By all appearances, many of you find going to the movies an annoying experience - even when it's a terrific movie.
The annoyance stems from a number of distractions, ranging from people who talk while the film is in progress to babies who are not taken out when they get fussy to sticky floors and leaky ceilings . . . and, of course, movies that are so awful you feel ripped off.But the majority of letters and phone calls I received after asking for your comments suggest the main source of real frustration comes from failed attempts to get people to quiet down. One caller used the line I tried to avoid in my initial column on the subject - "Hangin's too good for 'em." Some others were less kind.
Anyway, here are some of your responses:
In answer to your request for suggestions concerning people who make noise and talk during movies, ballets, operas, symphonies, etc. May I suggest these people be either gagged or removed permanently from the theater, auditorium, etc., whichever is most convenient for the management and least intrusive to the audience. Wait! A better idea: Chairs that dump these people into the basement of the building.
I did have a good experience at a movie recently. During the last 10 minutes of "Hamlet" the audience did not make a single sound. Not a word. Not a squeaking chair. It was a very spiritual experience."
Salt Lake City
I have two experiences with noisy moviegoers. The first (when) I took my three kids to see "Avalon" for the first time. It was an excellent show we all enjoyed. But the people directly behind us were very talkative, one man in particular. He complained that the film would be long and boring, etc. This conversation continued for the opening credits and for the first five minutes of the show. I was just about to move when he quieted down and actually started to get involved with the show. And after, I couldn't help but overhear how much he liked it.
The second experience: I went to see "Ghost" for the first time. What a great show! I was totally into this movie but my experience was marred by a couple sitting six rows up. They had brought their children, both very young. They both cried and made a lot of noise right in the middle of the movie. The parents did not leave immediately but struggled with them for several minutes. Then for most of the rest of the movie they came in and out of the theater with the two kids. I wanted to scream at them . . . and wished someone sitting closer to them (had) said something.
While I'm writing to you, I have noticed that some theaters really crank up the sound. This is very annoying and uncomfortable for me.
Salt Lake City
Being annoyed once too often in the theater has prompted me to use the following phrase to the guilty party: "Excuse me, I was informed that the little kids matinee was held earlier today. I heard the children were loud and obnoxious but had a great time. Please be kind to us and yourself. You'll like this show better than with the kiddies. Thanks."
Being a schoolteacher, I have found that if you say "shut up," people will get worse. Private embarrassment works much better.
I stared, shushed several times, stared, shushed. Finally tapped the girl behind me, next to the dad. Shushed. Then got out and whispered to the loud boy next to the loud dad. The dad threatened to knock me down. He had already ruined a good show - now I was too shocked to respond. Next time I will find an usher or manager - but do they still exist in these small cinemas of 1991?
An unsigned postcard
from Squaw Valley
Whispering in the movies!! This is my husband's No. 1 pet peeve and he has been known to "ahem" rather loudly in someone's ear on occasion. Of course, in this day and age you can never be too careful about confronting strangers in a dark place so it's time to get tricky. I usually give a slight kick to the seat if the talker is in front or turn around and look behind (with a completely non-judgmental look) if that's where it's coming from. That usually does it and one can come off looking rather innocent but still bring about the desired effect. We have come to expect noise in G-rated movies and some PG (our 4-year-old is a major contributor) but it's upsetting to see parents bringing little kids to PG-13 (movies) and THEY DO!!
Salt Lake City
I can only conclude after seeing "Sleeping with the Enemy" . . . that the problem of inconsiderate moviegoers is getting much, much worse. I sat to the right of a group of teenagers who, midway through the film, sent one group member for popcorn and then settled all accounts - out loud - when he came back! I also sat directly in front of two very elderly women (both apparently hearing-impaired) who just rambled on throughout the entire movie.
The teenagers were easy. I told them to "shut up!" and they did, immediately. But . . . I would never want to show disrespect to someone's grandma. And "shut up!" is chancy at best, sometimes it backfires and even my saying it probably bothered someone else. I don't think these people are bad, I just think they need to be reminded.
We went with friends just on the spur of the moment to the Dan Aykroyd/Chevy Chase movie "Nothing But Trouble." We should have just walked out but with a cast like that we really thought that something funny must be just ahead.
It left us with a feeling of being betrayed by entertainers we had grown to enjoy. It was insulting to be there - like the moviemakers think we are so dimwitted and disgustingly vulgar we could enjoy that sleaze.
My husband said he wishes he had taken the $11 price of admission, changed it into quarters and flushed them one-by-one down the toilet. It would have been more entertaining.
Mrs. Karen Rosevear