Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Silence and the Silver Screen

One of the reasons why I don't go out a lot any more is because I become easily annoyed with the general public. This isn't some mid-30s-I-hate-those-rascally-whippersnapper-kids moment*, if I'm being truthful I've always preferred staying at home. When I was younger, going to a crowded bar packed with steak heads was never my idea of fun. Also, I've always subscribed to the old Bill Cosby observation (or it may have been George Carlin, I forget), “when you're on the high way and a car goes speeding by you the driver is a maniac, but when you're behind a car going slower than you, the driver is a moron.”

* Maybe I am turning into Andy Rooney, this is the second straight entry where I'm begging people not to think that I'm sort of curmudgeon. Damn it.

Last night was another example of the idiocy of the general public. My friend Jamie and I decided to go to the movies and check out the latest Tarantino flick “Inglourious Basterds”. It was a really good flick that I'll probably get into reviewing soon, but there was a little problem at the beginning of the movie.

There were three guys, all in their late 40s or early 50s sitting a few rows behind us. They were talking pretty loudly—which is not a big deal because the picture hadn't started and that's what you do when you wait. Then the previews started up and these guys still were talking as if they were splitting a Bloomin' Onion at Bugaboo Creek. This started to suck, but it was the previews, so what are you going to do?* Finally the movie started and with most Quentin Tarantino films, you really have to pay attention from the absolute beginning to get the most out his movies. Only these guys were still yapping.

* I love the previews almost as much as the movie. I think it goes back to me loving the anticipation for something more than the event itself. The trailers in front of this movie didn't look that great though, I was a bit disappointed in that.

Finally I turned around and said, “Hey!” and that snapped them out of their conversation for a bit. To be fair, they apologized but 30 minutes later they went back to talking—though this time it was a bit more sporadic and a little bit quieter. The weird thing is, they weren't the stereotypical loud mouths who yell at the screen, “WATCH OUT BRAD PITT!” nor were they asking each other questions about the movie. They were just making small talk, chatting about their families, their jobs and other mundane crap as the action was going on.

I guess I could go on a rant about how in this world of constant communication and the new selfishness of our society, this is just another step on our society's road to hell. However, that's simply isn't true. This rude behavior isn't a new occurrence, I imagine people have been talking through films since silent movies. But, I don't get it. Why would you waste $10 to see a movie when all you really want to do is talk to a friend? There is a Chili's right next to this particular theater. Wouldn't it be cheaper to go there, grab a beer, eat some free tortilla chips and talk all you want until they boot you out of the restaurant?

Not everyone likes to watch a movie the same way; personally I like to be completely immersed in a flick. If it's a movie that I am looking forward to seeing, I don't want any outside light, chatter or distractions to take away from the experience. That's why I pay $10 to go to a movie theater, it's about the experience and an audience can make or break that.

I've seen two movies this summer, this one and “The Hangover”. The latter had one of the better audience experiences I've ever had, people seemed to be really into the flick, no one was chattering and they were laughing all the time. “Inglourious Basterds” was not a bad movie, it sucked you in with a great plot and terrific acting. If you can't put your boring-ass life on hold for two hours for this movie, I'm not sure which flick that you can.

I don't have the largest TV screen in the world, but I am beginning to rethink going to the movies when I have free time. It's not the inconsideration that bothers me the most (although that drives me up a wall) it's the idiocy of choosing to spending money on an activity where you know full well that you have to shut your mouth and listen, but one talks anyway.

I think that the only solutions are to stay at home or have the theaters bring back ushers. However, instead of a flashlight, they can have batons. And after the first warning to be quiet is ignored, ushers will have carte blanche to smash people over the head with their silent sticks.

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