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$20 movie ticket: Call it hush money

There are plenty of pet peeves: loud talkers, close talkers, bathroom grunters, noisy eaters, bad breath … pretty much any kind of bad hygiene, a desk by the office printer, urinal encroachers, and about a million more.
One place where many peeves gather is the movie theater.
Talking tops the list of theater faux pas. Someone wasn’t listening to Front Row Joe and the Singing Hotdog when they said “Shaddup!” or maybe they just weren’t intimidated by an animated cat and an overpriced, condiment-slathered tube of pork by-product.
Viewers – and I use the term loosely – ask questions, narrate, talk, etc.
When someone gets up and leaves to answer their cell phone at the theater, I just tell myself, “There goes a doctor.” Unless they’re 12. Then I tell myself, “There goes a pill pusher.” I figure they’re headed to the parking lot to deal some “X” or “ludes” to one of their rave party clients.
Once, a rather imposing gentleman answered his phone and carried on a conversation right there in the theater. I only heard his side, but it went something like this:
“Wassup?”
“Oh, just watchin’ a movie.”
“Yeah, the one where the dude kills himself in the end.”
That’s about all I remember.
These things happen when admission is $7. When admission is $1, or even 50 cents, get ready for a whole other level of irritation.
On one of my theater excursions, three women decided to have a picnic and rehash the glory days during “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” Some go to a park and others to Green Tree 4 Theatres. They passed out what appeared to be a three-course lunch that was smuggled into the theater in their purses and proceeded to gab away.
Someone complained and was rebuked by, “Oh, are we loud?” in a contemptuous tone muffled by pie.
It’s too bad my dad wasn’t there. When faced with a similar situation, he bought the popcorn tub called “maximus” – the one you have to get credit approval for and help to carry – and baseball pitched it at some loudmouth’s head.
Was the response proportional?
No. It was maximus.
Also reviled are insensitive laughers who burst out when someone is murdered in a “Scream” movie or at the end of “Old Yeller.” Old ladies with beehive hairdos, go easy on the Aqua Net. And no more Granola Bars for the little hellions. They kick the back of my seat, or when sitting in front of me, turn around and stare, panting cookie breath in my face.
If things get worse at the bargain theater, it stands to reason they will get better at the premium theater. Crank up the prices enough and only those serious about watching the film will pay. It’s the same concept as charging exorbitant prices for real estate to avoid annoying neighbors who think a junk car is the equivalent of a lawn jockey or garden gnome.
Anyone who pays $20 for a movie ticket is serious about seeing the film. It’s either that or catch the 11 p.m. shows on a weeknight at River Falls Mall. The theater is almost always empty. Sometimes I bring a date and tell her that I rented it.

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