If a film has already started when I enter a theatre…hell, if the trailers have begun playing I think of myself as not just a latecomer but an intruder during a church sermon. I believe it’s my primary duty not to disturb people who are already seated and watching. So I stand to the side and wait for my eyes to adjust to the dark, and then I start scanning for empty seats. Once I know where I’m going I crouch down like I’m about to go through combat fire on Normandy Beach and make a beeline for the seat, getting to it and sitting down as soon as possible.
I say this because a couple of groups of latecomers played it a little differently at the Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 screening the other night at the AMC Empire. They didn’t stand off to the side — they walked right in front of those with low-level seats (i.e., myself among them) and just stood in front of the screen, creating a silhouette effect as they muttered to each other for 35 to 45 seconds, looking up and around and deciding their next move, like orangutans or cattle or royalty.
“Well…we here! Yeah! Lessee here…shit, I can’t see too well…okay, I’m seeing better now….so where ya wanna sit?…yeah, yeah, I know we’re blocking views of the screen for some folks but don’t we count too? What you think? You like those two seats…see ’em? Ones behind the pretty girl? The blonde girl…yeah.”
You fucking animals, I said to myself. Not a thought in your heads that there’s anything going on in this theatre of any importance except you and your friends looking for seats, and your bullshit gorilla chatter as you decide what seats and which aisle.