Movie Manners

Escape! All I could think of was trying to escape this insane heat!

Here in New England we are enduring another round of record-breaking summer heat. I often speculate that since my ancestors hail from colder environs, my body just does not know how to function well in temperatures above 85 degrees. Luckily, the people in Hollywood understand the weather and plan their big, blockbuster releases for the summer months. This is exactly when people like me are likely to purchase a ticket -- for almost any price -- just to sit in a cool, dark theater. So off I went to the movies, pre-purchased ticket in hand. Little did I know that movie-viewing has now become a full-contact sport. So, here is my summer refresher on "Movie Manners."

Arrive Early ~ Let's face it, humans are territorial creatures. By arriving at the show early you will afford yourself more seating options. Clearly, if you are a squirmer, the aisle is a better choice. And if you hate people stepping over you, then the middle of the row is the place to be.

Less is More ~ You love the movies, but hate the crowds? Well then use this information to your advantage! Do not attend opening weekend showings. Instead, wait for the movie to have peaked before choosing a screening.

Prior Pitstop ~ On your way into the theater, stop to visit the facilities. Better safe than sorry. It is not fun to pay for a ticket and then miss a critical scene while running to relieve oneself. Might I also suggest skipping the super-sized sodas? They certainly do not help.

Armrest Wrestling ~ Unless the theater is empty, you will need to choose one of the arm rests, not both. Some experts will insist you always lean right, others prefer you lean left. I leave you to your best judgment as long as you choose one.

Ringing Wrongs ~ At this point, only those who have been living under rocks leave their cell phone ringer on during movies. But may I politely point out that even with the ringer off, cell phones/pagers/Blackberries/etc can still be quite annoying at the movies. Those glowing blue screens can really distract from the movie-going experience. Do everyone a favor and just turn them off.

Chit Chats ~ Obviously, it is fine to talk before the movie begins. But please do not scream out the answer to the trivia questions and ruin the game for others. When the previews begin, whispering is allowed, and once the movie begins, it is time to zip your lips.

Toe Tappers ~ Coughs from scratchy throats, excessive heavy breathing, foot tapping, weight shifting, squirming or other bodily movements that will bother others should be kept to a minimum. Those of you who load up on caffeine may want to cut back before trying to sit still through a full-length feature film. Again, might I also suggest skipping the super-sized sodas?

The Bitter End ~ Once the movie is over, you certainly may stand to stretch, but do not leave yet. Those of you who stayed until the end of Young Sherlock Holmes, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Pirates of the Caribbean (both of them!) know that the last 30 seconds of the film, after the credits roll, can add an interesting twist to the story.

Bringing Baby ~ If you have a baby and are going to see a G or most PG rated films, fine. Movies that are aimed at kids are going to have a bit more activity in the audience. But to bring a baby, toddler or young child to an adult movie is just wrong. Splurge on the babysitter and avoid annoying others and traumatizing your child.

Safety at the Screens ~ Parents do be hyper aware of leaving your child unsupervised, even with a group, at a movie. Theaters are not daycare centers and most are not monitored the entire time. Leaving your child in the dark with strangers is not the best idea. Feel free to sit a few rows back when escorting those tweens, but stay alert for their safety.

Quickly glancing at this morning's newspaper, I see the heat is going to continue. I wonder what new movies are coming out this weekend...