Movie Article

Common Sense

Hear ye! We proclaim the moviegoers' Bill of Rights. Citizens at the multiplex take a stand against assaults by ringtones, fast-food aromas, and endless commercials

Image credit: Bill of Rights Illustration by Zohar Lazar

We tried to explain this pleasantly. Two years ago, EW's Gillian Flynn offered what she called ''basic rules for gracious viewing.'' ''Some folks,'' she noted, ''have a bristling, baffling sense of entitlement.'' We hoped those folks would listen. Apparently, they didn't. So now we're codifying the guidelines into hard law. Last warning: Don't make us come down the aisle and tell you again, because next time we're bringing a stun gun.

IF your cell phone rings during the movie,
WE RESERVE THE RIGHT to turn around and yell at you to shut it off without threat of bodily harm.

IF your cell phone rings during the movie and you actually answer it and begin a conversation,
WE RESERVE THE RIGHT to snatch it out of your hands and store it securely in one of your body cavities from which, after the film ends, you will be able to retrieve it with medical help.

IF you insist on wedging yourself into your seat with a lapful of steaming-hot, stinkin' food that you brought in from outside the theater,
WE RESERVE THE RIGHT to remind you that not every public entertainment experience is an excuse for you to unhinge your lower jaw and ingest your entire body weight in fried goods.

IF you insist on continuing to chow down as if you were in your living room,
WE RESERVE THE RIGHT to shout ''Run! Run! The armrests are about to blow!''

IF you are one of those people who cannot watch a movie without sharing with your companion, or repeating, at full volume, every line you just heard that strikes you as even faintly amusing,
WE RESERVE THE RIGHT to do things to you so baroquely, unprintably violent that Quentin Tarantino would consider them excessive.

IF you bring your baby or small child to a 10 p.m. showing of a movie,
WE RESERVE THE RIGHT to explain to you, loudly, that you are a crappy parent. That goes double if the movie is rated R, and triple if you let the kid run around unattended.

IF you do not immediately leave,
WE RESERVE THE RIGHT to follow you out into the parking lot, get your license plate, and place an anonymous complaint with the Department of Social Services.

IF you are an advertiser who's hell-bent on making us sit through an insufferably stupid commercial for your product, thus helping to delay the start of the movie by 15 minutes,
WE RESERVE THE RIGHT to boycott your product, and to miss no opportunity to explain that we do not, and never will, Wanta Fanta.

IF you are a theater owner who insists on showing those commercials,
WE RESERVE THE RIGHT to remind you that if we wanted to see them, we'd stay home. In fact, you may have noticed: That's pretty much what we're doing.

Originally posted Aug 05, 2005 Published in issue #833 Aug 12, 2005 Order article reprints
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