10 The talkies
We love the movies. Hollywood blockbusters, Bollywood romances, animated musicals, artsy documentaries – it doesn’t matter to us. Just to be in a darkened room, watching light dance across the screen to make dreams come alive is magical. At least it is right up until the moment the person sitting next to you starts talking on their phone or chatting with their friend as though they were sitting at home. Oblivious to your hushing, the determined talker pays no heed to the pre-film insisting on silence and switching off their phone. As far as we’re concerned, a 50-metre silence zone should be enforced around the whole cinema to avoid any moviegoers discussing the big plot twist as they exit a screen.
9 Space, the final frontier
Taking control of both armrests in a cinema seat is a show of physical dominance and is a manoeuvre only achieved by the spatially combative. Even if you know both your neighbours, politeness dictates you only use one of the armrests. You should also contort yourself as fully as you can to allow a passer-by to shuffle along to get to or from their seat after the movie starts. Stand up, sit down, lift your knees behind your ears – there is no comfortable way to be this close to a stranger, so just avoid eye contact and try and follow the film. At no point should you ever rest your feet on the headrest in front of you.
8 Joining in
Minor cinema talking is allowed in just a few circumstances. If you recognise an actor in a minor role, you’re well within your rights to lean to the person you’re watching with and whisper. You may also speak if you think you’ve identified who did it in a complicated thriller.
7 The previews
Car adverts, drink commercials and phone promos on the big screen are so, well, cinematic, and the trailers for future releases all manage to look fantastic when edited down to just a couple of minutes, don’t they?
6 The big screen
Sitting in the front row of a giant cinema is like watching window cleaners work the upper floors of the Burj Khalifa. You know there is some action happening up there somewhere, but you have to tilt so far back to take it all in you’re better off not bothering.
5 Suspending disbelief
Going to the cinema is socialising for people who don’t want to talk to each other. Apart from a brief argument about salted or sweet popcorn and a cursory “what did you think of that?” you can have a full night out for fewer than a hundred words.
4 Another dimension
Thanks to 3D screenings you can now make yourself look stupid while silently sitting still in a dark room. Whether it’s realising you’ve been reaching out to touch oncoming objects or screaming out in fear when a monster leaps to within an inch of your nose, it is, literally, a new dimension in public embarrassment.
3 Premium seats
Take on a second job, sell an organ, go undercover and infiltrate a gangster organisation to steal funds – whatever it takes to afford a Platinum Class upgrade, you should do it. The seats almost fully recline so you can guzzle gourmet hot dogs as you lie flat on your back under a blanket watching the latest movies.
2 Meals on reels
Only in a cinema could a family-size bag of peanut M&Ms and half a gallon of fizzy drink be considered a reasonable meal for an adult. Normal food rules don’t apply in cinemas. How else can you explain illuminous nacho cheese, the moreishness of popcorn that will be finished before the film starts or your willingness to pay the high pick ’n’ mix prices for what’s essentially a few jelly babies, a piece of fudge, some sour sweets and a liquorice shoelace?
1 Films are great
Even Adam Sandler comedies seem better on the big screen and the escapism of cinema with massive screens and ear-popping sound system beats binge-watching repeats at home.
Will Milner is a contributing editor. We mute him and read the subtitles.