Worst Cinema Experiences: Half Term Madeness

Cinema: Bexleyheath
Screen: 4
Film: Black Panther
Date: 13/02/17
Time: 17.30

Designated seats are great. I go often enough that I know I can go in fifteen minutes after the start time, miss the adverts I know word for word and not be late at all. This being the new Marvel film though, I was too excited so I arrived at 17.35. The lovely ticket vendor ripped my ticket and politely told me to join the queue for this showing. I obliged, checked my ticket for a mistake I must have made reading the time but to my surprise, I was right, and everyone should have been let in ages ago. A fellow cinema goer asked what the hold up was and they replied, “we’re just cleaning up all the mess left behind”. Now I could write a dissertation on why food should be banned from the cinema but it’s never going to change so I won’t rant. But, if you are going to buy yourself and your kids a bucket load of the noisiest food going, have the decency to not leave you seating area in the state of a moody teenager’s bedroom. Yes, a few pieces of popcorn may fall here and there, but don’t chuck half your packet on the floor because you brought with your gut and not your brains. It causes an unnecessary delay to the next showing as well as stopping ushers from coming into screens to check no one is causing a ruckus instead of watching the film. Pick up your rubbish and carry it to a bin outside. It literally takes no longer than a minute and you then get to go about your day knowing you’re a functioning member of society instead of a nuisance to the cinema staff who work tirelessly.

Once everyone was in, I was reminded why I tend to go weekdays before 3pm and avoid Fridays and Saturdays all together. While ‘Black Panther’s’ soundtrack was absolutely outstanding, I was listening to the remix version with about twenty packets of sweets rustling in the background. I’ve never understood how someone’s brain power cannot comprehend that some things in life are more important than getting each and every crumb out of their packet, like watching the film they paid to see. I’m fairly certain at home the guilty patrons don’t scrounge for every last bite like a castaway, so what brings on this savagery at the cinema? The wave of rustling didn’t stop for 135 minutes and eventually my ears became accustomed to it. While that may seem like a relief, it shouldn’t have been something my ears deserved to be subjected to from the start!

Another issue with going to the cinema in the half term is parents taking a child clearly to young to see a 12A. Now, the BBFC states it’s down to the parents discretion but how many actually take the time to research it beforehand and decide? The sight of a mother in front of me trying to cover her four or five year old’s eyes when someone got a spear through them (pretty violently for a Marvel film I must say) was understandable, but the constant fidgeting and talking to reassure her child, who actually seemed unphased by it all, for the next ten minutes was a distraction I couldn’t avoid. A 12A is such an awful certificate as something like this or say ‘The Dark Knight’ can be seen by a four year old with his mother, which is bonkers. I was eleven when I saw ‘The Dark Knight’ and it was still very intense for someone my age. Until it’s made clear that a 12A doesn’t mean it’s suitable for all under twelves, issues like this will keep happening.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that there was talking throughout too, what was however was the lack of parents telling their kids to be quiet. Now, society has told us you can’t turn around to a child a tell them to “SHUT IT!”. Instead we must rely on parents noticing the noise and quickly hushing it during the film. When it doesn’t happen, you begin to wonder if society is wrong. Now, not every child was chatting, a majority weren’t. It just so happened I was in the noisy section of seats. I may sound extremely moany but I just believe in watching a film without the need to hear the talking of others constantly.

Thankfully, I still enjoyed ‘Black Panther’ (You can check out my review here) but I’m confident when I go again, hopefully in a much emptier and code-compliant screening, I’ll appreciate it even more. There’s a reason I love going to midnight screenings with the die-hard fans. It may be full, but as soon as the film starts, you would be hard pressed to hear a pin drop. In my screening I’d have been lucky to hear a jenga stack fall over.

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