Friday, August 12, 2005

The Rules of Movie-Hopping

Yesterday I wrote about my love of movie-hopping. It was more or less supposed to be a brief essay on my love for the hopping of movies. But now I fear that my love my inspire others to hop as well. And I cannot, in good conscience, send you out into the world without some tips.

So print these out. Study them. Practice hopping from one room of your house to another, without being noticed. Then when you are ready…brave the multiplex.

1. Be Inconspicuous
This rule involves quite a bit of work and a little bit of pre-planning. The key to successful movie-hopping is to go unnoticed as you are going from one theater to the next. So do your best not to stand out. Don’t wear t-shirts that have funny phrases on them or anything too unique. Someone working there may notice the shirt and take even a slight mental note of it. Then when they notice it again 4 hours later they will stop and think, “Didn’t I already see that shirt today?” Bad. Do not make the movie workers think. They do not like this and are unaccustomed to it. And they will throw you out as a result.

Also, if you are a woman and have boobs, don’t wear a tight shirt or a cleavage shirt. The male workers will definitely notice it/them. Nothing ruins a good undercover op like big boobs and teenage movie workers.

Finally, in order to assist your incognito efforts I recommend bringing a jacket, maybe a hat. Then switch the combos up during the day – sometimes wear the jacket, sometimes wear the hat, sometimes wear both – but always wear something. Please.

2. No Eye Contact
A fellow movie-hopper commented on my last blog with this rule. And I too feel that it is very important. Just like anywhere in life eye contact can lead to bad things – like conversation and general politeness. These things are as unnecessary in a movie theater as they are in the real world.

The key to this rule is to not avoid the eye contact by looking like a scared puppy. Don’t hunch your back and look at the ground, because then someone is sure to talk to you. If for no other reason that to point out that you are about to run into a wall.

I have several ways to avoid eye contact. First, I am looking up at the movie names above the theater doors – I’m searching, I’m looking, I’m not making eye contact, oh I found my theater, and now I’m inside the theater. Secondly, I talk to an imaginary friend on the cell phone. We are having a very serious conversation and/or the phone is breaking up, I can’t hear you, I’m going to have to call you back, I’ve just walked into the theater. Thirdly is the standby - I search through the purse for something, anything, I’m looking, I’m searching, I’m in the theater. No unnecessary conversations had.

3. Do Not Hesitate
Movie hopping needs to be a well-oiled machine. And as with all well-oiled machines, hesitation is not an option. Hesitation is more of a moderately-oiled machine trait. When hopping one must never falter. To falter is to diiiiiiiiieeeeeeeee. Or it is to go home without a fully numbed ass. Which is the movie-hopping equivalent of death.

So even if you are not by nature a confident person, it’s time to test out those acting skills. Throw those shoulders back, lift your chin up high and walk the halls like a person who is running slightly late for their show and cannot be bothered with such pointless things like eye-contact or pleasantries. I know you feel guilty, I know you feel wrong, I know your mother thinks you are committing a sin equal to animal torture. But your exterior must portray none of this. Be strong my soldiers. AND. JUST. KEEP. WALKING.

4. Go to the bathroom or visit concessions between movies.
This is a good time filler and a good way to avoid being seen literally walking out of one movie door and into another movie door. Plus the bathroom stall is a great place to change your outfit and check to make sure you’re on schedule. It’s kinda like Superman’s phone booth. Only with automatic flushers.

5. Always start with the new release/blockbuster.
A movie hopper is instantly eliminated from the game if someone is checking tickets in front of your forth movie. You will usually find this horrible sight only on the weekends and only for the new releases or a HUGE blockbuster or an NC17 movie. At least that’s what I’ve heard.

So it is best to plan to see the ticket-checking movie first so that you actually have a valid ticket to show.

“But what do I do if I want to see two new releases or HUGE blockbusters or NC17 movies?” You ask, because you are a sucker for nudity and graphic violence.

To that I say, “Never fear, there are exceptions to every rule… (except the one that insisted you keep your clothes on.)”

6. Go in a little late.
If you are worried about being caught going into a movie wait a little while and go in after the previews have started. Once the theater has gone dark the movie workers close the door and go back to seeing how much free popcorn they can eat. And then you slip in ever so slyly.

Because you are a confident, experienced (yet stealth-like) movie-hopper. Butter, instead of blood, pumps through your veins.

So go students! Go! Embrace the world inside the movie theater! It is an exciting world full of challenges and dreams! Maybe one day I’ll run into one of you as we are both hopping. But of course, we’d literally have to RUN IN to each other, because neither one of us will be making eye contact with anyone.


Leah said...

Awesome!! I'm so going to have to do this. But I have a question: The theatre that I always go to is one of those 24 screen multiplexes...and therefore has two wings. Two checkers on either side. To get into the concession area / bathroom area is to leave the section with the movies. Any tips??

d said...

ninjas, its the obvious answer... Seriously though, I think in that situation one would need to plan on just staying in that wing of the theater... hopfully all of the good shows are on the same side.

Though, perhaps if you have your ticket, you can watch and see when the checker is busy, and slip buy just flashing the ticket stub you have...

just make sure there aren't two incredibly bored looking for action cops hanging out at the theater just itching to billy club someone.

Patricia said...

ok so a small trickle of sweat is forming at my temple, even as i type.

i am not worthy of such insider trading advice, but i swear by all that is cinematic, i shall strive to embrace your rules and follow them to the letter. i'm positively giddy!

may the force be with us all.

Anonymous said...

As I said before . . . WHERE DID I GO WRONG? --mom

Movie theatre surfer said...

Another tip - you can look on the floor for discarded ticket stubs - people tend to try to toss them in the trash, but miss the can and they wind up on the floor, also the bathroom counter and/or floor is a good place to look. This is only if you desperately need a ticket stub for another movie in the east or west wing. But generaly, acting like you know what you are doing will get you where you need to be. In fact, this worked for me once - I picked up a ticket stub to The Incredibles while in the restroom, after seeing Harry Potter - I flashed it while going to "B" wing and I was in. Mind you this is the only time I've done this but it does work.
They key is this - when you are going to see movie #2, 3 or 4 act like you would if you were seeing movie #1!!! This will help you immensely.

dawn said...

The two-winged theater is a movie-hoppers kryptonite. And I do my best to avoid them. I’ve never tried the “picking tickets up off the floor” thing, as I feel as though I have standards. You might have not noticed them, because they are so low.

In the few times I’ve hopped between wings I’ve done so by using the Do Not Hesitate Rule. If you look like you’re supposed to be there a lot of times they won’t question you. It helps if you have popcorn in your hand, then if they stop you you can pat various pockets, search, then say, “Damn, my boyfriend/girlfriend/elderly grandmother who I like to take to the movies because she is frail and sick and no one else loves her must have my ticket.” Just remember, these workers REALLY don’t care. They are not a part of any sort of government agency. Give them a relatively believable story and they’ll probably buy it.

I’d hesitate to try this more than one time in a day though. Even with a dying grandmother waiting for you they might not let you through three times.

Or if none of this works – go with the ninjas for sure.

movie theatre surfer said...

dawn is 100% correct about one thing for sure - the movie patrol gremins DON'T CARE (except at the AcrLight in LA). I used to be one and it is oh so true. Be as fumbly and busy as possible and you'll look like the other 200 people rushing to see Wedding Crashers. Hey, now there's an idea for a crashers! Starring Dawn Dais and Chipper Jen...

Agent Anderson said...

My theater has two wings. I have traveled from one wing to the other, even stopping to refill my popcorn in the middle, and no one took notice. I try to avoid this if I can, but sometimes the good movies are on opposite sides.

appleinn4 said...

Me and my friend are real daredevils so this is pretty easy for us. im 13 and shes 12 but weve done alot of illegal things. My other guy friend who is also 12 is a little bit of a scaredy cat but we convinced him to do it with us,i have a really big imagination so i thought if we all switch jackets when were in the bathroom and then go to the next movie...nobody waits at the door of the seprate movies so were good there but i have two questions...first when were leaving the bathroom should we go sepratly? and second the theater is shaped like a "T" the bottom line going down is the ticket buying and the concession stand (where most of the workers are) and the one across are the movies and at the part where the two lines meet is where you give the people your ticket but the problem is there is only one bathroom on the right side of the T and you cant tell what side the movie is going to be on beacause they change where the movies are daily. what are some tips to make sure the person doesnt get suspicious of us? ( i dont think the second one will happen beacause the workers change spots alot but just in case)

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Anonymous said...

nice tips, especially "do not hesitate" - works like a charm

a nice site I use to figure out a movie hopping schedule is

Anonymous said...

I believe I have a good tip.especially if you go to AMC. They have a policy that says that if you don't like the movie you bought ticket for, you can return it for refund. I suggest next time you get cought hopping you tel them you didn't like the other movie, and you thought that instead of getting a refund you decided to just watch something different. I hope that works for you as will as it did for me. :)

Anonymous said...

you people are disgusting cheap bastards.

Anonymous said...

You are a thief. Way to rip off the theatre. You should serve jail time for this. Nice influence.

Bruce Costa said...

Having been a hopper since I was a film student 30 years ago, "Anonymous," I can assure you the theater makes hardly anything from the movies they show. The point is to get you in to buy popcorn for the price of prime rib. The ethical thing, therefore, is to cough up more cash for their overpriced snacks than you would if you were to only go to one movie.

This, of course, gets us into the other great philosophical debate about smuggling food into theaters. I still do so, because unlike the metabolic pace at which many of your readers function, my body can't process that garbage. I mean, I'd pay plenty for a cup of coffee; I'd kill (or at least kidnap) for a salad or a wrap. Until they offer actual food, I will struggle, ethically, with my hopping.

Face said...

Wow! That is a whole lot of writing for something as easy as movie hopping. You've put way too much thought into it. I feel much dumber now that I have wasted one minute of life reading your completely obvious tips about movie hopping. Way to go Einstein!

Btw, I really don't think that a teenage male movie worker is going to kick out the big breasted girl with a low cut shirt. He's going to keep his mouth shut so he he can keep staring at her rack!

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