The Lord has spoken on the subject of filmmaking, and lo he has turned his attention to moviegoers.
THOU SHALT SHUT THE FUCK UP
Honestly, if you can’t manage to pass 90 minutes without holding a loud conversation about how your mate James, like, totally scored with this insanely hot girl, or you feel that the characters in the movie really NEED and will listen to your advice, wait for the dvd. You can talk all you like until the end of the adverts, but come the first trailer your mouth should, nay MUST, close. First off: I don’t care which of your friends have recently shagged each other, or stopped shagging each other, or which of your teachers is, like, a dick, or any combination of the above. Secondly, idiot: I can hear you, the rest of the audience can hear you, but the characters, you’ll be shocked to know, CAN’T. She’s still going to go through that door whether or not you tell her the axe murderer is behind it. SHUT UP. It’s just rude, not just to us but to the filmmakers, who’ve worked hard on the product you are supposed to be watching, show some respect.
THOU SHALT SWITCH OFF ALL ELECTRONIC DEVICES
Again, simple enough, again, asked of you before EVERY screening. Really, if something’s THAT important that you might need to answer your mobile in a movie, don’t go to a movie until you’ve taken the call, you’ll almost certainly be able to go another day and not make everyone want to kill you. If you answer your phone, particularly with a bellowed ‘I can’t talk, I’m in the cinema’ I’d go straight to the death penalty, no appeals, no second chances, just slow painful death. Apparently this puts me in a minority. You also don’t need to text, or continually check your text messages during a movie. You may not be aware of this, or may not care, but doing so emits what amounts to spotlight from your phone. SWITCH IT OFF, it’s not a pacemaker, you won’t die without it.
THOU SHALT ARRIVE ON TIME
Okay, the ads are irritating but movies start about 15 to 20 minutes after the advertised time. You know this, assuming you’ve been to more than one movie before. So coming into a movie that’s already been on for 20 minutes is just baffling (actually the cinema shouldn’t be letting you in, but that’s beside the point). If you MUST do it consider the other commandments. DON’T yell ‘it’s already started’ or ‘what’s happened so far’ and DON’T trek across the whole cinema trying to find six seats so you and all your mates can sit together. You were late, LUMP IT.
THOU SHALT EXERCISE CARE AND COURTESY WHEN CHOOSING THY SEAT
I and several of the major movie buffs I know get to cinemas early so we can make sure we get good seats; we also go to daytime screenings as often as possible, so they won’t be so full. This being the case DON’T come and sit directly in front of me when there’s only 4 people in the cinema, and if you want to sit on the same row, leave a courtesy seat between us, I know I’ve got a great seat, that’s why I got here early, just one seat either way is all I’m asking.
THOU SHALT KNOW WHAT THOU ART SEEING
DON’T decide what to see at the box office. DON’T spend five minutes discussing it amongst yourselves. The other part of this is that you should have at least a vague idea of what the film you are seeing IS before you sit down. More than once, at films as varied as Pan’s Labyrinth and The Golden Door I’ve heard the cry ‘Subtitles, bollocks to this’ and the sound of an idiot walking out. Honestly, it’s not that hard to find out ahead of time if, heaven forbid, you might have to read a bit of the movie.
THOU SHALT NOT BRING A 5 YEAR OLD TO A 12A MOVIE
This goes double for Americans taking little kids to R-Rated movies. The advisory 12 certificate is NOT intended as an alternative to a babysitter. I heard children crying in the Spider-Man re-release because the Green Goblin was kicking seven shades of shit out of Spidey, I saw 5 year olds being exposed to the torture scene in Casino Royale and to the headbanging violence of Terminator 3. It’s 12 for a reason people, yes you’re ALLOWED to bring younger kids, but honestly, give it some thought before you expose the tinies to the likes of The Bourne Ultimatum. And if your kid does start crying, take them out of the cinema to calm them down, don't make us listen.
THOU SHALT BRING QUIET FOOD
This is also the fault of cinemas, really, what genius decided that noisy food like popcorn and nachos were a good idea at the movies? DON’T bring massive bags of individually wrapped sweets; DON’T crunch your way through a massive bag of crisps. It goes back to the first commandment.
THOU SHALT NOT TREAT THE SCREEN AS A TARGET
This one is largely the preserve of bored school kids in the holidays. Oh yes, it’s very impressive that you can hit a target as large as that massive screen with a bit of popcorn… oh and you licked it so it’s stuck to the screen, I’m highly impressed. It’s about respect for filmmakers, and for me and the other people who want watch the… ow… stop that… okay, yes, my head IS a smaller… ow… target… now fucking stop it.
THOU SHALT REMAIN SEATED, UNLESS THOU ART ON FIRE
Okay so you may have to pee, fine, you should have gone before the movie, but lets not split hairs here. IF you have to get up it should be to pee, in which case you should go past as few people as possible, rather than annoying everyone in your row go AROUND and hey, keep your shadow off the screen by ducking, it’s not hard to do. There should be no other reason to get out your seat, short of giving birth, throwing up, or being on fire. If none of these applies SIT DOWN.
THOU SHALT DISPOSE OF THY TRASH
This is partly for me, but it’s also for the staff. It’s really not hard to pick up your sweet wrappers, popcorn boxes and drinks bottles and throw them away yourself. Also, do try not to knock giant boxes of popcorn over, the staff already has to turn the screen around quickly enough without checking what shit you’ve left behind.