October 14, 2012

Clueless About Comedy

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Dear Woman Sitting to My Right in Movie Theater Friday Night:

There is no way you needed to use both cup holders. Common courtesy dictates that you use the one on the right, unless no one is sitting next to you, in which case go for it. But there was someone sitting next to you: me. And had I not known the person sitting to my left and been able to ask him to put his drink on his left side, I would have had to ask you to move your extra large soda. But you terrified me a little bit, so I probably would have just ended up awkwardly holding my diet coke throughout the entire film. Also, you and your friend were talking really loudly. Not cool bro.

Going to a movie in theaters turns the act of watching a movie into an experience. When you see a movie in theaters, you don’t just remember the movie itself, but when you saw it, who you saw it with, sometimes what you were wearing when you saw it, etc.  Maybe it’s just me, but pretty much for any movie I’ve saw in theaters, I could tell you all or most of those details.

For example, if the movie Mean Girls came up in conversation, I would be able to tell you I saw it for the first time at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood with my mother. We sat five rows behind my older sister and her friends, because my mom was nervous about them being alone. I was rocking the hot looks of 2004: pink flowy mini-skirt, pink Uggs and tank top over short-sleeved shirt. I would also like to point out that I had braces, the rubber bands of which, were also pink. Yes. I was one of those girls. It was gross.

Obviously some movies are more memorable than others, but that rarely has anything to do with the movie itself. I will forever associate the film Waitress with the guy sitting behind me in the nearly empty theater. When I realized that the character Earl was the same actor who played Elton in Clueless, and said, “Oh my god it’s Elton,” he said, “Oh my god it is Elton!”

Likewise, Made of Honor is evermore linked with the pack of Patrick Dempsey-obsessed 12-year-olds who wouldn’t stop shrieking and giggling even when I gave them my meanest glare. I will never know my opinion of the film 2012, because the only thing I remember from that movie theater experience is the guy talking on his phone. I have no idea what the John Cusack / Amanda Peet plotline was, but I know that this dude and his girlfriend were not going to make it.

What I’m saying, Woman Sitting to My Right in Movie Theater Friday Night, is that from now on, whenever I think of the movie Sinister, which we only saw because Argo was sold out, I‘m just going to think of you and how rude you were. I know I’m not blameless here. I laugh really loudly, and I am sure that I have ruined a fair number of movies for people with my ear-drum shattering cackle.

I get that I sound like a crotchety old man right now, and that if it were really such a problem, I should just stop seeing movies, but that risk is what makes going to a movie so great. You could have the whole movie spoiled by one obnoxious 12-year-old, or you could bond with a total stranger about Elton from Clueless. I love that when you see a movie in theaters, you feel like part of a community — you have something in common with those hundred people you will never see again.

I get annoyed when people are rude in general, but there is something particularly awful about being rude in a movie theater. Your actions in that confined space will forever impact the opinions of those around you when they think back to that movie. And whereas I cannot control the volume of my laughter, you, Woman Sitting to My Right in Movie Theater Friday Night, you absolutely can control the number of cup-holders you use.


Julia Moser

Original Author: Julia Moser