Movie Night Equals Fight Night Most Nights

by on Sep.11, 2012, under Horror Show Hosts

Reposted from Dr. Gangrene’s Tales from the Lab Blog | Go to Original Post

I almost hesitate to go to movie theaters anymore, as it
almost always turns into a confrontational situation. People are so damn
inconsiderate that it makes the experience trying to say the least. I know I
sound like some grumpy old fart complaining that, “In my day people didn’t act
like that,” but nowadays it’s not just the talking but texting that one has to
put up with.

 And here’s the
thing – it isn’t just teenagers doing it. I almost expect that from them. It’s
the adults too. Here’s my most recent movie-going experience, you tell me if I
was out of line…

My son and I went to a matinee of TOTAL RECALL. It was not
opening weekend, as I intentionally waited a couple of weeks so as to somewhat
avoid crowds. It was a Sunday afternoon around 3:00. We got there early,
grabbed some popcorn and headed into the theater. Only a few couples were in
there.  We took a seat center
screen, back row. All was fine until the movie started. That’s when an older
couple – I’m guessing in their 60s, came in late and decided to sit on the back
row a few seats down from us. Not only were they late to the movie but they
stopped halfway up the stairs to discuss where to sit. I can understand being a
couple of minutes late, things come up and maybe they had car trouble or
something. But just grab a spot people, you’re late, plop your ass in the first
spot you find.  Strike one. Okay, no
big deal, minor annoyance. Back to the movie. 

As mentioned, they sat on the row a few seats down from us. They
then begin talking to one another. I figured they were just getting their
bearings and would settle down promptly. The guy took out something that
sounded like a potato chip bag and opened it, crinkling it loudly. I ignored
this, as again, I figured they would settle down soon enough. Then the talking
started up again. And continued. And continued. I waited as long as I could
then finally had just had enough. I nudged my son and motioned for us to move.
I stood up and said, in a normal speaking tone, “Let’s move, Luke, since these
two won’t stop talking.” Strike two. We moved all the way to the opposite end
of the aisle from them.

You’d think most people get the hint, but not these two.
They kept right on talking throughout the picture as if they were sitting on
their fuckin living room couch. I finally leaned over toward them and said,
“Shh. Stop talking Please.” Strike three. My patience was done at this point
and I was seriously about to go get an usher. But no, I thought, why should I
miss part of the movie because of someone else’s rudeness?

The talking started up again. After about 5 minutes of this
I got up, walked to the end of the aisle directly in front of them, leaned over
the seats in front of them and said, “If you two don’t stop talking I am going
to get an usher. This is ridiculous. I can hear every word you’re saying. Stop
talking PLEASE.”

Finally these numbnuts got the message. By this time I was
totally annoyed, and to top it off the movie sucked. But maybe it would have
sucked a little less without dealing with distractions from grown adults.  

You know who I blame for this the most? The theaters. They KNOW this is an issue, yet they refuse to do anything about it.If you know there is a problem, rectify it. Make people stop disrupting the movie or kick them out without refund. Put a stop to this. By not taking action on this issue theaters are actually ENCOURAGING this behavior

Ever heard of the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin? Well, they are
a theater that takes this issue seriously. They have a strict ZERO
TOLERANCE FOR TALKING AND TEXTING policy. From their website:
“We have zero tolerance
for talking or cell phone use of any kind during movies, and we aren’t afraid
to kick anyone rude enough to start texting their friends during a show right
out of the theater.”
Did you see the PSA they made about this issue? This followed an incident that happened
last year, in 2011. A patron decided to ignore this policy and was subsequently
ushered out of the theater for using her cell phone during the movie. She then called
the theater and left an angry, rambling, and drunk sounding message about it.
Bad move. Here’s the Alamo’s PSA:

This was played before every movie
afterwards, and for all I know they still play it before movies. Here’s what Tim
League, founder and CEO of the Alamo had to say on the issue:

we adopted our strict no talking policy back in 1997 we knew we were going to
alienate some of our patrons. That was the plan. If you can’t change your
behavior and be quiet (or unilluminated) during a movie, then we don’t want you
at our venue. Follow our rules, or get the hell out and don’t come back until
you can.
you may be free to text in all the other theaters in the Magnited States of
America, but here at our “little crappy ass theater,” you are not.
Why you may ask? Well, we actually do give a f*$k.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Tim League, you’re my hero! Huge props to
the Alamo for taking a stand on this issue and doing what’s right. Look, this
isn’t just a case of me being an asshole. I shouldn’t have to confront someone
every time I go to the theater, and I should be able to enjoy the movie without

I ran across an
entry on the Alamo blog recently that indicates this issue that is starting to
be taken seriously. APPLE has apparently filed for a patent for a chip that
goes in iphones. As mentioned in their blog, if a phone is used within a
certain vicinity of a text free zone, “certain features may be disabled or
enabled. Specific mention is made within the abstract of academic settings and,
yes, movie theaters.”
   Read the blog here

That sounds like a perfect solution. It would disable the
texting feature, perhaps the backlight and ring as well. As long as the vibrate
feature still works people could still get a call in the event of an emergency.
Problem solved.

Not everyone is onboard with this way of thinking. Again in
another Alamo blog post, Tim League talks about a move underway from some theaters to designate certain
screenings as texting screenings, where viewers are free to text away. He goes
on to make an argument why this is a bad idea, and I agree with him. It sets a
bad precedent. Look, kids CAN go an hour and a half without texting. It won’t
kill them, and perhaps they’ll learn how to properly view a movie instead of
half-assed distractedly watching.

This policy hasn’t hurt the Alamo’s attendance any and I
venture to guess their attendance has actually risen after instituting this
policy. Here’s hoping a few more theaters follow suit. I know that here in
Nashville I attended a midnight screening of Halloween 4 at the Belcourt
theater back in 2009. Some jackass one row in front of me decided to use this
screening as his own personal Mystery Science Theater opportunity. Several
people in the audience asked this guy to PLEASE stop, but no luck. His
commentary lasted throughout the movie. This was before my current vendetta
against talking and texting had kicked in full bore. I actually sat through the
film and didn’t confront him, something I’m not sure I’d do nowadays
Afterwards I wrote the Belcourt and told them about this
experience. I don’t know if it was in response to my email or not, but they
have since adopted a no distractions policy too. They don’t put up with it and
like the Alamo, aren’t afraid to eject people from the theater.

It isn’t difficult to do the right thing folks. Put your
cell phone on vibrate and stick it in your pocket. If it rings, get up and
answer it in the lobby. It isn’t that difficult.

To quote Jason Shawhan,Belcourt employee, from a recent midnight movie screening… “As soon as you take out that phone everyone sitting behind
you thinks you’re an asshole.” Well said, Jason!

 The Belcourt Theater, Nashville’s PREMIERE movie theater!! Check out this great article about the Belcourt here

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