Dear readers, allow me this opportunity to vent for just a moment. As much as I love movies, the experience of going to the movie theater is one I have started to loathe. Forget the fact that the movie is often out of focus or my expensive 3D glasses don't work, the worst part about going to the movies is having to deal with the people around you. It used to just be not wanting to sit near someone who talked throughout the whole movie (no, I don't know what happens next... let's find out together, shall we?). Now, a new nemesis to moviegoers everyone has emerged: the cell phone.
Don't get me wrong, I love my iPhone and use it incessantly, but some places are just inappropriate for that bright screen. And yet, more and more people seem to find it completely acceptable to whip out their phone in the middle of a movie.
The worst experience I had with such an offender was actually not at a movie but, of all things, at a Broadway show when someone actual answered a call and spoke through an entire scene of RENT. True story. Since then, I have taken on a "zero tolerance policy" with cell phones and have no qualms about asking someone (always politely) to put their phone away. And you know what? People do! They aren't intentionally ruining your movie or theater experience, they are just too self-absorbed or delusional or completely clueless to realize that a bright light in a dark room is incredibly distracting. All it takes is an "Excuse me, do you mind putting that away? It's really distracting. Thanks!" and the problem is, more often than not, solved. In fact, I did it yesterday at a showing of X-Men: First Class and enjoyed the second half of the movie much more when I didn't have to deal with the woman in front of me texting.
Well, it turns out that people like me are not one in a million. Take the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas for example. Since 1997, they have had a strict no talking policy that now includes texting. After two warnings, the offending patron is kicked out without refund. Sounds like the perfect place to me, but apparently not everyone is so thrilled about it. After being ejected from the theater for texting during a movie, an especially irate woman left a voicemail for the Alamo Drafthouse. The owners have now taken that message and turned it into their new "No Talking or Texting" PSA that plays before all R-rated movies. Take a look at the video below (warning: strong language):
On their blog the theater writes, "Ma'am, 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." Amen.
There needs to be more places like the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in this world. In the meantime, dear readers, please just turn off your cell phone at the movie theater and don't be afraid to ask others to do the same. After all, you paid $17.50 to see Justin Beiber: Never Say Never in 3D and, goshdarnit, you should be able to enjoy it in peace!