Since E.T. first followed the trail of Reese’s Pieces in 1982, I’ve been an avid movie-goer. I’ve sobbed through hours of Sandra/Rachel/Julia films and the loss of $3.50 matinees; I’ve cheered for Patriots and Gladiators and the addition of White Castle burgers to the concession menu; and I’ve walked away with more Raisinettes glued to my pants than I can count.
So against critics’ recommendation, I went to see One Day yesterday. And over the sound of my sniffling all I could hear was the woman sitting next to me narrating scene-by-scene. So whilst trying to drown out the sound of her gasps and groans, I noticed there are quite a few characters in most movie theaters:
Know-it-All: Better suited as a sportscaster, the Know-it-All will six-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon his way through every flick. You’ll barely make it through the previews without hearing, “hey! That guy playing his dad in that movie is also the guy that played the dad in Footloose!”
Narrator: If you’re wondering where they are going with it when a woman sighs heavily while holding a pregnancy test in a scene, never fear – someone nearby will helpfully announce, “oooooh she’s pregnant!” The Narrator is frequently two steps behind the rest of the audience, but her verbal epiphanies really give the movie-going experience great texture.
Smuggler: We’ve all brought contraband into the movie theater, but the Smuggler kicks it up a notch. As you half-heartedly chow on your gas station Junior Mints there’s always someone lurking nearby with a spicy tuna roll and a sniffer of brandy.
Glowmantic: The twenty-something sitting nearby is more engrossed with the blinding glow of her cell than she is with the on-screen action. The Glowmantic goes to the movies to escape real life but ends up just texting her BFF.
The Head: Stadium seating is no match for The Head. If you shift left, The Head shifts left; if you lean forward, the Head sits up straighter; if you’re lucky enough to be tall, The Head will be wearing a hat.
Crinkler: Not to be outdone by roaring gunfire or a cheering stadium, the Crinkler waits until a tense who’s-about-to-jump-out-of-the-closet moment to unwrap their Milk Duds.
Since I can be a terrible Know-it-All and I crinkled my way through Love Actually with a smuggled foot-long pizza sub, I can say with authority that half(ish) the fun of going to the movies is really in the “ambience.” Otherwise I suspect we’d all just stay home. What keeps you going to the movies?