No quiet on the western front

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Lori Welbourne / Guest Columnist

I’ve loved movies ever since I was a youngster, watching old classics with my grandma from the couch in her living room. But there’s always been something extra special about seeing them on a big screen in the theatre with an audience.

My love of going to the movies began as soon as I was old enough to take the bus across the bridge into Vancouver. When I first started paying my own way it only cost one dollar per seat and while the dark theatre served as an opportunity for my friends to kiss boys, I could always be found watching the movie from beginning to end without distraction.

And that’s still the way I like to watch a movie: without distraction.

Since the early ‘80s the price of admission and popcorn has soared substantially, so I would expect others to feel the same way. But some folks seem oblivious to the people around them.

The other night my husband and I went to see “Larry Crowne,” a dramedy starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.

For the entire movie we were subjected to a running commentary from two ladies stating the obvious from a couple of rows behind me.

“Oh, she’s so drunk!” one laughed at Julia Roberts.

“He doesn’t know what to do with himself!” the other remarked.

“She’s climbing him like a tree!” responded the first one.

“He’s so happy!” the second yelped back. “Just look at him dance!”

But as loud and annoying as they were, there was an older trio sitting directly behind my husband that were even louder and more annoying with their unadulterated cackles of laughter ringing in our ears.

When I looked over at my husband in utter disbelief, I saw a look of wincing pain on his face that was suddenly far funnier than the movie I could barely hear. I started laughing and then he started laughing and even though we couldn’t make out what was being said on the big screen, we were chuckling along with the audience as though we could.

Thank goodness the movie wasn’t an all-out comedy or we might have suffered some hearing damage, but the constant chatter behind me was a drain and we were relieved when the movie ended.

“They were enjoying themselves so much I couldn’t be mad,” my husband said later about the older women he never attempted to hush. And I knew exactly what he meant because when I looked back at them there was sheer delight on their faces. I wasn’t about to mess with that either.

There have been many times over the years where we’ve moved to different seats to escape the talkers, chompers and slurpers. And there have been many times when there was no place to go and we’ve asked people to save their conversations until after the movie and prayed they’d devour their snacks quickly.

But in the case we encountered the other night, we just had to suck it up and accept the experience for what it was.

If we want to guarantee no distractions the next time we watch a movie we’ll have to curl up on the couch in our living room like my grandma and I used to do. The popcorn’s cheaper there anyways.

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