My biggest pet peeve is people talking during movies.
Five years ago, I was super eager to show a couple of my friends the movie “Garden State.” As the film began, one of them began texting. Then the other began texting. Then they began talking to each other. At one point, they even walked outside.
After the movie, one of them said, “I really liked it.” What, the five seconds you saw? That night I decided I will only watch movies with people if one of three conditions are met:
- We’ve all seen the movie already.
- It’s at the movie theatre, where the loud speakers can block out their voices. This, along with social pressure, tends to discourage talking, especially at awesome movie theaters like Alamo Drafthouse in Austin where they make it very clear you’ll be kicked out for talking.
- They have a good track record or similar hatred of people talking during movies. Though, people have told me they hate it too and still talk, so I tend to be skeptical.
Don’t get me wrong: There is a right way to talk during movies. Very few people know it, though. But here it is: Quick comments during non-dialogue moments. My favorite? When the guy finally gets the girl and they’re kissing, I’ll sometimes say, “Yeah! Work it!”
The wrong response to the same scene? “You know, this was exactly my technique with Kelly the first time we kissed. Let me tell you the entire history of our kissing relationship.”
It’s especially rude to talk when someone is showing you a movie. Do you know how stressful it is to show someone a movie? You constantly watch their reactions to your favorite scenes. Make sure they don’t miss any crucial lines. When you talk or text during this, you’re saying with your actions that their interests don’t matter to you.
So, if you ask me to watch a movie with you and your friends, I might say no. But it’s not you, it’s m…ovie etiquette.