Is it ok to stream movies? Can I keep the 3D glasses I get at the theatre? Who gets the armrest? What about the other armrest? I may not have all the rules of movie-watching protocol figured out, but I’m hoping the following can be a helpful reference whenever you have questions about the unspoken cinematic codes of conduct:
IN THE THEATRE
Where to sit. Obviously you sit wherever the heck you want, but when the theatre is fairly empty, try not to choose the seats directly in front of the only other people in the room. That’s a heel move brother!
Is this seat saved? No, but it is born again. No but seriously… Saving a seat for more than two people is unforgivable. I refuse to do it. If your group is more than three, take turns in groups of two going to the potty or buying snacks.
Commercials. Actually, this isn’t a thing, but I want it to be: When the pre-show is over, they dim the lights, and they play the message that tells you to turn off your phone and enjoy the movie, I say we boo and hiss when the commercials start. Loudly! The preshow is the place for the commercials. If after thhat they had one for the distributor (e.g. Cineplex, Cinemark, Regal, etc.) and maybe one other I think we’d be ok. But over the Christmas break I sat through a distributor ad, three car ads, and four banking ads (This is no exaggeration. I did count.), and they had to gall to tell me to turn my phone off before showing them. Commercials on a giant screen is just plain obnoxious. So from now on, will you join me in booing?
The armrest arm wrestle. This is more of what not to do. Do not take command of both armrests with authority. I guarantee that people on either side of you will notice of this and deem it douchiness. Guaranteed. Generally it’s good to put your elbow one end of the armrest and leave the other end to your neighbour. Go high or go low. If the other person doesn’t use it after 20 minutes, feel free to take more of it. But it’s also best not to plant your elbow there and leave it in that same place for the entire movie. Every once in awhile, take a different stance. Otherwise you look like a kid who never gives up the front seat and keeps saying, “I called it.” It’s just annoying.
Keep your *&%$# together man! Having your coat and/or shopping bags taking up a seat is tacky, even in an empty theatre. Makes you look sloppy. Leave all the crap in the car and simply let your coat fall behind you when you take it off so that it’s still between you and the seat. It’s also annoying when you have to get up to leave and you’re stepping on someone’s garbage as you step through. Speaking of which…
‘Scuse me, pardon me. When someone needs to get up and leave, they have to walk in front of people, which is no fun. Make it easy for them by simply putting your knees together and shifting your legs to one side. Spreading your knees far apart never works. NEVER. And standing up doesn’t help either. Sure, your knees aren’t sticking out anymore, but having one person standing is bad enough. Plus, it’s just weird when you’re trying to sneak out in a dark theatre and someone’s face is suddenly up and close to yours. Creepy.
We’re not hear to here you. If you have a comment about the movie, save it for when the credits role. If you must, then lean in and whisper to your friend. If you’ve figured something out that you think will happen in the story, keep it to yourself. No one wants to be impressed by your sleuthy-ness.
3D glasses. No don’t take them. Yes they’re cheap, but by taking them, so are you.
Streaming. You’re not downloading anything, so streaming is fine. You’re not breaking any laws. Generally, I’d say that if it’s in the theatre, don’t stream yet. It’ll be someone in a theatre with a video camera, so the quality will be right up there with dollar store barbie dolls. And if you can watch it on Netflix or Amazon Prime, do that before finding some free streaming site. But if you wouldn’t be able to watch it either way, then just stream.
Downloading. Honestly, I feel that even though this is illegal, it is less like stealing a DVD and more like ripping the tag off of your mattress. Yes, technically it is against the law, but the movie industry is not hurting for it. People spend more on movies now than ever before. The real issue is that you’re actually just wasting your time and your megabytes. Streaming it is much simpler. And if you love a movie enough to own it, buying it is far more satisfying.
Opinions. If someone says they liked a movie but you didn’t, avoid saying things like, “It was terrible,” or “What an awful movie.” And when they say what they liked, don’t scrunch up your face and shake your head. Remember, it’s your opinion. They are sharing something with you that means enough to them to bring it up, so don’t crap on it. Listen to what they say, accept it, and feel free to share what you didn’t like. Simple.
Spoilers. If you tell someone about a movie they haven’t seen and you feel the urge to tell them about “this one part,” don’t do it. “But it won’t ruin anything for you…” Yes it will. Don’t do it. And if you say, “The story is about….”, then be sure to follow that up with the most vague description you can possibly give.
At home. If you’re watching with someone in a living room and you need to pause the movie, wait for a scene to end first. And again, keep your thoughts to yourself until you see the fade to black and the credits start rolling.
Congratulations The Martian (A movie I streamed.). This is your week.
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actor: Simon Pegg in Ghost Protocol. Minor role, but sooo good. Jeremy Renner is another close second.
Best Quote: “Nothing kills me. I’m immune to 179 different types of poison. I know because I ingested them all at once when I was deep undercover in an underground poison-ingesting crime ring.” — Jason Statham as Rick Ford in Spy.
One last thing. And this is very important for the movie-watchers code. If you start a conversation with someone about movies and they say something to the effect of “I don’t have time for movies,” then you must slap them. For the love of Judas Priest slap that sanctimonious stewed prune into next week!