If you’ve been to the movies lately, you probably know the words, so sing along: “Where have all the ushers gone?”
Yes, movie ushers are an endangered species: Their natural habitat, the big-screen movie palace, has been replaced by shoe box-sized foo-foo multiplexes where you have a better chance of finding a double latte and a free-range poppy seed muffin than a fresh-faced flashlight-wielding youth to protect you from the rude people who always manage to sit RIGHT BEHIND ME.
If you’re seeing the same movie as me, find out where I’m sitting and move as far away as possible, because if there’s one idiot in the theater with a burning need to talk about his painful rectal itch, he’ll sit behind me. And he’ll go into detail.
Which brings me back to the ushers: We need them more than ever, but unless you’re involved in a knife fight between rows 12 and 14, chances are you won’t see a management representative in the theater.
So this leaves you, the polite moviegoing public, to get up, try to find someone with authority to do more than ask “You want butter flavoring on that?” and convince them that telling someone to stop talking during the movie is more important than getting to the next level on the Laser Wars video game in the lobby. Either that, or risk a potentially painful confrontation with someone who is loudly enjoying his first movie on the “outside” since that pesky assault conviction in the early ‘80s.
But it’s not all the theater’s fault. For some reason, obnoxious moviegoer populations have exploded.
I know this because in the past month I have attended three movies that were totally ruined by the presence of idiot moviegoers. Now, while I am usually a bonehead magnet, the frequency and severity of recent encounters make me think something sinister is going on.
Several weeks ago it was a couple who obviously don’t get out much who sat behind us at a screening of “Absolute Power.” I know they don’t get out much because when one of the characters uttered an incredibly hilarious adult phrase that rhymes with “kissing contest,” they hooted like they were in the front row of a Gallagher show and proceeded to repeat said phrase, I don’t know, 53 times. It’s really hard to get into a thriller when “Dumb and Dumber” are discovering new ways to increase their word power just 4 feet away.