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What ever happened to movie etiquette?

By by julie zavala/
April 25, 2012 at 11:04 a.m.
Updated April 25, 2012 at 11:26 p.m.

You didn't ask for this. All you wanted was to duck into the cool, dark theater with your popcorn and cold drink and lose yourself for a couple of hours in cinematic fantasy.

Instead, you're sitting here, grinding your teeth while a group of teenagers are giggling uncontrollably to your left, and no, this is not a comedy you've paid to see, but a serious drama.

Unfortunately, the days of mostly uninterrupted movie viewing are gone with the wind. A new breed of movie-goers have arrived in all their smelly, phone-chatting, seat-thumping glory.

We've compiled categories of what we deem the worst offenders, the ones with absolutely no regard for their fellow viewers. You may have already experienced these goofballs at a theater near you.


A normal person (translation: someone who bathes and changes their clothing on a regular basis) wouldn't dream of leaving the house sweaty and reeking of body odor to go to a public place.

This stinker plops down in the seat right next to you after the movie has already started, even though it's a weekday and the theater is practically empty.

Puffs of putrid fumes stir lazily with each handful of popcorn or noisy slurp of soft drink brought to eager mouth. He has no concept of personal space and apparently, no functioning olfactory system.


This person has something to prove to their significant other, to themselves, or to the cosmos. One never knows the reason, one just knows it's annoying as hell.

The Know-it-all likes to call out what's about to happen in the movie with a loud, obnoxious, honking voice. "He's going to be vaporized! Watch! Watch! WATCH!" No matter that to "watch" is what we each paid $8.50 to do and will be something that's next to impossible with the running commentary from the "peanut-gallery."

Child abuse

We've all seen this couple slinking into the theater holding the most adorable, rosy cheek toddler. They know it's not cool to do this. Whether it's a touching love story or the the loudest, most violent action movie, this is no place for a baby.

A collective sigh of irritation ripples through the room. A baby! Nooo! Mantras spill from the lips of the seated patrons, "Please-don't-sit-by- me, please-don't-sit-by-me, please-don't-sit-by-me!"

There's a new "Muppet" movie down the hall, you want to suggest, in fact, you're halfway out of your seat to give them this helpful information when your spouse jerks you back down in your chair. Unfortunately, your movement has brought their attention to the two empty seats in front of you.

As the lights lower and the previews roll, baby Susie lets loose her first of many wails to rival the highest decibels of the theater's quality sound system. Game over, man.

The Phone-Yakker

The movie you've been eagerly waiting to see, the one your spouse is sick and tired of hearing you gush about for the past four weeks is playing.

Your eyes are riveted to the screen when suddenly there's a blast of raucous music from behind that seems to go on forever. You are appalled to find that the lady behind you has just answered her phone.

In a loud, conversational voice, as though she is in her own living room, she proceeds to carry on a long diatribe about how the emerald green fingernail polish she bought to match the cute outfit she found at the mall does not match at all. And now, bummer, she's going to have to go back to the store and get a different color, and doesn't life just suck sometimes?

Yes. Yes it does.

The 'Jimmy-Leg'

Of all the movie etiquette offenders, this one is the kicker. I mean that quite literally. This clueless clown enjoys leaning back to enjoy the show and (how handy is this) uses the back of your seat as his own personal footrest. I'm certain he is very comfortable throughout the movie because of all the kicking and adjusting he does, constantly working to get into the best position ever. Either that, or he's trying to work out one heck of a leg cramp.



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