Appropriately for a site with a soul made of used tin foil, Deadline.com asks the question: “Is it Time to Let Movie-Goers Send Text During Films?”
They continue, reporting on a debate at the Cinecon gathering currently underway in Las Vegas:
Regal Entertainment CEO Amy Miles says that her chain currently discourages cell phone use “but if we had a movie that appealed to a younger demographic, we could test some of these concepts.” For example, she says that the chain talked about being more flexible about cell phone use at some screens that showed 21 Jump Street. “You’re trying to figure out if there’s something you can offer in the theater that I would not find appealing but my 18 year old son” might. IMAX’s Greg Foster seemed to like the idea of relaxing the absolute ban on phone use in theaters. His 17 year old son “constantly has his phone with him,” he says. “We want them to pay $12 to $14 to come into an auditorium and watch a movie. But they’ve become accustomed to controlling their own existence.” Banning cell phone use may make them “feel a little handcuffed.”
There is so much to hate here, it’s hard to know where to begin.
For starters, the feeling of these executives that it is unfair of them to impose any standards of behavior upon their visitors, like they’ll be uncool old people if they tell their teens you can’t text here, is truly horrific. As though there’s nothing more important for a giant exhibition chain than being thought of as cool by teenagers.
But let’s just be absolutely clear on this question so there is no wiggle room: if you text during a movie when there is any other person in the theater, you are the scum of human existence. You are the reason that in thirty years no one in this country will be able to spell their own names. Your determination that there is nothing the arts could have to offer more important to whatever mindblowing thought you have to fire off that second means that you no longer recognize the existence of any plane higher than your own scrambled brainwaves, which is essentially what it is to be an animal, which is how you should be treated, preferably by ushers armed with cattle prods to herd you like the insentient bovine creature you are.
If you are a young person (or worse still a not so young person) who just needs to be with your texts at every moment, there are lots of places you can go to text - in your classroom, while having intimate relations with someone very close to you, at your parents ’ dinner table, while whale riding, while standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon. America recognizes that all these experiences are far less meaningful then whatever you have to say to your friends and thus has granted you liberty to text during them. Just not in my movie theater.
Further, if you are texting during a film in a theater with other people either oblivious or unconcerned with how your little screen is flashing light at people distracting them from the experience on the big screen they have devoted their time and money to seeing, then you are at least an entry level sociopath and at the very least, society needs to keep a close eye on you because you certainly won’t be doing it any good and may well soon do it a lot harm.
If you are a theater chain who thinks that allowing this will let you provide a cool experience to young people that will win their devotion: good luck with that. After you’ve chased away all the people who are there to watch movies and turned your cinemas into giant laser tagopolis’ I’m sure the kids will see the need to keep shelling out 20 bucks a pop instead of just standing out in the parking lot.
So here is the only sensible response to this ever growing threat at our theaters:
1. If you see someone text, don’t be such a coward. Ask them to stop. Your fellow patrons will love and admire you for it.
2. If they refuse to stop, ask the theater manager to remove them. (I know, you’ll feel like a snitch. Get over it. I’ve had a multitude of kids throw out of movies, and it’s the best feeling on Earth.)
3. If the theater manager refuses to take action, ask for your money back and write to the chain asking if this is their policy and informing them that you will never attend their cinemas again.
I know I’m getting all riled up by a little text but I can’t tell you how many times in the last couple years I’ve had films ruined by this. The joy of the moviegoing experience is immersing yourself completely for two hours in an artistic creation and for that very very short time in our lives to be cut off from the constant demands of society, and that experience is very quickly disappearing. The savages have overrun the city walls. This is no longer a symbolic battle; it is our last stand.