Titanic Shoutdown / by Courtney Mehlhaff

A movie theater is not your living room.

I'll never understand why this concept is so hard to grasp, but it seems incomprehensible to many moviegoers that 100 other people did not pay good money to hear a stranger's running commentary on whatever they're watching.

Now, if I'm at a theatre seeing a live play, I will not hesitate to shush a bitch. Because that's a costly, one-time experience where the actors on stage are also affected by rude patrons. And if you're sitting close to a talker, other people are counting on you to save their night from ruin.

A friend of mine takes this responsibility seriously, even at the movies. "You WILL NOT talk during this show!" she once preemptively commanded a group of rowdy teenage boys during the previews.

And she does it with flair. She once shut down a guy who was chronically thinking aloud by calling him a "gaping windbag."

But one of the funniest movie exchanges I can remember (aside from the time I heard a theater employee kick the broken projector and call it a "fucking slut"), was when I saw Titanic with my sister and her friend in high school.

This may or may not have been the time someone snuck a pizza-sized dessert cookie into the theater in the waistband of their pants. Who can say.

There had been several outbursts from a woman behind us during this film. But when the epic scene arrived where Kate Winslet is lying, cold and blueish, on the board in the ocean, the commentary kicked up a notch.

"Oh my god, do you think she's dead? She looks dead. Is Rose dead? Did she die?"

My sister's friend just snapped. She whirled around and yelled, "Of COURSE she's not dead, she's TELLING THE STORY! Now SHUT UP!"

It pays to follow the narrative. Sometimes it will even answer your questions before you need to ask them.