Natalie Haynes: Cinema etiquette for beginners

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The Independent Online

If you ever go to the cinema, you probably have a list of pet peeves. Empire Cinemas have now come up with a list of things you aren't allowed to do. But since they've wasted some of it on things that are always wrong (littering, putting feet on seats), I'd like to propose my version.

1. No latecomers admitted. If I can get here on time, so can everyone else. Cinemas, this also means you have to stop hiring the guy who has never used a till before on the opening weekend of Skyfall. If people are queuing for popcorn for longer than it takes to buy an iPhone, someone needs more practice.

2. No ice cream in small, cute tubs, at least not near me. I used to work at Blockbuster Video, just before the minimum wage came into effect. An hour of my life was valued by society as worth less than a tub of ice-cream. This was especially hurtful, because I don't like ice-cream.

3. No trailers about how piracy is bad. We've paid £12 each, and I've just sold a kidney to buy sweets. Don't lecture the good guys.

4. No social media updates. You're at the cinema. You're watching a film. This is exactly as interesting to other people as you being on a bus. Lest you be in any doubt, that is not interesting at all.

5. No laser pens. I do understand that when a film is very boring, pointing a red light at it and moving it around may seem fun. It is not fun. It is tiresome. Stop it.

6. No sticky floors. Cinemas, you sell the sugary drinks to children who aren't always brilliant at holding things. So it's your responsibility to clean the carpets. At my local Vue, it's like wearing metal-soled shoes on a magnetic floor.

7. IMAX, you know that cheesy thing you do at the start when you crosscheck the sound and screen and everything? It's a guy telling stuff to a woman, and she agrees with him. Kinda sexist. Kinda lame.

8. The Empire Cinema list includes leaving to use the loo. OK. Then stop showing films that need 40 minutes cut to make them a reasonable length and that will sort itself out. If 90 minutes is good enough for Woody Allen, it's good enough for every other comedy.