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Your Cinema-Going Enhancement Guide

List of U.S. state foods

Popcorn: The edible carpet

I love film. I love film so much that I actually manage to get by without having to bite down onto a leather strap while the box office takes their pick of my internal organs without anaesthetic in exchange for a ticket (which they then rip in front of your face. Harsh.) to sit and watch one of the great spectacles of the world that is cinema. Having tried out several of London’s finest cinemas and found the best (the ones that serve booze to your armchair style seat) and the worst (the ones where the seats are made from second hand chewing gum and the farts of a thousand Adam Sandler fans) but from years of experience, I have learned that people have invented so many more ways to enhance a movie theatre visit, to make it a truly unforgettable experience.

No matter your taste in film, follow these guidelines and you will discover the full exhilaration that the enigmatic world of “going to the flicks” can offer.

Mobile phones – There’s nothing scarier than feeling alone, isolated and out of contact with the world, so reassure your fellow cinephiles by leaving your mobile phone turned on. If you’re worried that your full volume Rihanna ring tone may get lost among the booming sound effects of Michael Bay’s latest delicately observed firework display, simply light up the room with the screen of your phone, which will become a lighthouse of eye-catching comfort to all the lost souls hoping for some distraction from the horror that is being totally in the dark. Plus, you really need to Tweet this, I mean, how will people know what you think of the popcorn and how many times you cried during the first 17 minutes of Les Mis otherwise?!

Snacks – The foyer of any cinema offers a fast and easy way to relieve you of your financial burden. They will helpfully take all your money and exchange it for a packet of Revels and the feeling of being used and ashamed; a bit like visiting a hooker, with the bonus of 3 nice chocolates (the rest of the packet are always the ones you thought had been discontinued until you discover one in your mouth and have to spit it into the cup holder of the seat next to you). Last time I purchased sweets and a bottle of water in the cinema foyer, I checked my change and then had to ask the attendant where I picked up the Ferrari I’d clearly just come into possession of.

The louder and crunchier the snack you purchase, the better. The rustling and munching of triple fried glass, wrapped in the hind legs of crickets and autumn leaves is the authentic sound of the old time movie theatre and will drown out the cacophony of your fellow cineastes complaining about the racket – they really shouldn’t whine so much about how loud the movie is, you can barely hear yourself eat! For those hard of hearing, treat them to the joy of some traditionally fragrant movie food, like nachos topped with that melted badger’s ear wax. Om and indeed, nom.

Arrival Time – Arrive a good 7-10 minutes after the film has started. You didn’t want to see the trailers anyway and you can just ask each other loudly about the who/where/what/why/whens of the vital intro plot set ups, once you’ve shoved your arse in everyone’s face and trampled your way across an indistinguishable crunchy carpet of feet and popcorn, forcing the entire row to perform a disgruntled Mexican wave, and finally settled into your seats.

Seat Selection – Don’t settle on your location too readily. Make sure you walk all the way to the top of the theatre, all the way back down, up again, down half way, up two rows, down three rows, back to the top, down a bit, trip over the group performing the same Grand Old Duke of York routine aaaaand then you can settle into a row, ensuring you have suitable surrounding seats on which to arrange all your coats, bags, beverages, snacks and new Ferrari. People truly love having to beg for you to relinquish one of these “buffer” seats as it makes them feel they’ve truly earned the right to sit down and watch the film they paid the same price as you for.

If you’re tall, get a good seat in the centre, near the front. This means that short people have something to block their view when it gets to the scary bit, or the gross bit. Or the good bit. All of it really.

Talk freely – There’s nothing better than catching up with friends while also catching the latest over-priced blockbuster. You could have saved the chat for the pub but it’s too noisy there so the middle of a period drama is just ideal. Adjust your vocal volume down to a dull constant drone once the film has properly commenced (that’s about 10 minutes after the lead actor has started talking) and feel at liberty to pepper your chitter chatter with whoops, shrieks and shouts of encouragement to the actors up there on the screen – they really appreciate it, you can see it on their faces and it truly affects the outcome of the film.

Don’t feel bad if you don’t fully understand the plot, even though it’s aimed at jellyfish under the age of 7, feel free to ask as many questions as you like – the people in the surrounding 9 rows were probably too embarrassed to ask for themselves.

Bladders – It’s alarming how the makers of these 2 hour films give you absolutely no idea how long you’re going to have to sit in that darkened room watching a 2 hour film with nothing but a 5 gallon bucket of cola for company. This really isn’t your fault. You may have mastered potty training, but this is another thing entirely, and nothing could have warned you that you that you should have relieved yourself before the 2 hour film started. Feel free to wait for the really exciting bit before you shuffle your walnut sized bladder out of row C, so people are too distracted by the gripping key plot moment of the 2 hour film to notice your posterior blocking the view.

When you think about all the fun ways there are to enhance your cinema going experience, and that of the folk around you, it really does make it seem worth the price of a kidney, your mortgage and the soul of your first-born. Just one thing to note though – when you are at the cinema, enjoying yourself to the max in the manner mentioned above, please note, some theatres have implemented cinema “ninjas”; people in black morphsuits who sneak about in the dark, policing the aisles. On top of that, there’s me, with a cattle prod and a willing aim.


About prettyfeetpoptoe

I live in London and have both my own legs so I am fortunate enough to get out and about on occasion. I form many views on the things that I see and do and love nothing better than a session of linguistic gymnastics in order to share these views.

14 responses »

  1. Any one of those things would make me scream…and, at least, one usually happens.
    I did receive an ovation once in a theater for telling off a kid who kept talking…I insisted loudly that I had paid to watch and LISTEN to the show.

  2. stephrogers

    Oh I laughed and laughed! I recently went to see The Hobbit in 3D with hubby. First time I had been out since my youngest was born (he’s almost 18 months old now), and there was a woman there with 2 children under 5, at the 9pm session of the M15+ rated The Hobbit. Needless to say the little ones freaked out because it’s really scary, and cried the whole time. I left my kids at home and went to a grown ups movie at a late night grown ups time slot, paid my entire year’s wage for the privelege, and had to listen to someone else’s kids cry. Your post definitely struck a chord with me!

    • I devoted an entire post to my campaign for adult-only zones, for the singles and the parents alike, who wish for some respite from the noise/smell/commotion of darling little ankle biters. I would at least have hoped that an age restricted movie would be safe. Seems there’s a need for a family pack of cattle prods!

  3. Snifflers – don’t forget those bastards! Use a hanky ya bastard!

  4. Oh no! I’ve been twice to the cinemas this week and I failed all of the above!

    I’m somewhat disappointed you forgot to mention the full-on make-out that one should do while in a cinema-because there’s nothing like a packed room to really show your boyfriend of three weeks just how much you love his saliva!

    • I don’t think I’ve ever had to suffer the sight of a young couple drowning in each other’s spittle while at the cinema – teen romance must be dead in London. Or it can’t afford the price of a ticket and has taken refuge in the nearest bus shelter.

  5. Cinemas with booze? We need this over here, all we have is pizza; who needs a whole pizza while they watch a movie?

    • Seriously, get petitioning! I’ve been to one where you can take your drink in from the bar but there is a small chain in London who offer table service to your seat (which has a small table and ice bucket holder as well as scatter cushions and foot stools) before the main feature starts. Table service?! It’s like they looked into my head and built what they saw.


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