It happens almost every time I try to go see a movie. According to statistics that I’m making up on the spot, one out of every 250 people is a movie talker. I’m referring, of course, to someone who likes to talk while they’re watching a movie. It happened to me just the other night as I was attempting to enjoy the Dwayne Johnson/Kevin Hart instant classic Central Intelligence.
I’ll admit, I’m guilty of talking during movies on the rarest of occasions. But, I try to reserve those occasions for movies that I’ve seen, literally, dozens of times. Also, it’s only fun to talk during movies if the people you’re seeing the movie with have also seen it dozens of times and you’ve all come to an agreement that talking is okay. But when we’re at the multiplex, there’s a good chance that we’re all seeing this movie for the very first time, not the 82nd.
The other night, I was able to recognize that the people sitting directly to my right were talkers during the previews. When I complained about the predicament after the movie to my good friends on Facebook, it was suggested that I change seats. While that’s a very good idea in a lot of situations, the theater I most often frequent has assigned seating. So unless I wanted to buy a new ticket or risk being asked to move by a seat’s rightful owner, I was stuck. But the situation got me thinking about how I could pass on the knowledge of how to recognize a movie talker.
Recognizing a movie talker is fairly simple. There’s one trait that you can fairly easily pick up on: they talk. I mean, they talk a lot. But you may not realize that not all movie talkers are created equal. There are five types for whom you should be on the look out next time you pay the price of admission.
1. The Riddler
Okay, this talker doesn’t necessarily pose riddles. They really just ask questions. But Riddler sounds a lot better than Questioner. At least, it sounds better as long as DC Comics doesn’t sue me for using that word. Anyway, the Riddler is the talker who is constantly questioning what’s happening on screen. A new character appears, “Who’s that?” Someone shows up in 70’s attire, “When does this take place?” They missed some key dialogue, probably because they were asking a question, “What’d they say?” Or, and this is my favorite, they want to know why a character is doing something that’s probably key to the plot, “Why did he do that?” Even if you’re not a movie talker, don’t ask this question if you’d like to avoid getting slapped. We are both seeing this movie for the first time. I know just as much about it as you do. If you stop talking, there’s a good chance the movie will answer all your questions by the time they roll credits. Which brings me to my next talker…
2. The Reader
Don’t get me wrong. I love to read. I think that reading is a very important form of entertainment that may or may not be a dying thing. Probably depends on who you ask. But here’s the thing, when I read, I do so quietly. The only time I ever read aloud is if I’m hanging out with preschoolers and I’m reciting something from Seuss. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with adults reading to other adults. I enjoy an audiobook from time to time. I’m sure I’d enjoy poetry readings if I enjoyed poetry. But when I’m at the movies, I can read the subtitles for myself just fine. I don’t need you to read them to me, okay? I don’t need you to tell me that the next scene takes place in London, just because the word on the screen says so. You know what, and this is more of a message for Hollywood, just stop telling me that we’re in London, okay? Every movie that takes place in London gives us a handful of establishing shots that lets us see Big Ben or the Tower Bridge. That’s how I know we’re in London. Same deal with Paris. I know it’s Paris because you’re going to show me the Eiffel Tower. But back to the Reader… You don’t have to read the words The End at the end of the movie. You know how I know it’s the end? The credits are rolling.
3. The Repeater
This is the talker who likes to latch on to any given line, whether it’s a cleverly written piece of dialogue or not, and repeat it right after the actor on screen as said it. Ha! Yeah, that joke that Kevin Hart told during the movie was pretty funny. But that’s because he’s a comedian and he has a pretty good sense of comedic timing. You know when that line is less funny? When you say it about two seconds after Kevin Hart does. I know what he said. I was paying attention. Now, shut your mouth so I can be prepared to laugh at the next funny line that someone utters. I don’t want to miss it because you’re repeating a joke that was funny ten minutes ago.
4. The Spoiler
This is the one who’s either already seen this new movie a couple of times or went online to read what every movie blogger in America had to say about it. And they just can’t wait for you to react to something that’s about to happen. You know, I get it. I’m excited by movies that I think are good enough to see multiple times. And I love seeing other people’s reactions to awesome scenes in great movies. Where this talker takes it too far is when they literally cannot wait for your reaction to a scene and they ruin it by telling you what’s about to happen. I’m not saying you should cut ties with this person if you happen to be friends with a Spoiler. Just be careful when planning an outing to the local cinema.
5. The Texter
Technically, this is not a talker. At least, not vocally. This person is letting their thumbs do all the talking. While some may argue that this is not as annoying as someone who is loudly talking during a movie, I disagree. You see, when we’re all sitting in a darkened movie theater, a bright cell phone can become a blinding light. Besides, if you’ve just paid money to see this movie, why are you texting your friends? You can text at home for free! So do us all a favor and save it for then.