Please Don’t Talk at the Movies: A Brief Anecdote

Craig SchroederCritics, Movies, Opinion, Screw Ups, Theatrical1 Comment

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I saw ROOM (which I mostly loved!) this past weekend. But I had the misfortune of sitting next to a guy who decided the movie about kidnap, rape and the fragility of a child and mother’s psyche was the best time to test his hilarious one-liners on his buddies. When a few of the characters (in this upsetting kidnap drama) weren’t sufficiently upbeat for him, the moviegoer-cum-comedian exclaimed (to the entire audience as well as his stable of friends) “What a negative Nancy!”.

Now: I’ve realized (after more than one embarrassing incident) that I can no longer say anything to a Movie Theater Talker while the movie is playing because it only worsens the situation. I go zero to sixty without restraint and then realize I’ve made the experience uncomfortable for the whole audience. And the only feeling worse than boiling anger towards a Talker is the feeling of marinating in a stew of awkwardness that I’ve let slow cook then brought to a sudden boil when I shout at someone to “SHUT THE HELL UP!”. So I just fumed while the movie played and The Talker continued his string of insightful comments and jokes.

200When the movie was over, a serendipitous moment presented itself. I saw The Talker and his buddies (who were also talking throughout the film, just not as loudly) milling about the theater lobby. I approached with a large smile and said “Hi there! Was that the first movie you’ve seen in the theater?”. And in one brilliant moment of kismet, The Talker took the bait. With a polite—if not a bit confused—smile, The Talker responded with “Uh…no….I’ve seen lots of movies in the theater”. I greeted his answer with: “Oh, so you already know that you aren’t supposed to talk while the movie’s playing”. And with a shit-eating grin, I waited one beat (long enough to see his little face contort into funny shapes when he finally realized I was giving him the business) and kept moving. A silent thirty seconds passed before I heard the distant echo of his rebuttal: “Oh yeah, well is that your first haircut?” (Admittedly, my hair was a little out of control; it was a 10 AM movie, what do you people want from me?!). The moment ended with the embarrassed whispers of his friends (knowing they’d ALL been caught) quietly whisking him away.

Though I take an enormous amount of pride in (for once) finding the perfect thing to say to a Talker, this dumb post is meant to reinforce a broader point: please don’t talk in the movie theater. When you become a Movie Theater Talker you’re making a single, acerbic announcement to everyone else in the theater: “I know you paid the same price as me. I know you took time away from a job, a family, a responsibility, et al., to escape for a few hours.Therefore, I know my talking would lessen this experience for you; but I’m rude and I don’t care.”

So, please: stop talking during the movies. And just know, if you are a Talker and you don’t heed these commands, there’s a throng of similarly chubby, bespectacled film nerds quietly hating you and waiting for the perfect opportunity to embarrass you in front of you and all of your dumb friends.

Movie nerds are legion. We are everywhere. (But unfortunately, so are you).

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Craig SchroederPlease Don’t Talk at the Movies: A Brief Anecdote