five young females strolled in. They stood in the aisle and argued loudly about where to sit. Danielle, my friend, has no patience for such behavior and shushed them, which just heightened the situation. To my utter dismay, the group sat directly behind us. They kept talking, louder now that they had spotted us as their clear enemy. I felt a kick to the back of my seat and my blood pressure began to elevate.

I am pretty much the definition of non-confrontational. It’s not because I’m cowardly; if I have to stand up for myself, I will. However, I was simply raised with a sense of decency and decorum that taught me that public displays of rude behavior are not appropriate and should be avoided if at all possible. In this case, I whispered to Danielle that we should just move seats. We were clearly being bullied at this point.

So we made our way, still quietly, to some open seats closer to the front. I felt very angry at the fact that I had to sit more closely to the screen which makes me feel nauseous, especially considering that I had arrived early just to avoid such a situation. I also felt angry that late-comers could waltz right in and disturb everyone else’s experience with such little regard for their distasteful demeanor.

Still, it was early on in the movie, and it was a good movie and I just wanted to watch it. I literally had been anxiously waiting since I heard the film was being released (at the beginning of November) to see it. You can ask any of my friends; I mentioned it often, posted on Facebook about it, the whole thing. I just wanted to enjoy it and I sincerely hoped that moving seats would allow me to do so.

Wrong again, Haley. I can hardly believe this happened, but it did. Now, about 25 minutes into the film yet another group of young women entered the theater. Danielle was seething at this point as they congregated in the aisle trying to determine where to sit. They found a way to be even more annoying than the first group because they brought out their very large, very bright cell phones and used the back screen light to look for seats.

I wanted to cry I was so miserable. They finally sat down and were quiet for … hmm … about 10 seconds. Then, I kid you not, one of their cell phones began to ring. Loud and clear as church bells, only it wasn’t church bells but the theme song to SpongeBob. And guess what this delightful young woman chose to do, I mean what else does one do when one’s cell phone rings, but answer it! She had to answer, right? She wouldn’t want the person calling to think she was ignoring them … no, that would be rude.

I honestly felt like I was in an episode of “Punk’d” or “Boiling Points.” My thoughts were vicious. I was about to walk out of the theater and demand a refund. The woman continued to talk on the phone and I guess that wasn’t contemptible enough for her … I wish what I’m about to say were a joke or an exaggeration, but it is the honest truth. She put the call on speaker phone. In a theater. Filled with people. While the movie played.

I started to hyperventilate, I think. Danielle said she couldn’t take it anymore and exited the theater and came back with one of the police officers that we’d noticed when we’d entered (and wondered why does a nice movie theater like this require a police officer?) and an usher. Needless to say, the women were finally silenced. I had been hoping they’d be removed, but no such luck.

My point in sharing this story is to illustrate the fact that activities that used to be fun, wholesome and enjoyable have been reduced to ridiculous, pathetic spectacles of lewdness nowadays and I’m so disappointed that our society allows this. I will probably not be seeing a movie in a theater again for a very long time, if ever. That saddens me because I do enjoy seeing movies in theaters, but there is absolutely no way I would subject myself to another similar situation. As a civilization of human beings, we can and should be doing better than this. This is just not OK.


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