Cinemas and why I avoid them

There are only three places I enjoy seeing films, they are, in this order:

The Roxy, Miramar (with Tim and Jo-Anne for company and after a fab meal at Coco’s)

The Electric Cinema, Birmingham (only if I get the big sofa and a loved up couple don’t sit next to me)

At home

I just hate going to the cinema. I recently wrote a blog post,  A guide to cinema etiquette about why I hate going but the family persuaded me that I would enjoy seeing The World’s End. As it was into the second week and has a 15 rating, most of the things that annoy me would be absent as it is a bit of a geeky film. This not to say that geeks will not break any of my rules, they are just less likely to. And I was right, none of my rules were breached.

Yet now I need to add more reasons not to go.

It is mind numbingly expensive.

£7 per adult. £21 for the three of us. We usually go for a morning showing for many reasons, one of them is that it is cheaper (£4).The other is to avoid the idiots who share a brain cell. While it is more expensive to go to The Electric, especially if you go for the sofa option, I do not resent a penny when I go there, as it is an independent, and the risk of any of my rules being broken is limited.  Except for last time, but my glares worked eventually and they left.

The food is of appalling quality and very expensive.

We chose to go for a 12.30 showing and I made the mistake of saying we would get food there. I would not be breaking my no eating during the film rule as we always get in to the cinema before the ads start. I had forgotten (I go so rarely) how much cinemas charge for crap food. (I have just looked at the nutritional values of the hot dog I ate and now know why I felt so ill later). Two hot dogs, one nachos and two diet cokes came to about £20 and a migraine.

It was too hot. And I am not complaining about the weather.

We were told, as we show our tickets, that Screen 10, where our film was to be shown, had no air conditioning. Normally in the UK this would not be a major issue (as it is always cold and wet here), except that we are experiencing a bit of a heatwave right now in England. Sunny Birmingham has averaged 28 degrees most days and the nights have been muggy. The nice people at the Odeon would refund us if we were too hot and left the screening in the first hour.

Odeon people, you are charging a fortune for entry and crap food so spend it on the air con or close the screens affected.

There had been a storm the previous day so the temperature had dropped a little, I was in a cotton dress and I had a fan with me. And my cold expensive cola. So I just about coped with the heat.

I eventually stopped grumbling and to the relief of the family I really enjoyed the film. It was funny and sad and thought-provoking. A bit laddish, not unsurprisingly, and hey we have all been there, wishing we could go back to some fixed points in time when we didn’t have a care in the world.  I liked it and I could happily watch it again. But not at the Odeon Birmingham Broadway Plaza. #indielove is not just for shops and coffee houses, it seems it is for the cinema too.

A guide to cinema etiquette

After a lot of deliberation I decided to go with my family on Saturday to see Ironman 3. It is rated 12A so I was shocked to see so many very young children there. Really, do you want your 5 year to witness gun violence? Not only is some of the content  too violent for children, the dialogue and the plot is too complicated to follow for an under 12. If your child is not traumatised they will be bored.

I love movies, I used to love going to the cinema. I have fond memories of going to see the Sound of Music at The Gaumont in Birmingham. The whole family went and it was a experience that we appreciated and had anticipated for weeks.

Not any more. I dread going.

This is why.

People do not behave properly at the cinema any more.

Here is my guide to how to behave at a cinema. Similar rules apply at a concert and the theatre.

If it is classified as a 12A don’t bring your toddler. Really don’t.

This is guidance from the British Board of Film Classification website. Read the full guidance here. 12A means that anyone aged 12 or over can go and see the film unaccompanied. The A stands for ‘accompanied’ and ‘advisory’. Children younger than 12 may see the film if they are accompanied by an adult (eg someone over the age of 18), who must watch the film with them. 

What’s the difference between 12 and 12A?

The 12 certificate is just for videos, DVDs and Blu-rays. 12A is for films at the cinema only.

Is there a lower age limit for a 12A film?

No. However, the BBFC considers the content of 12A rated films to be suitable for children aged 12 and over, and we would not recommend taking very young children to see them. Works classified at these categories may upset children under 12 or contain material which many parents will find unsuitable for them. An adult may take a younger child if, in their judgement, the film is suitable for that particular child. To help adults make this decision, we provide BBFCinsight for all films.

If you throw sweets at me I will get you thrown out. All 20 of you.

If you talk, even during the trailers I will look at you and if you continue I will get huffy. I may also get you thrown out.

Don’t snog (yuk) and definitely no heavy petting. Double Yuk.

Please arrive before the film starts, preferably before the lights go down.

If you arrive late, don’t choose a seat in the middle of the row. I want to watch the film not your ass. 

Don’t make a noise while eating. Better still don’t eat during the film.

I presume you don’t throw litter on your sitting room floor at home so why do it in the cinema?

Turn your mobile phone off. No, not on silent. Off. You are here to watch a film, aren’t you?

Teach your children how to behave in a cinema.

Read the credits, all of them.

I long for the days when there was a B movie, a break to use the loo and get an ice cream then settle in for the feature film. Do you remember the interval in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? A real cliff hanger moment! A proper cinema, no litter and people who are there because they love the whole movie experience.  An experience you still get at The Electric Cinema in Birmingham or The Roxy Cinema in Wellington.

And of course bring back these! Mom as an usherette No messing with these ladies. The one far right, front row, that is my mom!