I'm sorry:  Am I interrupting your conversation?
The man in the above photograph mugshot is James Joseph Cialella of Philadelphia, whose only crime was to live the dream of moviegoers the world over by shooting a fellow theater patron who wouldn't shut up when asked.  Now that this writer has finished his letter to the Vatican demanding Mr. Cialella's immediate canonization as the patron saint of theatre ushers and gag writers, he felt it would be an opportune time to help BTH's readers survive the 2009 moviegoing experience by offering a few helpful reminders.

Chill the Fuck Out in Line

The wage slave in the box office can only work so fast, and no amount of eye-rolling, foot tapping, or sighing will compel him to work any faster.  Besides, the guy in front of you isn't as thrilled as you'd think to have you trampling all over his date's heels.  Hey! Speaking of lines . . . .

Look at the Menu While in the Concession Line

You were about to have a coronary in line for tickets, and now you want to take your time?  You can't have it both ways:  Read the menu, decide what you want, and order accordingly.  The correct answer to "Whatcha havin'?" is not "Aw, jeez . . . uh . . . hold on . . . ."  People will only be patient with this sort of behavior if you're very funny and obviously stoned; otherwise, they'll think you're an indecisive prick.  (And they'll be right.)

Sit the Fuck Down

Is it so hard?  If you have a large party and it's busy, go in all at once because chances are good that we'll all see that one guy sitting next to twelve coats and hate him, and will thereafter extend that hatred to the princesses who were too good to sit and wait with everyone else.  And if you buy a tankard of Mountain Dew before the movie, for the love of God sit on the aisle and spare us having to watch your mad dash to the can in the middle of the third reel.

Open Your Candy During the Trailers

It's been scientifically proven (by scientists) that opening a bag of liquorice slowly makes as much noise as opening it quickly.  Now that that's been settled, you don't have to run your own experiment during the good parts.

Shut the Fuck Up When the Movie Starts

Please.  It's your duty as an American to talk over the commercials, seeing as how you have paid for the movie in an effort to avoid interruption.  It's permissible (and even expected) to comment on the trailers, since they're still ads, really, though marginally less offensive than the pleas to buy sugar water or join the military.  But shut your yap when the movie starts.  Nobody paid to sit in the dark with you for two hours while you talk about your colonoscopy.  Nobody cares what you think of the movie (unless you're lucky enough to write for a pop culture website, of course.)  The people onscreen CANNOT HEAR YOU, no matter how vociferously you warn them that the killer is right behind them! In short, despite what your therapist says, nobody cares what you think, feel, or have to say, particularly if they're busy trying to watch a movie.

An additional word of advice to single people:  If your date can't follow the plot of a contemporary studio film without assistance, you should keep your reproductive organs as far away from theirs as possible.  Which reminds this humble author . . . .

Not another Uwe Boll movie!  Why?

Leave the Kid With the Sitter

We know, we know:  You love your kid.  We all love them, in the abstract, even this author (who still isn't sure where DCFS spirited his little rugrat away to.)  But guess what?  We aren't required to love them when you plop them down next to us and they begin screaming five minutes into Synecdoche, New York because you left the pacifier in the car.  And why, why, why would you bring a kid to a movie that isn't appropriate for them?  Tell you what:  Don't bring the baby to a grown folks movie, and the rest of us will leave you to your Bolts and your Madagascars and your Dane Cook movies.

What?  No, the doctor said to wait for the pustule to burst.  THE PUSTULE!

Turn Off the Damn Phone

Remember how nobody cares what you might have to say about the movie or anything else during the movie?  That goes double for whatever you might have to say to people not physically present about totally unrelated matters.  Turn that shit off.  And silent mode isn't good enough:  if you're writing text messages, you're still USING THE PHONE.  We can all see you squinting at it.  One glowing screen per theater--that's the limit.

Pick Up After Yourself

Think of the backpacker's creed:  Take only shaky bootleg video, leave only footprints.  Ushers aren't janitors.  And hey:  "They got people for that" is the shittiest excuse ever for being a horrid slob.

See you at the movies!