Torontoist's 2014 TIFF Survival Guide
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Torontoist‘s Totally Serious and Valuable TIFF Survival Guide

Checking your phone, charging your phone, and yelling at Adam Sandler.

'Cold Eyes' Premiere   TIFF 2013

If there’s one thing we love about TIFF, it’s TIFF Survival Guides. Ostensibly, TIFF is daunting. Though most people in Toronto may—may—go see a movie or two, maybe three—maybe—it’s important to believe that the earth is literally shifting beneath our feet during all of this, that it’s not all some sort of cultural echo chamber. So, as with any natural occurrence that lasts nearly a fortnight and involves movie stars riding around in limousines, it’s important to prepare. Because do you know what the opposite of survival is? That’s right: un-survival.

Bring your phone: One of the most fun things about TIFF is all the lines. Yep, good ol’ long, boring, toilsome lines. It’s sort of like waiting to go on a roller coaster, except instead of having heart-in-your-chest exhilarating fun, you’re watching a famous actor play against type in a serious drama (more on that later). A good way to pass time in lines is to bring your smartphone and bury your face in it, lest you risk speaking to anyone.

Bring your phone charger: If your phone battery dies, you won’t be able to bury your face in your phone while standing in line. Then you’ll be forced to make trite conversation with other people in line. Stuff like, “So … films buff, eh?”

Put celebrities in their place: As a normal mortal who is not as good as a celebrity, it’s your duty to take them down a notch. Heck, why not two notches! It’s good for your sanity, and helps restore balance to the universe. So if you see Adam Sandler, who is trying to make a rare serious turn as a down-and-out shoemaker in The Cobbler, strutting down the red carpet like he’s a Real Actor, make sure to yell stuff like, “Hey, Waterboy! What up, Click! That’s my boy!” or just make random Sandler noises like, “Abie doobie doo! Skoobeee-dee-dap!” That’ll teach him not to make Jack and Jill Two.

Never stay for Q-and-As: Movie stars are, without exception, shallow, awful people, and have literally nothing to say. Worse are the people who stay for Q-and-As so they can attempt to pose rambling, content-free statements as questions to the bafflement and annoyance of everyone else in attendance. Better to sneak out and hunker down in a bathroom stall checking your phone.

Don’t check your phone in a movie, dumb-dumb: Phones are important, as we’ve pointed out. They may be the most important thing about modern life. But don’t check it in a movie! How could it be that important? Like, even if your grandma dies, she’s not going to be more dead in 90 minutes. Last year, some blogger clown even called 9-1-1 on someone using their phone in cinema! And brother, you don’t want the local constabulary coming to drag you out of the Cineplex. Do you?

Don’t forget to eat, drink, sleep, blink, etc.: FACT: people need food to live! So make sure to load up on soggy popcorn and increasingly wanton Coca-Cola Freestyle combinations. Or check out these spots for cheap, yummy eats near the festival. Or starve! See if we care! (We assume no responsibility for anyone starving just to see if we care.)

Entertain yourself by making fake Oscar predictions: Every year, the biggest question at TIFF is, “Who will win trophy?” For some reason, people get really worked up about trophy. So, no matter what, whenever you leave a movie loudly exclaim, “Wow! That was incredible! Oscar for sure!” You should even do this if the movie sucks. You should do it especially if it sucks. You should do it when you’re leaving the washroom.

Beware the movies themselves: Georges Bataille claimed literature is evil. But you know what’s even worse? Movies. Did you know that, prior to a 1952 Supreme Court decision, movies in the U.S. were denied the basic rights guaranteed by the First Amendment? And do you know why? That’s right: because movies are evil, malicious things, corrupting to the spirits of women, children, the great unwashed, and other impressionables. Movies aren’t mere entertainment; they’re bewitching, triggering tears, laughs, jolts and other undue sensuous reactions in the viewer. They’re sensational. They bombard you with the manic pandemonium of modern life. In a bad way! So forget Bataille. It’s movies that are evil. Literally evil! That’s basically the plot of Infinite Jest. Have you read that? Why not? It’s very long.

Stay spry, stay alert, stay alive: We read that TIFF actually plucks one unlucky movie-goer from each Rush Line to compete in a Running Man-style, last-man-standing competitive game show, broadcast on closed-circuit TVs accessible only to the festival’s diabolical programmers. Could be just so much empty chatter. Could be.

For an alternative TIFF Survival Guide, see here.