Off the Beat With Louis Otero: Movie Theater Etiquette That Should Be Common Sense

By Louis Otero

Let’s get one thing absolutely clear: your trip to the movie theater isn’t all about you. Yes, I know that you paid an obscene amount of money to see the new “Star Wars” movie in IMAX, but so did everyone else in the theater. So, when the trailers end, and the house lights go down, the only thing you need to do for the next two hours is shut up. Don’t make any “hilarious” comments about the movie’s opening credits. Don’t point out that James McAvoy was also in “X-men”. Just shut up, because no one paid $20 to hear you talk.

Great. So, now that you’ve shut up, it’s time to put your phone away. This trend of taking pictures of the movie you’re watching and posting it on Facebook is absolutely baffling. Do you think your friends aren’t going to believe that you went to the movies? Put it away. Don’t text. Don’t tweet. Don’t Vine (RIP). Nothing is so important that you can’t just keep your phone in your pocket for two hours, but if you must, step out of the theater. You may not be making any noise, but that bright light from your phone’s screen is very distracting in a dark movie theater. If you wanted to be on your phone you could have just stayed at home and saved yourself the cost of admission.

Let’s talk about laughing. Don’t worry; I’m not telling you not to laugh in a movie theater. Obviously, that kind of noise is as welcome as it is expected. However, clapping to emphasize your laugh is just too frustrating. I’ll admit this may be a personal pet peeve, but I have a hard time believing that I’m the only one bothered by this. If you do it once because Adam Sandler said something particularly whacky, fine. But if you’re in a comedy movie and clap every time you laugh then you’re just as insufferable as Sandler.

It’s not as if doing these things make you a horrible person. It does, however, mean that you’re rude and disrespectful, not only to the rest of the audience but to the people who busted their asses to make the movie that you’re effectively ruining. No one ever made a movie in hopes that someone would come text or talk throughout it. So, please, remember these guidelines next time you go to the movies, because asking people to stop talking or texting is really uncomfortable for everyone involved.