Friday Night at the Movies

February 23, 2007 at 10:15 pm (Soc3390)

Realizing that the deadline for this blog was fast approaching my sister and I perused the movie listings for Calgary hoping for a new movie that seemed at least moderately interesting. After careful consideration and much debate we decided on The Number 23 starring Jim Carrey.

We arrived early so that we could find a good seat although it seemed that this idea was not as unique as expected. We entered the theatre and were soon surrounded by an eager crowd milling about in a purposeful manner.

I look at my surroundings, the colours on the walls and carpet are bright and distracting while the lighting seems almost muted. The noise is constant but not loud and if you listen the themes are quite consistent “…so and so told me this movie was really good…”  “…I saw the preview and it looks pretty awesome”. Bored with this talk I enter the second line I have encountered since arriving (the first was to get the tickets) and prepare to wait patiently for what Smith calls my “butter-scented trough”.

It is while I wait that I begin to reflect on Smiths description of Why Movie Going Sucks. According to the rant provided by Smith going to the movie is comparable to feeding time at the local farm and we are nothing more than mindless animals being herded into our designated quarters.

Personally I couldn’t disagree more, in fact I really enjoy the entire movie going experience immensely. I love the smell of the popcorn and pop mixed together to form that easily recognizable aroma. I love stuffing my face with all the trans fat I can consume before the lights disappear and the screen becomes illuminated.

My sister and I finally enter the theatre and find two seats together (rather close to the front unfortunately) and proceed to turn off our cell phones and get comfortable. I see that once again Smith’s observations are exaggerated to say the least, the fact is that I don’t really see anyone stuffing their faces at the moment especially not like pigs at the trough ready for intestines.  

I soon realize that people are more likely to be consumed in social interaction with their neighbours then they are to be grotesquely shovelling food in their mouths. Also contrary to the statements made by Smith my sister and I are the only ones I see that are deciphering the blurred pictures on the screen the vast majority of the crowd is ignoring them altogether.

Finally the lights begin to dim and the screen explodes in colour while simultaneously the volume of the crowd completely disappears. I laugh to myself thinking about all the sociology courses which would describe the crowds reaction as just a norm of movie going, it is something that is automatically done and something that is expected by members of our culture.

At this point I am surprised by the fact that there are no ads being presented to us which is weird because this is the one arguement Smith makes that I actually agree with. I, like Smith and I am sure many of you reading this hate having to sit through advertising of any kind and the products seen before a movie are the worst. The problem with this type of advertising is that you can’t change the channel and like Smith states you are actually paying to watch them.

So now that I have completed my rant on advertising I will continue with my movie going experience. I sit through about a half an hour of previews for upcoming movies most of which I am embarrassed to admit have completely sucked me in and will guarantee my return within the next couple of weeks. There was one preview which looked especially captivating the movie was called Zodiac and had much of the same dark and violent themes that The Number 23 has (the movie that I will eventually be watching) coincidence? Definitely not.

As I sit there watching the half an hour of previews I realize that the men sitting directly to my left are starting to become impatient with this obvious delay of the feature film. They begin whispering to each other briefly commenting on the fleeting images found on the screen and very soon their voices reach a volume easily comparable to common conversation. I sit annoyed at their rudeness but like the rest of the audience remain in silent protest of their behaviour.

Finally feeling like I can ignore them no longer I bend down and pick up my previously purchased Kids Pack (consisting of popcorn, Jolly Rancher and orange drink) and loudly begin to munch on the popcorn. I believe that this action will possibly annoy them causing them to be quiet or will at least help to drown out their incessant chatter.

Once again I realize that Smith might be on to something, sometimes movie going does suck but I find that this is because of social deviance. Unlike Smith I don’t believe that it is the food being offered, the herding mentality or even the advertising that ruins our time at the movies. In my opinion it is the rude patrons who are unaware or negligent of their surroundings and the norms they must follow, those are the people that completely destroy the positivity of the movie going experience.

I am sure that we have all been confronted with a time at the movies where someone’s cell phone rang (once when I was in a movie and they even answered it 3 TIMES!), or a parents who wouldn’t remove a crying baby, or possibly the worst scenario of all when a couple of arrogant teens would not stop talking!

These are the problems with the process of going to the movie theatre, there are hundreds of people in attendance and some do not feel the need to follow the simple norms constructed by our society. So if you are reading this and you know that you are one of them please stop!

The chatty men to my left eventually halt their conversation and now I can sit back and enjoy the next hour and a half of entertainment which I payed nearly thirteen dollars to experience (close to twenty if you include food and drinks).

After time I start getting used to the exaggerated sounds of the movie and become completely absorbed with the scenes on the screen. Time passes quickly and soon the plot ties itself up, the credits begin to roll and the the lights instantly emerge. Five teenage boys appear carrying giant bags full of garbage and the crowd begins their slow shuffle out of the theatre.

As we become immerced into the sea of people I begin eavesdropping on the conversations surrounding us and the discussions seem identical in nature. People are basically mulling over the plot twist and the ending stating the pros and cons of the story.

Now Smith might argue with me but I quite enjoyed myself! I got to eat allot of food and watch a decent movie and in the end it was a good way to spend my Friday night.

Here is The Number 23 trailer for your viewing pleasure.



  1. youtubeaddict said,

    Wow, that movie looks so freaky, I was going to go to it but it might keep me awake for days. I think it’s really neat you decided to go to a movie theatre in Calgary rather than Lethbridge. Since it is more expensive, a person would expect to get more bang for their buck but there are also a lot more people so, like you said, viewing quality can sometimes go downhill as a result. I think you’re very right about norms and people sometimes deciding not to abide by them, however, I don’t think I would be as polite as you. I have been known to shush rude people quite a bit! I think they generally deserve it!

  2. Libkenia said,

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