When was the last time you went to the pictures on a Saturday night? I used to think that the cinema on a Saturday night was a place frequented by a breed of people clad in corduroy trousers and trench coats. I preferred Sunday night cinema viewing in my heyday. But now that those good old days seem to be over and I am joined in marital union to my sofa, a picture house on a Saturday night is where I am most likely to be found and a normal one at that.
Last weekend my boyfriend and I decided to go and see The Bone Collector. We were looking forward to watching a good thriller and instead had the unexpected pleasure of witnessing a circus act. People whose pants seemed to have been invaded by an army of ants surrounded us. If not toilet hopping, they were wandering along the aisles trying to spot other pals and then coming back to ask their partners what they had missed. We then had three women sitting directly in front of us who talked throughout the entire film. Not only were they bantering inanely about post-cinema plans, they were also keen to indulge in a little detective work, “I reckon it’s ‘im,” being a fairly consistent observation. I can tell you that after two hours of listening to their rubbish, I was keen to do a bit of bone collecting myself!
I mean, you expect kids to misbehave. Where the sanctity of silence reigns supreme – places like the cinema, school assemblies and churches – you’re always guaranteed to get an ample quota of children clowning around. Perhaps the thrill of making noise in places that are out of bounds never really leaves us – confinable in some people, visible in others. Although this is a theory that can thankfully no longer be put to the test in a school assembly.
Then, on a more general note, you have the industrial popcorn chewer or the serial cola guzzler, with the prize for torturer extraordinaire going to none other than the smelly food eater. This specimen is usually found any place where there are a lot of people crammed together in a tight space with no easy way out. He or she prefers to eat Wotsits, burgers or that latest unwelcome addition to the cinema menu: nachos. Nachos smothered in lashings of Mr Squeezy cheese. Hello? Who thought that would ever improve picture house politics?
But I do think that suburban cinemas are definitely the least favourable – possibly because my worst experiences (and it seems those of my friends) have taken place in these cinemas. I can only guess this is because there is perhaps more of a “treat factor” involved in going to the pictures in town. These mega cinemas are usually very expensive and so you would guess that most people willing to fork out this money are interested in seeing the movie.
Being disturbed in the cinema is like being awakened from a really good dream, then you try so hard to get back into it, but it’s gone. The cinema is a place for relaxing. A place where the viewer has paid the money for his or her license to dream and fantasise. Whether you have opted for a romance, a thriller or an action movie, you are paying for the cinema experience as much as for anything else, otherwise it would be cheaper and easier to wait for the video, in my case glued to the sofa!