So.... what the hell happened?
I remember when I was a kid going to the movies (not THAT bloody long ago, was it?) once in a great while you'd hear someone speaking softly during a movie. Someone would shush them, they'd realize they were being rude, and that was that.
But NOW..... holy cow! If you ask someone to pipe down they get indignant and act is if you're violating their first amendment rights.
And you can't just blame it on the "younger people" either, they are plenty of 75 year old ladies on an evening out that sound like Siskel and Ebert sitting behind you.
Besides the current trend towards rudeness in general, I think there are two words that helped bring this pain in the butt about: Home Video.
Going to the movies used to be somewhat of a special event before the advent of VCRs, but once people could watch movies at home at their leisure, pausing to go get a snack or rewinding because someone on the COUCH was talking... it became mundane, no big deal.
And somehow the transference was made.... watching a movie at home = watching a movie at a theater. Same rules apply, including but not limited to:
- Eating food wrapped in crinkly cellophane as slowly as possible.
- Talking on the (cell)phone.
- Talking to the person next to them at regular conversational volume.
How to fix this? That's a good question as there are many approaches. There's the polite "I'm sorry, but I can't hear what the characters are saying" approach. Or if you're feeling like you can defend yourself in a fight, the "Hey, you want to shut the hell up?" approach. That's a crapshoot however, as you could end up carried out on a stretcher if you say that to the wrong person, or worse, group of people.
Back in the days before you had to worry about getting shot for bumping into someone, there was a girl talking loudly in a theater, who I asked politely to quite down. I don't remember her exact response, but it was pretty damned rude. My retort was something along the lines of:
"Shut the **** up or I'll kick your ass and your boyfriend's, too!"
I heard a small grumble of a guy saying "Thanks a lot." to his girlfriend, and after that.... blissful silence for the duration of the movie.