I consider myself a semi-professional movie-goer. Up until I was old enough to participate in “adult” activities, my birthday every single year involved rounding up all my friends and dragging them to the movies. The first movie I saw in the theater was The Little Mermaid … and the last movie I saw was probably whatever we last talked about on Screen Fix, the podcast where we fix a recent Hollywood film. You can typically find me at the movies at least once a week, so it seems right to share the tips and tricks I’ve learned through thousands of hours spent in the theater.
The Best Seat in the House
Thankfully most theaters now let you choose your seats when you buy your ticket. This is probably the greatest improvement in my movie-going experience (aside from the creation of Movie Pass). Gone are the days of arriving to the theater 45 minutes early to save seats for all of your friends! Typically, the “best” seat is midway up the theater and center of the row. But for me, there’s other perfect spots for other reasons. If you hate horror movies but get dragged there by a friend – or if you’re watching anything that might make you cry uncontrollably (hi, Lady Bird) – I recommend sitting in the last row, preferably off toward the side. That way, you can slide down in your seat and try to hide your ugly-cry face. For me, being off to the side is key for scary movies, because I can stare right next to the screen to avoid jumping and yelping in my seat, but everyone I’m with will think I’m actually watching the movie. It’s a way to get away with not-watching rather than covering your eyes and getting made fun of afterwards.
Snacks on Snacks on Snacks
Popcorn is old reliable for a trip to the movies. I’ll get a “small” (it’s laughably huge) if i’m going by myself. Yes, even though a large is only 30 cents more, dear high-school-age-concession-stand-employee. Those are empty carbs and I’m watching what I eat! But it just feels so right to sit down with those buttery kernels and settle into a good – or bad – movie for a few hours. If it’s date night, though, go for the large, which is so big that I need two hands to carry it … well, he does. He’s carrying it. Enjoy sharing this salty snack and “accidentally” brushing fingers in the bucket. Nothing goes better with popcorn than a good Coke Zero, but make your beverage decision with the movie in mind. Latest MCU flick with a 2+ hour runtime? Skip the drink! You don’t want to miss anything for a bathroom break.
Talking during a movie is one of my absolute pet peeves. We’re all paying to be here, so we all deserve your courtesy of shutting up once the trailers are over. If you want to talk during a movie, that’s what Netflix is for. Go home! That being said, confronting someone in the theater is super awkward. There’s always a chance they won’t take kindly to your “shhhhh” so I tend to get passive about it. I’ll try to catch their eye and give them a look, but if that doesn’t work, I am all about that awkward “ahem”/cough to get their attention so I can give a disapproving look, accompanied by the “fingers on the lips” hand sign.
I don’t choose my theater based on the ownership – movie start times are key to me. That’s why I’m a member of both AMC Stubs and the Regal Crown Club. Both are free and easy to use. You can enter your email or AMC Stubs number when you buy your tickets at AMC Theaters and earn points toward rewards for every movie you see. I upgraded my Stubs account to the Premiere level since it’s my favorite theater nearby. It was $15 and has already paid for itself in free snacks! Plus I get to wait in a much shorter line to buy tickets at the theater (key for Movie Pass) and by linking my Stubs card to my Fandango.com account, I get the transaction fees waived.
I hope these tips help you to enjoy a night out at the movies just a bit more! If you’ve got any tips to share, please comment below or hit us up on Twitter at @screenfixpod and make sure you listen to our weekly podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or PlayerFM.