The Lutheran Ladies Guide to Movie Etiquette For Morons

I know the title seems rather harsh, but I didn’t know what term to use for someone whose

We like going to the movies…or used to….

actions fall between blockhead and half-wit. Let me explain…

We like to catch a matinee every month. Five of our last six outings have been pestered by people whose brains have been disconnected from their social skills. Honestly! We’ve decided that movie watching behavior has gone the way of  the typewriter and the corded phone.

Let’s have a short refresher course in Movie-Watching Etiquette in case anyone needs a reminder of these transgressions.


Maybe it’s been a hundred years since you’ve been in church. There’s a reason why people sit in the very back pews. It’s so they can slip out easily.  The same rule applies at the movies. So, if you :

  • have a bladder problem
  • need to call the baby sitter
  • or plan on getting a free refill on that half-gallon of soda and bathtub of popcorn you bought at concessions….

Then for the love of everyone’s knees…SIT BY THE DOOR.  Don’t climb over people.

And if you do have an emergency and must leave, WALK SIDEWAYS down the row. Nobody wants your bedonkadonk in their face.  Or…heaven forbid…your crotch.  Just shuffle like a normal human being would down a sidewalk and move out of the row.


Just because you can haul a child into an R-rated movie if they’re accompanied by an

The Eye of Sauron as portrayed in Peter Jackso...

adult, doesn’t mean you should.  So when a child cries because aliens are probing innocent beach party-goers or psychos are jumping from behind every tree, or the Dolby sound system is rattling the tubes in your kid’s ears…it means your child isn’t enjoying the movie.  The rest of us aren’t either. As a matter of fact, you may be the only one in the theater, ignoring your kiddo , watching the flick. Your bliss won’t last long. Someone will  get management and you’ll be asked to leave.

So why not save everyone the hassle?  Go to the child’s age-appropriate film in the first

Image representing The Walt Disney Company as ...

place. All of us have paid our dues and sat through more Disney, Pixar, and Hannah Barbara movies than we can count. Please…Adult-up and do the same.


“Oh, my.” one of the Lutheran Ladies will say, when I quote this rule. But these three words cover a legion of movie sins.  We think the problem originates because folks are used to sitting at home, talking back to their TV. People cuss the news, moan at the weather, sneer at reality shows. They’ve trained themselves to talk to their entertainment.

How else can anyone explain why some people narrate the movie?   If you’re guilty of being a movie commentator, you need to know that you don’t need to tell us:

  • “It’s Glenda, the good witch,”  “He didn’t really die,” “Sauron did it,” or anything that’s happening on the screen. We can see it for ourselves.
  • We’re not  talking about emotional gasps, laughs, and moans that are a natural part of movie enjoyment.  This rule is for those folks who share their running commentary of what’s happening.
  • As brilliant as your observations probably are…people paid to hear the movie, not you commenting on the action.

This Just-Shut-Up-And-Enjoy-The-Movie rule, takes care of:

  • sucking the last ounce of liquid out of your cup
  • rattling your Raisinettes
  • filling in your movie-friend on what he/she missed when they went to the bathroom
  • and just because you’re texting, doesn’t mean you’re not talking or disturbing anyone.  Shut it off.

Aunt Ula has a longer list of movie sins. (She should know because she’s broken most of them and been asked to leave.) But nobody wants to read a blog that long.

Actually most movie problems can be solved if folks simply remember one thing.

Movie-watching is a community experience.

You’re not alone at home. Or as they say in the movies…

You’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.

Do you have a movie-watching etiquette pet peeve?


Photos: Theater:Joeybls Photography; Saurons Eye-Wikipedia; Disney-by Crunchbase; dog-yuankuei; Dorothy-Wizard of Oz-FanPop

14 thoughts on “The Lutheran Ladies Guide to Movie Etiquette For Morons

  1. I haven’t been to the movies since they started making “talkies” (well, not quite) but I have to agree with Caddo. The theatre is horribly loud, and usually cold enough to hang meat. Add that to the talking back and forth, etc. and it’s not worth the price. If I *really* want to see a movie, I wait until it comes out on CD or DVD, and watch from the comfort of my own home.

  2. I am glad I am not the only bothered by these inconsiderate people. Another one is cell phones…I’m sorry but if you can’t leave the phone off for 2 hrs then you should not be at the movies. Or at least put it on silent and leave to talk to on it or text since that is the new thing. I don’t care how important some people think they are to have their phones constantly ringing or buzzing.

  3. And the person who coughs and coughs and coughs and coughs. If you cannot stop coughing please, please stay home – or at least shuffle sideways and get yourself a drink of water. And if that doesn’t help – don’t come back in again. I paid to see the movie – not to get your lurgy.

    • Amen, Sue!!
      Do you think people say to themselves, “Man, I feel like duck crap, but I’m tired of lying in bed and hacking up phlegm and spittle. I’m going to a movie”?

      And here’s the thing. They are one of the people who will come and sit behind you when the theater’s nearly empty. I suppose they want to be near someone in case they stop wheezing and fall on the floor in need of medical help.

      • When I was still working, I rode the bus and read a book. Deeply engrossed, I was startled when a young man flung himself into the seat next to me. I was the ONLY other person in the bus. Why did he feel it was necessary to sit next to me? And he just sat – didn’t use the light to read his own book, or try to chat; just sat and stared straight ahead. Weird.

  4. I hate when a kid (occasionally an idiotic adult) sits behind me and kicks the back of my seat over and over and over and over and…well, you get the idea. I hate those who feel they must leave their cell on and respond to each call telling their friends all about the movie.
    Oh, and what about those kids who think it is okay to toss food or paper airplanes! One time someone was tossing a beach ball around like at a concert. I was happy when the theater monitors came and took it away.

    • You and me, Rose. From reading other blogs, I found out the popcorn tossing is considered a fun sport for some teens. Kind of like tapping someone on the shoulder and pretending you didn’t do it, then snickering as the person looks around.
      I’m sure I was young and did abundantly stupid things like that. (Well, I still do stupid things, but they’re DIFFERENT stupid things).
      Once, when I asked 2 kids right next to me to stop texting, they did, but started making snarking comments about the movie. “Why are you doing this? I asked.

      “Because the movie’s boring.”
      “Then why not leave?” I suggested. They thought it was more entertaining to bug others. SIGH.

  5. I quit going to theaters decades ago–the volume must be set for the deaf (or to override all that talking/noise you describe, from the patrons). And for the amount of “entertainment” I got, the price was way too high. I love movies–in the comfort of my living room! God bless you, Ladies–have a lovely Easter! “that Caddo”

    • Thank you for the Easter blessings.
      Missy Caddo, you are in very good company. You can’t believe the number of people who’ve told me they’ve stopped going to the movies. I love the big-screen experience…and it’s something a group can do and discuss it later, but honestly…it’s becoming way too messy with noise and rudeness.

      Now…if all of us only lived closer, we could have quite a home-spun movie night.

  6. You made me really laugh–and wonder how folks can be so oblivious. How about when my sons and I are the only people in the movie and someone walks in and feels the need to sit down next to me? What about all those other seats? Creepy. Or the knucklehead who gives their child a FLASHLIGHT to walk through darkened aisles–which would be a good idea if they didn’t play “spotlight in the eyeballs” several times.

    • Gasp!! Oh Alice!
      I’m so glad you mentioned this. I thought I was the only one mumbling under my breath about how there is an ENTIRE empty theater and the one or two other viewers that happen to walk in sit in front or behind or next to me. I guess they don’t want to be alone, huh?

      I WILL have to give you an award, though. The Let-Your-Kid-Roam with a flash light is a new one I haven’t experienced. It’s going on my list of peeves. If we ever see it, we’ll call it….Alice’s Kid with a Torch.

      • I just hope readers do not think it is a great idea–flashlights and kids are always unpredictable. (Spoken with authority as a parent and as a once-upon-a-time kid.)

    • Well, truth be told, I start out with a shhhhh…., but it just doesn’t work on the younger set, they shush me right back.

      One time some crusty ol’ codger stood up, went over to a group of gabbers and yelled, “Shut the $%^& up!!” A number of people applauded and the talkers were quiet after that, but I thought it seemed to dampen the whole “going out to the movie” experience.
      For the price the tickets and concessions cost, I want movie-going to be more fun and less headache.

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