A Texting Proposal for Movie Theaters


I prefer the solution that involves taking the offending texting device and dropping it in a Diet Coke.
But...but...but...the last row is the refuge of people wanting to avoid having a talker/seat kicker sitting right behind them.
No. I propose that instead people who touch their phones or utter sounds during the movie be taken out back and beaten senseless instead.
In an ideal world, a theater auditorium would block the signal.
All of this and anything else Andy Rooney would add is why I stopped going to movies ages ago.

I kind of miss the Big Screen Experience--- but not sticky floors, talking children and laughing during poignant scenes.

Popcorn is cheaper at home too...
as soon as Hollywood gets it act together and the general population gets an ounce of taste we can begin worrying about such trivial matters.
I'm with 6. Haven't been to a cinema in a long time. It's just too challenging on the nerves. Audiences are so loud now that the projectionist has to blast the sound to drown out ambient noise. Gosh, I remember when the manager would stop a matinee and tell the kiddies to either pipe down or go home.

In order to get me in a theater it has to be something so special that I must see it right away...and how often does that happen?
Micmacs WAS too cutesy-poo...and a bit obvious in its denoument.
Are you trying to tell me I can't stream iTunes movies to my iPhone in the comfort of my movie theater seat? Hey, I paid good money for my seat/isolation bubble !
Teenagers are probably the ones doing the most texting and talking.

Teenagers are also likely to be the biggest spenders at the theaters (at the local multiplex, that is).

Theater owners and managers aren't gonna kick out their golden geese, and teenagers, by definition, will ignore any rule to refrain from texting, so I'd say stick to the art-house theaters or just wait for the DVD.
I'm not sure why you'd assume any of these sorts of people could be bothered to sit in special areas. They don't give a fuck about people around them.
@2: That never occurred to me. I'm generally more annoyed by people who sit in front of me and talk, because I get the murmur and their heads ducking together every five seconds.

@11: The texters were not teenagers, at either movie. One of the texters, when told to quit it, didn't seem to understand what she was supposed to quit at first. She had the glowing phone in her hand at the time.

@ 11 i sat next to a whisperer and a texter .neither were teenagers both at micmacs at the egyptian. and they weren't sitting together either. the texter beside us, the whisperers ( a couple ) behind us. i couldn't believe it. the whisperers thought they were being clever and hushed when i told them to stop ( they were middle aged or older ) but couldn't contain themselves, even reading the subtitles aloud.. we ended up moving..but i swear i considered going up to them after the movie and giving them a fnarf sized beatdown..
while it seems that no theater has ushers like the days of yore, some will give you your money back or a comp ticket if you complain..at these prices i think complaining to the theater might provoke them to crack down on the behivior.
Fair enough.

I think theater owners aren't doing so well finacially for several reasons and they're simply reluctant to make any rules or kick ANYONE out for fear they'll lose more business.

I don't know what the policies are on getting your money back if you complain that people were too distracting, but I'd guess they're reluctant to do that also (they'd probably rather give you some new free tickets instead).
I bet it ends reeeeaaaaaaaally well when you tell someone to stop texting during a movie, Paul.
Just another reason to make cell phones illegal in WA state
Why oh why does the theater model even exist anymore? I'd pay a reasonable sum to access a big server and watch a new release much the way I watch all kinds of shit from Netflix already. Going to the theater is just a traumatic pain in the ass.

So as it stands right now I just illegally download new releases of dubious quality, and the studios don't get shit. Dumbasses. The market has changed, but they're too stupid to notice.
Can someone explain why someone would need to text/ email during a movie? I do not carry a cellphone unless I'm traveling and do not understand the appeal of texting someone else about a movie instead of watching it yourself. Back in my day, blah, blah, blah....
You know, this whole problem could be solved with a few well-placed artillery simulation devices ... under their seats.
@18, showing movies in theaters is in large part advertising for the DVD release, which is where the real money is. Teen-oriented blockbusters still bring in real dough from theaters, but real movies make more from DVD sales. Those box-office figures? Meaningless, often.
I'm with number 6; I only watch big action movies in a theater. I can't take the commercials I have to watch, the talkers, the people with the cell phones plus the cost of a ticket, food, parking. How is it worth it? SIIF is worth it because those are people who WANT to be there and don't talk and text.
I'm also with #6.
If you don't go to movies, then why do you feel compelled to comment on a story about movies? Your opinion is moot.

#21, DVD sales aren't the money maker they were just a couple years ago. They need every penny they can get from theatrical, DVD, streaming, PPV, and even TV to recoup the ridiculous amount of money it costs to make one of these movies, pay the "talent" and market it.

To the main point. How about instead of a texting friendly zone, we just go back to simple common fucking sense and say NO TEXTING OR CELL PHONE USE DURING THE FUCKING MOVIE.
If you're dealing with talkers, texters, commercials, and Andy Rooney in the theater, then you're either going to the wrong theater or the wrong movies, or both.
Don't like commercials? Try the Majestic Bay in Ballard. Make sure you see the movie that's on the big screen and you'll be treated to a good experience with no commercials. Family owned and operated by people who still like going to the movies and not a corp trying to squeeze the pennies at the expense of the experience.
Wanna drink during the film? Eat some decent bar food? Cinnebarre in Mountlake Terrace. That's what a theater should be except for the fact that it's in Mountlake freaking Terrace.
@19, on a related note, can anyone explain to me why anyone ever needs to text and email on a cellphone, ever, in any situation? Somehow, humans survived without doing that for two hundred thousand years...

I'm a recent convert. Texting is a nice way to communicate brief information quickly (like telling someone you're going to be a few minutes late) and an even better way of brushing off someone you don't feel like talking to.
I think we need a poll for this.

With option 5 being "ignore what people want and build an overpriced tunnel that makes everything worse instead".
@4 and 5 - I agree with you 100%.

@16 - I've actually told texters to stop their damn texting on a couple of occasions, and have NOT gotten the shit kicked out of me. Sometimes they just need a reality check and a tap on their shoulder tends to bring them, momentarily,back to the real world.

Paul - Nice idea, but the back row is for making out with your boy/girl-friend. Texters should just stay in the lobby.
I recently witnessed a patron of color accuse a white patron of being a racist for asking them to not text during the film.
In many theaters the back row is the "spearate but equal" spot they put us wheelchair users in. If it was also the texting zone it would stop me going to the movies, prompt me to file an ADA complaint, or both.
I worked at a movie theater for a few years and we were more than happy to kick people out. MORE THAN HAPPY. It made our damn day. Please, if you are annoyed at some jerk go tell an usher or a concessions person. The problem is no one will ever get up and say anything. It takes 2 seconds to pop your head out of the theater and tell an usher/point the person out. I can not emphasize enough how much we loved kicking people out. We never refunded them either =D.
My wife and I had went to "On the Town" at the 5th Avenue and had two idiots in their fifties talking and texting during the first half of the show. When we asked them to please stop, the guy told me to get my head out of my ass and just watch the show.

It was great when the usher threw them out.
@16: I've done it a bunch of times. They stop texting when I ask them to stop. Sometimes they look guilty. Same with people who talk during movies. I haven't been shot yet, even once.

@25: I love Majestic Bay, but not all movies are at all theaters. You've got to go where the movies are.

@32: Good to know, thanks. Only problem with telling someone who works at the theater is that the texting usually happens in short, infrequent bursts. By the time it takes to go and tell someone, it's done for a while.
#1 + #4 1,000%
I cant believe so many people are angry about this. Have a little perspective. Not everyone has a completely privileged life where they can disconnect from all outside responsibilities during movies.

I take care of a disabled family member and I dont have the luxury to not check my texts in case there is an emergency.

I do try to sit in the back, cover the glow, keep it low etc. I assume people with kids, people who ARE kids, and people who are on call for work also need access to text.

In any case, maybe you should "just watch the show" and not worry so much about what other people are doing. You could be happy that you do have the luxury to stay disconnected and watch a movie with no responsibilities.
With all due respect, Shandy, I would say situations such as yours, where there is a true need for continuous connectivity, apply to maybe 5% of movie texters/talkers/surfers/etc. I'm probably being generous. Plus I presume you would not be taking the call or text right there, but would have the goodwill to leave the theater. When I'm paying $10+ for the "pleasure" of going to a movie, it's awful damn hard to "just watch the show" when sitting in a crowd punctuated by little glowing screens and whispers all over the place. I mean, it is a tangible distraction from watching the movie. I swear, I haven't enjoyed going to a movie since 2005 or so, partly due to the rise of distracted viewers, but also the increasing amount of commercials and trivial pap that is presented before the feature starts.
Aren't certain sections of the back row also for some who live with disabilities, wheel chairs and such? It kind of sucks for people who have to sit in the back to be subjected to annoying texters.

but also, i haven't been to a movie theater since like 2008.
The only times I've texted in movie theater, was times the management wouldn't give me my money back for the shit-ass films on the screen (Inglourious Basterds and The Borstal Boy). So I returned to my seat, and texted everyone I knew what a shitty theater I was in and how fucking stupid Q. Tarantino and Brendan Behan are.
@39: You didn't like the movie, so you decided to stay and be an annoyance to people who disagreed with you and liked the movie enough to want to be able to watch it without your glowing screen next to them? Classy, really classy.
Are we trying to consider texting some kind of disability?
For real fun, let theaters install cell phone jammers.

@36: In cases like yours you could have a device that makes a specific alert (specific vibration, not sound) when you get a call or txt from specific people (related to the disabled family member). If you felt that in your pocket then you could get up and go to the lobby and handle the situation.

@26: Humans existed for many many years without doing many things we currently do (fly planes, post slog comments, etc.). What does that have to do with anything? Emailing/txting can be very handy at times. Are you also dissing voice mail, answering machine, and telephones in general?
Noooooooooooooooooooo, don't do that!

The back rows are often the place were you can avoid most of the annoying patrons. And at least you know you won't hear talking behind you.
@36, I have absolutely no sympathy. Turn your phone onto vibrate, SIT ON IT (because not all phones vibrate silently), and as soon as you start to feel the tingle, quietly excuse yourself from the auditorium before taking the phone out of your pocket. I am sorry that you are saddled with taking care of a disabled family member, but people go to the theatre to ESCAPE, and your glowing blue light is a distraction that yanks them out of their brief respite from reality. Your unique situation does not give you the right to annoy all the patrons around you just as I have no right to loudly translate subtitles to my nearsighted father, or loudly repeat lines of dialogue for my hearing-impaired mother. I know - it just doesn't seem fair to have to be polite.
@26 (like telling someone you're going to be a few minutes late)

Which has turned into a culture of perpetual lateness. Or so I've noticed with my cell-phone owning friends.
@24: Because this is about going to the movies and not just "movies." Moreover, people here have specifically *stopped* going to the movies for very particular reasons that relate directly to their experiences there, not just because they decided they don't like movies anymore.

@36: Go into the lobby to return your text. If you're texting while the movie is going on, you're already missing it anyway. Stepping out in the lobby isn't going to diminish your experience all that more.

And I'm not trying to presume on this aspect, because obviously you know more better than I do, but can a text qualify as emergency? If it was an *emergency* -- as in, urgent life or death -- could a person give you a call that you return in the lobby, instead of delegating it to a text? Or call 911?

Or don't go to the movies. Really. I sympathize that your leisure choices are limited by your responsibilities, but there are hundreds of thousands of movies you can rent at home, and films are being issued on DVD sooner and sooner after their theatrical releases so you're not missing *that* much.

"In any case, maybe you should 'just watch the show' and not worry so much about what other people are doing."

We're talking about talking -- I can't turn off my ears because I'm trying to listen to the movie. We're talking about bright screens (and cellphone screens are BRIGHT, even on their lowest settings) in a darkened room.

And please don't turn this into a "responsibility" debate. I have lots of responsibilities. They're just the kind that don't prohibit me from enjoying movies quietly and unobtrusively.
@45: I think part of the problem is that people are way too detailed because it's so easy to convey information. Even now I would never bother letting someone know I'll be a "few minutes late" for anything. I'd show up, briefly apologize, and we'd get on with our lives. I mean, does anyone really need real-time updates?

If it was 10-15 min+, I'd call and tell them to go on (and get tickets/find seats/etc.) and I'll catch up or meet with them afterwards.

And hell, I check my texts so infrequently that any texts with that kind of time frame are pointless to me. Oh, you were a few minutes late yesterday? Good to know.

My main issue is the lateness - why can't people just be on time? I think the "quick text to say I'll be late" only enables it.
Can we ban people from taking a million cell phone pictures and videos at concerts, too? I came to see the show, not your hand holding a camera. Douche bags.
Maybe they are live-blogging the movie. Many people tend to live-blog or take pictures via their phones of practically everything now, rather than actually, you know, live it or watch it. Supposedly people event text during sex. It is all mediated reality now. To hell with separate sections of theater, I want a separate planet.
@49 - yeah, that sea of flashes is way more annoying than lighters ever were ...
You can see how movie theaters are going into the terlet. They want to charge you $15 to see a frikkin' 3D IMAX movie that has no business being in 3D and the only reason it's in 3D IMAX is so they can charge you $15.
The last time I attended a movie, there was one texter/emailer/phone caller who was particularly annoying, and she was middle-aged as well. She sat in the middle of the row, toward the middle of the theater, texted or emailed continuously throughout the movie, and got up at least 10 times to take phone calls in the entry hall right next to the seats (um, yeah, we can still hear you there, especially since you seem to think that there's no reason to be hushed since there's a half-wall between you and the audience). Kicker was, this was a preview and we were in the press section, so she wasn't just annoying your average, every-day movie-goer, but people who were watching that movie for their JOB. The person next to us had to move their notes every time she got up. I kinda hope the reviewer who had to keep moving included a snipe at this incredibly inconsiderate person in her review.
From what I can tell, the last row in any movie theater cool enough to be showing MicMacs is the "leering gay asshole who tries to sit next to you in a nearly empty theater" row.
Check out a very cute but effective cell phone policy trailer for TX based Santikos Theatres. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUpYAOcFa… Who could be offended by some cute kids telling you to turn OFF your cell phone.