Editorials,  Movies/Entertainment

Why Aren’t Movie Theaters Respected Venues Anymore???

Thinking about this post and how to compose it, I guess I’ll start by stating my opinion that like anything that includes the masses, things dispersed on a wide level for the general public just aren’t special or elite anymore – aviation, fine spirits, fancy cars, etc.  One thing that is most definitely dumded down to include the masses is American Cinema and the movie house venues where they are shown.  I don’t know why more people don’t treat movies like they’re special anymore.  I think people take for granted how special a film should be – it should be an appreciation of art that took the work of hundreds of people thousands of hours of work to create your 100 minute experience.

Now not all movies are works of are (some in fact are pretty crappy) but that opinion should be left to the theater goer after watching the film in an optimal viewing setting.  But certain individuals through a manner of methods can ruin that experience for you (and have done so to me a great many times before).  In my opinion, the one thing keeping most theaters from being an optimal setting is cell phones.  My biggest gripe is cell phone screen flashes during a movie.

At one time, cell phones were a high profile technology that was once only available for financially well off and were so treated with respect because they were a rare (if not socially exclusive) commodity.  People who had them were a little more refined and used them with an air of responsibility.  But now they’re so readily available you can get them in you cereal boxes (well almost).  They’re not special anymore because everyone’s got one…and most of those people don’t know the common courtesy or etiquette that goes along with owning one.

So with cell phones being as disposable as the crappy movies out there you get this terrible combination of sub par films and cell phone owners who are too oblivious to their actions that they use their cell phones when they know they shouldn’t.  I know most of the stuff out there is disposable entertainment, but damn it, if you don’t like the movie or could care less about what’s going on on screen, then just leave.  Does the theater have to be an ‘effen circus lit up by the cell phones and polluted with the incessant talk of people who could care less about the illusion unfolding on screen??

In a world where movie tickets, popcorn and sodas for two people can cost more than it would to fill an SUV with gasoline, it would be nice to get some relief once you’re in the theater and have just one interrupted viewing to get away from it all – like a little 2 hour vacation.  I know that sitting in a dollar theater or even some regular theaters you’re almost guaranteed to have some seats light up with cell phone screens during the film but I (naively) thought IMAX would be different…I was wrong.  Recently I saw Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on IMAX, and although I had my own problems with that film (sorry Rob, it wasn’t as great as you wrote it to be) my biggest problem was the two idiots who were on the iPhones for about 20 minutes of the movie.  Since that screen is the largest of the touch screen phones out there it was that much more of a distraction every time they used it to “text their friends”.

Thanks guys, thanks very much…oh and to the guy who showed up two minutes before the movie started and asked me to move down because he “just got here” and there weren’t three together…too bad.  You shouldn’t have gotten here so late.  I had my seat for 30 minutes and was waiting patiently because I cared about seeing this movie.  I’m a nice person but don’t push your luck – I graciously moved, but next time I’m not moving…count on it!!

I always held that going to theaters was a treat and a special event every time my parents took me.  To me it’s like going to a real theater except on the “silver screen”, more things could happen and you were more likely to be taken to fanciful worlds, follow international spies of fly in the cockpit of a fighter jet, to name a few exciting movie premises.  So these outings were all the more special because of the illusion they presented.  Well now on an even more increasing level these same outings are met not with wonder but a cinematic frustration/separation from the events on screen because small little “real world” items and their idiot handlers are killing the experience with cell phones and text messages.  If you were looking to point a finger you would probably attribute it kids (as they’re always scapegoated for ruining a movie), but they’re not the only ones doing it; there are middle-aged seasons theater-goers who are culprits as well. People that you assume would have common sense mysteriously don’t.

A traditional theater: serene, majestic and most importantly VOID of cell phone screens…

Above and beyond going to the standard theater, I used to love going to see an IMAX movie.  They are just exciting thrilling and, well you could use and endorphin inducing descriptor here.  When IMAX first debuted it was something of wonder – cinema like you’ve never seen or witnessed before.  It was really refreshing because it was like a film haven for film buffs and I imagined this was the place the elitists would go and a place to be free of the mundane drudgery that is a standard cinema-plex.  But now even IMAX is finding an audience filled with film “text bombs”.  These once select venues are now saturated with the same “cell screen spam” I’ve been looking so hard to avoid.

These little cell screens serve no more an infuriating purpose than to take me out of the movie because the owner is too dumb and self-centered to realize that cell phones are a distraction and that they are blatantly ignoring the most important theater rule “Please Turn off your Cell Phones“.  Now I know it’s not a rule that theaters can enforce so it really comes down to an act of courtesy and should be adhered to as a matter of respect for the people around you.  But if you’re in the theater with these idiots, don’t let it go unchecked.  People we all need to work together to fix this.  If you’re sitting next to or behind someone, tap them on the shoulder and ask them nicely to STOP IT.  If you’re at a distance try to shine a laser pointer at their cell screen…they’ll get the message.  I haven’t tried that last one but I’m sooo tempted:P

So I may sound bitter and yes a little angry but it all comes down to common sense (and my bewilderment at the rampant lack of it).  To you offenders out there I have to ask you this…What is so important about a text?  Why can’t you just turn it off?  Why when you are paying an average of 12 to 14 bucks to sit in a theater which privileges you with an IMAX Experience, would you cheapen it by not being able to pay attention to the BIG ‘effen screen in front of you but instead become fascinated with a paltry text message (probably about something damn near insignificant) on the small screen in your hand?

Never, never, never text or make a call in a theater!!

It has long been a gripe that people talking during the movie can ruin the movie, children can ruin a movie, talking on a cell phone can ruin a movie, and now even a non-verbal conversation can ruin a movie.  Now, I almost loathe going to theater.  People, for the sake and enjoyment of the people in the theater with you…Just Turn Them OFF!!  Leave the kids at home!!  Oh, and one more thing…if you’re going to an IMAX movie…get there on time people.  PLAN FOR IT.  Think of IMAX (and all movies while we’re at it) like a special event and show up well enough in advance like you really wanted to be there in the first place.   Again, don’t come right before the film and expect me (or anyone for that matter) to move down just because you didn’t plan ahead to get three seats together.

That’s all I have to say. Anyone agree with my gripes?? Anyone have other things they find distracting at the movies??