Angry Movie-Going Purist

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about a random occurrence in my life, but here’s one.  My friend and I went to watch Drive last night in the theaters.  (Excellent movie, by the way.)

We got there a bit early, so about 20 minutes before the movie’s start time, we found ourselves in a mostly empty theater discussing some fairly highbrow issues (cultural norms and prejudices, and the like).  I’ll allow that we were slightly loud, but not much.

All of a sudden, a guy one row down and a few seats to the right gets up, leans away from the woman he was with and tells us angrily, “You know, if you’re going to spend $22 for a movie and are going to talk, why don’t you do it somewhere else?”

Both my friend and I were a bit too stunned to say anything at first.  Keep in mind this is not during the movie.  This is not during the trailers.  This is not even in the formal pre-trailer advertising.  This is during Fandango commercials.  I gesticulated at the screen and said, “Sorry, the movie’s not on yet.”

“That’s not the point,” he countered angrily.

“Well, yes… it is.  You’re getting mad at us for talking during a Fandango commercial,” I replied.  ”When the movie starts and we’re still talking, you can tell us to keep quiet.”  My friend chimed in with something similar as well.

“Everybody around you is distracted by you!”

“Umm, no, no one has said anything except you.  Again, sir, the movie is not on yet.

At this point, he grew livid.  My rational explanations sometimes do that to people.  I call those people “insane”.  He pointed at me and said, “You want to fight?  Let’s take it outside.  We can go right now!”

This entire exchange had me wondering: had we fought, where would we have done it?

  • The stairwell
    • Pros: Nearby; don’t get to miss any Fandango commercials
    • Cons: Nearby; might spill some popcorn
  • Outside the hall
    • Pros: Less chance of splash damage; ready access to dumpsters and displays to hit each other with
    • Cons: Might get seen by theater security and kicked out; might end up smelling like popcorn if thrown near popcorn machine
  • The bathroom
    • Pros: Out of sight of theater attendants
    • Cons: You’re brawling with another dude in a bathroom; I hope your life can’t go lower than this
  • Outside the theater complex
    • Pros: No chance of being thrown out
    • Cons: They probably won’t let you back in since you’ve already used up your ticket

My friend laughed out loud and said, “No, we’re not going to fight you, dude.”

I was fascinated – I hadn’t been challenged to a fight in maybe 20 years, since I was in elementary school.  I looked closely at the man, who in his 50s and – given that we are in the Silicon Valley – was probably some kind of an engineer or tech-head.  He didn’t seem like the kind of man to get so angry to challenge people to fights.  Some anger issues, perhaps?  His wife didn’t even look at us – she was resolutely staring straight ahead, probably too ashamed of this ordeal.

I decided to be annoying.  ”Is this your deal?  You go around challenging people in movie theaters to fights?  How’s that working out for you?” I asked loudly to some guffaws from the few people in the audience.

“Assholes!” he hissed.

My friend and I exchanged delighted grins.  His irritation was a source of amusement to us.  ”Why don’t you switch seats?” I asked politely.  ”For your Fandango commercials, I mean.”

“Assholes!” he repeated.  Apparently his favorite word.

“You know, you could go find an attendant and have him try to kick us out?” I suggested helpfully.

“Assholes!” he said sitting down and glaring at us.  My friend and I were in stitches.

I will admit, the movie was great but not nearly as good as this exchange.  As we walked out afterwards, I made sure to tail him and asked loudly, “So how did you enjoy your moviegoing experience, sir?”

“Good,” he mumbled confusedly.

“Quiet enough for you?”

“Yes,” he replied, finally recognizing me.

Good!” I enthused.  ”I’m so very glad that you had an enjoyable moviegoing experience!  I wouldn’t want anything to ruin it for you!  Have a great night!”

I walked off to some more laughter from others, leaving behind an incensed Angry Movie-Going Purist.