As much as it pains me to take back the comments I made with the post, “Why Going To The Movies Doesn’t Suck”, recent film going experiences have forced me to do just that. The post, made in response to an episode of Battleship Pretension, argued that going to the movies was one of the most important aspects of the film-watching experience. At the time, it was something I fully believed, however recent horrid theatre experiences,are forcing me to reconsider.
My road to Damascus actually started in early September at a matinee showing of The American, only a week after publishing the post. That is when I began to wonder if I might have been wrong.
If a film like The American is only playing at the multiplex, I will go to a matinee in the belief that the crowd will be better. It was my belief that this was a sure fire way of avoiding the texting and talking teenagers sure to accompany The American. However I realized that the matinee crowd, consisting mostly of middle-aged-to-retired couples, was just as bad as any. Instead of texting what I got was couples speaking nonchalantly about anything and everything and more disturbing yet, several people eating foil-wrapped sandwiches.
I tried to ignore this experience as I loved the film, and didn’t want to take back an article I had just written. It has always been a normal part of my film going experience to have to ask people to stop texting or talking. It occurs so frequently I have become accustomed to it, and just accepted it. However, with another recent film-going experience, this time with Black Swan, I have finally accepted the truth: going to the movies does kind of suck.
The problem is not with the art house or independent cinemas as the audience attracted to those theatres are not simply going to get in from the cold. It is, for the most part, with the large multiplex theatres where audiences seem to lack any respect for the film and those around them. It is certainly not the entire crowd, just a handful of people in each screening, who decide to text their buddies or answer a phone call in the middle of Toy Story 3.
If I seem bitter, it is because I am. Seeing a film like Shutter Island, which I had waited months to see, and have it ruined by some woman texting throughout the entire film, leaves me feeling slightly defeated.
It is interesting talking to an average movie goer as they seem to have never noticed the texting or constant talking. It makes me wonder if maybe as film fanatics we have become hypersensitive to any distraction during a film. Even if this were the case, it still doesn’t forgive the utter lack of respect given in a theatre. Many of the showings of my favourite films of the year were ruined by these annoyances that I mentioned before, and it is frustrating to realize that maybe it is better to see a film at home.
As a film fan, I enjoy nothing more than becoming absolutely sucked into a film and losing myself for an hour or two. The problem with this, is that the flickering light of someone setting up their night on their phone or talking to their girlfriend about God knows what takes you out of the film.
I will never give in and stop going to the cinema, however please, turn the phone off, leave the sandwiches at home and enjoy the film. I mean, you did just pay ten dollars for a reason, right?