I hate movie talkers.
Sorry if you are one. I mean, I may not even know you, so it’s probably rude to say I hate you right out of the gate like that. But if you talk during movies? You’re definitely working your way toward the Hate You column. And in fairness, that’s on you.
Here’s the thing: Movies are things you go to in order to watch them. You pay (and no small amount these days) to go in and watch it. Thus, the whole idea of talking while in a movie? So, not only not hearing what’s being said, but maybe making it so others can’t hear it, either? Dumb to do for yourself and a true dick move to do to others.
Look, if I wanted to hear you talk, I would’ve turned around in the ticket line and watched you talk to the person you’re with. Did I do that? Did anyone? No? Then shut up when the movie’s on, because no one wants to hear it. You want to catch up? You want to discuss what’s happened in your life or in the movie? Sure. But do it outside. Catch up before. Or do it after. But not during.
Today I went and saw Yesterday (he said, trying in vain to ignore the way that sounds). Really fun movie.
Except there were not only movie talkers–we had a couple of varieties, including one of those people who read out text that’s on the screen (and seriously, if you’re not a child who’s just learning to read and so will say out loud any words you read just by habit, what the hell is wrong with you feeling compelled to say those words? Do you think no one else can read it, so you’re helping them out? Are you reinforcing it for yourself so you don’t lose track of the plot? What’s the deal?), as well as the people directly behind me (which will surprise no one with whom I’ve attended a movie in the last few decades) who were just… y’know… talking. Just sounded like they were catching up on stuff as the movie started, before finally clamming up shortly before I was about to turn around and ask them to. But then the chirping started up again part way into the movie when a strange character shows up out of the blue and is clearly focused on. In response, one of the ladies behind me said, “Who’s that?”
Now here’s the thing, everyone: If you’re watching a movie and a character who hasn’t formerly been shown is suddenly shown, I promise you that if you just (quietly) hang in there for a bit, we’ll learn who the person is.
You know what a multi-million dollar film won’t do? It won’t write in, dress, make up and properly light someone who’s shown–nay, focused on–and then never bring them back again and leave you wondering who the hell that was when the film is done. I promise you that there are a lot of levels involved in making a movie whereby something that pointless and stupid and expensive won’t happen. Thus, if a mysterious character shows up and you’re wondering who it is, shut up and watch to see what happens. I should perhaps count my blessings that these people don’t do that through the entire movie each time any new character is shown (“Who’s that?” “I think he’s the main character. He was in the trailers.” “Who’s that?” “His girlfriend, I think.” “Who are they?” “Kids who are watching him play.” “And who are those?” “They’re grownups watching him play, so I guess maybe his friends? Or the parents of the kids?”…) And yet, interesting that that doesn’t happen…
In any case, today I was introduced to what may be an even worse irritant than movie talkers. Certainly a more rare one: The person who sings along with the movie.
To clarify, Yesterday is about a failed aspiring musician who gets in an accident during a freak world-wide power outage and he wakes up in hospital to discover, after a number of hints, that the reason no one seems to know who The Beatles were is because in this timeline, The Beatles never existed. Thus, as a last attempt at being a musician, he starts to “write” Beatles songs, and quickly goes from being a musician no one has ever heard of to the biggest musical name on the planet.
So you had a lot of moments of the protagonist perfecting Beatles songs before performing them. And evidently one person in the audience today thought it was totally cool to sing along with him.
Which it… y’know… really, really wasn’t.
Listen, if I go to a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, or The Sound of Music, or maybe even Mary Poppins, I’m going to go in expecting people to be singing along. That’s fair. But just because a movie you’re seeing has songs in it you know and like, doesn’t give you licence to sing along to them while everyone else in this public viewing is trying to watch the movie.
You want to sing The Beatles? No worries. Grab a guitar (a keyboard? Hell, an accordion) and head out to the street corner and sing your heart out. I’ll be the first to toss you a dollar or two. There’s a time and a place for that. But when you’re in a movie theatre–again, seeing a film whose very point is to be watched and listened to–you shouldn’t be talking or (particularly?) singing. Knock it all off and let everyone around you enjoy themselves without you catching up on gossip with your bestie or reading what’s on the screen–again, what is that?–or singing along with songs you recognize.
Oh, and while we’re at it, stay off your goddamn cell phones while the movie is going. Seriously.
I must really love seeing movies, though, because despite all of that I still go any chance I get. Those who are so oblivious or inconsiderate about ruining the enjoyment for others haven’t managed to turn me off of the movie-going experience.
Not today, Satan. Not today.