Turn off the Lights

A Formal Warning to Movie Theater Texters

Last week I went to my local theater at 8 pm for the latest Danny Boyle/James Franco extravaganza, 127 Hours. People filed into the theater on all sides, anticipation dripping from our brows, waiting patiently for the story of one man’s incredible desire to survive to start. 

After a very thoughtful message from Sprint politely asking us to turn our electronic devices off, my pals John, CJ, and Farney and I nestled into our seats and got comfortable. The credits came up, we were graced by Franco’s charismatic personality charming two beautiful young ladies, and began the lovely process of being enthralled by the motion picture before us. Ahhhh, I love the mov-

URRFKEJywkjfLK! (vinyl record scratching)

AH! My eyes are pulled from the screen! A bright light emanates from nearby. Upon further investigation, I find out that the person in front of me is texting on his cellular telephone!

“No worries,” I tell myself. “I’m sure he’s just telling the person on the other end that the movie is starting, and he will be unable to respond to further messages until the final credits roll.”

Oh, so that’s how James Franco’s character gets caught between a literal rock and a hard place! How fascinating! Boy, I sure love going to the mov-

The little light appears again. Hmmm, must be some girl this guy thinks he has a chance with. I strategically maneuver myself so that his head is blocking his phone. Fixed! Back to the mov-

FUCK! He moves his phone to the side just enough for it to be in my eyeline. I have now dubbed this guy I.P. (Inconsiderate Prick) and prepare a balled up piece of paper in my sweatshirt pocket, wholly prepared to assault him with it the next time that damned light comes on.

It takes some time before I gather my balls and hurl them at him, over an hour into the movie. Finally, and frustrated, I chuck the paper ball as hard as I can at the screen, hoping that it will send a message. I hit him in the shoulder and he, startled, glances over at the girl sitting next to him.

“Did you just tap me on the shoulder?” he says. Stupid ass. She shakes her head.

“Oh, could’ve sworn you did.” And back to his phone he goes. 

 

“Calm down, it’s just a movie,” some might say. But I paid $8.00 to sit in that theater and watch that movie, and what I got was some selfish fucker waving his phone around for the entire audience, ignoring the request to silence or turn it off and not caring one bit that it was distracting us from the film we paid to watch. 

Cell phones are ruining my movie-going! Now, I’m sure there are those of you reading who are on my side. I’m also certain that some of you are perpetrators of texting at the movies. It’s okay, I don’t hate you. As a matter of fact, I like you so much, I’ll give you a warning, to you and everyone you know. Tell them, the next time they go to a movie, take a look around if they plan to text and make sure I’m not there, because if I am, I will happily introduce their phone to their stomach by way of their ass. 

“But Joe,” you might say. “Isn’t that a little rash?”

Nope. I’ve turned the other cheek plenty of times, and now I’ll be lining my pockets with hard candy so I can bean texters in the head if necessary. 

At the beginning of another movie, Jerry Maguire, Jerry writes a mission statement (some people thank him for his “memo”) detailing everything he finds wrong with his industry and ways he can fix it. There isn’t much wrong with theaters. Popcorn is expensive, tickets are expensive, yes, but where else am I going to get this experience? I will pay five bucks for popcorn (some of the time) and eight bucks for the movie and even if it sucks, I’m generally content with my choice. But I won’t allow I.P.s to disrupt the movies I’m going to any longer. It’s a matter of common courtesy, people. Let us watch what we paid for.

That is all.

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