Why the general public should be banned from cinemas

Mark Oakley continues his one-man campaign to improve the cinema-going experience. And this time, he reckons it's time to chuck people out...

My first suggestion for making cinemas great again was to ban children. This time, I’m going one further – ban the general public. I appreciate that at first glance there is one obvious drawback to this idea but stick with me and I’ll explain.

My theory goes that there are two types of cinemagoer. Type number one is your typical DoG visitor. They have an avid interest in all things entertainment-y (yup, that’s the word I’m using), regularly discuss the various merits of the latest Doctor Who series at length, enjoy the odd visit to the comic shop from time to time, and have a passionate view on episodes one to three of Star Wars.

Type number two is the general public. The general public enjoy watching the BBC’s I’d Do Anything, haven’t the foggiest what the word Sontaran means, would frown at hearing the phrase ‘What’s your Vector, Victor’, and think that Jar Jar Binks was ‘quite cute actually’. The two groups are worlds apart and when I refer to the general public, you now the genus to which I refer.

So, why should they be banned? My reasoning is threefold:

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1)    They can’t sit still. On attending a typical screening, the average member of the general public will get up from their seats (conveniently situated directly in front of you) at least five times, taking the utmost care and attention to ensure they block your view for a good ten to fifteen seconds each time they do so. First it’s a toilet stop, then it’s to grab some more food, then it’s another toilet stop, then it’s to turn round and laugh in your face as they realise just how annoying they truly are, and finally it’s another toilet stop – five minutes before the film is due to finish. That this practice annoys and distracts other cinemagoers appears not to bother them.

2)    They can’t stop talking. This custom, once seemingly the preserve of the young and the teenage population of the UK, has more recently been observed among the general public. Records show that talking throughout screenings first originated during films such as Look Who’s Talking Too, when the inevitable boredom that quickly spread among the paying audience gave way to quiet chuntering. As the years passed, chuntering became muttering, then evolved into that whispering that people think no one else can hear but actually don’t realise that they might as well just talk properly as it’s just as loud anyway, until finally developing into what is now being witnessed across cinema chains all around the country – blatant, conversational talking and, in some cases, shouting.

3)    They can’t follow a plot. The general public can often be seen in screenings scratching their heads in utter bewilderment at what is being projected in front of their very eyes. As the general public visit the cinema only sporadically (Christmas time is a particularly good period to see them in their unnatural habitat) the flashing images and loud sounds can often be confusing to them, resulting in the following questions: ‘Who’s that man?’, ‘Why is it his day off?’, ‘I don’t understand. What’s a Wookie?’, ‘So, what is this Matrix thing?’. Coupled with reason number 2), this can become a problem for other cinemagoers trying to watch the film.

In the end then, there is only one thing for it to ensure our cinema experience is preserved. The general public must be kept away from cinemas. It’s already happening in some independents, with the screenings of low budget, little publicised films keeping this species away. For the chains though, tougher action is required. Ban them. You know it makes sense.

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Also: read Mark’s war on nachos in cinemas here

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