Ten Commandments for Movie Audiences

Editor-in-Chief Matt Atchity has a bone to pick with you troublemakers.

by | June 10, 2011 | Comments

You may have seen that recent video posted by the fine folks at the Alamo Drafthouse, the one that features an angry message from a woman who got kicked out for texting. In her message, she claims that it’s her right to text wherever she pleases (at least in the Magnited States of America). That’s been making me think about how many times I’ve been struck by people’s bad behavior in movie theaters, and it’s inspired me to make a list of things that people shouldn’t do when watching a movie. Believe me when I tell you that I’ve witnessed each and every one of these “sins” at some point in the last year. I think it’s time we all agree on how to behave when we see a movie. Call it a covenant, if you will, and I’ll call this the Ten Commandments for Movie Audiences.


1. Set thy phone ringer on silent mode.

The rest of us didn’t pay to hear your ringtone, even if it’s something cute. And God help you if you pick it up. If your call is that important (as in answering the phone will avert a nuclear disaster, alien invasion, or zombie outbreak) then you shouldn’t be sitting in a movie theater to begin with.

2. Thou shalt not text.

If you’re texting during the movie, you suck. You know that even a small light in a dark room is eye-catching, right? And if it’s eye-catching, it’s going to be distracting. If you’re texting in the theater, you’re either a moron or jerk, take your pick.

3. Thou shalt not speak.

Be quiet. As in keep your mouth shut. Even if you think you’re being quiet enough that no one will hear you, you aren’t. The only time it’s acceptable to talk is if you’re making jokes during a really bad movie. Check the Tomatometer ahead of time; if the score is below 10%, you can probably get away with making jokes for the rest of the audience’s enjoyment (but they need to be funny).

4. Thou shalt not aim laser pointers at the movie screen.

Memo to junior high kids – using a laser pointer in the theater isn’t actually amusing. I don’t normally condone violence, but I propose a solution: the first person to find the little brat using a laser pointer gets to slap them in the mouth.

5. Thou shalt not kick or put thy feet on the seats in front of thee.

Especially if someone’s in them. For that matter, share the armrest, and don’t put your jacket down hoping that no one will sit next to you. If you need the extra space, sit next to the aisle.

6. Useth the restroom before the movie starts.

Why stumble over everyone going back and forth to your seat? If you’re one of those people with a small bladder, then for God’s sake, don’t get a drink at the concession stand before the movie starts (trust me, I know people that do this). And if that’s completely impossible for you, at least have the decency to sit in an aisle seat. (You get a pass for taking kids to family movies.)

7. Keepeth thy food quiet.

Don’t slurp the end of the soda. Don’t make a bunch of noise with candy wrappers. Better yet, don’t have anything to eat during the movie. Imagine the money you’ll save!

8. Thou shalt not bring thy children to R-rated movies.

Especially late ones. Especially horror movies. Believe me, your kids really don’t want to see latest Terminator or Saw movie. I’ve seen parents bring kids to these kinds of movies, and it always makes me sad for the kids. If you can’t find a sitter, too bad – join the world of decent parenting and wait for the movie to come out on DVD.

9. The movie theater is not thy make-out spot.

Do not kiss, fondle, grope, or have sex with your partner during the movie. Seriously, get a room. If you’re attractive enough that others would want to watch you making out, chances are youd be on screen already, and not sitting in the theater with the rest of us.

10. Thou shalt not shoot video whilst in the theater.

This is called piracy, and regardless of what you think about theater owners and Hollywood in general, it’s still stealing. There was a real commandment about that one.


Anything I left out? Anything that people do in movies that makes you crazy? Share them below!

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You may have seen that recent video posted by the fine folks at the Alamo Drafthouse, the one that features an angry message from a woman who got kicked out for texting. In her message, she claims that it’s her right to text wherever she pleases (at least in the Magnited States of America). That’s been making me think about how many times I’ve been struck by people’s bad behavior in movie theaters, and it’s inspired me to make a list of things that people shouldn’t do when watching a movie. Believe me when I tell you that I’ve witnessed each and every one of these “sins” at some point in the last year. I think it’s time we all agree on how to behave when we see a movie. Call it a covenant, if you will, and I’ll call this the Ten Commandments for Movie Audiences.


1. Set thy phone ringer on silent mode.

The rest of us didn’t pay to hear your ringtone, even if it’s something cute. And God help you if you pick it up. If your call is that important (as in answering the phone will avert a nuclear disaster, alien invasion, or zombie outbreak) then you shouldn’t be sitting in a movie theater to begin with.

2. Thou shalt not text.

If you’re texting during the movie, you suck. You know that even a small light in a dark room is eye-catching, right? And if it’s eye-catching, it’s going to be distracting. If you’re texting in the theater, you’re either a moron or jerk, take your pick.

3. Thou shalt not speak.

Be quiet. As in keep your mouth shut. Even if you think you’re being quiet enough that no one will hear you, you aren’t. The only time it’s acceptable to talk is if you’re making jokes during a really bad movie. Check the Tomatometer ahead of time; if the score is below 10%, you can probably get away with making jokes for the rest of the audience’s enjoyment (but they need to be funny).

4. Thou shalt not aim laser pointers at the movie screen.

Memo to junior high kids – using a laser pointer in the theater isn’t actually amusing. I don’t normally condone violence, but I propose a solution: the first person to find the little brat using a laser pointer gets to slap them in the mouth.

5. Thou shalt not kick or put thy feet on the seats in front of thee.

Especially if someone’s in them. For that matter, share the armrest, and don’t put your jacket down hoping that no one will sit next to you. If you need the extra space, sit next to the aisle.

6. Useth the restroom before the movie starts.

Why stumble over everyone going back and forth to your seat? If you’re one of those people with a small bladder, then for God’s sake, don’t get a drink at the concession stand before the movie starts (trust me, I know people that do this). And if that’s completely impossible for you, at least have the decency to sit in an aisle seat. (You get a pass for taking kids to family movies.)

7. Keepeth thy food quiet.

Don’t slurp the end of the soda. Don’t make a bunch of noise with candy wrappers. Better yet, don’t have anything to eat during the movie. Imagine the money you’ll save!

8. Thou shalt not bring thy children to R-rated movies.

Especially late ones. Especially horror movies. Believe me, your kids really don’t want to see latest Terminator or Saw movie. I’ve seen parents bring kids to these kinds of movies, and it always makes me sad for the kids. If you can’t find a sitter, too bad – join the world of decent parenting and wait for the movie to come out on DVD.

9. The movie theater is not thy make-out spot.

Do not kiss, fondle, grope, or have sex with your partner during the movie. Seriously, get a room. If you’re attractive enough that others would want to watch you making out, chances are youd be on screen already, and not sitting in the theater with the rest of us.

10. Thou shalt not shoot video whilst in the theater.

This is called piracy, and regardless of what you think about theater owners and Hollywood in general, it’s still stealing. There was a real commandment about that one.

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