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Hum 3: Film Principles
Fr. Rene C. Ocampo, SJ/Bong S. Eliab
Humanities Division
School of Arts and Sciences
Ateneo de Davao University

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by Michelle Jones

Somehow our society has progressed to a point where people have lost their common sense when it comes to attending the movies. I’m not taking about those idiots who whisper to each other all the way through the show or the freaks that walk out when a film crosses some arbitrary line of “too much” sex or violence. I’m talking about the people who are really offensive and break all the rules of common decency when they enter a movie theater. For these people I present a brief lesson in movie theater etiquette.

1. Respect personal space. Do not ever sit directly next to someone you don’t know unless the theater is exceptionally crowded and you have no alternative. I can guarantee you that no stranger in the world wants to hear you crunch through your candy bar or slurp up the last bit of your $4.25 soft drink. For a theater with a thin to moderate crowd use the two seat rule- two seats between you and the next person. For a theater that is leaning toward the crowded side one seat will work.

2. Crying in the theater is reserved for exceptionally sad scenes only. This means that if you were silly enough to bring a baby or a toddler to anything other than a G rated movie you have to leave the instant they start whining or crying. No trying to console them or waiting to see if they will stop or trying to stall because you want to see the next dramatic scene. When your child starts making noise immediately rise from your seat and walk swiftly (with child in tow) to the exit. There is no exception to this rule.

3. Movies are a one-way entertainment. The actors on the screen act and we watch and listen. Only the other people in the audience hear you when you talk back to the screen. Although you may think that your comment to Harrison Ford or your critique of Gwyneth Paltrow’s accent are witty and humorous and that the rest of the audience will find them terribly funny, believe me when I tell you they do not. In fact, the moment that you speak all other members of the audience start communicating on a telepathic level and they are all plotting your death.

4. Feet belong on the floor. Just because you don’t have to clean the seats in the theater doesn’t mean you can plop your dirty size 10s on the back of the chairs. Nobody wants to watch a movie over the tips of your shoes. Just nobody.

5. A ringing cell phone can break your mother’s heart. If you go to a movie and don’t turn off your cell phone you are either exceptionally rude or exceptionally stupid. Either way you deserve to be punished. If your phone rings and you choose to answer it instead of immediately turning it off, there is no doubt that you are a pawn of Satan who is deserving of being beaten to death. This will of course cause great pain and anguish to your mother and those who love you. Do everything in your power to prevent this from happening.

6. Credits.  It is unethical to leave the theater while credits are flashed on the screen.  As part of appreciating the skills and talent of actors, actresses, film crew, directors, photographers, it is imperative that the audience stay put on their seats at this time.  Applause and standing ovations are done at this time.

If you or someone you know finds themselves incapable of following any of these simple guidelines please remember that Blockbuster wants your business and that it is very difficult to defend yourself against an angry mob.

Posted by Michelle at June 02, 2002 02:12 PM



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Ateneo de Davao University
08 November 2002