Sunday, April 1, 2012

New Rules: Popcorn At the Movies

A bit of a disclaimer.  This is just for fun.  Just a little piece of life where there is a bit of comedy.  I find lots of things funny.  Human beings are funny.  We have all been created with a sense of humor by a God with a sense of humor.  If you don't believe me, spend some time at a movie theater and watch and listen--but not just to the movie--watch and listen to people.

Usually, I am pretty serious on here but I thought I would bring some levity to the blog for a night.  Yesterday, Laura and I were able to go check out "Hunger Games" at our local movie theater.  It was Friday night so we know what to expect.  Lots of people with all kinds of different ideas as to how they should act in public.  There were two 14 year old teenagers making out before the lights even went down (Their aisle remained clear in a pretty packed theater).  There were a ton of tween girls who pretty much blew the suspense for every scene as they would react just a few seconds before anything actually happened.  I knew when characters were going to die, kiss, scare you and kick the bucket.  And then there were the popcorn eaters.

The theater is an interesting place.  When the lights go out, people somehow forget that there are other people sitting around them.  The cinema is a place where we all enter into each others living rooms and we give everyone a taste of how we act at home.  This can be pretty frustrating if you're hoping for the same experience you would have in just 4-5 months once the movie comes out on DVD in the comfort of your own home.

I have a strategy when I enter into a theater.  I want to find a place where no one obnoxious is going to sit behind me.  Most of the time this category of people would include people on first dates or thereabout, groups of teenage girls, groups of teenage boys, families with small children who seem like they are too young to be lawfully allowed at the movie, talkative people and, I hate to say this and mean no disrespect--people with food.  They are all pretty poor movie partners--but people with food, well, they take the cake.

Yesterday, I chose our seats carefully.  We were walking in right behind a group of tween girls who were dressed up like the characters from the Hunger Games.  We would not be sitting behind them.  There were a couple of single girls who were philosophizing about what they did and did not like about the books, we would not sit behind or near them.  While thinking through my strategy, I decided to take a gamble. There was a block of empty seats.  Perhaps if we chose to sit there we might be able to stay far enough away from the dreaded popcorn eaters.  It was not to be.  Just before the movie began, a middle-aged man with a giant bag of buttered popcorn came in and took the one seat that was left right behind us.  The Hunger Games began--and so did the movie.

As the movie began I could hear him and his blasted bag of popcorn.  He would reach in to that loud paper bag, rustle it around, dig for a piece with butter and then stuff it in his mouth.  Then the chewing would begin.  One piece after another.  Worst of all--he was eating one piece at a time.  Laura looked at me with knowing eyes.  "I don't even hear it, just pay attention to the movie," she said.  "I'm trying."  I waited.  And waited.  For some reason, this guy would stop eating during the loud parts of the movie.  As soon as the movie settled down he was back at it.   He would dig around for a few more pieces of larded up popcorn during the quiet spots.  Meanwhile, the nice senior citizen sitting next to me decided to begin commenting on the movie with his sweet wife.  It was as if I had turned on the DVD special feature for, "Non-Director, Non-Fan, Non-Cast, I-Brought-My-Granddaughter And Have No Idea What This Is About Commentary" track.

I began to look around the theater. There were 6-8 seats down near the front of the stadium seat section where no one was sitting.  Those seats were calling my name louder and louder as the popcorn eater kept chomping on one piece after another--he sounded like Pac-Man.  Chomp-chew-chew-chew-chew-chew.  Rustle-rustle.  Chomp-chew-chew-chew-chew.  Rustle-rustle.  Chomp-chew-chew-chew chew....Aghhhhh!  I had enough.  I told Laura that I would be leaving the theater to fill up our soda and that when I returned I would be sitting up front and that she should join me.  When I returned we enjoyed the rest of the real Hunger Games without commentary or surround sound saliva, lip-smacking, teeth chomping, paper bag movie popcorn champ.  The tween girls were still giving away each and every part with their anticipatory response but that was a small price to pay.

It got me thinking.  How can we all sit in a theater and not annoy the heck out of each other while eating food?  Maybe if we just followed a few basic rules.

1.  Pick your spots.  Eat during the loud parts of a movie.  Don't wait for the moving and emotional parts.  If there is no music playing loudly and no explosions, than don't eat your popcorn.  Hearing the rustling of a butter filled bag in the middle of a funeral scene sort of kills the moment.  

2.  Don't be a rustler.  Your bag is loud.  Don't dig for only the buttered pieces and don't try to be quiet.  Get your hand in and out of the bag as quickly as possible.  Trying to be quiet and taking your time just doesn't work.  You're like the person in church who tries to slowly unwrap their piece of hard candy.  Just get it over with.  Stick your buttery hand into your great batch of 12 Big Mac equivalent popcorn and do it quickly.  Don't prolong the torture.

3.  Don't lure the rest of us into false hope.  Don't stop eating your popcorn only to pick it back up again 20 minutes later.  You gave us false hope.  Don't give us false hope.

4.  You're not a cow.  Chew with your mouth closed.

5.  Don't fill your bag up again.  I know the cinema lures you into a 12.00 popcorn with the promise of a refill--but you never should have bought the 12.00 popcorn in the first place and you and your date definitely should not have finished the bag!  You don't win when you get to the bottom--you just feel gross.  

Alright, well, I am sure that I could come up with a few other rules for the movies such as,

1.  Really.  Don't text.
2.  If her father was here and saw what you were doing the Hunger Games cannon would go off (i.e. you'd be dead--just in case you don't know what the Hunger Games canon means).
3.  We can hear you talking even when you're whispering.
4.  Yes, this seat is taken even if it isn't taken.  It's taken.  Leave some room between us.
5.  Your kid is too young.  Parental Guidance doesn't mean that you need guidance on why your kid shouldn't see this movie.  It means your 5 year old shouldn't be here--spend the money on a babysitter and don't buy the popcorn.

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