I go to the cinema a lot. Not because I’m particularly interested in the latest Transformers atrocity, nor because I have any particular inclination toward the taste of stale popcorn and flat Coke, but because sometimes I have to partake in what they refer to in the real world as ‘socialising’. Going to the cinema is generally cheaper than going to the pub, and there is the added bonus that I don’t have to talk to anyone. Everybody wins.
Given that I spend so much time wedged into one of those uncomfortable seats that they only have in cinemas, trying to ignore one of those horrendous blockbusters that they only have in cinemas, I spend an awful lot of time observing the weird and wonderful people that they only have in cinemas. I reckon I could probably qualify as a sociologist of some kind at this point, and as I’m a nice guy, I’m going to share some of my observations with you, the inquisitive folk of the internet.
Firstly, there is the girl who has never been to the cinema before in her life. She laughs hysterically at all the inane adverts that everyone else has seen before, gasps in awe at all the trailers, and to top it off, provides a running commentary of the film as the events unfold. Remember the opening scene from Black Swan? She was the girl who squealed “oooh, she’s a ballerina!” about three minutes in.
Then there’s toilet guy. He drinks two pints of water before leaving his house, gets a large mocha-choca-loca-doca from his local coffee shop on the way, and then buys himself a bucket of Coke to watch the film with. He has perfected the art of holding onto this vast ocean of liquid swirling around inside him throughout the adverts and trailers, but in an offensively loud cacophony of apologies and excuses, he has everyone standing up and sitting back down in a Mexican wave of awkwardness as soon as the film starts. This pattern is repeated during every important plot point throughout the film.
We also have the most infuriating and inexplicable guy who seems to be watching the same film as everyone else, but on a 5-second delay. You know the guy. He sits right behind you, and only laughs at the joke or gasps at the sudden revelation after everyone else has gotten over it and moved on with their lives. He also stays sitting in his seat until the credits have rolled in full, preventing you from escaping without making some graceless vault over the back of your own seat. What the hell is he even doing? Is he really that interested in who filled the role of Key Grip?
To be honest, these observations have only come about since my local arthouse cinema closed down a while back, leaving me at the mercy of the uncouth scoundrels who frequent the local omniplex.
Picture the scene at the ticket booth recently:
Shane: “Hello, good sir, could you tell me when “Des Hommes et des Dieux” [spoken in a horribly pretentious attempt at a French accent] will be showing in this establishment?
Omniplex Employee: “?”
Shane: “Of Gods and Men. It’s a French film.”
Omniplex Employee: “Oh, right, a French film. We have Winnie the Pooh?”
And so on. It’s hard work being a snob.