Movie Audiences Suck

Stupid people should stay home and watch their televisions. There’s no need for them to interact with normal people.

I’ve been waiting a while to write this, to give myself time to cool down. It stems from when Korean Cigarette Smoking Moriarty Man and I went to a movie. We were both pretty fired up about the audience.

No really, we were pretty pissed off. When you plunk down hard–earned cash for an afternoon of entertainment, you expect other people who’ve done the same to respect that. Or at least act like they cared about spending their own money.

The Story

We took the initiative to go see The Cabin In The Woods (which was pretty darned post-modern clever without being all Kevin Smith-y about it), even though we’d met for a different movie, and the movie audience was so bad that the movie theatre where we went to see it has become the first official entry on the “Banned for Life” list that I haven’t invoked since college.

Regal Potomac Yard Stadium 16 of Alexandria, Virginia…I salute you. With a middle finger.

First and foremost, let me say that the movie is worth seeing. It’s fun, it honors and mocks the best and worst tropes of the horror genre, and it doesn’t run longer than it should. If you didn’t see it in the theatre, it’s worth a rental/download.

Now that we’re past the nice part, let me illustrate all the ways in which this audience, which I consider emblematic of the trend of all audiences, sucked. They sucked so hard, I’m surprised the theatre wasn’t in deep vacuum.

It’s hard even to quantify every problem with them.

  1. Was it the general lack of silence throughout the entire movie?
  2. Was it the screaming infant trapped in a loud, smelly and cold room with sudden, violent noises? I do not blame the infant, mind you, but the “mother” who couldn’t consider the infant before herself. Really nice and selfless you pile of crap; sorry that kids might impact your social schedule.
  3. What about cell phones? Even though we was sitting as far forward as we were able, I still saw at least one light up.
  4. Would you enjoy complete idiots walking (sneaking?) in when the movie was three-quarters over, asking how long it had been on, and then sitting down…only to leave minutes later? Because I’m pretty sure KCSMM didn’t.
  5. Oh, and I love the trend of bringing children under 10 to an R-rated horror movie. Sure, they’re likely to see it, and you can’t stop it (no one could stop us) but at least make them work for it as opposed to giving your parental stamp of approval.

That list isn’t even complete! Those are just the most egregious sins against good taste evidenced in a 90–minute movie.

Root Causes

While everyone likes to blame cell phones for movie disruptions, I prefer to look at home video as the root cause of the problem. And as that technology has become increasingly better, audiences have become steadily worse.

Movie theatres take all control away from an audience used to pause, freeze frame and bathroom breaks. They also can’t compete with the notion of “on demand,” which has made us lose all concept of having to adapt our own schedules to the theatre’s.

Perhaps it’s a naturally selfish behavior we’ll never completely avoid.

An Hereditary Behavior?

Going all the way back to Renaissance times, the Groundlings have always been a factor. The people who were “less refined,” uninterested in any complexity and instead looking for something just to take their minds off ditch–digging.

These were the people who laughed at Shakespeare’s ass jokes while missing the point of Richard III and smelled of their favorite snacks, which were leeks. No, really. Leeks were the popcorn of their day. So imagine a large group of half–drunk, smelly and under–educated people loudly interrupting plays and not getting anything but the most obvious of jokes and references.

So is the disheartening truth that it’s hard–wired in our DNA to be crappy audience members unable to appreciate art and going for the cheap seats?

The box office receipts of the Transformers movies would seem to support the theory that it’s hard–wired into us. The fact that every few weeks there’s a movie that’s an inexplicable smash hit, and then fades from memory like a drop of laziness in a sea of mediocrity.

If so, then social media and the insulating nature of mass customization have only compounded a pre–existing problem. They’ve compounded it exponentially, but not created it.

So how to solve this?

IQ Tests for Theatre Tickets

Joker threatens Rachel
Are you sure you want to talk?

Instead of an MPAA ratings system, which is arguably arbitrary anyway, I say we go with an IQ test. To make it fair, what you do is follow these steps:

  1. Administer a stringent IQ test. No curve, no adjustments. Divide the ticket holders into two simple groups. Label one “Slack–Jawed Popcorn Munchers” and the other, “Normal.”
  2. If the majority of ticket purchasers for a showing skew toward the stupid, you inform the minority of the opportunity to get a refund for their tickets. They may also have a voucher for a later show and a free small popcorn instead. If they refuse, then their crappy movie time is on them.
  3. Assign seats in the theatre according to IQ. Regardless of the result, be sure to separate the groups.
  4. If the unintelligent become unruly, remove them from the theatre. Since some audience members could pose a physical threat to ushers, outfit them with body armor, stun guns and beanbag guns. (These should also be available at an extra cost to the intelligent patrons.)
  5. Disenfranchise the unintelligent. They should not be allowed to vote. Since they took the IQ test voluntarily, we can store the information in a national database so that the stupid people—regardless of political persuasion—can stop ruining every aspect of our lives both within and without the movie theatre.

You’re gosh–darn welcome.


6 thoughts on “Movie Audiences Suck

  1. You know me. I know that this is, to some extent, not serious, but that won’t stop me from treating this as a 100% serious argument and disagree. Sort of. Intelligence and heredity are definitely factors, but it isn’t the only factors. The entitlement culture that’s developed in America (learned behavior) is also an issue, and it’s independent of intelligence. Plenty of smart people sue because someone didn’t tell them they’re pretty. While these intelligent bastards probably don’t necessarily use movie theaters to abuse their children, they won’t think twice about using their cell phones to make calls, then discuss the contents of that call with their fellow movie-goers.

    Either way, I also encourage the use of “less lethal” weaponry.

    1. Stun guns and beanbag guns are non-lethal!

      But to allow for the squeamish, I’m willing to compromise and accept the idea of using blowguns loaded with darts coated in sleeping agents.

      Also, to speak to the flaws of the IQ theory: the smarter ones will learn how to operate within the system much more quickly. It’s the final test, like the Jedi Trials.

  2. thank you, i couldn’t have said it better myself. so well written, i actually felt my blood boiling as if i’d lived the scene all over again. i think my last straw, as i’ve shared with you, was hearing the giggles of toddlers, as one of the main characters crashed and burned and his body went tumbling down a precipice, limbs flailing. it was the kind of laughter i would expect to hear when kids used to watch a wile e. coyote failure, except this wasn’t a cartoon with a plume of smoke, it was an R rated movie with a sense of realism and gore. this was shortly after the crying baby was finally carried out of the horror movie by his/her parent, after about an hour of terror filled screams, stabbings, blood and flesh torn zombies. didn’t dexter start out like this?

    at the very least, i think an IQ test is a reasonable request in order to have kids in the first place.

    1. “didn’t dexter start out like this?”


      ” i think an IQ test is a reasonable request in order to have kids in the first place.”

      Except for the random nature of it: stupid and/or average people can have brilliant kids. Just like some average looking people produced Kate Upton. So you have to allow the random, chaotic nature of procreation to provide for “happy accidents” of genetics…

      I just don’t want the dumb ones to vote.

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