The Nine Worst People in a Movie Theater

Mrs. Candy Wrapper

I'm one of the last people I know who regularly go out to the movies. Because of my flexible schedule, I attend matinees, for the lower prices and the smaller, quieter audiences. I usually have a swell time. But there's always some annoying weirdo in the theater, isn't there? Now, according to my snobbish criteria, anyone who does not sit completely still, in utter silence (barring apropos laughter and screams), belongs on this list. But here are the worst offenders.

  1. Anyone Who Can't Put Their Goddamn Phone Away for Two Hours. Let's just get this one out of the way.
  2. The Last-Minute Pisser. The man or woman who gets up right as the movie begins and rushes to the bathroom. How is it that you can sit through 20 minutes of trailers thinking, "I'm fine, my bladder's fine", then 5 seconds into the first production company logo, you're like, "Nope! Gotta pee!"
  3. The Latecomers. The movie's posted showtime is 1:30pm. That means it really starts at 1:50, because of those aforementioned 20 minutes of trailers. So why are you still late? As these people dither over their seats, you often hear them quietly bicker over the showtime, as if it mattered at this point. ("Didn't the website say it started at 2?")
  4. Popcorn Monster. I love popcorn, but I don't feel like shelling out $8 for a nickel's worth of it, so I rarely eat it in a movie theater. On the occasion when I do, I chew with my mouth closed. Is that so hard? I guess so, because everyone else is crunching away like Cookie Monster with a mouthful of dry leaves. I have even tried to replicate this sound and failed; If I chew popcorn with my mouth open, the popcorn simply falls out.
  5. The Rummager. This is the lady sitting next to you who starts fiddling with her purse, shopping bags, etc. as soon as the lights go down. All you can do is sit tensely as you wait for for that final satisfying zip!
  6. Mrs. Candy Wrapper. Oh, so that's what she was doing with her purse: extracting a cough drop or a candy. The unwrapping process always starts slowwwwly, as if the plastic somehow won't crinkle that way. Instead, it just prolongs the noise. After a minute of this racket, Mrs. Candy finally accepts that the slow method isn't working, so she hastily unwraps the rest of the thing in 3 seconds and pops it in her mouth.
  7. The First One Out the Door. This one really baffles me. Usually you can tell when a movie's about to end: the villain's dead, Earth's been saved, etc. During the film's denouement, the moment that finale music starts swelling, there's always someone in the audience who figures, "Welp, that was worth 115 minutes of my time... but certainly not 118 minutes!" and they bolt. On a busy Friday night, I sort of get it: you want to beat the crowd. But people also do this at quiet weekday matinees. Some amateur journalist even did this during a festival screening of my film Foreign Correspondents, while I was in the lobby. She wanted to ask me about the film, but I just told her, "You're missing the whole ending! Go back in and watch it!" She looked at me like I was joking. So I told her again. And again. Eventually she took the hint and went back in... just as the credits started rolling.
  8. Mr. Shaky Leg. He's the guy sitting behind you who decides to rest his foot on a nerve, making his whole leg – and, by extension, your whole seat – tremble and quake. Go ahead, turn around and ask him to stop. The shakes will only return. Related: Mr. Tappy Foot.
  9. The Old Chatterboxes. You'll find them more at matinees than at evening performances, and you'll absolutely find them at the Landmark Pavilion in West Los Angeles: elderly duos who, probably because they're hard of hearing, jabber at full volume at each other throughout the duration of the film. This isn't your living room, folks!