Who’s to blame for a bad cinema experience?

As we are in times of lockdown, one of the more trivial hardships we have to endure is not being able to go to the flick.  The lovely times I would spend watching subpar films that a mate had dragged me along too, shelling out ten pounds for the privilege. I stay awake at night, missing the feeling of walking along the aisles of sticky lino and Pollockesque Popcorn. I miss struggling to hear poorly written jokes delivered by Dwayne ‘I mock’ Johnson; Hindered by a couple two rows behind who think this is the perfect time to discuss the trivial goings-on of their hideously annoying friendship group. 

I firmly believe the only way to enjoy a film at the cinema is to book your ticket way in advance, making sure when booking that your seats are down the front and in the middle of the row for optimal viewing. The best way to enhance the experience is to enjoy a snack. Hotdogs and Nachos are always the best choices. Not only do they taste great (and are much easier to eat than popcorn) but you can still smell them long after you’ve finished, so you’re still getting your money’s worth as the credits roll. The only correct way to enter a cinema is to turn up not only late but ten minutes into the film. Meaning everyone on your row has to stand up as you cause a massive fuss getting past. Surprise, surprise distracting the whole crowd, including me as the film is currently setting up some pretty crucial exposition of why Timothée Chalamet is an emotionally scarred young adult. But hey, that’s just me. I can only assume it’s the correct way to enjoy a film because it seems to happen almost every time I visit my local multiplex.

Of course, this would never happen in a lovely art house cinema. Except it does, but this time the hot dog is replaced with a tub of fancy ice cream from a company I’ve never heard of, and the cold drink is replaced with ‘the middle-class intellectual’s favourite’ a LARGE glass of Red wine. “Please” I shout, “Please obscure my view of Willem Dafoe/Adam Sandler.” The worst part is that however strong and deep my anger is for Tarquin and Mark’s late arrival of the Palme d’Or award-winning three-hour black and white silent foreign film, I know they have paid out roughly half a weeks rent on the event. Because nothing says, multiplex owned art house cinema like the same cheaply produced popcorn at the same inflated prices but this time out of a cardboard box instead of a bag.  

I now know that the problems are universal. Although going to the cinema is an expensive pastime, they make very little money on tickets and refreshments are a large part of their funding. As much as I would love to place blame on them, I can’t. I have realised that the reason I detest watching films in a large room full of members of the public is that I am in a large room, full of members of the public.  Maybe now, as we take a break from the cinema, we can all reflect on our shoddy behaviour of talking (and eating) loudly, turning up late and laughing at parts of the film that are clearly a bit awkward, but overall are trying to make a poignant message of the self-loathing of a young man. (I never found out what it was that caused Timothée to be so scarred). Let’s all take a look at ourselves and make a change for the better.

 Well, not me, of course. I turn up 15 minutes before the adverts start and refuse to claim my free popcorn and drink as part of my student membership because if there is one thing worse than everything I’ve just said, it’s a hypocrite. 

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