Movie watching is one of my favorite things to do, but sometimes watching movies with other people can be a chore. Here are my three biggest pet peeves when it comes to movie watching.
1. Continuously adjusting the volume
How many times have you been in this situation? You are watching a movie at home. The movie starts out with some really loud action sequence that blows your ears out. Somebody turns down the volume. Then, during the expository dialogue, they turn the volume up really loud so that you can hear what people are saying at ear-splitting volume. Suddenly, an action scene happens again and the volume is turned back down. Up and down. Up and down.
This drives me insane. When somebody is constantly adjusting the volume on a movie, they are completely ruining the point of sound mixing.
Movies are a lot like life. There are really loud things that happen and really soft things. Obviously in life the sound of jet airplane flying overhead is louder than a whispered conversation. The point of sound editing is to make that dynamic realistic in a film. A film that is poorly mixed will have everything at the same volume, or certain sounds much louder than others.
Most movies are mixed really well though. Conversations are softer than explosions, and are meant to be that way. Somebody went through the effort to make the movie a realistic experience, and if you are continuously adjusting the volume in a movie, you are completely destroying that aspect of the film.
Yes, some adjustment is necessary. Fortunately most movies have a THX logo clip before they start or a similar clip for the film production company. Those are usually mixed to be as loud as the loudest sounds of the movie. So pay attention during the opening clips. If those sounds are to loud or to quiet, adjust. And then leave it alone.
2. Eating in movie theaters.
I have a list of things that I would love to abolish in life. Pretty near the top is the concessions at movie theaters. They drive me insane.
Movie theaters are already uncomfortable situations. You are crammed into seating with strangers in a dark room. Everybody has different opinions on how to act in public. Eventually the theater subconsciously comes to some sort of consensus about what is proper during the movie.
Eating in movie theaters just makes everything worse. Now, instead of being able to enjoy the movie you are surrounded by the sounds of people eating their noisy treats. The first hour of any movie is filled with the rustling of popcorn bags, loud sucking sounds, crunching pop corn and candy… And it just goes on and on.
I do not understand what the appeal is. Are you so hungry that you must be shoving food in your mouth at all hours of the day? Is the movie so boring that you have to eat to entertain yourself? If that is the case than I suggest seeing a different movie. Seeing a movie is not the excuse to eat a whole meal of artery clogging oily treats. It is time for some entertainment. You can stop eating for two hours.
A home viewing experience is fine. It is a more intimate surrounding. But in a dark crowded room were it is generally polite to NOT make noise, it is best to not have your snack time until you get home.
3. Questions during movies.
This is number one. This is the worst. I hate when people ask questions during movies. Now, I am not talking about occasional questions about something missed or a little explanation. I am talking about the people who feel the need to ask about every plot detail and have the plot explained at the beginning of the movie.
I remember watching Star Wars a few years back with a friend of mine who had never seen it. She spent most of the first half of A New Hope asking me what was going on screen. “Who are those robots?” “Is that black armored guy a robot?” “Who is Obi-Wan Kenobi?” “What is Alderaan?” “Why did Han Solo shoot the green guy?” I finally had to tell her very gently (or something like that) that it would all be explained and that she needed to stop asking questions! For heavens sake I figured that movie out when I was 5! We were watching Star Wars not Primer!
The problem with this sort of behavior is that it completely ruins the point of watching a movie and discovering the story. The whole point of a movie is that you do not know how it ends so you become invested in the characters and situations. I think that the habit that I lot of people have developed of wanting to know the plot right at the beginning of a movie comes from the fact that a lot of movies we see now days are devoid of any interesting characters or situations. We don’t care about the characters, so we do not care about what happens.
Thus as a movie going public we are expecting answers right away. For some reason the movie going public doesn’t have the want to discover the answers or they get annoyed when things go unanswered and left to the imagination. It has effectively dumbed down the modern generation of movie goers, so we get to watch movies with people who are confounded by the “profound mysteries” of Independence Day and are having a hard time understanding the “intricate plotting” of The Avengers. It is not all of us, I have watched movies with certain people who are content to wait out answers until the end and discover things for themselves. I applaud you fellow movie goers! However, we find ourselves overwhelmed by people who want the quick and easy way out of movies.