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Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

Old 01-05-15, 09:04 AM
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Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

So, in the spirit of Mabuse's diner etiquette thread, here's an etiquette breach (?) that occurred at a NYC arthouse theater (Angelika) this past weekend. I know people like to complain about the multiplex texters (I do too!), but the art houses draw their own special brand of annoyances too.

My girlfriend and I get to our screening of Inherent Vice early enough to have our pick of seats and we grab two among the 3-5 or so other patrons in the theater at the time. While the theater is still pretty empty, a man in his 40s-50s sits behind my g/f (I believe he had his coat on the seat when we got in the theater and was just returning).

Still, a solid 10-15 minutes before lights down and the theater is pretty empty and the man leans forward and sort of says without introduction or context to my g/f and me, possibly, as he did not lead with any sort of intro, "I'd ask you to take your hat off, but it's your hair. You have you hair up. Nothing you can do about big hair, I guess. I'll have to move my seat." Now, he said that in a calm, but somewhat passive aggressive tone.

I simply half-turned and said, "Okay" after one or two of his sentences to make the point that this isn't a discussion. My g/f basically, replied in kind and threw in a more diplomatic, "Umm...sorry? I guess."

The man then proceeded to just stay in his seat as the theater filled up around him. And my g/f and I enjoyed the film.


So...what the hell was that? I think he was looking for my g/f and I to volunteer to switch our seats or perhaps have my g/f take her hair down (we're not talking Marge Simpson here, it was just up in a bun). It was the most micro of microagressions, but, is that a thing? Has anyone here asked a woman to change her hairstyle or move because of it?

And I agree, if a person is wearing a large hat in a theater, it is perfectly reasonable to request them to remove it. But, someone's hair seems a bridge too far. I care about where I sit in a theater and still...bridge too far.
Old 01-05-15, 09:52 AM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

1. We need a pic of your girlfriend's offending pile of hair

2. If I was in his shoes, I would've just moved a seat over. It's not that big of a deal.
Old 01-05-15, 09:57 AM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

He chose to sit behind you two...a coat is not a person. Fuck him. If he was already there and you sat down in front of him and blocked his view, I'd understand why he was a bit annoyed.

And, is your gf some 1980s chola or something?


Last edited by van der graaf; 01-05-15 at 10:06 AM.
Old 01-05-15, 10:04 AM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

What a weird, angry dude. Did you see his coat when you sat down though? Personally I wouldn't sit directly in front of someone if a room is mostly empty, even knowing that it will mostly fill up anyway. But he's an idiot for sitting down and not moving his coat to another seat. Now, if there weren't many other seats available, I could understand the frustration and while I wouldn't personally express my frustration with a sigh or an ugh (I truly hate people who do that) I can see where the guy's annoyance is coming from. But it's really the shitty theater that's to blame, not your wife's hair or your seating choice.
Maybe we've been spoiled by stadium seating, but the Angelika in NYC is a notorious "heads" theater and I hate seeing movies there for that reason only. I caught Inherent Vice there a few days before you, in a packed room, and it was a nightmare. Heads, heads, heads. Plus, the couple ahead of us was constantly on their phones and talking. They ignored our shushes, but thankfully left about 45 minutes in.

Another art house staple: The snorer.
Old 01-05-15, 10:08 AM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

Originally Posted by BambooLounge View Post
(we're not talking Marge Simpson here, it was just up in a bun)
Originally Posted by van der graaf View Post
And, is your gf some 1980s chola or something?



Probably a top knot given the description.
Old 01-05-15, 10:13 AM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

Was this guy a local fellow or some tourist? That's important to know.
Old 01-05-15, 10:14 AM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

Originally Posted by wishbone View Post


Probably a top knot given the description.


Hot.
Old 01-05-15, 10:15 AM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

Originally Posted by Cardsfan111 View Post
Was this guy a local fellow or some tourist? That's important to know.
. Yeah, what college sweater was he wearing? Did his coat have a varsity patch of some out of town athletic team?
Old 01-05-15, 10:16 AM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

Fuck fucking Oregon. Fucking mouth breathers.
Old 01-05-15, 10:22 AM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

Originally Posted by EddieMoney View Post
Fuck fucking Oregon. Fucking mouth breathers.


I always try and avoid sitting directly in front of someone in a completely empty theater, but if we're super early and know its going to be a fairly busy show it doesn't really matter since seats will fill up eventually. I don't think it's nearly as bad as say, sitting right next to you in a nearly empty theater

Sounded like the guy was there first and he wanted to passively give you shit for sitting in front, and just being a dick.
Old 01-05-15, 10:24 AM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

Originally Posted by skywalker8 View Post
What a weird, angry dude. Did you see his coat when you sat down though? Personally I wouldn't sit directly in front of someone if a room is mostly empty, even knowing that it will mostly fill up anyway. But he's an idiot for sitting down and not moving his coat to another seat. Now, if there weren't many other seats available, I could understand the frustration and while I wouldn't personally express my frustration with a sigh or an ugh (I truly hate people who do that) I can see where the guy's annoyance is coming from. But it's really the shitty theater that's to blame, not your wife's hair or your seating choice.
Maybe we've been spoiled by stadium seating, but the Angelika in NYC is a notorious "heads" theater and I hate seeing movies there for that reason only. I caught Inherent Vice there a few days before you, in a packed room, and it was a nightmare. Heads, heads, heads. Plus, the couple ahead of us was constantly on their phones and talking. They ignored our shushes, but thankfully left about 45 minutes in.

Another art house staple: The snorer.
I saw his coat when choosing our seats, but knowing that Angelika is a "heads" theater (I'm going to start using that term), I knew where I wanted to sit as to limit being impacted by that fact, so I picked our seats as normal. Again, the guy was on the aisle of an empty row, he easily could've sat one off the aisle (directly behind me), which I actually think is the better seat for that particular theater, but personal preferences and all that.

I try to not sit directly in front of people in empty theaters unless, and this has happened before, when the ideal (centered) seats all fill up row by row, so it appears to be an otherwise empty theater with people all choosing to sit behind each other b/c it's partially filled with nuts like me who value being centered to the screen in a theater.

But, the row behind us was empty, but for the coat. Didn't think it was an issue considering my gf is short and her hair was in a top knot (see below), so to be honest, I didn't really think it would cause an issue for anyone. And I don't think it really did as he never moved his seat nor made additional comments. He jumped the gun with his complaint since he didn't account for the "settling in slouch" that a lot of people (myself and gf included) do during a movie. He benefited from our piss poor seated posture.

Originally Posted by wishbone View Post


Probably a top knot given the description.
Yup.

Originally Posted by Cardsfan111 View Post
Was this guy a local fellow or some tourist? That's important to know.
I should've asked. Although, one guy did arrive as the film was starting with a rolling suitcase, but he rolled it to the front row and sat down. I'd guess he was either a tourist or a native New Yorker that in either case, just had to see the film in 35mm before heading out of town or immediately upon arrival.
Old 01-05-15, 10:31 AM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

I would've turned to the guy and said this:

Fuck off mouth breather. You suck. Here. Have the whole place to yourself, we're leaving. Go the fuck back to Regal Cinemas. Arthouse theaters rule, chains suck! Places like this are ruined by fucking blue hairs like you. Go fuck yourself.
Old 01-05-15, 10:34 AM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

Old 01-05-15, 10:36 AM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

Next time, have your girlfriend wear her bun on the side as every other intergalactic princess does, and you won't have this problem.

Old 01-05-15, 10:42 AM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

Definitely should've dropped some f-bombs and stormed out of there like a five year old.

Any chance the guy was being cheeky though?
Old 01-05-15, 10:53 AM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

Originally Posted by Finisher View Post
Definitely should've dropped some f-bombs and stormed out of there like a five year old.

Any chance the guy was being cheeky though?
I don't think so. That's what really made it so odd, his tone was so passive. The best way to describe his tone and comments would be as if he was voicing his inner monologue, but sort of to us. He didn't attempt to escalate the situation when it was clear he was being ignored, but for, our replies of "Okay" and "Sorry, I guess." He didn't react in any way (neither an attempt to laugh it off, further conversation, or audibly sigh for a bit after he stopped speaking).

It would've been a much more normal exchange if he acted like a person, for better or worse, really.
Old 01-05-15, 11:17 AM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

It's incidents like this that remind me of why I hardly ever go to the theater to see movies anymore...Back in the 200X's, I used to literally go 2-3 times a week. Now, I only got 1-2 times a year...
Old 01-05-15, 11:23 AM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

Some people style their hair so high look at Don King. If Don King was sitting on front of me blocking the screen I would light his hair on fire.
Old 01-05-15, 11:42 AM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

I would have simply finished my omelette and left quietly.
Old 01-05-15, 11:43 AM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

Originally Posted by TheDude View Post
It's incidents like this that remind me of why I hardly ever go to the theater to see movies anymore...Back in the 200X's, I used to literally go 2-3 times a week. Now, I only got 1-2 times a year...
^This is the guy that sat behind you.

Congratulations, you've now put him off movies with your GF's gigantic hair.

Expect to hear from the MPAA.
Old 01-05-15, 12:08 PM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

My girlfriend and I get to our screening of Inherent Vice early enough to have our pick of seats and we grab two among the 3-5 or so other patrons in the theater at the time. While the theater is still pretty empty, a man in his 40s-50s sits behind my g/f (I believe he had his coat on the seat when we got in the theater and was just returning).

Still, a solid 10-15 minutes before lights down and the theater is pretty empty and the man leans forward and sort of says without introduction or context to my g/f and me, possibly, as he did not lead with any sort of intro, "I'd ask you to take your hat off, but it's your hair. You have you hair up. Nothing you can do about big hair, I guess. I'll have to move my seat." Now, he said that in a calm, but somewhat passive aggressive tone.
You take your seats 15 minutes before the lights go down in an almost empty theater.
This guy has already been in the theater, chosen his seat, claimed it with his coat, and (what?) been to the restroom.

So he arrived before you did which, allowing for previews, is more than 30 minutes before the movie is even going to start.

Now this is all supposition based entirely on the details provided (which I am foolheartedly going to assume are accurate) but it seems like this guy really wanted to sit in that very particular seat that he arrived really early to claim.
He probably figured that it would not be until the seats started filling up (and depending on the movie and time of day, he may have expected that would not happen) that anyone would sit in front of him.

Now, consider how truly weird it would have been if he had been in his seat, and you two came into the empty theater and plopped down in front of him.

But he was not there. And you can be excused for not noticing his coat.

So he has come to the theater way before the movie is going to start to claim his special seat, and now a girl with a volleyball on top of her head is sitting in front of him.

He should have just moved and kept his mouth shut.

But we know that he really wanted that seat. Verdict? The guy was an asshole.

Except now you have admitted that you saw the coat.

I saw his coat when choosing our seats, but knowing that Angelika is a "heads" theater (I'm going to start using that term), I knew where I wanted to sit as to limit being impacted by that fact, so I picked our seats as normal. Again, the guy was on the aisle of an empty row, he easily could've sat one off the aisle (directly behind me), which I actually think is the better seat for that particular theater, but personal preferences and all that.
So let's be fair and admit that it was pretty fucking odd in this guy's mind that he had returned from the urinal to find you two lovebirds billing and cooing in the seats in front of his, in an otherwise empty theater.

He said something. He didn't raise his voice or use profanity.

He said what he wanted to say to get it off his chest and dropped the matter.

He didn't start coughing or humming to bother you. He didn't keep kicking her seat "by accident" during the movie.

The best way to describe his tone and comments would be as if he was voicing his inner monologue, but sort of to us. He didn't attempt to escalate the situation when it was clear he was being ignored, but for, our replies of "Okay" and "Sorry, I guess."
A little less of an asshole. And when you factor in NYC standards, the guy was actually pretty decent.
Old 01-05-15, 12:50 PM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

Damn I'm late to this thread. You guys already used all the jokes.
Old 01-05-15, 01:03 PM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
Damn I'm late to this thread. You guys already used all the jokes.
You can still throw a tantrum, cuss out the OP, then storm off in a hissy fit.
Old 01-05-15, 01:12 PM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

I think I've had more problems with weirdos at the art house theater than I have the cineplex.

The worst was this guy who showed up to every movie with a huge bag of potato chips he would CRINKLE CRINKLE CRINKLE CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH through the whole movie. He was sitting behind me during Dogtooth and when I turned around and told him he was being very loud he just got a confused look on his face and said, "The movie's subtitled."
Old 01-05-15, 01:27 PM
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Re: Movie Theater Etiquette - Art House Weirdos

Originally Posted by Count Dooku View Post
You take your seats 15 minutes before the lights go down in an almost empty theater.
This guy has already been in the theater, chosen his seat, claimed it with his coat, and (what?) been to the restroom.

So he arrived before you did which, allowing for previews, is more than 30 minutes before the movie is even going to start.

Now this is all supposition based entirely on the details provided (which I am foolheartedly going to assume are accurate) but it seems like this guy really wanted to sit in that very particular seat that he arrived really early to claim.
He probably figured that it would not be until the seats started filling up (and depending on the movie and time of day, he may have expected that would not happen) that anyone would sit in front of him.

Now, consider how truly weird it would have been if he had been in his seat, and you two came into the empty theater and plopped down in front of him.

But he was not there. And you can be excused for not noticing his coat.

So he has come to the theater way before the movie is going to start to claim his special seat, and now a girl with a volleyball on top of her head is sitting in front of him.

He should have just moved and kept his mouth shut.

But we know that he really wanted that seat. Verdict? The guy was an asshole.

Except now you have admitted that you saw the coat.



So let's be fair and admit that it was pretty fucking odd in this guy's mind that he had returned from the urinal to find you two lovebirds billing and cooing in the seats in front of his, in an otherwise empty theater.

He said something. He didn't raise his voice or use profanity.

He said what he wanted to say to get it off his chest and dropped the matter.

He didn't start coughing or humming to bother you. He didn't keep kicking her seat "by accident" during the movie.



A little less of an asshole. And when you factor in NYC standards, the guy was actually pretty decent.
Pretty much agree with most of what you said as I understood where the guy was coming from (I like my "special seat" too), but it's a matter of entitlement. I like my "special seat" in theaters and get to them early to try to secure them, as I did at this screening b/c I expect the theater to fill up. That's the whole point though, people like me and I guess, that guy, are paranoid about full theaters, so we get there early.

I think it's a leap to suggest that this guy didn't or shouldn't expect the theater to fill up. The whole point of showing up early is predicated by the (usually erroneous) assumption that the theater will be filled and you (and I) don't get your precious "special" seat.

EDIT: Notes about the theater for clarification: there was no way that Inherent Vice being projected in 35mm (theater had digital projection on a different screen) during a holiday weekend in NYC doesn't fill up (which it did). Also, it was a small theater (anyone who has been to the Angelika screen that's behind the escalator can attest to this), so while there may have only been 5-10 people in the theater when I entered, we're still only talking about maybe 3-5 rows of "optimal seating" given the layout, which you could tell b/c the key seats in the key rows were taken, but for the seats in front of the older woman (see below) and the seats we took.

Don't think the guy is a monster, but I find it odd when people act on such petty senses of entitlement. I know I'm strange for caring as much as I do about where I sit in a theater. But, I also am wholly aware that it is not my "right" to get my special seat or have people not also have the right to sit in whatever vacant seat, they choose. It may annoy me if someone sits right next to me in an otherwise empty theater, but even then, who am I to tell them what vacant seat they should pick, even if their choice irritates me.

Interestingly enough, there was another older patron who was there before I in the same row (other side of the aisle), a couple came before the film started and sat in front of her. She got up and leapfrogged them by moving up 2 rows. No one cared. She felt her seat was no longer adequate, she moved to another open seat, that happened to be in front of the other patrons. No one said anything to anyone else. I feel like that is how it should work. The couple that sat in front of her weren't being malicious, they just wanted what they felt were the best available seats. The woman reacted by "upgrading" her seat. Done and done.

Last edited by BambooLounge; 01-05-15 at 01:34 PM.

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