FILM NOIR: Loud eaters are just the tip of the choc-top in this city’s cinema experiences.OPINION: TAKE a bow Novocastrians. For we are surely the nation’s most annoying cinema audiences.
We’re fortunate when it comes to movie admission prices in Newy. Competition between the big chains means we can go to a reasonably newish cinema at one of the complexes in the burbs and see a movie for around $10.
Sydney’s dedicated cinephiles can pay double that and then some.
And parking is free for three hours at the shopping centres. Although I copped a $10 fee at Charlie for overstaying the four-hour limit when I stupidly grabbed lunch before watching Ryan Gosling play Harrison Ford’s carer in Blade Runner 2049. It ran for an unnecessary 164 minutes.
On the Sunshine Coast last month I was slugged $19 for admission to a damp and dank petri dish for an early afternoon screening of a film I could only bare for 40 minutes, before being overcome with an urge to gouge my eyes from their sockets.
Last week I ventured to the Tower Cinemas in the city. Compared to the dream factories at the shopping centres, the Tower has seen better days in my view. I don’t find the seats comfortable, parking is … well good luck with that … and non-discountedtickets can cost upwards of $15. I guess Tower audiences without spcouponsget whacked a premium for … well … er … whatever. I hope they get revitalised soon.
I spotted a group of loud-talkers ahead in the queue – one of whom was hoovering down a Macca’s burger and sucking on a large thick shake – buying the biggest available popcorn and the biggest available soft drink plus choc-top ice-creams.
Poking out the top of one of the group’s bag was a mothership chip packet housing a dozen smaller packets of chips.
The loud-talkers are like many Novocastrians who use the cinema to continuously eat and drink for 120 plus minutes, only stopping to edge their bottoms within centimetres of your face on the mission to relieve their stretched bladders of litres of coke.
I plonk myself into one of the Tower’s ye olde worldy, slidey, sinky vinyl chairs toward the front of the cinema where I foolishly assumed I would be immune from the imminent sound tsunami promised by the impending munchfest.
As if guided by satellite, the five-some honed-in on my “please don’t sit near me” vibe and parked themselves directly behind. I possess an inexplicable magnetic-like ability to attract the noisiest cinema attendees.
Movie has already started, too late to move. Let the open mouth chewing, the packet rustling, the drink slurping, loud whispering, shoe removing, belching and mobile phone checking festival commence.
No longer am I transported to another place and time while suspending disbelief. I can’t tune out.
Every slurp, every rustle, makes me feel a bit more like Michael Douglas in Falling Down.
There’s nothing to do except leave.
I once asked a young man and his partner to please stop talking at a Glendale cinema and he told me he’d shoot me “in the guts” if I “didn’t f*$# off”. I had no reason to think he was exaggerating. I f*$#ed off.
Other Novocastrians tell me that the cinema is a communal experience and you just have to wear it.And they also tell me the only thing worse than Newcastle cinema-goers is the whinger who thinks the cinema is his own lounge-room and “unreasonably” expects others to be quiet.
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