Rules to Live By

Last night I finally saw Spectre, and sadly, it was ruined by one of the most obnoxious movie crowds I’ve ever experienced. Thanksgiving week/weekend is my least favorite time to go to the movies, mainly because it brings out big groups and people who really only go to the movies a few times a year (i.e. holidays, summer blockbusters). I’m all for seeing a flick as a family or even a group of friends, but unfortunately, theater etiquette is non-existent these days.

Now before you think I’m some hard-ass who treats going to the movies like serious business all the time, let me clarify.  There are plenty of times it helps to have some audience participation or input: an old film that’s a yearly event, a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a movie that’s meant to be ridiculous, etc. (I saw Snakes on a Plane at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre with a packed, rowdy crowd, all throwing rubber snakes at different intervals and it was definitely an experience.) So I promise I don’t hate fun.  What I do hate is rude people.

Even as a kid, I knew not to talk during a movie, so a lot of it comes down to personality and if you were raised to be considerate vs. not give a damn about others. Pre-cell phones, there were still plenty of talkers and assholes, it’s just that it progressively gets worse each year for numerous reasons. Take last night, for instance, which was chock full of irritating stuff: The couple behind me, who kept hitting the back of my seat at random moments and got up for popcorn twice, with much fanfare I might add. The man across the aisle from me who took his shoes off and made himself at home, who also needed to remove his coat and yet, rubbed his arms loudly throughout the movie like he was freezing. The gang of 10-year-old boys in the front row who laughed loudly through all of Bond’s sexy, romantic scenes. The man who kept coughing. The woman who crinkled her bags and kept unwrapping candy at all of the quiet moments. And finally, the family that took up two rows back-to-back and openly chatted throughout the WHOLE MOVIE.

I know I have high standards because theaters are my church and all, but I feel like common courtesy in public spaces–especially artistic spaces like concerts, movies, and live theater–should just be the norm. So here are my gentle suggestions to those out there who maybe haven’t ever given it a second thought.

  1. If you get up for popcorn/bathroom/whatever, just quietly walk down the stairs…there’s no need to run, skip, or jump. (Yes, I’ve seen just as many adults do this as kids.)
  2. Unless it’s a packed theater, don’t sit right beside someone or directly behind them. (On numerous occasions I’ve been in an almost empty theater with people sitting right on top of me–it does happen.)
  3. Yes, your dollar is just as important as mine, but the theater is not your living room and we are complete strangers–I didn’t pay to hear your conversation or watch the side-show that you and your friends/family are currently creating. (After trying to give a girl a few subtle side-eyes during a movie once, she loudly asked what my problem was and why I was staring at her. Since she was rude about it, I calmly told her that I didn’t pay $12 to hear her talk. She then went on to tell me that she paid too and she had “the right to talk”. There are always going to be these kind of people, and if you have a low tolerance like me, I recommend you get up and leave and ask for your money back.  There’s nothing worse than sitting & stewing over a crappy person, and if you get the theater involved it rarely goes well.  Better to cut your losses if you can.)
  4. Don’t bring your kids to Fifty Shades of Grey, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, or any other R-rated or overly sexually/violent-type film. I promise you everyone’s uncomfortable and your kids laughing through the steamy scenes just ruined it for everybody. (These two films aren’t random–those are my real-life, lived through it, examples.)
  5. If you’re sick, please stay home. I know you may be stir crazy and need to get out of the house, but no one wants to catch your cold or feel your sneeze on the back of their neck. (And if I can smell your sneeze two rows back, you should definitely be home taking meds for that cold.)
  6. Despite the title of my blog, I’m only about bringing in little things that aren’t pungent or distracting. If you’re not in a theater where they serve delicious food, candy and popcorn are an understandable thing to smuggle in–sushi and burgers are not. And for fuck’s sake, please take the cellophane off your goodies before the movie starts or go ahead and unwrap each of those 20 hard candies you plan on popping.

**I know certain circumstances can’t be avoided, and for the record, none of this applies to kids movies–those are sacred parent spaces with absolutely no rules!

If you still want to brave the theater, here’s what opened today:

The Good Dinosaur – PG The latest animated film from Disney is about a dinosaur who makes a human friend…and to be honest, it looks a little underwhelming after the amazing Inside Out.

Victor Frankenstein – PG-13 (James McAvoy, Daniel Radcliffe) Is it just me or would this have been a better fit for October? I enjoy both of these actors, it just feels a little out of place on Thanksgiving weekend.

Creed – PG-13 (Sylvester Stallone, Michael B. Jordan) Confession: I’ve never seen any of the Rocky films. This looks like it could be a good stand-alone film about Apollo Creed’s son, Adonis, but I’m sure it’ll mean even more to fans of the series.

***************************************************************************

You’ll probably have plenty of leftover french fried onions from your mama’s green bean casserole…so here’s another casserole that uses them, courtesy of my Nana again.

MIXED VEGETABLE CASSEROLE

1 16 oz. package frozen mixed vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc.)

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese, divided

1/3 cup sour cream

1/4 tsp pepper

1 small jar of chopped pimiento

1 can french fried onions, divided

Combine vegetables, soup, 1/2 cup of cheese, sour cream, pepper, pimiento, and 1/2 can of onions. Bake in casserole dish at 350 for 30 minutes, covered. Remove from oven, top with remaining cheese and onions, and bake 5 minutes uncovered.

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