I don’t like to use this cliche, but really– what is this world coming to? Recently, a man in Virginia (at Potomac Mills Mall) was beaten for asking other theater patrons to keep the noise down. How did we get to this point?
One might think that when one pays upwards of eight bucks to see a movie, one might actually want to pay attention to it. But personally, I have run into numerous situations where I have had to ask other patrons, even multiple times, “Would you please quiet down?,” to only be returned with responses ranging from a dirty glare to “Why don’t you shut the fuck up?,” or something equally lovely. I also must admit that more than once, I thought some bodily harm might come of it, thought it hasn’t, yet. It seems, though, that my fears are not unfounded.
When did our theaters turn into a place where not only is it seemingly acceptable to most of the movie-going public to chat up a storm in loud, carrying tones throughout the entire film, but also a place where parents can bring their screaming babies to late night showings of R-rated films without comment, and people carry on conversations on their cell phones as if they weren’t even in a theater? Don’t get me wrong– if I’m going to see a movie, I totally understand the need to share the rare small comment with, or ask a question of a friend sitting next to you, but if that conversation carries more than a seat or two in any direction, that means you’re being way too loud. Again, I will grant that some people, for reasons I cannot fathom, simply do not have the capacity for whispering, and I cut them some slack– but conversations that are long and loud and often have nothing to do with the movie itself are unacceptable.
Perhaps it’s that this generation of movie-goers have always had a TV in the home, and assume that the theater experience is just a big-screen version of the boob-tube, where they can chat and make phone calls to their heart’s content. I really don’t have an explanation. But the growing percentage of patrons who assume it’s their god-given right to talk as loud as they like and leave their cell phone ringers on “Level 9 Plus Vibrate” are making me think a big-screen TV and waiting for the DVD is starting to look like the only good option.
Is it just me? I’d love to hear your comments below.