Beggars can't be choosers, and the small, motley crew of local film critics often has no choice but to attend promotional screenings in order to get a review published when the movie opens. Screenings exclusively for the press are few and far between normally (although, as per my earlier post, there a lot this week for the Oscar-contending films).
So that means most of the time we have to deal with huge crowds who are seeing the movie for free. They're excited, they're desperate for free T-shirts and other promotional stuff passed out at these things, and they're not always on their best behavior.
At a screening of "The Tale of Despereaux" last week, I had to repeatedly shush the people next to me -- and they were about the only adults there who didn't have a small child with them.
There are hassles large and small. The radio and other media outlets who generally host these things always give away way more tickets than they have seats. So that means on a hot movie, it can be hard to get a spot. There are studio reps who are supposed to set aside a few seats for the critics, but sometimes it just doesn't happen. I try to show up at least 20 minutes early for promos and I've never not gotten a seat, but I've come close a few times.
So to those attending these promos: Yes, I understand you're juiced to be there. Please come and enjoy the movie, along with the critics and everyone else. But don't talk to your friends, make calls on your cell, or shift around like a hyperactive monkey. And for Pete's sake, if you have a baby who starts crying or a small kid who gets fussy and/or talkative, vamoose to the lobby immediately.
Here endeth the lesson.