Please Shut Up – A Trip to the Theater


As I stated in last week’s trailer post, I wanted and was going to go see Gone Girl. Friday night came and went, as did Saturday night, but low and behold an opportunity popped up on Sunday and I rushed to my local AMC at 4 in the afternoon. I’m uncertain if it was due to bad luck, if it was going to a movie in the afternoon, or if it was the simple act of seeing a film a week after it’s debut. Either way, I’m sure many of you would agree with me that there are good movie going experiences and bad ones.

This, as the title suggests, was a less than exceptional experience. There were multiple reasons for this, but two in particular stood out that I just had to get off my chest. One being the audience, and the other was the theater itself. Before I begin, I want you to know that I will do my best to go see a movie on opening night in hopes to avoid what I’m about to tell you – so I’ll take the responsibility and say that it was my own fault for the turmoil I endured.

Patience is a prominent trait that I try and demonstrate as much as possible. Sunday afternoon that trait was tested. I sat down in a seat that was about 3 rows up from the main entry and in a prime location for the best viewing and listening experience. (Sheldon would’ve been proud with my selected seat) As I watched the trailers and commercials roll, it didn’t take long for the first annoyance to make it’s presence known. This is an AMC theater and one that I believe is around eight years old. As the music kicks in for Interstellar’s trailer I notice a “crackling” of sorts that seems to be coming from the front left speaker. I dismiss this noise at first and chalk it up to a fluke but as the next trailer rolls on the “crackling” doesn’t go away. I don’t know about you my Unrealtors but I like to think that my hard earned cash garners me a complete viewing experience that does not include the common technical difficulties that might plague the smaller theaters out there. This is when I took note that my trip to the theater would not be as well rounded as I would hope.


The movie doesn’t waste a moment jumping right in with music from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (amazing by the way) but I was unable to enjoy it the way it was intended. Every time the volume hit a high point, I could hear the speaker struggle to keep up. Funny thing is, I wasn’t the only one that could notice. Most of the time I try and tell myself that I’m being too picky about a problem or situation. Nope, not this time. I could actually see other people noticing the hinderance and pointing towards speakers that they assumed were the culprits. So naturally I wanted to go tell an employee that the speaker was faulty but I didn’t want to miss any tiny detail that Fincher might’ve put in for me to catch. Needless to say, I stayed in my seat and stomached the ordeal.

Next up, the lovely woman behind me – can I just give you a shout out right now and say thanks for never shutting up! Seriously, I’m sure you’ve all been there. You happen to sit in the magical seat where you can hear all the conversations from a 5 seat radius around you. Well, for me on this particular day it happened to be the lady directly behind me and her uncanny ability to not shut her trap. Heck, she didn’t have to stop talking on my account, but dropping the decibels of her voice to an actual whisper would’ve done a world of difference. But it wasn’t her talking that was the problem, it was the topic that she kept bringing up. Every time that they changed something from the book, I’m talking the absolute most insignificant minor detail, she made it a point to let her friend know. Not only that, but she also found it crucial to make sure everyone around her knew how happy or dissatisfied she was with what was playing out on screen. I wonder if the guy sitting with her was on the fringe of telling her to zip her mouth shut? If I could have come up with a polite way to ask her to be quiet, I would have but my patience was being tested and I didn’t want to make a scene. Again, I blame myself.


Did the experience ruin the movie for me? – No. I haven’t read Gone Girl nor did I plan on it. Fincher has an incredible innate sense of how to tell a story and his ability to drag me through the scenes always guessing and trying to compile my own theories of what happened was astonishing. These hiccups that I sat through didn’t alter my perception of the film, but they did waiver my appreciation for seeing a movie in the actual theater. There’s something to be said for going to a movie on opening night or those special midnight premiers, but with this recent outing, I’m starting to realize the silver lining with Netflix and others offering up movies on their release date. At least that way if I’m sitting at home on my couch, with my sound system, and my television – all of a sudden this ominous “crackling” noise starts up – at least then I’ll know where to point the finger.



Hey guys & gals, my name is Lucas Tetrault and if you like this post or any of the others I’ve done – please feel free to venture over to my Blog and take a gander at some other stuff I write about. I promise I don’t intend to waste your time.

I work as a Creative Director and spend time away from my job with my wife and son, writing for Unreality, and trying to be creative with my own personal projects.

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  1. Sound is such an important part of a film, so I’m impressed this double team of speaker and talker annoyance didn’t hinder your enjoyment too much. I wonder though, why would opening night would be better? I remember having the exact problem (loud mouthed patrons in the row behind) on the opening night of Seven Psychopaths. I’ve found it to mostly comes down to chance, not timing, for me.

    My main gripe with cinemas lately is related. Of the last ten or so films I’ve seen, only a couple has been set to a suitable sound level. A few were so quiet, a lot of the dialogue was missed. And then another cinema ruined the Spiderman 2 experience for me by playing it so stupidly loud, ears were being blocked. This is something I’ve only come across frequently this year, so I wonder what’s changed. Digital prints somehow inconsistent?

    1. It seems like I always get the crowd I want to be surrounded by on opening night rather than later on. That and the theater always seems to be prepped and running smoothly on opening night for a big film rather than the weeks after it’s release. Just a personal experience I guess … again, I don’t live in a big town so it might be different say in Chicago or something like that with multiple places to see films.

      I agree that something seems to be off with the move to all digital – where before tracking might have been off but could be corrected, now we have sound problems, picture problems (especially with films that are done in “3D” but you go see the normal version instead) … I could go on a tangent just on that alone!

      1. Mm true. I’ve had a couple of experiences of the 3D playing instead of the 2D, to the confusion of all the cross-eyed viewers not wearing glasses lol.

        It’s strange though. With film, inconstancies were expected over time as the prints wear a little with each play. So it’s a bit odd when you go see a digital movie weeks after release and it doesn’t play properly.

        Side note, did you hear about Nolan’s advanced Interstellar screenings for cinemas that still project film? His determination to keep film alive is admirable.

          1. I don’t think they’re super advanced screenings, just a few days as incentive for cinemas to keep their film projectors going. The theatres that have been pressured to spend a fortune going full digital are pissed lol.

  2. I’ve worked in a cinema before. What you should have done was, get up,
    go see a manager and complain. Not only would you have gotten your money
    back, but they probably would have given you some free tickets, (if you kicked up a fuss).

    1. Again, I didn’t want to miss any part of the movie – slight Fincher fan – so I refrained from doing so. In the past, I’ve complained many a time about the picture or sound without receiving any such kick back. Plus the theater isn’t going to do anything about a talkative patron. (or at least I’ve never seen them do anything – even with people on their cell phones etc.)

      Now I’ve contemplated sending AMC a letter to let them know – what would you think of that plan of action?

  3. Maybe I’m just more assertive than most, but if someone is talking near me in a theater and it’s real bad, I will lean over and ask them to please keep it down. Works wonders.

    1. Same experience here. At least when I’ve worked up the nerve. I feel like a lot of people aren’t necessarily belligerent douchebags so much as they just don’t realize how much they appear to be a belligerent douchebag.

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