How to avoid irritating shits in the cinema

Even normal people moan about the movies these days. Five years ago our relatively mainstream families tutted and sighed when we complained about behaviour in multiplexes. But now attitudes have changed, finding the twenty-first century Joe Public too much to take.

There are ways to still enjoy seeing your favourite films on the big screen. And most of them don't even involve you being locked in prison afterwards. So here's's quick guide to surviving the cinema.

Go to kids movies when kids are not awake

Or otherwise indisposed. There's nothing wrong with taking a day off work to enjoy the new Pixar movie in peace. Or leaving your horror obsessed friends to watch Saw whilst you catch Enchanted on a Friday night.

You won't discover that if you insist on going to see them on a Saturday afternoon, though. Contrary to popular belief, kids have always been noisy, rude and unable to concentrate on anything for longer than a couple of minutes.

Don't try to beat them, or even join them. Simply ignore them by getting over your stigma about kids movies and catching the midnight showing of Wall-E next time its on at your local.

Seek out independent cinemas

Multiplexes are great and wonderful, but they are certainly for the masses. Getting annoyed with the audience at a showing of There Will Be Blood in one is a bit like going to a Slipknot gig and complaining the moshing fans are obstructing your view.

If you're reading this, you're a connoisseur. Start acting like one. Instead of going to the cinema in the middle of a bowling complex that also features an all you can eat Chinese buffet, travel a few miles to somewhere renowned for treating movies with some respect.

Avoid Cheap Night

If multiplexes are for the masses, then a certain long-running national promotion that occurs every week (mentioning no 'colourful' or 'fruity' names) is like issuing a cinema day-pass for people who watch Big Brother.

For the most part it's no bad thing. Someone has to go see National Treasure movies, after all. But if your idea of a trip to the pictures doesn't depend on whether or not Weatherspoon's burger and beer deal is valid on a Wednesday (oops), stump up the cash and go to the movies another night of the week.

Sit in the front row

We know, we think front row seating is a form of torture too. Fourth row centre is our personal preference, but sometimes for peace of mind you have to break old habits. And neck muscles.'s first law of cinema physics is that the further back into the cinema you sit, the likelihood of encountering annoying audience members increases.

So sit at the front. As an added bonus, after the first few visits the proximity of the screen will have ruined your eyes so much that you'll have to sit there just to separate one blurry figure from the next.

Don't take a date

One of's many girlfriends (we are a collective, after all) shockingly tried to 'cuddle up' when we first took her to the cinema. Fortunately the relationship was stable enough for us to do the right thing and push her halfway across the cinema row.

If your other half isn't as enlightened as you (read: a cinema nerd) then introducing them to your particulars of cinema watching is SERIOUS BUSINESS. Do it too early and you'll come off at best like a loon, at worst a complete idiot. Do it too late and you might find it's the time has passed to get lay down the law.

Just remember - in this instance, the irritating shit could be that person you'd like to wake up tomorrow morning with.

Seek out preview screenings

Once limited to London, now preview screenings run all across the country. These viewings are perfect for fanatical movie-goers.

They usually take place before the TV ad campaign has really kicked in, so the general public will seldom be even aware of the movies existence.

There's also a number of free screenings you can attend just by signing up to a few things. Like the one, for instance. Check out the nav bar at the top of the this page. We almost guarantee that you'll be able to hear a pin drop at them. Unless it's a comedy. Which brings us neatly on to...

Don't be a dick

Like it or not, going to the movies is a group experience. People come to the movies as individuals, but laugh, jump and cry as an audience.

If you go to a teen comedy and encounter teenagers laughing, accept it. If you watch a slasher flick and some people are nervously laughing, deal with it. And if you see something like Funny Games and the audience starts to vocally reject the film, revel in it.

We have fond memories of watching Jackass: The Movie for the first time. Not because of the plot, characters or direction (there wasn't any), but because we spent ninety minutes wincing and groaning without embarrassment in the company of strangers. Because they were too. And that felt special.

The Total Film team are made up of the finest minds in all of film journalism. They are: Editor Jane Crowther, Deputy Editor Matt Maytum, Reviews Ed Matthew Leyland, New Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Jack Shepherd. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine.