I Have Mixed Feelings About This

Next, he's going after the guy who underscooped his popcornIt’s finally happened: Somebody got shot in a movie theater for talking.

The weird part? The movie was “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, a film that wouldn’t necessarily encourage loudmouthery.

Over at Cinematical, Peter Martin takes the long view of the incident, asking pertinent questions like “Who brings a gun to a Cate Blanchett movie?” and making sure we note that the assailant sat back down to finish the film after blasting his cap, while the rest of the audience fled the screening. (I’m just glad he didn’t open up on the other theatergoers for cutting off his view.)

Since the victim wasn’t critically wounded — just shot in the arm — it somehow feels okay to make light of this. And in truth, it’s pretty great that no one was killed, because this is the sort of incident that’s been coming for years.

People aren’t quiet in movies any more. And acceptable theater behavior — talking, texting, taking cell calls — has gone completely out the window since multiplexes have turned into party zones, with the video games and the Burger Kings and the bar service. (And who brings a kid to “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, anyway? Was “Marley & Me” sold out?)

I’ve shushed more than my share of babblers — usually by shaming them with the same voice I employ to stop dogs from eating my bedding — but I’ve never come even close to getting physical with anyone. Of course, I’m not packing heat, either.

Was it George Carlin or David Cross who came up with the bullet theory of reducing gun violence? (UPDATE: It was Chris Rock; thanks, Mark!) Let everyone have a piece, but make the bullets $10,000 each, so you really have to think through whether someone needs killing.

Ah, that won’t help. People will just club each other with their gun butts. Which would, I’ll freely admit, make “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” a lot more entertaining.

4 thoughts on “I Have Mixed Feelings About This”

  1. I realize I’m showing my age and grumpiness regarding rude behaviour in movie theaters, but what happened to having ushers wander through periodically to shush or kick out bothersome people? I even remember being at a movie once about 25 years ago where police were called (it was at a Cineplex in a mall, so cops were already in the mall) to deal with some incredibly troublesome teenagers so the grown-ups could actually watch the movie. I get that it would increase a theater’s costs, but let’s face it, it would be a minimum wage job, unless, given this incident, it would now require hazard pay or bulletproof gear. Just like it would be nice if there were adult-only showings of some kids’ movies, maybe there could be zero-tolerance showings for $1.00/head more to pay for an usher to shut people up. Laughter, gasps, groans…fine; discussions, cell phone calls…leave. Not going to happen, but still. It’s tempting to blame the young’uns for all the rude behaviour, but it seems to be all age groups, so it doesn’t seem to be strictly a generational difference in manners.

    I at least partially blame home video, which is obviously mostly a good thing, but encourages people to behave as if they were in their living room when they are at the movie theater. If I were to behave like I was at home, for instance, I would want a remote to pause documentaries so I could discuss points as they were made on screen with my friends. If I wait until after the movie…why can’t everyone else?

    Sorry for the length of the rant. Please don’t shoot me.

    P.S. Saw Wall-E on Christmas…you were totally right about it. My early resolution for 2009 is to listen a little more carefully to my favorite movie critic. Next up, Slumdog Millionaire on the big screen.

  2. @ Chris- go as long as you want, there’s plenty of room. And I suspect that ushers went the same way as professional projectionists when the chains slashed operations to the bone to pay for their SilverCities and their Scotiamounts.

    @ Mark — yep, Chris Rock. I’ve seen so little of his stand-up recently that he doesn’t even come to mind when I quote him, which is totally not cool. I’ve made the appropriate correction above.

  3. I saw Benjy Buttons on Boxing day at the Scotiamount. The audience was pretty well behaved, but I still managed to get caught in some Bermuda Triangle of idiots. Three tweens spent the movie having giggling fits (as Brad got younger) and putting on a show as they walked the stairs with their snacks.

    Several couples had those regular movie conversations people have. You know, where they have to explain what’s happening or who somebody is because if you don’t say it out loud, your brain doesn’t absorb the information.

    The guy directly in front of me took a cell phone call. I asked him to stop, which he did a minute later. And then he left the theatre for a bathroom break!

    So this Cialella guy could be on to something. How about every theatre has dedicated “Cialella” screen where it’s legal to pack heat?

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