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Theater & Film Viewing Etiquette


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#1 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 11:47 AM

This is a broad topic. But only related link I can find is: The cinema as a police state?

But we do have this delightful and somewhat relevant story from The King's Speech thread:

So we show up, Mrs. Jones & I, right at 8:15. Mind you, the show started at 8:05, but with commercials and previews, we entered right as the title card was playing. Surprisingly to me, the theater was mostly filled. We spied a couple of seats about two thirds the way up, next to a middle aged couple on one side and a younger woman on the other. We bounded up, and my wife squeezed in to take her seat. In the other, free seat, lay the jackets of the middle aged couple; whom we'll call Mr. and Mrs. Creatures of the Most High Who I Should Not Kick In the Face.

Mrs. COTMHWISNKITF says to my wife, "Surely you don't want us to move our coats? What are we supposed to do, hold them in our laps?"
Me (Not Face Kicking Christian Elder who would look bad if I kicked someone in the face): "What?"
Mr. COTMHWISNKITF, "Go away. You're late. We're not moving our coats."
Mrs Not Face Kicking: "What?"
Mr COTMHWISNKITF: "You're disturbing us. We won't move our coats."
Me Now considering kicking a face: "You've got to be kidding me."
Mr COTMHWISNKITF: No. Go away. You're interrupting the picture.

Now, for a (500) Days of Summer Allusion, the things my Non-Not Face Kicking Christian Elder self wished I said.

  • I'm sorry, did you buy three tickets?
  • Come on, honey, who would want to sit next to a couple of ripe #@#holes anyway?
  • Wow, I thought I'd left my selfish three year old at home with grandma.
  • Oh, sorry, was that your teeth that just hit the floor?
Instead, I said, "You should be ashamed of yourself." And then we walked off to find seats next to some other poor sinners.

Grace.

At that moment, I wished I'd bought some jujubes so I could rain them down on the bearded fellow's head like Elijah's fire. My wife prayed for them.

I contemplated oneupmanship, maybe even confronting the fellow in the hall on the way out. Maybe even kicking him in the face.

And I'm glad that I just told him to be ashamed of himself, and that I found another pair of seats, and then we laughed about it. But grace, right? And it made me think a little more about my own follies, and I guess instead of just wishing I'd argued them in to moving their coats, I started thinking about that parable in Luke 8, where Jesus tells us about sowing the seeds, and I wondered what kind of seed I'd sown, and what kind had been sown to me.

Grace.

And then I enjoyed the movie with my wife, after the nerves settled down. In spite of the wallpaper.

And this recent article from Dennis Cozzalio -

The Alamo Drafthouse should be endlessly commended for really getting the word out in the funniest way possible about the mounting antisocial problem of texting, cell phone usage and general moronic bad behavior in movie theaters. Have we really become so bored and restless as a society that we can’t stand to sever our connection with the outside world (the same one that, as David Edelstein observed in his own post saluting this hilarious trailer, we’ve presumably come to a darkened theater to escape from) for the amount of time it takes to watch a movie? Hell, many serial phone junkies can’t even get out of the previews before lighting up their devices. If your need to stay connected is that strong, then maybe you should have just stayed at home?

I’ve already told the story of the father-daughter tag-team of ninnies who sat next to me during the none-too-cheap Arclight screening of Midnight in Paris my wife and I attended last Saturday night, but in case you missed it: The young woman (I’d guess she was 22 or so) was out with Dad (55-ish) and before the movie they could be overheard discussing her prospects for an acting career. The Arclight “cast member” came out and performed the standard welcome spiel for the theater, introducing the movie as having been written and directed by Woody Allen. At this point the woman gasped, turned to me and said, “I didn’t know this was a Woody Allen movie!” Inexplicable, but not particularly annoying—the movie had, after all, not yet begun. But as soon as it did, so did their chatter, and it wasn’t long before I had to shush them. They both seemed a little embarrassed and gave me an apologetic chuckle, and Dad actually said, “Whoops, I forgot we weren’t at home!” Whew. But then, incredibly, it wasn’t more than five minutes later that the woman whips out her trusty iPhone and starts checking her messages! I asked her to please shut it down, she did, and there was no further interruption for the rest of the movie. But why should anyone have to work that hard just to get people to behave in a manner that suggests they are aware that their behavior affects those around them?

... whipping out your phone and talking on it during a movie seems to me indicative of a much more narcissistic and even sociopathic tendency in people who seem to believe that the world shouldn’t hesitate to tolerate or adapt to whatever their desires are at the moment, the inconvenience of others be damned. I think of the testimony of a friend who was besieged by the light of an open flip phone at a crucial moment while watching the decidedly nontechnological Meek’s Cutoff and having the movie’s spell, which was already for him tenuous, broken altogether. The movie theater is a sanctuary, where the outside world should be allowed admittance only through the images and sounds on screen and the way they resonate in the privacy of one’s own mind. I hope that the Alamo’s Drafthouse’s ingenious campaign spreads like wildfire and other theaters adopt its aggressive stance against this kind of immature nonsense. On behalf of all the “regliar” moviegoers in the audience who cherish the communal movie theater experience as it was in the days before we all felt the intense need to be interconnected 24/7, I salute you, Alamo Drafthouse!

He's referring to this theater advertisement (language warning) -
[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L3eeC2lJZs&feature=player_embedded"]http://www.youtube.c...player_embedded[/url]

Personally, I've started enforcing these rules with friends & family even in my own place. I currently refuse to push play on the DVD remote until I've dimmed the lights, shut off household noises, and aggressively and tyrannically enforced a cell phones off policy (I am currently considering buying a large hat in which to collect all cell phones, IPhones, blackberries, etc. for the film's duration). It's a tradition I intend to enforce, even in the future when I have kids in the house.

Edited by Persiflage, 24 June 2011 - 11:48 AM.


#2 Persona

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 03:02 PM

It's a tradition I intend to enforce, even in the future when I have kids in the house.


Right. Well good luck with that.

Big LOL and singular burst of applause at the end of that ad, btw. Totally brilliant.

My favorite theater these days only has stairs going up the one side of the theater, and I have counted the masses every time who walk in late, walk all the way through the theater to get to the other side, getting to the other side and discovering together that there are no stairs, giggling and walking back to the first set of stairs or at that point jumping over railings, etc. Eek, I wanna hurt em.

Edited by Persona, 24 June 2011 - 07:34 PM.


#3 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 07:56 PM

Persona wrote:
: Right. Well good luck with that.

Ha! I was just about to post The Exact Same Thing. (Well, something a bit terser, actually; I wouldn't have written the first two words.)

Of course, good luck just trying to find time to watch the movies or TV shows you WANT to watch in the first place. By the time the kids are in bed, you're too tired to pay attention to anything remotely interesting. (Or is it different for people who only have one or two preschoolers, rather than the three that I've got right now?)

: My favorite theater these days only has stairs going up the one side of the theater, and I have counted the masses every time who walk in late, walk all the way through the theater to get to the other side, getting to the other side and discovering together that there are no stairs, giggling and walking back to the first set of stairs or at that point jumping over railings, etc. Eek, I wanna hurt em.

Oh man. I have learned the hard way to sit as far from the entrances as possible. Too many morons walking into the theatre, standing there, and yakking aloud as they discuss where to sit.

#4 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 06:08 PM

Disagreement over texting at movie theater leads to assault charge -

Fout, a marketing consultant, describes himself as a 220-pound "pretty big guy. I'm broad. I'm not fat. Used to play football." Godwin says she is a 136-pound skin care specialist. Here's how they met in the theater.

Her side


"He had his phone out. The light was shining at me. I'm thinking, 'He's going to turn it off.'" But he didn't. 'OK, this is ridiculous.' So I reached over and tapped him on the shoulder. It was very bright. I was only trying to get his attention. He whipped around and said, 'Don't ever touch me.' I was a little taken aback. 'I wouldn't have touched you if you didn't have your phone out.'

"He jumps up and whirls around towards me and says, 'I am charging you with assault,' and he flew out of the theater."

His side


"I got a text, and I responded to it because it was something important. It was something that was on a deadline situation, OK. I held it against my chest purposely where I could barely see it. ... I could text but hide the majority of the light coming from the phone.

"She said something. I couldn't make it out. That's why I turned. She was probably saying something like, 'Get off your phone.' I turned, and she pushed. She just happened to push my neck at the time my neck was in an awkward position. Kinda like having a little fender bender, and you get a little whiplash in your neck, you know."




#5 Persona

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 07:17 PM

My favorite place to text is on the highway. No one can assault me when I'm alone in the car.

#6 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 08:40 PM

: I got a text, and I responded to it because it was something important. It was something that was on a deadline situation, OK.

Boo fricken hoo. I have zero sympathy for this. If you're on a "deadline" situation, then stay out of the fricken theatre. That's what people in your position did in the old days.

#7 Darrel Manson

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 09:08 PM

: I got a text, and I responded to it because it was something important. It was something that was on a deadline situation, OK.

Boo fricken hoo. I have zero sympathy for this. If you're on a "deadline" situation, then stay out of the fricken theatre. That's what people in your position did in the old days.

Even if he could carve out a time to fit a movie in while on a deadline situation. You sit on an aisle and walk into the hallway.

#8 Darrel Manson

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 02:04 PM

Theater in Bellevue, Washington, encourages texting.

#9 Pair

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 12:20 PM

I was searching the forum for something else and came across this thread. Coincidentally, this past weekend my wife had to reel me in before I yelled at two girls outside a theater after I took her to see Pina for her birthday. Once we were back home, I had collected myself (had I yelled at them on the spot, I would have probably lost control until I became terribly cruel) but my anger was still poison in my stomach so I posted this to the theater's Facebook. Even if nobody dignifies it with a response, I felt lighter just by putting it out there.

#10 John Drew

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 12:12 AM

This might be the best place for something recent from the Onion.  How many of us here have been in the exact same position.....

F#&%ing Loser At Movie All By Himself

 

 

According to witnesses, the depressing loser, who was the youngest person at the matinee screening by a good 30 years, shifted in his seat as the movie began, got comfortable, and began sipping his soft drink and eating his popcorn, later saying that he likes to eat candy first and popcorn second so that the popcorn lasts through most of the film.

 

 

The man also took care to shut off his cell phone and place it in the backpack on the seat next to his, which, witnesses confirmed, made it seem as if his backpack was his closest friend.



#11 Rushmore

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 03:21 AM

This might be the best place for something recent from the Onion.  How many of us here have been in the exact same position.....

 

But sometimes, if you wait a few weeks after the movie comes out...no one at all will show up, and you can have the entire theater to yourself. You can be Adam, standing alone in the garden and looking at the riot of growth and life that had all been made for him and God. You can walk all around the theater looking for the perfect seat, and no one will judge you. Heck, you can look at your phone if you want. No one will be disturbed. The grand illusion of the cinema will unfold its miracles for your eyes alone.

 

The best part is that this experience allows you, once an ordinary viewer, to be a movie-watching hero. You, yourself, have saved this screening from sad oblivion. If you hadn't showed up, it would all have been wasted. It's up to you to soak in every drop of beauty, to appreciate every nuance of sense and experience, to seek out to every smallest detail in this huge and complex creation that hundreds worked for years to make--to stretch out your hand and save a few grains of sand from the abyss. You give it all purpose.

 

And you try not to think about the other showings the same week that probably played to a cold and empty theater, and the spilled seed and the barren wombs and the starving artists, and you drive home through a gathering storm and try not to feel bad about it all, because after all the multiplex is cavernous and the bag of popcorn is big and what can one person do? Only go to a movie, and that is nothing at all.



#12 Rushmore

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 03:53 AM

In related news, someone just tweeted this picture:

 

B8anHvC.jpg



#13 Evan C

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 08:06 AM

But sometimes, if you wait a few weeks after the movie comes out...no one at all will show up, and you can have the entire theater to yourself. You can be Adam, standing alone in the garden and looking at the riot of growth and life that had all been made for him and God. You can walk all around the theater looking for the perfect seat, and no one will judge you. Heck, you can look at your phone if you want. No one will be disturbed. The grand illusion of the cinema will unfold its miracles for your eyes alone.

If you attend an early morning showing (around 10:30 a.m.) of a lesser known film, you can also have this glorious experience.

 

 

Meanwhile, to mention my screening of The Conjuring, there were three high school/college aged girls who came in late, whispered/giggled through a good portion of the film, and texted on their cellphones as well.  And they sat two seats over from me.  I put my hand up to the side of my face to block the glare of the cellphones, which thankfully worked.  I never said anything to them, but I think at least one of them figured out that I was NOT HAPPY with their behavior.

 

There were two middle school girls there with their mother as well; oddly enough they were very well behaved.



#14 Tyler

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 01:26 PM

This isn't the perfect spot for this, but it's the best one I could think of.

 

Theater owners brace for new rules on accommodating blind, deaf

 

 

The new policy would call for closed-captioning and audio narration technology to be installed, in a change supporters argue will give Americans with disabilities the same quality of experience as other movie-goers. 

However, theater owners -- particularly those with small, independent houses -- say they cannot afford the technology shift which starts with converting to digital cinema.

The cost of that is about $70,000 per screen, though most theaters have already gone digital. Theaters then would have to purchase the headsets that narrate films for the blind and glasses that provide the closed-captioning for the deaf, at an additional cost.