Barbenheimer Moviegoing Etiquette Is Out of Control

This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by editor Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.

This week:

The Barbenheimer Bad Behavior

It was such a soaring, invigorating experience to see the enthusiasm with which audiences attended Barbie and Oppenheimer screenings in the last several weeks. Getting excited about movies! You love to see it!

What you hate to see is that people have forgotten how to act while at the movies.

I’m not talking about displays of excitement. Barbie, for example, was made even better by watching it with an energized crowd reacting vocally and uproariously. When I saw it, people in my theater kept repeating some of the film’s best lines—the ones we all couldn’t believe Mattel allowed in the film—out loud, like a reflex born out of disbelief. It was fun. It was usually accompanied by a secondary giggle. That’s the fun of a communal experience.

Not fun: everyone being on their damn phones. Phones glued to our hands like they’re now a part of the appendage, like a new form of human evolution, is an inescapable-if-annoying new reality. But I feel like we all used to operate with an understanding that we don’t use them during movies.

Over the last few weeks—especially during the films’ opening weekend—iPhone-filmed footage of Barbie and Oppenheimer was all over my social media feeds. Not only were people using their phones in the theaters, but they were also literally filming the screen. That violates, like, two social norms I thought we all had the common sense to abide by.

Aside from that was the endless scrolling, made obvious by the glow of phone screens throughout both films and audience members’ heads down looking at them instead of up at the movie they paid to watch. I sat next to four people at one Barbie showing who were dressed in pink outfits and posed for selfies before it started. Theoretically, they were interested enough in this movie that they had procured costumes to wear while watching it. Then, during two of the biggest movements, three of the four of them were scrolling and typing on their phones, their heads down. I know this because it was so distracting for me, but I also was confused by their behavior—these people missed the scenes that were kind of the whole point of the entire movie!

This poor moviegoing etiquette isn’t new; my colleague Coleman Spilde wrote about it for Obsessed last year. But it all seemed super-charged during Barbenheimer weekend, in a way I hope doesn’t become normalized.

Anyway, I’m going to pour myself some prune juice, open up my copy of AARP magazine, settle down for a marathon of Matlock or Murder She Wrote, and stop my old-man whining. But I needed to get it off my chest!

Sarah Snook Really Deserves the Emmy Now

I loved Kate Aurthur’s lengthy profile of Succession Sarah Snook for Variety for several reasons.

For one, I don’t remember ever coming away from an article believing so strongly that a performer must win all the acting awards for their performance before. The feature had fascinating insight from Snook and collaborators about crafting her performance that made her work on the show seem all the more impressive. It’s the kind of deep dive into an acting triumph that someone hoping to win an Emmy dreams of—a good sign for Snook’s chances, should the Hollywood writing and acting strikes end and the Emmy Awards ever happen. (AMPTP, I will never forgive you if we’re denied a Sarah Snook Emmys speech because of your villainous behavior.)

But there’s one detail in the piece that really blew me away. Apparently, Shiv Roy’s pregnancy was written into the show midway through the final season, when Snook herself learned she was expecting. Episodes and scenes had already been shot in which, when Snook performed them, there was never a plan for Shiv to be pregnant. Additional scenes were written and filmed for those episodes after the fact. Some of the most explosive exchanges, though, like the one where Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) tells Shiv that she’s “maybe not a good person to have children,” were filmed before there was the decision for Shiv to be pregnant.

It’s really interesting to read about, which you can do so here!

How Does Beyoncé Do It?

I saw Beyoncé perform last weekend at one of her shows in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It’s unreal, even unfathomable, how good she is at this. Every element of the show operated on a different level from any performer I’ve ever seen live, from her vocals (stronger than ever) to the choreography (humans shouldn’t be allowed to move that way) and the unbelievable stagecraft and costumes. (It is maybe the most unimportant observation, but she looked stunningly beautiful—and also just really happy!)

It’s hard to articulate how phenomenal the show was, other than to say that it was so good, it was worth the godforsaken journey to New Jersey. So I’ll let the one person most able to sound coherent and smart while also being wildly effusive do it instead. Take it away, Oprah:

Ryan Gosling, Pop Star

I’m Just Ken,” the hilarious ballad Ryan Gosling sings in Barbie, debuted this week on the Billboard Hot 100 chart—an encouraging sign of taste in America! (Less encouraging: It’s only at No. 87. Let’s get this straight to No. 1!)

What to watch this week:

Passages: This movie is sexy-as-hell, and everyone should watch it. (Now in theaters)

Only Murders in the Building: Delightful show continues to be a delight! (Tues. on Hulu)

Heartstopper: Swoon-inducing show continues to cause swoons! (Now on Netflix)

What to skip this week:

The Meg 2: The Trench: Jason Statham battling a giant shark shouldn’t be this boring! (Now in theaters)

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart: Sigourney Weaver deserves better! (Now on Prime Video)

What's your reaction?

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