Since all kinds of good shit comes out at Christmas, I've been Johnny-Theater-Go even more than usual as of late (I usually go to the movies once a week at minimum). I just had a bad theater experience yesterday at a matinee of Doubt so this little story here amused me probably more than it should have.
If you're the type that says "fuck links," I'll describe the story in brief. A dude shot another dude in Philly for talking during Benjamin Button. SHOT HIM RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MOVIE! Now, don't worry, my sensitive readers: the talker lived.
The real question is: Did he learn his lesson?
Now the irony is obviously that, by shooting the talker, the serious movie-goer caused an arguably greater disruption to the other patrons than the original movie talker. But still, every theater should put this story up in the lobby on a large poster. This would not be a threat that, you know, talk in the movie and your ass will be shot. No, it would be more of a word of warning that shit can go down when you gab through the fucking film.
Now, my old man has a theory about silencing talkers and it is based on this little anecdote from years ago:
We were going to a movie and a couple near us was talking during the opening credits, hell not even, it was like the fucking studio logo had just gone up on the screen and this couple was talking. Not that big of an offense, right? Not yet, anyhow.
Well, this old dude sitting in front of them fucking STOOD UP and turned around and said, "NOW. YOU TWO AREN'T GOING TO TALK THROUGH THE WHOLE DAMN MOVIE, ARE YOU?!" in this loud fucking voice, so everyone could hear.
Well, that did it. I didn't hear a peep out of anyone for the whole movie.
So basically Pops' theory is this: Establish before the movie begins that you are indeed the craziest motherfucker in the whole fucking theater and then, you know, nobody will test you.
That obviously requires that you have no self-awareness whatsoever but, really, what are the odds that somebody in the room knows you? Pretty slim, unless it's the only movie theater in town, I suppose.
But as someone who has politely "shushed" people before, I can tell you that that doesn't cut it. The offender just thinks you're a bitch, someone who should mind their own damn business. And you could go get the theater manager and they will usually gladly usher that talking motherfucker out of the theater, but then you're going to miss some of the movie and disrupt everyone's experience even more with the (admittedly satisfying) scene. So basically we need an army of citizen crazies out there to keep the peace and quiet in our nation's theaters.
Step up, imaginary public. Step the fuck up and dare your fellow patrons to breathe one fucking word during Bedtime Stories (okay, so if you go to a kid's movie you have to expect that little kids are going to chat through the movie, but still, I wish I could have seen Bolt in peace. That was a good movie.).
It should be said that by-and-large I am a devoted matinee man, so the audiences I get are generally pretty good - fellow devoted nerds and serious movie-goers like myself. But another thing you have to expect during matinees is the goddamn elderly.
I don't know how so many of the self-proclaimed "greatest generation" have managed to skate through life with shitty manners, but Jesus Christ. I've learned to avoid sitting near any couple or group over sixty-five, but you know, their hearing is often poor and therefore their talking is especially fucking loud. And it's always roughly the same phrases I hear every incident:
"What's going on? What did that mean? Who's he?"
I honestly feel that theaters should hand out a pamphlet to every customer with their ticket stub that explains the following rules of all movies:
"If you are at any point confused about the plot, take notice that if you have been even marginally attentive during the film, you are indeed not missing anything. Chances are that everyone in the theater is just as confused as you are. But do not fret because we have a secret for you, retarded theater-goer, and it is this: the twist will be explained to you within the next few minutes. This is how all movies work. Most people figure this out after the first few hundred movies they view, but you are apparently not very up-on-the-quick-take."
Just a simple little pamphlet would do, with large lettering for the poor of sight. I guarantee it would cut down on talking levels by forty-eight percent within the first month alone.
But to get back to The Travis Bickle of Theater-Goers: Learn from his mistakes. His heart was in the right place (and his head was in fucking Crazy-Town, U.S.A.) but his execution (poor word choice) was off:
Despite what badasses in the movies say ("Don't pull that thing out unless you intend to use it."), sometimes all you need to do is show them the gun. Just be sure to do it before the movie starts.