So I’ve been to the movies twice this week (to see IT and MOTHER!, both of which were excellent), but both occasions were marred by the behavior of other people in the theater. Now I’ve bitched about this before, but not often, because such instances weren’t all that common. This no longer seems to be the case. I’m absolutely expecting some of you to defend disruptive behavior in movie theaters because, well, someone always does, and that’s pretty much where we are as a society now.
“People should be allowed to check their phones during a movie.”
No, they really shouldn’t. That’s why there’s a giant notice to that effect on the screen before every movie. I’m not paying $20 to see a movie I’ve been looking forward to for an age just so I can be forced against my will to have my attention drawn to your phone because your bae wants to know where the bong is or because your child exploded in Target.
During IT, the woman sitting right next to me had some weird, blinding stroboscopic light on her phone that went off every ten minutes until she eventually left the theater an hour into the movie to take a call.
During MOTHER!, the woman (note, I didn’t say teen, because she was at least in her forties) seated right in front of me spent the entire running time of the movie scrolling through Facebook. Which meant that while I’m looking at the movie screen, I have this glowing white oblong of light right underneath it.
Solution? If you absolutely have to be on your phone during a movie, turn the brightness down. Way, way down.
Back to IT: when the flash-phone lady wasn’t guiding ships through the fog with her fucking Samsung, she was talking loudly with her boyfriend. Now, it’s important to note that I’m not someone who complains often, and never in public. I don’t even send my food back if they mess it up at a restaurant.
But this couple were so loud and so distracting, that I eventually asked them–politely–to keep it down. And they did, but not without the boyfriend glaring at me for the rest of the movie as if I’d asked him if his balls had a strobe light too.
During MOTHER! the women seated next to Facebook-phone lady decided to MST3K the movie about 30 mins in, right about the point they realized it wasn’t a jump scare movie. When they weren’t doing this, they were standing up and blocking the screen so that they could discuss what food everyone wanted from the concession stand.
And still, STILL there are people who defend this behavior, and as a result it’s now a pleasant surprise when a movie ISN’T disrupted by some scuttlefart with a cell addiction.
It’s not about the variety of reasons you ABSOLUTELY OMG HAVE to have your cell phone with you (babysitters, relatives in need, 7 days since you watched that weird videotape in the cabin), rather it is, like so many of the issues affecting us today, about nothing more than common courtesy.
And we appear to be running low.
Turn off your phone, turn off your mouth, or stay at home. You have a wealth of entertainment options at your fingertips. There is no longer any excuse for you to ruin mine.
EDIT: A lot of you are suggesting weekday screenings as a way of avoiding this behavior. I saw IT at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, MOTHER! at 7 p.m. on Thursday.