Once upon a time, going to the movie was an event. For those of who grew up here in Franklin, it often meant a trip 20 miles down the road to Nashville. In the 60s and 70s–in the days before multiplexes and cineplexes–the theaters in Green Hills and Belle Meade were where we saw Disney and the Sound of Music and Mary Poppins.
We had a cinema here too, on Main Street. One year there was a promotion where kids could come for free on Saturday morinings–the only cost was six RC Cola bottle caps. I remember the first time I went…I was probably 8 or 9. The movie was wildly innapropriate–The Pit and the Pendulum. It was horrifying and I bolted out in terror during one of the scariest scenes.
But I got over my fear of movies. Now I’m much more afraid of the people at the movies…the ones sitting around me.
Last night I went to a typical chick flick with two girlfriends. Usually I go to Sunday matinees–this was the first nighttime film I’d been to in a while. From the crowds of kids standing around, you’d have thought it was a Friday or Saturday–not a Tuesday. There were groups of pimply-faced girls wearing way too much cheap makeup…clusters of pimply-faced boys in oversized jeans trying to look tough. Not sure who they’re trying to look tough for here in this little cocooned pocket of suburbia.
But that’s not the point–this is:
SHUT THE HELL UP AND TURN OFF YOUR PHONES.
For some reason, we can’t go more than five minutes without being connected. We check our home e-mail from work. We check our work e-mail from home. We text. We call. We twit or tweet or whatever it is you call it. We (and when I say “we” here I don’t mean me) answer our phones when we’re using the toilet in public restrooms.
Last night the person to my left checked her phone throughout the movie. The person a few rows in front did the same. For all I know, they were texting each other. What they didn’t seem to realize was that opening their phones was no different from waving a lit flashlight. Every bit as distracting. Every bit as rude.
A group of teenage girls sat behind us. They talked the whole way through–giggling at every onscreen inuendo like a first-grader hearing the word doo-doo.
If I had been by myself, I would’ve asked the girls to be quiet. And I would’ve thrown popcorn at the texters. I’ve done it before. I’ve got great aim.
But I was with two people who are much more tolerant than I, so I kept quiet.
The movies just aren’t fun anymore. I think I’ll sign up with Netflix and stay home.