Picture Credit: Smaku

This sort of behaviour should be outlawed

This sort of behaviour should be outlawed

I’ve just about reached the end of my tether when it comes to visits to the cinema.

As much as I love the atmosphere, the anticipation, the big screen and the smell of popcorn, over the last few months I’ve beginning to downright loathe the growing disappointment of the overall cinematic experience.

I felt prompted to write this piece and have my moan after watching The Amazing Spider-man earlier this week.

While I enjoyed the film, I did not appreciate the running commentary from the 10 year old boy in the row behind me. Every time something dramatic and cool happened, he would shout out “wow!” and “now that’s what I’m talking about”.

During one key scene he even shouted “Spider-man! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

Now, I’m glad he enjoyed the film, I really am.

My first cinematic experience is one of my earliest memories and I would feel like a complete bastard to tarnish a cherished memory like that for someone else.

But at the same time, I couldn’t help but have complete and utter contempt for the boy’s mother, who made no effort to keep him quiet and spent most of the film’s running time playing on her mobile phone – I know this because he told her several times to turn it off.

After an hour of putting up with this, I contemplated having words. After all, I did not pay the best part of £10 for a cinema ticket, only to sit there and have the proceedings explained to me by somebody 20 years my junior. However, to avoid creating a scene, I simply got up and moved. Problem was solved.

But really, it should never have come to that.

The Nokia 5110 for our younger readers...

The Nokia 5110 for our younger readers…

In the same cinema (Empire in Sutton incase you are wondering), during a screening of The Woman in Black, somebody actually picked up their phone and proceeded to have a full-on conversation. Going into detail about where they were, who they were with and what they thought of the film so far.

Now, I’m quite a forgiving individual, but simply put, anyone who does that during a screening deserves to be escorted outside and pelted with Nokia 5110’s until they bleed! Modern day smart phones are too light and wouldn’t do enough damage to enforce the message.

There’s enough adverts before the film saying “switch your phone off!”, but clearly that’s not enough. There are some people out there that think their social lives are more important than your enjoyment.

I’m sorry, but this has simply got to stop and the only way to avoid this is bring ushers back to multiplexes. Ushers with authority to boot – somebody breaks the code of conduct, escort them off the premises.

This sort of behaviour is not tolerated in theatres, why is it in cinemas? When did it become socially acceptable to not give a monkeys about anyone else?

Clearly, it’s crept in since cinema chains started cutting costs and not employing ushers.

You can blame online piracy all you want, but at the end of the day the paying public are less likely to separate themselves with their hard earned cash if you can’t deliver an enjoyable experience.

And in this modern day and age of HD televisions, surround systems and blu-rays, competition is pretty stiff. Yet there is something special about the cinematic experience and that experience is sadly deteriorating due to ignorance and staff cutbacks.

I know times are tight and employing somebody to maintain a watchful eye over cinema goers could prove costly, but if the UK cinema industry really has any interest in saving itself, then something has got to be done about this.

About The Author

Colin lives in south west London. Looks like a hobbit and has been watching films ever since he saw Return of the Jedi at the age of 3. You can follow Colin on Twitter @obicolkenobi.

  • I always double check the seats in the Sutton Empire before I park my backside.  Mainly because when I saw Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the kid next to me threw up!  His father took about 15 minutes to decide it was time to go, just as the smell became unbearable.  You never know who, or what was sitting there before you.

  • Stockham1989

    I fully agree! The Sutton cinema is my local cinema and it is the worst place for people chatting and be unecessarily loud….and don’t get my started on the seats in there….