Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Shining

I’m about done with going to the movies. I couldn’t even tell you the last time I had a pleasant theater experience. There’s always that lady that brings her nearly deaf friend and yells spoilers during the entire movie despite me angrily turning around and demanding, “PLEASE BE QUIET YOU’RE TALKING REALLY LOUD,” and the guy that tries to put his feet on my armrest or right next to my head, and the whisper-screamers (people that think they’re whispering yet somehow the ENTIRE THEATER can hear them), and the parents that let their kid wear shoes that flash every time he violently kicks the back of my chair. People! Why can’t you all just BE NORMAL? How hard is it to sit quietly for two hours without being a total stain??

But worst of all are the movie-texters.

Heads up. If you are in a movie theater with me and the previews have ended and the movie has begun and you pull your cell phone out more than once to check your texts, I WILL say something, because you are an obnoxious, inconsiderate, selfish human being. And no, there is no discreet way to turn your screen on. I promise you that the people around you will see the glow, even if you try to sneak a peek while it’s in your purse. And to those of you who throw discretion out the window and brazenly hold your phone at eye level during the movie...there are just not enough bad things to say about you :)

Don’t worry, though – I always ask politely at first, even though I secretly want to choke the life out of you. The first time I ever nicely asked a stranger through gritted teeth to please turn his phone off, I fully expected to be met with belligerence. Instead, the guy quickly stashed his phone and was overly apologetic, as though he had no idea that the glow of his phone in a dark theater was like the light of a thousand suns.

But sometimes people require a heavier hand. I saw The Dark Knight Rises while in Idaho, and my poor mom got landed sitting next to a serial phone checker. Partway through the movie she finally told him to put his phone away (please), and he did, but then NOT TWO MINUTES LATER he pulled it out again!!!!!1 I leaned across both her and Annie and yelled, “Dude! Put your phone away!!” That, combined with my angry face (it’s quite scary) did the trick. He waved his arms in mock surrender and complied. I was aghast. You shouldn’t even have to be told once!! And did we not both just pay three hundred dollars to see this movie?? I really don't get it.

This weekend, Jon and I saw three movies in theaters. In one, we got up and moved because the sickly 11-year-old kid behind us was vociferously sniffling every 3-6 seconds, ignoring his mom's offers of Kleenex. In the two others, we told people to put their phones away in what turned out to be a couple of my favorite incidents to date.

In the first, I gave the idiot lady next to me a twenty minute grace period into Hunger Games before I finally told her, “Turn your phone off, please.” She looked up, alarmed, confused. I repeated myself. And then.

She replied.

Just wait.

You’re going to die.

She replied:


“It’s on vibrate.”

The last answer on earth I was expecting. No belligerence, no, “screw you, I don’t care,” not even a sheepish look - this was a woman who had never grasped the concept that a bright phone in a dark room is distracting. My response was something along the lines of, “NO, it’s the BRIGHT LIGHT that’s a problem. Your phone is BRIGHT. My eyes…the light…the light…my eyes [sunburst hand motion demonstrating the burning effect of her phone on my eyeballs].” She stashed it.

And the last one. It fills me with glee. During Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, the woman in front of us pulled her phone out every five minutes and held it directly in front of her face. She either ignored me or didn’t hear me when I told her to put it away. Twenty minutes later, Jon piped up and said, in a much nicer tone than I had, “Put your phone away, please.” She froze, slowly lowered her phone into her purse, sat still for a minute, then left the theater and never came back.

I think that means we won.


  1. This is why we never go to the movies! There are just too many people there! Really really dumb people. SO dumb. I had free movie passes for over a year and we just couldn't find enough desire to actually GO to a movie. For free. And we love free things. We finally caved and saw The Dark Knight Rises. Luckily we were surrounded by a group of friends who also happen to hate people and public places so we didn't run into any problems. Whew!

  2. ha ha ha light of a thousand suns. you are hilarious! you are much braver than me. i could never tell someone to turn their phone off. i always just hope me glaring into the back of their head will work. sigh. It doesn't.

  3. You sound like my husband. He has sworn off movies in the theater because of stuff like this. In the UAE we have the cell phone offenders but also weird stuff like the AC being turned up waaaaay too high to accommodate women in full-body veils. I like watching movies at home where I can control all the variables...and press pause to get a snack or go to the bathroom or whatever.

    I admire your shushing bravery!

  4. I don't understand this! Your phone will live without you for the mere two hours you're sitting in the movie theatre. I PROMISE. The only reason you should ever even look at your phone during a movie is if you're in an emergency...i.e. your wife is in labor. In which case, go out into the hallway to check.

    Ugh. Makes me CRAZY.

    What I hate even MORE though, is when people pull their phones out during live theatre. The thing is, the ACTORS ONSTAGE CAN SEE YOU. And they can't stop and tell you to stop being rude. And taking out your cell phone to check it during a live performance is like saying, "Hey, you, onstage. And backstage. I totally don't care about the amount of money, time, prayer, and effort you've put into this. Screw you." If you're going to check your phone, don't come at all.

    Okay. Rant over.

  5. Wow! I guess I just don't go to the movies very often, because I've never really had issues with people texting. We do only go on Tuesdays, though, because it's cheaper and no one is ever there. Maybe you could try that next time you go -- although I don't know whether it's any cheaper where you live. But it keeps you saner. :) I'm glad you're brave enough to tell them to knock it off!

  6. i love that you call people out for using their phones in a theater! i would be too scared.

    one of my family's favorite tales to tell is when we went with my dad to see the dark knight. there were two phone-checkers right in front of him and he asked them to put them away and they ignored him. (and when my dad gets mad, it's kind of scary, so at that point, i was scared for those stupid girls...) anyway, my dad gets up, stomps out of the theater and marches back in with a manager, goes right up to the offenders, points and shouts, "THERE!" the employee made them get out of the theater!

    my brother and i were DYING. (this was in salinas, california, where gangs are a real concern, and they looked kind of gang-friendly... we were sure they were going to be waiting for us in the parking lot with their gangster boyfriends.)

    anyway, i love this post.

  7. The last time I went to the movie the guy sitting behind me was showing his kid a video on his phone. At full volume. It was during the previews (which was still annoying because I like watching them). The video (some annoying Yo Gabba Gabba song, I think) ended just before the opening credits. The kid started whining, so the guy played it AGAIN. As the opening credits are rolling. And it was LOUD.

    My favourite movie story: A few years ago I went to a late show with my parents, my sister and her husband, and my older brother. A young guy in his early 20's sat down just behind us and started in on my sister who was whispering to her husband during the ads they have before the previews. He told her to shut up and called her a nasty name. She (not one to back down from a fight) got into a heated "discussion" with him, at which point my brother in law, my brother and my dad all stood up and confronted him, as the opening credits were rolling. He actually told them to "meet him outside" the theatre after the movie. Apparently he wanted to "teach them a lesson". My sister and I were dying laughing... after the movie we got up to leave and the guy literally RAN out of the theatre. :)

  8. I'm glad I don't see many movies. Our theater yesterday was practically empty and it was great. I did see someone pull their phone out during Wicked though and I wanted to gouge their eyes out. So disrespectful.

  9. To People that can't whisper: Don't practice whispering. Ever. Especially in places where people are going to stare at you.

    PS: The staring means to freaking stop.