by Hadi M. Nor

Pix Credit:
It’s shameful really, knowing that society needs to be educated on manners when watching a movie.

Going to the cinema is one of the most popular and favoured activities because of its suitability for any occasion such as a date, time with family or an outing with friends, even to hire a contract killer. It is one of the best ways to spend time with someone or a group of people without talking to each other.

I, however, prefer to go to the cinema alone. It’s not because I don’t have any friends, it’s just because I honestly can’t think of anyone among my friends who can watch a movie without transgressing the ethics of the cinema.

Everyone knows of the “silencing your phone” and the “don’t talk on the phone” rules thanks to numerous advertisements shown before a movie starts. But what unethical cinemagoers don’t understand is that “no talking on the phone” means “No talking at all”.

Some cinemagoers still answer their phone calls during a movie. They try to suppress their conversation by whispering on the phone, trying not to disturb other audience members. Whispering does not help, actually. Whispering in the cinema instead of talking is like cutting down a tree using an axe instead of a chainsaw; one is quieter than the other but the effect is the same.

I’ve encountered plenty of people who persist in talking at the cinema during a movie. It gets more annoying when they try to make a parody or a joke of the film they’re watching.

When I was watching Puaka Di Tebing Biru, there was a man sitting behind me desperately trying to impress his date with his myopic sense of humor. He started laughing during the dramatic scenes, making fun of how funny the characters’ faces look when they cry. He was a stand-up comedian whom you wished would sit down and shut up.

During a funeral scene, he explained to his date that the coffin is actually empty. He wasn’t theorizing the film’s twist. He was just telling his date that the coffin was empty when they were shooting the film and Umie Aida, the actress who played the character who died in the film (Spoiler? Oops), was not actually inside the coffin.

I could only imagine how frustrating it would be if I were to watch Transformers with this guy. He would explain that the robots in Transformers are not real robots.

Pix Credit: 
"That's not real blood. That's actually air sirap."
Cinema audience members checking their phones every four or five minutes is so common that I’ve grown accustomed to it. Actually, no, I’m just kidding. I hate it when someone does this. Thanks to smartphones, the prevalence of this atrocious habit exacerbates, as smartphones are apparently more entertaining than movies.

While watching Sherlock Holmes, I witnessed an audience member playing Angry Birds during the film. He stopped playing and put down his phone during action scenes and resumed when the characters started talking again. I wished I could play "real life" Angry Birds with him by putting him in a slingshot and shooting him at the screen.

When you watch a football match, it is okay to tweet your comments on the game because if you missed a goal, foul or any important occurrence, you can catch it on the replay. People should understand that you cannot simply rewind the film in the cinema if you missed a part. Maybe you can if you buy the Gold Class ticket. Hold on, I’ll check…

Nope, you still can’t.

When they were too busy with their phones and they missed important scenes, they would try to catch up by asking their friends, thus, breaking one of the most important rules in the cinema; no talking.

It is great to bring your kids out to watch movies. That’s why Hollywood made family movies like Finding Nemo, Alien in the Attic, ET and many others. A few years ago, I was watching Troy and unfortunately seated right beside me was a little girl and her parents.

The little girl got bored because she didn’t understand what was going on in the movie. The swordfight scenes intrigued her but the rest of the film (even Brad Pitt’s awesome biceps) seemed mundane to her.

Pix Credit:
Brad Pitt showing off his bicep in 'Troy' when they engaged in a Rock, Paper, Scissors battle.

She then started reciting the alphabets when the characters were talking. This is what I heard while watching the film:

“May the Gods—
“A, B, C, D, E”
“—the wolves in the—
“F, G, H, I, J”
“—women in our beds!”

Her parents didn’t even hush her. They did ask her to be quiet but gave up after a couple of times. Why would you bring an infant to see Troy? Of course they wouldn’t appreciate the film. Unless the film was made by Pixar and Disney.

The sad truth is, dealing with annoying cinema audiences is inevitable. The only films that I’ve watched at the cinema without being distracted by audience’s shenanigans were Relationship Status, Joshua Tapes, Ciplak and The Descendants. You know why? Because the cinema was practically empty.

Pix Credit:  Best way to watch a film.
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