Assuming, for the purposes of argument, that some movies are actually worth seeing at that price -- or would be, if doing so were actually fun and relaxing -- some central themes come into focus. You want consistent picture and sound quality. You want comfortable seating. You want little or no pre-show advertising, and absolutely no condescending lectures about movie piracy. "If I wanted to be patronizingly lectured at and be forced to watch ads, I'd watch Fox News," writes one reader. You don't mind a few trailers, as long as they don't go on forever and don't seem totally incongruous with the movie you're there to see. You want decent, reasonably priced food options, and possibly an adult beverage or three. You want the movie to start on time. You want the place to be acceptably clean and tidy, although nobody is expecting your mom's bathroom circa 1973.
You want the people around you to shut up during the movie (I think we can agree that talking, hooting and inappropriately laughing during previews is excepted). You want them to turn off their damn phones and you especially want anybody who somehow thinks it's OK to intermittently consult their BlackBerry or their Treo or whatever liquid-crystal, visible-for-miles, brilliant-oceanic-blue screen they've got, right in the middle of a dark room of strangers trying to preserve a collective trance, to be dragged away in chains, flayed alive and sacrificed to the Dead Serpent God that He may live again. [emphasis mine]
I agree with all the other stuff, but my last 3 movies in a row have been tainted by proximity of wankers getting their texting fix every 5 f**king minutes. I don't like sticky floors, and I don't usually buy the food, and bad sound can be irritating, but people who pull out their cell phones or blackberries and start texting or playing video games or whatever in the theater, even/especially if it's only for a couple of seconds every 5 minutes, bring out in me an emotion I can only describe as murderous rage. My blood pressure is rising just thinking about it. The little white light shining in the corner of my eye is like having a dead skunk under the seat: you can't ever take your mind off of it, and it becomes more maddening every second. I think I would make the same faces, too. Last time I spent 10 minutes fantasizing about kicking the dude down the stairs of the theater and breaking his phone apart in my hands while he faded from consciousness. I am actually apprehensive about going to the theater again because I just know that next time I'm going to either: 1. actually yell "TURN THAT SHIT OFF!!", or 2. grab the offending tool (I actually mean the phone) and throw it at the screen.