Cinema Etiquette

Now, I consider myself to be fairly laid back about things, but disturb me during a film, especially in the cinema, and I get angry – and you won’t like me when I’m angry. I could list the endless things that annoy me in the cinema – talking, crunchy food, noisy bags, tall people who sit in front of a short-ass like me – but then this piece would be thousands and thousands of pages, so instead I’m going to focus on the worst: mobile phones.

Last week when I went to see Iron Man 3, a guy two seats away from me kept getting his phone out during the film. Similarly, when I saw The Dark Knight Rises last year, the guy sat next to me kept checking his phone too. Both times I asked them to put their phones away and they apologised, put them away and weren’t seen again. They both apologised so knew they were doing something wrong, so why did they do it in the first place?

It infuriates me that people think that getting their phones out in the middle of a film won’t disturb anyone! Of course, a bright white light shining in the middle of a dark cinema is going to be completely invisible! During the trailers and the end credits are the only acceptable times to have a phone out – I do this, but as soon as that BBFC introductory slide appears, away goes the phone into the depths of my bag, on silent – not vibrate – silent. It only reappears when the end credits roll. Is that so difficult?

“What if I’m expecting an important message or phone call” I hear you cry? There’s a very simple solution to this: get out of the cinema! If you need to be in constant contact with someone then don’t come into a place where people pay to enjoy the cinema experience – wait until the film comes out on DVD so you can be constantly glued to your phone, instead of watching the action.

It’s come to this, me on my knees, begging and pleading with the world – please don’t look at your phones in the cinema! Being out of contact with the world for two hours isn’t going to kill you. There’s nothing radical in my suggestion – I’m not saying that everyone should be searched and phones put in lockers before the film – just put them away.

So put your phone completely on silent – or even better: switch it off! – bury it at the bottom of your bag/pocket and forget about it. If someone needs to talk to you, they can wait until after the film. And if it’s that important, you shouldn’t be in the cinema in the first place. Sit back, and enjoy the film. There, isn’t this much nicer?
You won’t even need to worry about getting growled at by me!
Unless you kick my seat…
Or rustle really loudly…
Or talk the whole way through the film…
Or get your fat head in my way so I can’t see…

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