Sunday, November 6, 2011


So, in case you're wondering, this isn't a movie's a rant.  It is a movie related though, because I've noticed a disturbing trend recently.  You might laugh and say "recently" because this has been going on for a while now, but it sometimes takes a while for me to composite my thoughts and get everything down in print.  It has to do with cell phones.

Now wait...I know, I know.  It's not about talking on cell phones during movies.  That's been taken care of, at least there seems to be enough courtesy in the world to ensure that's not rampant.  However, there's been multiple usage of cell phones/iphones/blackberry's/whatever other gizmo is on the market, as far was flipping them open and text messaging.  Now, let me take a step back here.

Growing up in the eighties and early nineties, I didn't own a cell phone. The quality of my life wasn't terrible or anything, at least not because of the absence of a cell phone.  I know that cell phones are very useful, especially in case of emergency.  However, what is becoming more of an emergency is people talking on their cell phones at completely inappropriate times: driving and not paying attention to what they're doing, people walking into walls or in one case in Long Island, an open manhole, etc, etc.  Okay, but then you add text messaging, where you have to look down, so you're entire attention is away from what you're doing and it's worse.  This is just the obvious inherent danger of text messaging at inappropriate times. 

However, flipping open your cell phone to check your Facebook or Twitter during a movie is not just rude, it's dumb and it's actually physically dangerous.  I'll tell you why in a little bit, but the thing that really stands out to me immediately is how much of a step back we've all taken in terms of communication, in general.  Way back in the day, people mailed letters to other people as a way of communicating with far-off, long-lost people.  Then, Mr. Bell gave us the telephone, a more immediate form of communication.  Then we had email as a major form of communication, which to me is just another form of letter writing, only a little quicker.  Then cell phones, so we're back to using some sort of phone...and now text messaging.  So now, we're back to writing letters, except we're not necessarily doing it at desk, anymore.  So, how have we moved forward?  To me, we're going backwards, we're if anything, communicating less effectively with all these gadgets.  Which is better, talking someone physically using a phone or sending someone a damned text?

Anyhow, back to the theatre.  So, it's obviously rude.  I mean, I'm sitting behind some teenager who can't keep their phone closed for more than 5 minutes (in the case of the recent Three Musketeers movie) and it's like...a blinding light in your eyes.  It disrupts your attention to the screen, it blinds you, if the angle is right and it annoys the living piss out of you.  So basically, every time you find out what your friend is making for dinner by checking your Facebook in a movie theatre, you are seriously inconveniencing the people around you.  That's one.

How is it stupid?  Think about it.  You're paying $12 for the experience of sitting in a movie and seeing it.  You're then taking time away from this experience to check your text messages, which you can do for free outside the movie theatre.  So, you're basically wasting $12 (more or less, depending on when you're going and what format you're seeing the movie in), but in any case, you're throwing money away.  Now, let's say you see 10 movies a year at an average of $12 a movie.  That's $120 a year you're wasting, for no reason than you're own inherent stupidity.

Now, the dangerous part.  I spoke to a family friend yesterday and the subject of text messaging during movies came up.  He told me that the last 3 or 4 times he's gone to a movie, he's seen altercations between people during a film, with the entire point being people being bothered by the shining light in their face because someone had to check their text messages and then text back.  See, you don't know the person behind you.  You don't know their mindset, their personality.  You don't know if they've had a bad day or not.  You don't know if they're carrying weapons.  That's a lot you don't know to just whip out the cell and see if you're friend is coming over three Saturdays from now.  I've seen altercations as well and I've also heard how one guy is actually suing another movie patron because she told him to stop texting during a movie as it's disrupting her.  See, if you want to text message, do it in your home, while you're big screen television and blu-ray is showing whatever mindless garbage you just bought from Best Buy.  That's fine, it doesn't disrupt me.  But the bottome line is, there's enough rude behaviour in the world, that people are just getting fed up.  That tolerance level isn't there like it used to be.  Do you seriously want to put any of that at risk because you can't control your urge to check your phone for ninety frigging minutes?

So, there you have it.  My view on this latest, annoying trend in theatres.  I know it's not going to stop, no matter how many times I bleat this on the internet.  Sadly, maybe it will take someone shooting someone else in the theatre for people to get a message.  Maybe not.  Who knows.  All I know is, I paid my money to watch the movie, not be constantly reminded you're checking your messages.  So, maybe you should do us all a favour, you text messagers, maybe you should restrict your trips to the theatre to only once or twice a year and hey, maybe you could even leave your little playthings at home or in the car.  It would probably be the first considerate thing you've done in a long, long time.

- Stephenstein

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