posted by Matt W on March 5th, 2014

So on the opening night of the movie Monuments Men, my wife and daughter and I break the first rule of movie viewing, “If a movie is over advertised, don’t go, because it’s probably not that good.” But my daughter wanted to see it and it turned out to be a solid movie. Not academy award stuff, but a great story that George Clooney put to film.

So I’m sitting in the theatre during the pre-preview part of the movie, and notice the distinct smell of Ben-gay mixed with Chanel No. 5. I glance around and see that I am surrounded by Senior Citizens. The couple next to me is in their 70’s, mostly the same for the row behind me and in front of me. The guy directly behind me is at least 80 (and apparently in need of a hearing aid adjustment). So during the pre-previews, as everyone is talking and the few non-seniors are texting, all is well.

As the lights go down signaling the actual previews, the universally known signal for everyone in the theater to shut up, the woman next to me stands up and starts rearranging all of her many belongings to prevent me from pilfering her stuff. She places her purse in the seat with the strap wrapped around her husband’s seat so I won’t try to run off with it leaving my wife and child behind. She puts her coat over the chair. She places something on the floor in an attempt to conceal it from me, but the main thing she accomplishes is putting her butt in my face. After McGruff the Crime Dog is sure I’m not going to snatch anything, she makes a popcorn run. The entire time she was having a loud conversation with her husband.

It was then I noticed that there was a lot of talking going on and it continued as the movie started.

Now in semi-defense of the people around me, it is the type of movie that has a lot of different things happening at the same time and can be confusing. So questions are inevitable. My wife typically asks a lot of questions. In my wife’s defense, she softly whispers into my ear when she has a question. The greatest generation and their older offspring do not; especially the couple next to me.

Admittedly, I think there is no reason to talk during a movie, even getting a bit irritated with my wife at times, but wow everyone was loud. And worse than being loud, they were ALWAYS wrong. I felt like shouting at them many times throughout the movie, “A: SHUT UP! And B: how could that possibly be the father? The character in question would be over a HUNDRED YEARS OLD but HE would still probably know it’s rude to talk in movies!” The hearing-aid impaired 80-year-old behind me was for the most part silent, but when he had something to say, he could really belt it out. At least he made sense, which made me like him more, well, more than every other loud viewer around me.

After the movie, I leaned over to my wife and said, “If I am EVER that loud in a movie, warn me once, and if I speak again, shoot me. I’ll have our lawyer draw up a contract releasing you of all responsibility.” My god people, if you can’t figure out how not to speak during a movie, don’t go.

Later that evening, I saw there was a sing-along version of Frozen, where everyone is encouraged to sing along. Fun. So my suggestion is a talk-a-long version and a silent version of every movie. In the talk-a-long version, be as loud as you want as everyone’s is paying for the opportunity to be rude. If you talk during the silent version, you’re gone. Either that or everyone could just exhibit manners again. It’s not rocket science, you learn them in kindergarten.

Maybe that’s the issue; kindergarten was a long time ago for the couple next to me.



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