Recently at CinemaCon, Amy Miles, the chief executive officer of Regal Entertainment, birthed the idea that movie theaters should maybe consider allowing texting at certain types of movies – basically movies that asshole teens would most likely be seeing.
With great and obvious reasons, everyone got up in a tiff over the statement. Tim League, CEO of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, which has a famously hard-line stance against phone usage during screenings, responded appropriately: “Over my dead body will I introduce texting into the movie theater.”
Granted, if you text during a movie, you’re an asshole, but is it really the worst thing in the world?
In one instance. No, not an emergency, death, or ordering a pizza. There is maybe one instance where I think texting in a theater could be appropriate – if that were the entire point of the screening.
I’m not the first one to think of this, but would a “texting allowed” screening be such a horrible idea? If there was a blanket policy of phone usage being condoned, I would personally hand deliver bags of shit to theater owners. But the movie theater experience has changed over the years and theater operators are always looking for new ways of engaging an audience – that is, taking their money.
One could easily argue that the Alamo Drafthouse has a somewhat disruptive experience – patrons are welcome to order food throughout by perusing menus, writing down orders, and having staff move through the theater to retrieve the order and then bring the food. The theater is laid out in a way that makes this as unobtrusive as possible, but let’s be honest – there are still a lot of people moving around during the screening, more so than would be moving if food service wasn’t available.
Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood (and elsewhere) offers 21+ screenings, that allow alcoholic beverages to be brought into the theater. The Rocky Horror Picture Show when screened at midnight is full of people yelling, shouting, and throwing things at the screen – part of the experience, but disruptive. Disruptive, but allowed because that’s the deal with going to see that film at midnight.
So should there be a screening option that features texting? Maybe. Maybe you have a No-Holds Barred screening. Texting, talking, yelling. Let people go nuts. Let people drink. Let people do whatever it is they want to do in one screening room. What’s there to lose? For some movies it might even be kind of fun. If you’ve got a pile of shit like Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance that you know is going to be terrible, why not get drunk and yell at the screen and text with other idiots?
As long as that doesn’t bleed into the other theater rooms, why not? We are clearly willing to accept disruptive behavior, whether it is food service, alcoholic drinks, or fun, if we go in expecting that. The problem with texting in a theater is that we’re there to sit in the dark and really focus on a film. If we go in expecting to be able to do whatever, no big deal.
I’ve been in theaters otherwise empty aside from me and my friends and we all had a great time laughing and mocking the movie – something we’d never do if there were other people around. So why isn’t this a thing? A MADHOUSE screening? I’d be down.
But. This…Is…BOILING POINT.
And it ain’t boiling point until I get pissed – so quickly now:
Fucking texting in a movie theater? Are you fucking kidding me? You can’t stop a behavior so you accept it? Sorry ladies and pretty dudes, but since we haven’t been able to stop rape, sex no longer has to be consensual. Because that’s what texting is. Texting during a movie theater is rape. You’re raping my eyes with your light and I hope you get butt penetrated by a cactus. Unless that’s your thing. Then I hope you never reach climax again.
Seriously, I’m in a theater to watch a movie. I’ve paid money to experience this film on the big screen, free of distractions. You did too. If you’re enjoying the movie, get into it. Put away your Twitter. Close down your Facebook. Get drawn into the flick.
On the other hand, if you’re bored with the movie, fuck yourself, maybe I’m not. Be considerate. Texting and cell phone use during a movie is distracting as hell and it shouldn’t be done – unless there was some specific screening that allowed.
But no way in the vast depths of hell should texting be allowed across all screenings. To many of us, the movie theater is hallowed ground. We all have our different ways of paying tribute to the cinema gods. We do so in darkness, with quite reverence. We do not live tweet it.
While I admit that a special type of screening allowing texting and other diversions might be fun, I firmly believe that as a whole, texting has no place in a movie theater. To think otherwise puts me past my boiling point.