Weekend Roundtable: Funniest or Weirdest Thing Overheard in a Movie Theater

The communal moviegoing experience can be a lot of fun when you get an audience that’s in sync with both the movie and your own enjoyment of it. At other times, people in theaters say the strangest damn things. In this week’s Roundtable, we remember some of the funniest or weirdest comments we’ve overheard either while in line for tickets, during the movie itself, or walking out afterwards.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

“Taye, you wanna get out the House on Haunted Hill? You better pray to Jesus!”

Taye Diggs’ character did indeed survive the 1999 remake of ‘House on Haunted Hill’, although prayer didn’t really factor into that so much. Those two ladies sitting behind me made for one of my all-time favorite filmgoing experiences, even if their predictions weren’t quite spot-on. Ooooh, if only you could hear their very vocal displeasure of Diggs accidentally getting hold of Ali Larter despite what is apparently a woefully lacking derriere. (I’m trying to keep it PG rated here, folks.)

Brian Hoss

Right after seeing the first showing of ‘Vacation’, I overheard two strangers talking about the movie. The one who had just seen it described it as a perfect movie for anyone who likes pedophile jokes. While that isn’t how I would describe it, as a critique, that’s a tough one to answer.

Luke Hickman

Being a film critic, you have to see it all: the good and the bad. Unfortunately, there’s a lot more bad than good. Being bombarded with so many truly awful movies will wither a man’s soul. I know. It has happened to me. I can testify that the more bad movies you watch, the worse they become. Believe it or not, Adam Sandler movies used to not bug the hell out of me – but now they’re absolutely grating.

In my sensitized state, I’m always shocked to hear comments from the general audience while exiting the press/promo screenings for terrible movies. There’s a certain group of folks who work the system and know how to get free passes to nearly every advance screening. It’s mostly these people that I refer to. I can’t understand how they can walk out of something as drop-dead stupid as ‘Jack and Jill’ saying things like, “That was the best Adam Sandler movie yet!” I understand that everyone has his or her own opinion. Hell, I know that I love some movies that most people think are horrible. However, there are certain movies that no one should like. Plenty of them. ‘All About Steve’, ‘The Legend of Hercules’, ‘Twilight’, ‘R.I.P.D.’… These are just a select few of the movies I’ve walked out of with my jaw on the floor in flabbergasted surprise at hearing these type of exit comments.

Tom Landy

My only funny story wasn’t really overheard; it happened to me directly. I can’t remember what movie it was because this occurred before it started but trailers were playing and the theater was already darkened. A heavyset gentleman – who I can only assume was visually impaired – walked up next to me and said something along the lines of, “Is this seat taken?” Then almost instantly, he turned around and proceeded to have his rear-end make a beeline for my lap. I had to yell out, otherwise I was likely going to end up being, well, kind of flat. Not fun times, and maybe that’s why I can’t remember what movie it was.

Shannon Nutt

My story actually isn’t overheard, as it came from a friend I was in the theater with, but it’s one of my favorite movie theater stories. I should preface this tale by stating that neither I nor my friend (whose name will be withheld) were/are the types to make comments during a film to disrupt other moviegoers. But trust me, in this case it was warranted.

In the winter of 1992, 20th Century Fox released a horribly dull World War II epic called ‘Shining Through’ (not available on Blu-ray, thankfully). The movie stars Michael Douglas as an espionage agent. Melanie Griffith is hired as a secretary for his cover job, but soon also becomes an undercover spy trying to discover Nazi secrets. None of that is really important… What is important is the movie’s climatic scene, in which Douglas must carry a wounded (and bleeding to death) Griffith across a border checkpoint before the Nazis figure out that they’re being tricked and shoot them down. In one of the most laughable scenes you’ll ever find in a serious war drama, Douglas picks up Griffith and makes a run for border like a football running back heading for the end zone. The filmmakers even show this in slow motion. I’m honestly surprised they didn’t throw in a voiceover by John Facenda.

Taking full advantage of the ridiculousness on the screen, my friend, upon (spoiler alert!) Douglas actually diving for the Allied border and reaching the other side, stands up in the theater, puts both hands up in the air, and proclaims “Touchdown!”

The dozen or so people who actually spent good money on this movie burst into laughter and applause, providing us with the most entertainment we’d gotten all day.

Josh Zyber

It’s March of the year 2000. The movie is ‘High Fidelity‘. Somewhere in the middle of the film, Catherine Zeta-Zones appears on screen for the first time and the woman sitting behind me exclaims, “Wait a second! I thought she was pregnant!”

Yes, this woman apparently believed that movies took place in real time as she was watching them, and had no concept that the actors shot their scenes months earlier. I’m sure she’d seen some recent interview clip on ‘Entertainment Tonight’ or somesuch of the actress sporting a baby bump (she would have been about four months along), and simply could not reconcile in her mind where the baby might have gone between then and the time the movie started.

What funny or weird things have you overheard people say in movie theaters? Tell us in the Comments.

30 comments

  1. Csm101

    I’ve already told this story in the bad movie date round table, but I’ll tell a shorter version. Halloween 6 with Paul Rudd. Some one behind me kept saying, “you have to give it to him regardless…the prophecy says, the prophecy states.” What the hell does that mean?! It was a weird fat guy sitting alone with his hand in the cup holders. I still haven’t experienced a stranger scenario while at the movies.

    In Lethal Weapon 2, I believe there’s a scene in which Murtaugh’s daughter does a condom commercial. Later on in the movie he is sent a bouquet of inflated condoms to his desk and all the cops are laughing at him. Some dumbass kid in the audience asked, “Are those water balloons.” That dumbass kid was me. πŸ™‚

  2. Scott

    Many moons ago my best friend Mickey and I had a double date at the movie theater. The movie was Apollo 13. Me being a cinephile even at that age wanted to sit up close to the screen to get the full effect with my date. Mickey on the other hand chose to sit with his date in the very back row of the theater so that they could make out during the movie.
    This was opening night of Apollo 13, so the entire theater was packed. The trailers run and there’s a new one for a movie we hadn’t seen advertised before that point, that trailer was for Showgirls. The trailer seemed to catch the whole audience by surprise with the subject matter. Right when it ends and they’re showing the credits for Showgirls and the theater is dead quiet I yell to Mickey in the back of the theater, “Hey Mickey! We’re going to have to see that one!” He immediately yells back, “Hell yeah man!”.
    The entire theater laughed for a good while, more than I’ve heard from most comedies. It was classic, something we still bring up to this day.

  3. (1) In the lobby after seeing “2001”, two disgruntled teenagers: “That whole thing was *faked*”.

    (2) Preview for “Octopussy”: Maude Adams looks into the camera and purrs: “I’m Octopussy…” My gang, in unison: “No, *I’m* Octopussy!!!”

    -Bill

  4. The funniest that I have been involved with was when I went with the wife to see Captain America: Winter Solder. She isn’t nearly a big of nerd as I am so she knew nothing about what to expect other than it had Chris Evans in it and she hoped he took his shirt off. When it came to the scene where Cap was fighting the Winter Solder and the mask came off revealing it was Bucky my wife gasped so loud and said “It’s Bucky!!” that everybody around us that heard her busted out laughing for several minutes.

    When I was younger went to see Con Air with a bunch of friends. Something happened and we ended up watching the first few minutes without any sound. I took it upon myself to dub over the dialog with my favorite lines from Predator. It was quite humorous…especially when I used some of the awkward vagina jokes.

  5. charles contreras

    When I saw Misery with my date, I remember when they came up to the scene where Kathy Bates whacks James Caan at the ankles. The theatre was pretty full, but that didn’t stop me from exclaiming “Man!” Needless to say, some people in the audence were amused, and hell, someone needed to say it.

    When Batman Returns played, there’s that infamous scene where Catwoman is giving herself a bath on The Penguin’s bed. Well, when I heard that one of the guys that I worked with was going to see that movie, I dared hm to yell “woody check” during that scene. He said the audience cracked up big time. Mission accomplished!

  6. My friend and I would love to go see really bad movies in the late 70’s through the late 80’s. While watching “Reform School Girls”, during the delousing scene, two girls sitting in front us turned to each other. One exclaimed to the other in a tone just above a whisper, “Damn I hate that stuff. It burns my eyes!”. The other replied ,”Mine too. And it taste terrible”. That exchange made it possible to sit through the rest of the movie, hoping we could get more insight on the lives of a couple of bad girls.

  7. EM

    More than once I’ve mentioned that I saw Super 8, the sci-fi/horror about a creature that feeds on electricity and people, 3Β½ times during its theatrical run. The β€œΒ½β€ is because of a power outage midway through my third showing. When the theater went dark, one wag in the audience shouted, β€œIt’s the monster!”

    Special bonus romance scene, from my one and only viewing of Attack of the Clones…
    Anakin: β€œIf you are suffering as much as I am, please tell me.”
    EM (raising hand): β€œI am!”

  8. Ken

    I cannot remember for the life of me what movie it was, a drama of some sort – not an action movie, not a horror flick, I’m talking straight up drama… But I’m sitting in a theater in the Upper East side in NYC watching this flick, and at the pivotal, most dramatic moment in the movie where the main female lead dies, a woman behind me turns to her friend and says matter of factly – and at a normal talking volume, not a hushed whisper… “Well, SHE dead.”

    Yes, yes she was.

    I didn’t know at the time whether to be upset that she was talking at all in the first place, being Master of the Obvious, or to laugh my ass off.

    I’ve been laughing my ass off thinking about it since. And now, sadly, in the back of my mind when a female protagonist dies in a film – ANY film – I hear the echoes of a strange woman’s voice saying simply, succinctly, “Well, SHE dead.”

  9. Buntvarch73

    Was waiting to see “Face/Off” with a bunch of friends and before the previews start, the theater was oddly quiet. In a true ADD moment, I blurted out “WHADDYA MEAN YOURE GAY?!”

    Needless to say the audience laughed for a good while. Ah the non PC days of humor, how I miss them.

  10. My wife and I were watching Tron 2, and the two children of the woman behind us had bracelets with bells on them which they proceeded to jingle in our ears through the entire movie. I kept trying to give enough blatant evil eye to get my point across without losing it but to no avail. Finally when the lights came up I turned around to give her a piece of my mind but before I could speak I noticed she was clearing away their dinner… Not just some snuck-in food, FULL PLATED DINNER, silverware and all. I couldn’t find the words.

    One disruption I’m guilty of was during a screening of Dancer in The Dark. I was with two of my friends, and two of us could not stay awake for the movie and fell asleep. We were simultaneously woken up from the sound of (SPOILER ALERT) …………Selma being hanged……… Which caused us both to go into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. Our other friend (and the rest of the theater) were truly unimpressed.

  11. During the exceptionally awful Hollywood Homicide there’s a scene where either Harrison Ford or Josh Hartnett knocks a guy into a big dumpster. Without missing a beat I yelled out “Time to take out the trash!” and it was the highlight of my life. I assume if any of the people in that theater were HDD readers, they would’ve relayed this story for me.

    • This reminds me of one of the few times I’ve actually blurted out anything in a theater.

      It was during Roland Emmerich’s awful GODZILLA reboot where the characters actually try to lure the monster with a huge pile of fish, to which I stated, “This movie stinks!”

  12. Chuck

    I love Matrix. I dislike the sequels so much that I only watched them once during their premiere, so I may miss some details of the movies. Anyway, Trinity had a lengthy scene where she died/dying in Reloaded and Neo ridiculously squeezed her heart to life. So, in Revolutions when Trinity having another lengthy death scene, someone in the theater stood up and yell “F***ing die already!!!!” and the whole theater burst with laughter. That was the only good thing I can remember from watching those awful sequels.

  13. Dennis

    At a screening of Gone With the Wind there was a funny incident. Near the end When Scarlett throws herself at Ashley after Melanie has died, a woman sitting behind me a few rows back let out a rather loud “Oh, Jesus!”. The whole theater about fell apart laughing at this very serious moment in the film.

  14. Ross

    Both of mine involve laughter. At a local screening of “Inglorious Basterds”, I noticed a very large man with a ZZ Top beard sitting two rows behind me. Whenever there was a moment of excessive violence (quite a few considering the movie) he would laugh out loud. By the time the baseball bat came out, his hearty guffaws were probably louder than the sound system. Then, when the woman was being tortured with a finger in her open gun wound, he started laughing so hard that he couldn’t breathe and began crying. Needless to say, I made sure he was long gone before leaving. The other was as a teen seeing “Christmas Vacation” at the local mall. Apparently the local mall Santa (at least I hope he was the mall Santa, otherwise it gets a bit weird) decided to catch the movie too and during all the best jokes he would let out a very loud, “Ho! Ho! Ho!”

  15. Tyler

    Last summer I went to see The Fault In Our Stars and it had been out for a while so there were only a few other couples in the theater. My girlfriend and I sat in the back and there was a couple right in the middle of the theater. At the end, during Ansel Elgort’s characters’ funeral, the somewhat climactic, sad, quiet moment was interrupted by what I thought was the couple in the middle of the theater peeing in a cup. The woman was fidgeting around and it sounded like pee was being let out into an empty soda cup. This caused me to go red in the face because I was trying hard to hold in my laughter during the incredibly inappropriate-to-laugh scene. It was just too strange not to laugh. The lady walked out very shortly after this but her boyfriend/husband/significant other stayed put until the movie ended. I waited until everyone had left and went to investigate their area once the movie was over. As I got closer the stench of urine became very strong. When I got about a few seats away from where they were sitting I noticed there was no trash. I realized then that there was a huge puddle on the ground and the upholstery of the seat the woman was sitting in was soaking wet. The lady had pissed herself there at the worst moment. To this day I still ask myself a lot of question about this. Did she not want to miss the movie until it was too late? Did she have a bladder problem? Why did her significant other stay for the rest of the movie and not go help her out? Why had she seriously not gone to pee yet?

  16. William Henley

    Hmmm. This is tough for me. I’ve been the one making comments before – I took my goddaughter (who was 12 at the time) to see Mamma Mia (not because either of us really wanted to see it, there was just nothing really appropriate out that both of us could see – there was either the G rated kiddy movies, or the R rated stuff that I am not taking a 12 year old to). So it was summer, Wednesday night, 10 PM showing (as I said, it was summer, so the late night movie wasn’t a problem). We were the only ones in the theater. We were cracking up from almost the beginning (not because it was funny, but because it was so bad). Then Pierce started to sing…..

    But the topic is what have others said. I don’t pay attention much to other’s conversations, but I got one. It’s not really funny, just a funny story. So my buddy and I go to the theaters like 2 or 3 times a month. We pretty much watch whatever the theater is showing on the Cine Capri. So opening weekend, we go see this little movie we hadn’t heard of called Divergent. Not only were we the only people in line over the age of 18, we were the only guys in line. We had seen the trailers, and this didn’t look like a girl movie, we couldn’t figure out why all these girls would be in line for a sci-fi action movie. These girls were like really excited, you would have thought they were about to go into a male strip-club or something. Hormones are flying around, had about three different girls grab my butt (I don’t remember girls even doing that when I was in school). I didn’t know how to react to this – never been around girls acting like this before. We get into the theater, go through previews, and the movie is starting. I mean, they have barely even introduced characters – they are still talking about the factions, when I hear this girl behind me say, “Wow, that guy is really cute!” “Yeah, did you check out his butt?” There is no guy on the screen yet, look around, surrounded by hundreds of girls. I then here “I think he heard you.” I turn my head around and there are three teenage girls staring back at me frozen stiff as statues. I give them a smile and turn back around, and they start giggling. “Oh my gosh, his smile is SO cute”. You know what, that is an ego trip no matter how old the person is giving you the compliment. I very much enjoyed the rest of this movie – well, at least until the main male lead took off his shirt and the entire theater burst into wolf whistles and girls fainting and such. I didn’t think girls really did that.

    Lesson of that story is – do a bit of research on a movie before you blindly go and see it on opening weekend. Although that theater seems to be popular with teenage girls – the last two Star Trek movies we saw there, as well as the last Bourne movie, and it was mostly teenage girls there. But for theaters near us, it is either that one, or the ridiculously overpriced theater (they charge $17 when other theaters in the area charge $8-$10), or the ghetto theater (which I go to sometimes for matinees as they are so cheap – $3.75 for 2D).

  17. Jon

    When I went to see Return of the King they had one of those irritating ‘piracy is evil’ infomercials where all those no name crew members on films (the assistant gaffer, the personal aid, etc) go on and on about how piracy threatens their jobs. At the end three guys down in the front of the auditorium all yell out ‘we’re sorry!’

  18. Ryan

    I worked at a theatre for about 13 years and have many of stories i could tell. My top was a gentleman came in looking for his wife because of a “family emergency” He knew his wife was in such and such a movie and was escorted down to search the 2 theatres to find her. Next thing we know is that a co-worker is running up the hall and yelling to get a manager as a fight broke out in the theatre. The guy found out that his wife was having an affair with one of his co-workers and went to confront them in the act. The beauty thing about it all was that they were watching Mel Gibson’s THE PASSION. They stop the film, my manager got one in a headlock and waited until the police showed up.

    ok one more.

    The day after the tragic Dark Knight Rises shooting incident. Our theatre company sent out email notices that we were to call the police over any escalated matter that might occur especially for that movie. I had a boy ask me to help get his seats back as he was just returning from the bathroom and a Jamaican family took the kids jacket and threw it down a few seats as if he weren’t there. Call the manager and they argued for about 5 minutes. The woman wouldn’t move, she called my manager a racist, and people were just in shock she pulled out the race card. The people sitting around the kid said she had taken his jacket and removed it from the spot. Another manager comes to help and still the woman is using the race card and so we were to call the police. Here’s the best part of it all. They finally get her out of the theatre, i did some seating for latecomers and left when the movie started. Go out in the hall and see 2 SWAT officers in full gear with guns talking to this woman over a simple seat issue. Their SWAT team was just coming back from an training exercise size and were the first to respond to the matter. We had it playing in 2 other theatres too and wouldn’t do anything because she wasn’t doing anything wrong.

  19. Jack

    My favorite story was from the midnight premiere of Spiderman 3, as the movie went on people were getting more and more annoyed and the few guys yelling stuff out was the only respite from the actual movie. In the infamous dance sequence after he hits Mary Jane one of the guys yelled out “HIT HER AGAIN” and everybody in the theater burst out laughing. To date its the only good memory I have of that stupid movie.

  20. Alex

    I still make fun of my wife for audibly gasping when Taylor Lautner lost his shirt in one of the Twilight movies (don’t remember which one. Don’t care)

    • William Henley

      Yeah, I was with my girlfriend, my goddaughter, and my second cousin, and all three girls got giddy (well, giddy is putting it nicely). I wasn’t too happy with them, i felt that was not an appropriate way to act in public.

  21. William Henley

    You know, I do remember a couple of other examples. One of the strangest experiences can be watching a movie at the theater in another country. I had three experiences with this

    1) I was in Prague, and saw Castaway. Biggest movie theater I had ever been in, the auditorium easily seated 2000, and it was packed. I was with a group of 5 American students. At the end of the movie, Tom Hanks is in Texas to deliver a package, asks for directions and the lady responds “If you go north, there is a whole lot of nothing between here and Canada”. We all burst out laughing – the other 1,995 people in the auditorium turned to stare at us, not really out of annoyance or anything, they just didn’t understand what was so funny.

    2) watching Casablanca in Salzburg was an experience. Germans and Austrians would rather forget about that moment in history, and you could tell there were moments that were really making the audience uncomfortable. To me, its a great movie, to them, many in the theater had lived through it

    3) Saw some movie about the Cuban missile crisis while in the UK (can’t remember if I saw it in London or Bath). The movie had an intermission (probably didn’t in the US, but it did at this theater in the UK). I kid you not, I walk out of the theater and I overhear people saying “This movie is so tense? How do you think its going to end?” I responded “I am pretty sure the US did not go to war with the Soviet Union”. They said “Oh, have you seen this movie before? Don’t ruin the end for us!”

    • Scott

      There’s a movie theater I frequent when I’m often in Malaysia. Malaysia is a great country for English speakers to visit since as it was once colonized by the British most everyone speaks English very well. However, they don’t speak it quite as good as a native speaker like myself. There have been a couple of times when I’ve seen comedies amongst them and I always feel bad as though I am ruining the funny parts for them. While the language processes through my brain immediately it takes just a couple seconds longer for them, so I’m always laughing just a split second before the rest of the theater.

      • William Henley

        Yeah, I have that experience when watching stuff in German – as I am translating in my mind (or reading subtitles if it has them), people around me will be laughing a good 2-3 seconds before me

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