Dear people next to me at Dr. Strange…

Jennie Josephson
Nov 5, 2016 · 4 min read

An exercise in restrained rage

I am this annoyed at you.


Yeah, you two. Lanky Hipster Carpenter Dude and Her Majesty of the Floral Romper.

It’s me, the lady who sat next to you at the 10pm showing of Dr. Strange at Pacific Theaters at The Grove this Friday night. I was there with my husband. Despite the fact that we look like fatter versions of your parents, we are still aligned with some of the things you enjoy, like this movie.

You don’t know this about me, but I like to give everyone I sit next to in a movie theater the benefit of the doubt…for a full three seconds. I mean, we’re all humans together in the universe, right?

Then you talked during the trailers.

Now I’ll be honest, my initial reaction was pure rage. But as I dug my nails into the plush red velvet seat, I reasoned (SILENTLY) with myself.

This isn’t the 1980’s. A movie trailer is no longer a scarcity, or even a luxury item. No one has to pay four whole dollars to see the trailer for Ghostbusters and then walk out of The Ice Pirates.

Trailers today are a commodity, an easy YouTube click. What’s playing in front of you is old news. I mean, they play trailers disguised as advertisements in the awful “Pre-Show” section of the modern movie experience, right between terrible ads for massage parlors and mid-level sushi. Besides, it’s almost an American civic duty to caustically destroy the trailer for XXX: The Return of Xander Cage in real time.

So I said nothing. And I continued to say nothing as you talked through every other 2-D trailer.

I felt a brief flash of optimism when it was time to put on the 3-D glasses. Surely this is the moment when the onscreen action for which you have paid $40 becomes more interesting than whoever it is on the Insta you are complaining about.

But alas, you continued to yammer.

Still I said nothing.

Because really, what’s to be gained in silent contemplation of yet another Pirates of the Caribbean trailer — a Deppless, Bloomless trailer that introduces us to the ghost of Captain Pulpo in Tinto who is GUESS WHAT mad at Jack Sparrow but this time drooling black squid ink.

Wait, what were we talking about?

Oh right. The part where you talked during the Rogue One trailer.


I tried to tune you out, believe me. But I work in radio. My ears are trained to hear dissonant sounds. And your dissonant sounds ruined a freakin’ 3-D Star Wars trailer featuring the return of Darth Vader, whom I am very much wanting to imitate in this moment.

This earned you a “Slow Head Turn/Long Disbelieving Stare.”

You didn’t notice.

At long last the brand new Marvel Studios slate appeared in all its 3-D glory, chronicling in a few brief seconds that company’s impressive achievements through a decade of filmmaking. But you wouldn’t know that BECAUSE YOU TALKED THROUGH THAT TOO.

That’s when I knew you were going to talk through the whole damned movie.

I knew what I had to do.

As the opening frames of Dr. Strange appeared on the giant screen, I tensed up, ears at the ready. I knew it would happen, I just didn’t know when.

But you didn’t disappoint. Before even the first guy’s head was [SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER], Her Majesty of the Floral Romper used her normal speaking voice to ask Mr. Carpenter Dude a question.

And that is when I got my 1984 on. I summoned the spirit of Dr. Eleanor Twitty, former Head Librarian of the New York Public Library in Ghostbusters.

I turned to you both, put my finger up to my lips and in the loudest possible stage whisper, delivered a resounding “SHHHHHHHHHHH!” My pent-up rage escaped in an electric hiss.

You both were pretty shocked.

I feel for you. It’s not easy when some old bag whose form you barely recognize as human breaks into your living room to shame you in the darkness.

Oh wait, this isn’t your living room. It’s a movie theater filled with two hundred other people.

Who could possibly tell the difference?

I monitored the silence. To your credit, you were at least easily cowed. I turned my eyes back up to the screen and sank back into the red velvet chair, ready to lose myself in the mystical inception of cinematic weirdness that is Dr. Strange.

And that is when my husband began to eat the nachos.

Jennie Josephson works in radio and creates podcasts. When she is crabby she writes about places other people enjoy — like The Hollywood Farmer’s Market.

Tell It Anyway

We just want to write all these stories we’ve been living

Jennie Josephson

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Stories told in audio form, but words are my first love.

Tell It Anyway

We just want to write all these stories we’ve been living