Bad Movie Theatre Experience – The Shape of Water Edition


At the time of writing, the Oscars will be airing tonight. Some may already be aware of my general distaste for award shows, given my criticism of the Golden Globes specifically for their choices for the best animated film of the year, which so happens to conveniently carry over to the Oscars. Regardless, I will be viewing the show to discover new films and see the eventual winners. 

I guess on that note, The Shape of Water has accumulated the most nominations (a grand total of thirteen), and the clear frontrunner to win the most awards. Having seen the film, I would like to reaffirm the film’s quality as an outstanding and intimate experience with masterful directing, and the awards it has been nominated for are well-deserved. Personally, I hope it’ll takes home the Best Picture award.

With that being said, I cannot hold the same feelings for my time at the theater in which I went to see the film. In fact, it was borderline frustrating getting through certain sections of the film when multiple distractions prevented me from maintaining my utmost attention on the movie. So what exactly happened?

For clarity, we” split it up into three sections detailing noteworthy events before, during, and after the movie even if they may be insignificant. This, way, it’ll be easy to grasp everything I am discussing.

Before The Movie

The Shape of Water had a limited release within theaters, so I was surprised that there happened to be a showing at a nearby theater. I quickly bought a pair of tickets, one for myself and one for my brother, and a few hours later we were off to the theaters. We redeemed our tickets and were about to go into the theater, when one of the clerks suddenly asked for identification. It quickly occurred to me that the movie happened to have an R-rating, and that you had to be seventeen to enter the movie in the first place (i had turned seventeen six days before lol). Funnily enough, I happened to be carrying identification and showed it to them, but then I learned that to bring a minor in, that person must then be twenty-one.

Long story short, I went into the theater alone and my brother went to go see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. To be wholly honest, this moment was more peculiar than abhorrent, but I found it interesting to include.

Anyways, I walked into the designated theater and went to search for my seat. After finding the right row, I went to go take my seat and get comfortable for the movie. I was just about to take out the snacks that I snuck into the theater, when I soon noticed this glass paneling lined across the front of the row. It wasn’t too tall, but distracting enough to dilute the lower eighth of the screen.

First off, who in the hell puts glass in front of anything for no apparent reason? Second, I was genuinely ticked with my predicament and frustrated that I couldn’t switch my seat due to reserved seating policy. Additionally, the film happened to be sold out, so I couldn’t get away with taking someone’s seat. Luckily I happened to quickly forget about it once some movie trailer came on.

During The Film

So now The Shape of Water begins playing on the screen, and for the most part everything seems normal. I m immediately entranced by the opening sequence featured in an aquatic setting, and having gone in without much context besides the title, my excitement was swelling to see what Guillermo del Toro and the rest of the team brought to the table.

For the first portion of the movie, there was greater focus on the main trio of Elisa, Giles, and Zelda, as we gained insight into their daily lives and specific quirks inherent to their personalities. Very quickly though, we caught our first glimpse of the sea creature trapped within the tank, just swimming around….


That statement quickly entered through my eardrum, prompting me to look over to my right, where I then saw a father and his adult daughter (presumably) making a bunch of snarky comments about what they were viewing on-screen. And these comments were audible enough to serve as a distraction not only to me, but also the people to my left. They had taken a quick glimpse over out of dissatisfaction, and I could only shake my head in agreement with them. However, this was only the first occurrence, and I was willing to let their rude behavior slide once.

But you know how this goes…

I don’t even want to remember how many times I counted the number of instances where these particular individuals interjected their commentary on something. Whether they were laughing at Elise’s attempts to communicate something through sign language or acting disgusted at some sexual scene, it quickly grated on my patience. Now this was partially self-inflicted, as I was not persistent enough in attempting to remind them that they were in a theater.

It took me a while, but I finally attempted to tell them politely to calm down after their reaction to Elise entering the bathroom naked with the sea creature (you can make your own assumptions).

And I was taken aback when they had the audacity to interrupt me and tell me to stop distracting them. The nerve!

From that point on, I couldn’t even bother with them anymore, and it nearly took every inch of my willpower to somehow drown out the sound right beside me and pay attention exclusively to the movie. It was made all the more difficult, when the people beside me expressed their frustrations to each other about the people who instigated the distractions in the first place. As the loner sitting right in between them, there was absolutely no escape.

After The Film

Having heard enough from the people beside me, I could gauge that they didn’t enjoy the film. Fortunately, their utter disregard for etiquette did not deter whatever adoration I held towards The Shape of Water. Therefore, just to irk them I chose to give a standing ovation when the credits began rolling (too bad I was the only one who did). I didn’t catch a glimpse of their reactions, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they rolled their eyes of something. Maybe I was acting petty, but I don’t regret having acted that way whatsoever. They left the theater immediately after the credits, the people on my left couldn’t stop talking about how annoying the people on my right were and left eventually, and I found myself sitting through the credits of a phenomenal film.


I would not take this specific experience as representative of a typical moviegoers’ experience and this happens to be a relatively uncommon occurrence. It’s when one finds themselves in the middle of a bad movie experience though that it becomes all the more memorable. Rather, a short-term inconvenience in the movie theater can quickly become a fun story that can be told time and time again.

Oh yeah, for those curious, I think I’m going to have another story prepared for you all in the future. The movie experience in question happens to have taken place one year from that day, and trust me when I say it was much, much worse…

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