March 14, 2008

The top 5 worst moviegoing patrons I have ever encountered

I love going out to see movies in theaters - who doesn’t? The only problem (other than skyrocketing ticket prices, gross overpriced food, obscurity of indie features, sticky floors, etc.) is that I cannot have the theater to myself. I am forced to share it with dozens of strangers who often seem hell-bent on making my theater-going experience unpleasant. And yet, some people go above and beyond the call of duty and make it downright miserable. Here is a tribute to the top five people who fall into this prestigious category.

1. Movie: Knocked Up

Offender: The snitch
So I’m at a theater in suburban New York with my boyfriend, and we’re meeting up with his friend there. Once we’re all in line waiting to buy our tickets, I discreetly show the friend the contraband bag of M&Ms I have purchased for the occasion. Suddenly, this guy, who is not even in line but awkwardly off the side, blurts out (in reference to the candy) “I know what you’re gonna do with those!” Um, yeah, eat them. OR BUILD A ROCKET SHIP! No, eat them. I didn’t really know what to say, except maybe that I was proud he had figured out what M&Ms were for? I stared blankly, my boyfriend and his friend equally confused, and then the guy added “What’s to keep me from telling on you?” Note: this guy did NOT work here. I think I said, “Um, karma?” We bought our tickets and went into the theater, but I ran out to use the bathroom right before the movie started. This guy was still in the lobby, with no apparent intention of seeing a movie at any point, and yelled, “There she is! There’s the traitor!” What this man was hoping to achieve through these tactics, I will never know.

2. Movie: V for Vendetta
Offender: Guy who probably thinks he’s going to marry Natalie Portman
My friend Scott and I went to a late-night showing of this opening weekend. It was Saturday night, and the theater was sparsely populated. Before the movie, Scott started eating some chips. A portly fellow sitting directly in front of us, who had clearly crawled out of his mom’s basement and through mountains of ejaculate-soaked pictures of bald Natalie Portman to be here for this occasion, suddenly whipped around and said to Scott, “Do you plan on crunching your food like that for the whole movie?!” Scott, stunned and shocked, whimpered “No.” We agreed later that he should have replied with a triumphant YES!

3. Movie: Borat
Offender: Hyena with epilepsy
Borat is a funny movie. I am aware of this. I knew this going into it, and expected a theater full of merry patrons’ laughter. What I did not expect was the guy I wound up sitting next to. He had a sort of frat-boy look, and enjoyed the movie immensely. The way he expressed this, however, was to erupt into a screeching, bloodcurdling laugh at EVERY JOKE, clap hysterically, rock back and forth like a crazy person, and repeat the hilarious line verbatim. It went something like this:

Borat on screen: High five!
Guy next to me: HIGH FIVE! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! *Clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap seesaw seesaw seesaw*

4. Movie: The Savages
Offender: The phantom puker
I never came face-to-face with whoever this was, which is good for them, because I would have kicked their ass. I saw this film on a weekday night in a pretty empty theater. The actual movie went on without incident. When I went to leave, I noticed two girls staring at the exit with hesitation. When I approached, I realized that the door was soaked in vomit. The strange thing was that the point of impact was the exact middle of the double doors, right where you would push them open. That absolutely had to be pre-mediated, because in a normal upchucking situation, the vomit would just end up on the floor (which isn’t to say that some didn’t get on the floor too). The doors were so evenly covered that these two girls and myself didn’t know how to get out without touching something sticky. Eventually, we devised a system where I kicked the door open on the one dry patch, and we all ran out. I’m not saying that this was a crippling inconvenience to my life, but it was just fucking disgusting.

5. Movie: A History of Violence
Offender: the entire audience
A History of Violence isn’t a comedy, right? I didn’t think so. But this entire audience did. It was like a huge crowd of teenagers had time-traveled here from the 1950s, where they had been watching a sci-fi B-movie at a drive-in and were anxious for it to be over so they could go to Lovers’ Lane. They behaved themselves for the first half, but the second half consisted of hysterical laughter, jeering, cheering, and lewd and rude shouted comments. Included in this ruckus was my then-roommate, as I had just gotten to college and was eager to bond with the person I lived with. Incidentally, this was the first and last time we ever hung out, because she turned out to be a wretched bitch who had already written nasty things about me on her easy-to-locate blog within the first week of school when I had been nothing but nice to her. Ha, sweet revenge! At least I have the class to keep her anonymous.

Who was the worst theater patron you ever had to deal with?