Clearly, I love movies. And I also obviously love going to the movies. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be attempting to see 100 movies from one calendar year in the theater. But not everyone is as respectful of the art as the rest of us. And they aren’t respectful of other people, either. Here are what I’ve come to conclude are the 10 most annoying moviegoer stereotypes (in no particular order). We’ve all come across them. Now, let’s call them out and make fun of them.
1. The Trailer Critic
Let’s start with the people who are annoying before the movie even begins. That’s right, the Trailer Critic. After every trailer, these people decide to loudly proclaim their thoughts to the entire auditorium. And it always seems to be negative. “That looks awful!” “How stupid!” “Hollywood’s out of ideas!” “I’m not seeing that!” They just hate everything. Here’s the thing; if they were really that knowledgeable, they’d know that marketing is only one barometer by which to gauge an upcoming film and they’d be seeking out more information. Also, nobody cares what you think, so shut up.
2. The White Rabbit
The White Rabbit is always late. Movie times are posted days ahead of time but, for whatever reason, these people can’t plan effectively enough to get to the theater on time. They walk in and then look surprised, as if they expected the theater to wait until they arrived before starting the film. They’ll often yell-whisper the names of their party who have already arrived, or turn on the flashlight on their cell phone like it’s the Eye of Sauron in an effort to find a seat. You know where there are plenty of seats? Your couch.
3. Captain Obvious
You know this person. They have to verbally confirm everything single thing from the movie that crosses their line of sight. “Hey, that’s Matt Damon!” “Oooh, she slapped him!” “Well, that didn’t go well.” Hey! We’re all watching the movie! We all saw what just happened! And NOBODY HERE needs you to tell them which one is Matt Damon! It’s really okay to keep your thoughts to yourself. Try it, sometime!
4. Professor X
Ugh. This is one of the most common. And they usually pop up at horror films. For some reason, these people actually believe that they exert some sort of mind control over the characters in the movie they’re watching. They actually shout things at the characters, telling them what to do. “Don’t go in there!” “Oh, come on, don’t do that!” “Yes! Kiss her!” I used to do that. I was about four years old.
5. Johnny Bravo
Another horror movie audience cliché. This one is usually (but not always) a guy. He laughs at all of the scary moments. He shouts, “Boo!” to the oh-so-lucky date he brought with him. And it’s all in an effort to project a false bravado. He doesn’t want her or anyone else to think he could ever be scared. He’s not scared and he’s insecure enough that EVERYONE MUST KNOW IT! Forget the fact that he’s killing the atmosphere for everyone else in the auditorium who paid their hard-earned money because THEY WANT TO BE SCARED! The worst part about this guy is that he actually has a date.
6. The Social Butterfly
This is probably the most common. These people carry with them the maturity of a 12-year-old. Their need for validation is so desperate that they can’t stay off of their phone for even a couple of hours without checking their texts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tinder, Grindr, eBay feedback score, PayPal balance, and anything else that doesn’t require an attention span. Their phone rings and . . . they answer it. They treat the auditorium like it’s their parents’ living room and are guilty of what I call “Walmart Syndrome” – the phenomenon where someone is surrounded by hundreds of people and yet seems completely oblivious to the presence of any of them. These people don’t belong at the movies and, quite frankly, don’t seem interested in even being there. If you need to use your phone, do it like an adult and step outside.
7. The Psychopath
These people laugh. And laugh. And laugh. At everything. It doesn’t even have to be a comedy. And this isn’t the Johnny Bravo. These people are laughing because they genuinely find whatever they’re witnessing to be funny, whether it’s intended to be or not. Somebody curses out of anger in a very heated, emotional exchange? Laughter! A lovable protagonist in a serious drama has a terminal disease but then finds out she’s pregnant? Guffaw! A character dies in an unusual, excruciating way in a film that’s based on a true story? HILARIOUS! Because they lack the ability to empathize and distinguish right from wrong and reality from fiction. Not only do they not belong at the movies; they don’t belong among the general population.
8. The Space Invader
True story: I was once sitting in a theater all by myself, waiting for a movie to begin. An older couple comes in and begins to look for a seat. The entire theater, except for my one seat, is at their disposal. So, what do they do? They come up and sit RIGHT BESIDE ME! Not even a courtesy seat between us! And, no, I didn’t move. I got there first and I was going to sit where I wanted to! The Space Invader is completely unfamiliar with the concept of personal space and boundaries and is totally devoid of self-awareness. They’ll sit right next to people when there are plenty of other seats. A tall Space Invader will sit directly in front of a short moviegoer, negating any advantage to stadium seating. In general, a Space Invader finds a way to physically interfere with other people’s enjoyment of the film.
Ah, the fortune teller. They’re primarily concerned with coming across as intelligent to everyone else in the theater. So, as soon as they think they see something comin, they verbalize it. “Oh, that’s the killer.” “Watch, he’s going to die.” Or they’ll even try to finish characters’ lines.
Character: “We can do this the easy way . . .”
Nostradamus: “. . . or the hard way.”
Character: “. . . or your way.”
Because, that’s right, either one of two things usually happens here. Either 1) Nostradamus calls something literally about a second before it happens so that there’s no chance of being wrong, or 2) Nostradamus is wrong. Yet, it never seems to stop them from trying it again, in five minutes.
10. Beavis and/or Butthead
One of the worst trends to emerge in recent years is that of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 rip-offs. These people mock works of art that they, themselves, don’t have the insightful capabilities to understand and use those films to get themselves over. I’m talking Honest Trailers, Everything Wrong With, RiffTrax, and the like. They’re never clever, they’re never witty, they’re never funny, and they’re rarely thoughtful, accurate analyses. And this trend often bleeds over into the theaters, themselves, with moviegoers making fun of everything they see without actually processing or comprehending it. These are the worst offenders because they aren’t only obnoxious but they’re also disrespectful to the art and to the hundreds and even thousands of people who worked very hard on said film. I don’t like every movie I see, but I always respect the people behind it and they had a vision that differed from mine. Filmmaking isn’t easy and I’d wager that the films these armchair buffoons would patch together would be among the worst the world has seen.
So, when you go the movies, be respectful. Respect the other audience members and respect the people who worked tirelessly to bring you the work of art that you’re watching for a low price, when you consider what all went into it. Think outside yourself or stay inside your house.