One year, seven months and 24 days – that’s how long I waited for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” to hit theaters. Finally, on my 21st birthday, the countdown ended.
Before the movie even got going, though, I knew I’d leave at least a tad disappointed. Not because of Jennifer Lawrence – she never disappoints – but because of the people surrounding me.
Everywhere I looked were obnoxious and inconsiderate morons who seemed hell-bent on ruining my night. Movie cretins, I like to call them.
It was disheartening to say the least. You know the feeling you get when you see a waiter headed toward your table with trays of food only to turn at the last second and hand the plates to another party? Now pretend you’ve been waiting more than 600 days for that dinner.
I tried to remain positive. “Maybe the small child in the back is mute,” I told myself. “Maybe the group of teenagers near the middle will shut up once the lights dim. Maybe the man who sat directly next to me will get up and move.”
As it turned out, these movie cretins lived up to their name.
A few minutes into “Catching Fire,” the little girl I’d seen earlier began chattering mindlessly. I love kids, I really do, but they have no idea how loud they are. Katniss’ lines were drowned out by high-pitched whining and subsequent shushing.
My discouragement quickly turned to rage. “This is a 10:20 showing of a PG-13 movie!” I screamed internally. “Why is this child not at home in bed?”
Here’s some advice for people who are considering taking their kid to any movie that isn’t a kids’ movie: don’t. If you just need to get out of the house, find a baby sitter. Please, we childless moviegoers beg you.
After two bathroom breaks, the little girl quieted down. Right around then, the teenagers at the center of the theater grew more distracting. They laughed at the most inappropriate times, like during the reaping scene – when two young people are essentially sentenced to brutal, televised deaths. Their stage-whispered questions reached my ears: “Who’s that? Where are they going?”
I get that not everyone is a diehard fan. These teenagers only wanted a way to kill a Saturday night. But keep it down and save your questions for later.
The worst of the movie cretins, however, was my lonely neighbor to the left. Rather than take a seat in an empty section, he plopped down right next to me. Basic theater etiquette dictates that you do not invade a person’s personal space unless absolutely necessary. He released a near-constant stream of reaction noises – gasps, laughter, etc. – all of which seemed louder than they were because he was inches from my face. Don’t be this guy. Allow a one-seat buffer.
In fact, don’t be a movie cretin at all. Leave the kids at home, stay reasonably quiet and take a bathroom break beforehand. True fans will appreciate it.