We’ve all been there at the theatre: a seat kicker behind you, someone in front of you fiddling with their brightly lit phone, or a commentator or ‘pssst’-er to the people with they’re with. They can ruin a movie-going experience.
It’s incredibly annoying, but it’s been my observation that people don’t put their foot down immediately, but instead spend waaay too much time bitching to everyone BUT the offenders, or they try passive-aggressive tactics such as a side-eye look or a loud ‘ahem.’
No, those won’t work.
What usually works is a stern “shut up” in a voice loud enough to embarrass the person yakking in from of a large part of the audience, making sure to turn and face the offender, making eye contact and putting on your best ‘don’t fuck with me’ face.
Any time I’ve done this, it’s worked—except that one time, which is an amusing story, in retrospect.
We were seeing Transformers at Westhills in Calgary—yes, even I was suckered into seeing that pile of shit—and during the matinee, some douchebag was commenting about EVERYTHING. We were only still on the previews and advertisements, when I turned and said, “there’ll be no talking during the movie, right?” The guy just looked at me, which I took to mean he heard me.
About five minutes into the movie, the commentary began again, and a few minutes later I turned and said, “shut up, already!”
His girlfriend replied, “don’t you dare speak to us like that. Don’t you fucking dare,” complete with the ‘hand in yo’ face’ gesture, hand on hip, and the whole side-to-side head-bob thing.
Then the guy chimed-in in a somewhat pouty voice “you shut the fuck up.” Then I heard a bunch of muttering under his breath and flailing arm sounds—like one of those Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing Tubemen you see at auto dealerships—but all I could make out were a couple of “fucks” and a few “assholes.” I understand it is difficult for certain breeds of blockhead to string together coherent sentences on the fly like that, but his overreaction did surprise me a bit.
Immediately following the cursing and arm-flailing, the couple erupted into a pushy-fight with lots of loud talking and swearing, before the guy stormed out of the theatre. The lady he was with left a few minutes later before whispering “asshole…” in my ear and slapping me in the back of my head.
They really were such a charming couple.