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"She texted. We kicked her out."
June 6, 2011 3:21 PM   Subscribe

Cinema chain posts audio of anonymous angry voicemail from customer who was kicked out for breaking one of their two golden rules. No talking. No using mobile phones. [via /film who also have an alternative embed of video]

Previously on Metafilter: the cinema code of conduct.
posted by feelinglistless (239 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
My favourite bit is when she says she was using her phone as a torch to find her seat because it was so dark in the auditorium.

I'm a hard liner. If you're late for the film, you're late for the film. Cinema chains should not then use torches themselves to show you to a seat. That's equally irritating.
posted by feelinglistless at 3:23 PM on June 6, 2011


Not just any cinema chain. The Alamo Drafthouse, aka the best cinema chain.
posted by kmz at 3:23 PM on June 6, 2011 [21 favorites]


Looking back at the link title, I think she probably actually broke both of them. Oh well.
posted by feelinglistless at 3:27 PM on June 6, 2011


Hint for folks who arrive late into a dark theater. Just stand for a few seconds once you're in the dark. Your eyes will adjust. The light of the screen will be all you need to find a seat.
posted by philip-random at 3:28 PM on June 6, 2011 [13 favorites]


The light of the screen will be all you need to find a seat.

Unless you're watching 4'33": The Movie.
posted by kmz at 3:29 PM on June 6, 2011 [12 favorites]


Don't let the door hit you in the ass, ma'am.
posted by Daddy-O at 3:30 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


In the Alamo Drafthouse...


... Everyone's an asshole...


... on my fucking phone, alright?...
posted by Elmore at 3:30 PM on June 6, 2011


I went to watch the new X-Men movie last night and was greeted with a packed house. I braced myself for what I thought was going to be an evening filled with talkers, texters, and random douchey behavior. What completely surprised me was that the crowd was quiet and respectful.

So back on topic: Yay for the Alamo Drafthouse. Would that more theaters enforced these policies! If that were so, we wouldn't be surprised when we actually have a pleasant evening at the movies.
posted by ooga_booga at 3:31 PM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hint for folks who arrive late into a dark theater. Just stand for a few seconds once you're in the dark. Your eyes will adjust. The light of the screen will be all you need to find a seat.

What about my fucking FREEDOMS????????????? You BASTARD
posted by Elmore at 3:32 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hah! I was just at the Drafthouse last night. They're even more serious about this recently. They make new PSAs regularly - I can't find the one I saw last night, but it was a hilarious spoof of the old 80s-era talking popcorn animated numbers, but they're always great (and usually NSFW.)

Seriously best theater ever. And one's in walking distance of my house, so the impulse Sunday-night movie is particularly sweet.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:32 PM on June 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


"I've texted in ALL the the other theaters in Austin and no one ever gave a fuck..."

[translation]

"I am pathologically incapable of noticing how completely self-centered I am and that I am a huge source of irritation to everyone around me. I also say 'fuck:' a lot because I think it makes me sound serious."
posted by quin at 3:32 PM on June 6, 2011 [48 favorites]


This is why my wife and I only go to the Drafthouse.
posted by jbelshaw at 3:34 PM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]



"I am pathologically incapable of noticing how completely self-centered I am and that I am a huge source of irritation to everyone around me. I also say 'fuck:' a lot because I think it makes me sound serious."


I'm here and you better shut up and notice me. ASSHOLE!!!!
posted by Elmore at 3:35 PM on June 6, 2011


Yay for Alamo.

I actually avoid theaters in Vancouver these days because movie etiquette here has become quite awful.
posted by neuromodulator at 3:35 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


God, I wish I lived near that theatre. I would love to not have to deal with self unaware assholes every time I go to see a movie. That's why I usually wait until a movie has been out for a few weeks so there's only a few people in the theatre.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:35 PM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Basically, the rule is: You Do Not Fuck with the Alamo Drafthouse. Because they will let you become as big a fool as you want to be. And then they will make a PSA out of you.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:36 PM on June 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


People often speculate about the possible causes for the decline of broad moviegoing in the U.S. For example: affordable home theater systems, disproportionate focus on the young male demographic, or even poorly operated projection systems.

But the Alamo Drafthouse gets it: The biggest problem is the audiences.

The second biggest problem is the pre-feature advertising.
posted by cobra libre at 3:36 PM on June 6, 2011 [30 favorites]


Now if they would've only turned away the two women bringing their 10-12 year olds to The Hangover 2 last week....
posted by jbelshaw at 3:36 PM on June 6, 2011


I live 1 block from an Alamo Drafthouse in Austin. They run a short before every feature saying how THE WRATH OF GOD will fall upon you if you talk or use your cell during a feature. Apparently she is surprised they actually meant it...
posted by jim in austin at 3:37 PM on June 6, 2011


restless_nomad: "I can't find the one I saw last night, but it was a hilarious spoof of the old 80s-era talking popcorn animated numbers"

Was it the death metal one? I saw that at their San Francisco screening of Dirty Harry and loved it. Let me know if you manage to find a video of it.
posted by brundlefly at 3:37 PM on June 6, 2011


"MAGNITED STATES OF AMERICA!"
posted by RogerB at 3:38 PM on June 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


The second biggest problem is the pre-feature advertising.

But how would I know to order a 96 oz. Pepsi and a large popcorn (extra butter-flavored hydrogenated oil product, please) when I go to a movie without all of the pre-show advertising? Life as I know it would end! We'd be doomed!

DOOMED!
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:38 PM on June 6, 2011


cobra libre, Alama Drafthouse has that problem licked also. They have THE best pre-show entertainment around. They're known for hand-crafted pre-show bundles of trailers related to the film, the actors and director involved, etc. If they run out of that, they have a bunch of other cool stuff they show prior to the film.
posted by melt away at 3:39 PM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


It is interesting to me that the caller mentioned that the Alamo Drafthouse was not "polite" because of their reaction.

"Polite" being that set of behaviors the rude gain an advantage, however small, by selectively ignoring while expecting strict compliance to by others.
posted by adipocere at 3:39 PM on June 6, 2011 [14 favorites]


The second biggest problem is the pre-feature advertising.


That's another thing about the Drafthouse theaters. There is no pre-trailer advertising. They have people that assemble "pre-game" footage. Related videos, etc., that is shown for about 30 minutes before the lights go down. It's one of the best parts of going there.
posted by jbelshaw at 3:39 PM on June 6, 2011


I saw the title of this and immediately thought, Drafthouse. Man I love that place.

"I'd rather go to a reglear theater."

Please, please do.
posted by zylocomotion at 3:40 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The customer is not always right.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:40 PM on June 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


I went to watch the new X-Men movie last night and was greeted with a packed house.

This gives me an opportunity to tell my X-Men movie story: I went over the weekend. We got two trailers, almost back to back. Warrior. And then, Real Steel.

Tell me those aren't almost the exact same movie. Only one has robots.
posted by graventy at 3:40 PM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Plus if you order popcorn and a coke you're missing out on the beer, wine, and quite reasonably good food.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:40 PM on June 6, 2011


The metal one is Mastodon.
posted by jbelshaw at 3:40 PM on June 6, 2011


I don't see what the big deal is with all this "talking and texting" during movies. I've never experienced it. On the other hand, back in uni my friends and I would routinely hotbox a 1979 Honda Civic and go and watch movies at the Roxy and laugh at the most inappropriate times.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:41 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh man. Just knowing that they bring the hammer down so hard on in-theater texters makes part of me want to mail them money.
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:41 PM on June 6, 2011 [12 favorites]


Hold the butter, just cover my popcorn with Alamo's unadulterated awesome.
posted by cyndigo at 3:42 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Theaters just aren't doing much to compete with the value I get from being able to watch a movie at home with friends. What, I'm supposed to care because they have the latest crapfest in 3D?

I avoid theaters because they're ridiculously priced, then they have the nerve to force me to sit through commercials on top of that. Let's not even discuss the price for concessions. People texting in the theater? Never seen it, probably wouldn't bother me nearly as much as the commercials.
posted by mullingitover at 3:43 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, thanks jbelshaw! This is it.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:43 PM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mastodon - Don't Talk Watch
posted by jbelshaw at 3:43 PM on June 6, 2011 [18 favorites]


The customer is not always right.

Yeah, the funniest line in the clip is actually "So thanks for treating me like a customer!" — because she clearly thinks that that means the same thing as "like the queen of the world." Somehow she just can't process the idea that the price of her ticket didn't include the right to behave like an asshole and still be treated with complete deference.
posted by RogerB at 3:44 PM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I live next to second run theatres. I would rather attend them, even with the laughing and talking, than any first run theatres in town. Unless of course one of those theatres is the Drafthouse.

When tickets are $4, and you can get a pitcher of beer for under $10, you don't really care about texting. I mean, I never in my life thought I would see this in google, or this listing of films.

But the weird part is, most of the audience that goes to these second run films (or the classics) are more attentive than anyone paying $12-16 for their tickets, in my entirely biased and limited recent theatre going experience.
posted by mrzarquon at 3:48 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I save all my beads until my wife brings to the cinema.

Sometimes... I'm Batman.
posted by Elmore at 3:49 PM on June 6, 2011


I actually avoid theaters in Vancouver these days because movie etiquette here has become quite awful.

Weekend matinees are where it's at. Teens hardly ever go then. Saw X-Men First Class at Oakridge at 1p.m. Sunday and the place was nearly empty. A very pleasant experience, except that they were out of cinema hot dogs.

And certain theatres attract a better 'class' of patron. The Park, a couple of blocks where I live on Cambie, for example. Or Fifth Avenue.

But if you're going to a Silver City for a 10 o'clock show, you gotta know you're in for a shit parade.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 3:49 PM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


On the other hand, back in uni my friends and I would routinely hotbox a 1979 Honda Civic and go and watch movies at the Roxy and laugh at the most inappropriate times.

Oh, that was *you*? And I'll bet you were the knob goblin that chucked that half-eaten apple at the back of my head, too.

The Roxy. Three bucks for the double-feature and the show wasn't up on the screen.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 3:52 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the PSA with Mastodon as talking concession food is from the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie.
posted by tylerfulltilt at 3:53 PM on June 6, 2011


I was reading the Consumerist's post about this incident and many people were bemoaning the Alamo's "zero tolerance" policy. This EW post explains that the woman was kicked out after getting 2 warnings.

It seems that the "flashlight" excuse is just that, and her actual point is that she can text in all the other theaters she goes to. So, to all who may think the Alamo was too harsh here, they were not.
posted by reenum at 3:55 PM on June 6, 2011


I'm in the "customer was a douche, but so was the theatre for posting her voicemail" crowd.
posted by Mittenz at 3:57 PM on June 6, 2011


I would go to the Alamo if there was one here. Recently we went to a few movies at the Vancouver Documentary film festival and you would think there wouldn't be adults who would talk the whole way through - that they would be people who liked film enough to know better - you would be WRONG VERY WRONG.

I hate going to movie theatres. Hate it. But I'd go to the Alamo.
posted by Salmonberry at 3:58 PM on June 6, 2011


I'm an expressive movie go-er, which is why I'm often scared when I go to the Drafthouse. I'm highly prone to "Oh no! Look behind you!" "HAHAHHAHAHAHA" "*HUGE* GASP OF SURPRISE AT TWIST" I make a point of not disturbing others with random talking. While I don't like the feeling that I'm a small child who must sit quietly at a dinner party that no one wants me at when I'm at Alamo Drafthouse, it's worth it for the confirmation that texting (ahem, boyfriend!) is equally, if not more irritating than my expressions which I consider to be part of the experience of going out to a movie.

I do love their food - mmmmm strawberry balsamic milkshake.
posted by raccoon409 at 4:00 PM on June 6, 2011


I've quit going to the movies.

I most love the immersive quality of movies. If everyone is quiet and still, I can actually forget, for long stretches, that it's "only a movie." I can really believe I'm in outer space or Viet Nam or Middle Earth. And I really ONLY enjoy movies if I can believe in them like that. I am totally uninterested in meta-experiences, where I think about the movie as a constructed story while I watch it. That gives me no pleasure.

(Whenever anyone says "I don't see why it's such a big deal if people talk during a movie," I usually find out -- if they're willing to discuss it -- that they either like movies in a more "academic" way than I do, e.g. what they most enjoy is thinking about the director, the special effects, the acting, etc -- the don't mind knowing that it's fake the whole time they're watching it. Or they don't take movies all that seriously. Or they're just really, really good at tuning people out. I am NOT an academic viewer; I DO take movies serious; I have NO ability to tune people out.)

As soon as someone talks, I'm awaked from a dream. I suddenly, miserably realize that I'm not in Victorian England or in Oz. I'm in the Lowes Cinema Complex, Theartre 12, next to that guy who keeps whispering "What did he say?" I hate that. It's no fun for me at all. I don't need it in my life.

I can't believe it took me decades to figure out that I -- and other people -- would be happier if I just stayed away.

When I was in my 20s, I was one of those assholes who would shush people. I would turn around and give dirty looks to anyone who talking, even if they were whispering as quietly as possible. (To be fair to myself, those super-super quiet whispers really DID bother me. I wasn't just trying to be mean for the sake of being mean.)

Then, when I got older, I realized that my way of watching movies wasn't the right way, and that I was being a dick whenever I imposed my rules on others. Of course, for the sake of the general audience, one shouldn't have a conversation during a movie at a cinema, but I went overboard when I got up people's asses for incredibly quiet whispers. (Popcorn munching also drives me batshit, but, of course, that's not against the rules of the cinema. It's encouraged.)

So I quit pestering people. And what I noticed it that it made no difference. If I pestered people, they still talked, whispered, texted and munched. If I didn't pester people, they STILL talked, whispered, texted and munched. I realized -- duh -- then when you put 300 people in a room together, there is GOING to be some noise, and I only had two reasonable options: (1) get over it; (2) stay home.

I tried the first option, but it didn't work. I just sat there getting more and more irritated, not enjoying the movie at all. I kept going, anyway, because OCCASIONALLY I'd get lucky and the audience would be quiet. And I always hoped and prayed that THIS audience would be one of THOSE audiences. It seldom happened, and I would say to myself, "I should have just stayed home." And then, when the next movie came out, I would go again, full of stupid optimism.

Sometimes I would be optimistic that I'd just be able to deal with it. "Okay," I'd tell myself. "People are going to talk. So what? Just tune it out." And I'd wind up not enjoying the movie, being irritated with myself that I couldn't "just tune it out," and being irritated with myself that I was stupid enough to assume I COULD "just tune it out," even though the last 1,000 movie-going experiences should have told me that I couldn't.

Finally, about a year ago, I realized that I hadn't enjoyed myself at the movies in like five years. And I thought, "That's it. I'm done."

I bought the biggest-screen TV I could find, a Netflix subscription, a Blu-ray player and a shitload of cable channels. (And I hear-tell there's this thing called bit-torrent, but I wouldn't know anything about that.)

As big as my screen is, it's still not the same as those HUGE screens at some cinemas. For a while, that would lure me out occasionally. I'd say, "I know I never have fun at the movies, but THIS movie sounds like it's MEANT to be watched on a ginormous screen. I really should see it on one." So I'd go ... and have a miserable time.

I'm finally DONE done. No more movie theatres for me. I'm sad about it, and I know it means I'm going to miss out on some experiences, and I know I'll be six-months behind everyone else. But my blood pressure will be lower and I'll actually ENJOY some movies. And the people around me will enjoy them more, too.
posted by grumblebee at 4:00 PM on June 6, 2011 [31 favorites]


Elmore: "Sometimes... I'm Batman."

Not without those beads, you're not.
posted by boo_radley at 4:00 PM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm in line for X Men at the Alamo right now and this kind of thing is why. I've never had a problem with audience conduct at the Drafthouse, but I have confidence they'd handle it if I did.
posted by immlass at 4:00 PM on June 6, 2011


I made a video when I was 13 and bored one day, stuck somewhere waiting on my mom, with access to a video camera. It's a little embarrassing and my dad likes to trot it out for the boyfriends, so I've seen it a few times.

My voice sounded exactly like this girl's. Wow. Of course, my language was never that bad and I hope I was never that big of a twat (goddamned kids these days get offa my lawn), but watching this was like having evil twin deja vu.
posted by phunniemee at 4:00 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the worst thing that happens to movie texters is that they lose their eight bucks and get their voice mail posted to the internet, they've gotten off lightly. Personally I think that hangin's too good for them.
posted by octothorpe at 4:01 PM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


> So, to all who may think the Alamo was too harsh here, they were not.

I don't think anyone is arguing that the Drafthouse was too strict. Maybe posting the voicemail is a bit over the line.

But they aren't the only theatre in town, you can choose to go elsewhere. Just like one of my favorite bars one make you a redbull and vodka, if you want that, go somewhere else.

I like establishments that have their own standards of service that they wont compromise. And almost all of them are upfront about it, it is rarely the astute and courteous customer that is gets outraged that they can't have substitutions on the menu, but the customer that was going to be a dick anyway.
posted by mrzarquon at 4:02 PM on June 6, 2011


> Just like one of my favorite bars one make you a redbull and vodka, if you want that, go somewhere else.

will not make you a redbull and vodka
posted by mrzarquon at 4:03 PM on June 6, 2011


"Recently, we had a situation where a customer persisted in texting in the theater despite two warnings to stop."

Just to further highlight this, from the blog post: this woman was not ejected from the theater for using her phone as a flashlight to find her seat.
posted by chaff at 4:04 PM on June 6, 2011


I visited the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin during a California-to-Florida road trip stopover. Watched "Burn After Reading".
It was the best movie theater experience of my life.
posted by erasorhed at 4:06 PM on June 6, 2011


How do you disturb a movie by texting? Do you have a Model M keyboard on your phone? I've never been bothered by another human using a cell phone to text in a theatre, nor has whispered speech ever ruined my movie experience.
posted by Sternmeyer at 4:06 PM on June 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


I really like how they have a card you can give to your waiter so a manager can kick them out. I usually just tolerate the talkers and texters if there are any* because I'd miss the movie myself if I had to leave the theater to tell someone that the movie was being disturbed.

Last two movies I saw in the theater were both artsy documentaries (Cave of Forgotten Dreams - Herzog goes Caving! and Bill Cunningham NY - the life of a legendary Mahvelous! street photographer) neither of which attracted a texting or talking demographic.
posted by vespabelle at 4:07 PM on June 6, 2011


They run a short before every feature saying how THE WRATH OF GOD will fall upon you if you talk or use your cell during a feature. Apparently she is surprised they actually meant it...

Well, up until a couple months ago, they DIDN'T really mean it: sometimes people got kicked out for talking/texting, and sometimes they didn't. I'm glad they're sticking to their guns and actually being hardasses about it now.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:08 PM on June 6, 2011


*Waits for the failed public school system to be blamed for the lack of manners*
posted by Cranberry at 4:08 PM on June 6, 2011


I went to watch the new X-Men movie Handel concerto last night and was greeted with a packed house. I braced myself for what I thought was going to be an evening filled with talkers, texters the poor, and random douchey behavior the Irish. What completely surprised me was that the crowd was quiet and respectful obeisant.
posted by ooga_booga at 8:31 AM on June 7 [+] [!]

Fixed that for you old boy.
posted by oxford blue at 4:09 PM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


The only theater we've been to for the last seven or so years has been the Alamo Drafthouse, either the Village or South Lamar (haven't been to the "new" downtown location, but had been to the old one many times). I can't remember what movies were like in "regular" theaters, but one of the last ones I saw in a major theater chain was The Sixth Sense. Someone in the theater very loudly blew the twist ending in the first five minutes of the film. Just loudly told his entire row of friends the whole damn plot.

I get the feeling that if something like that happened at the Alamo, the patrons would beat the holy hell out of the dick responsible, with help from the staff.
posted by blixco at 4:09 PM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow you guys know about the Alamo Drafthouse? I thought it was only in Austin and Houston or something? That makes me feel like I'm special by default of being in a special city which is special because it has a bunch of Alamo drafthouses. Which are special.

I'm going to go bask in the glow now.

Where else can you watch Jaws while floating on water!??!!! YES ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE! Also I have enjoyed the special company of an alamo drafthouse employee making me even more doubly special. I'm so very special. Can I stop being an outcast now?

The local places here in Austin tended to have signs saying things like "This is not McDonalds, you do not get it your way." I love it. Power to the working class. We will not become slaves to the money of those above us, hiya! (Ok so we sort of are but whatever, we'll exert our power to have independant thoughts about how we are treated by dicky customers! And that is awesomeness!)

Which is why most people in Austin I know I would imagine would have a hell yeah attitude toward posting this video, but then I've tended to work in local joints here most of my working life, so that's just my impression.
posted by xarnop at 4:09 PM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love the Sundance Kabuki Theater in San Francisco.

I actually feel kind of guilty about it, because the reason it's such a great place to see a film turns out to be that it's expensive -- between $11 and I think $16, depending on when you go -- which:

(1) allows them to maintain an actual projection staff and super-clean, comfy facilities
(2) allows them to totally eliminate pre-movie advertising, except trailers (no more than 3 per show)
(3) keeps the audiences older and more affluent, which on the whole seems to equate to "more respectful." (Not always, of course. But generally.)

It sucks that the secret is "price people out." But it's easily my favorite place to see a movie (except maybe the Castro Theatre, which is awesome for different reasons).
posted by eugenen at 4:10 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


She couldn't even keep her story straight. First she was using her phone to find a seat, then she said she "texts in all the other thee-aters and it's okay".
posted by dunkadunc at 4:10 PM on June 6, 2011


How do you disturb a movie by texting?

Your screen lighting up to send a text? That's an unnecessary distraction.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:11 PM on June 6, 2011 [14 favorites]


Personally, I'm 110% sure that the failed public school system ceasing to teach kids about manners is at the root of all this.

Meanwhile, not being anywhere near these fine establishments, I am stuck with the local theater, where not only does the occasional flash of someone's mobile screen break my suspension of disbelief, but so does the fact that the local gigaplex likes to turn up the other films so $&*% loud that I get to hear the (circle one: gunshots / screams / sirens / explosions ) from the action extravaganza in the movie 3 theaters over.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 4:13 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm tempted to move to Austin just so I can go to this movie theater.


How do you disturb a movie by texting?



When you text someone, your phone's screen lights up bright. When they text you back, your phone's screen lights up bright. In a darkened room, which has been darkened so everyone can focus on the one big bright screen up ahead, another bright light flickering in the corner of your eye every minute and a half is really bloody distracting.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:14 PM on June 6, 2011 [20 favorites]


God I miss the Alamo so much. I enjoyed a bunch of things about Austin, but the Alamo was number one on the list. (Possibly tied with Tex-Mex.)
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:15 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The light of the screen will be all you need to find a seat.

For you maybe, but not me. On more than one occasion, I have fallen flat on my face.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:16 PM on June 6, 2011


How do you disturb a movie by texting? Do you have a Model M keyboard on your phone? I've never been bothered by another human using a cell phone to text in a theatre, nor has whispered speech ever ruined my movie experience.

And I'm not bothered by the sound of styrofoam rubbing against styrofoam, but it bothers some people. And I enjoy coffee without sugar, but some people HATE it and gag if they try to swallow it. (When I see them gagging, my gut reaction is that they're purposefully being histrionic. But they -- most of them -- aren't. They're just different from me.)

Moral: what doesn't bother you might -- for real -- bother someone else. It might actually bother them, even if you can't fathom why it does. I can't fathom why anyone would WANT sugar in coffee. GROSS! But, as I learn again and again in this life, not everyone is like me.

As I explained above, texting and whispering bother me because they wake me out of a dreamlike state, one in which I believe that the movie is real. And it's to get into that state -- and ONLY to get into that state -- that I go to movies in the first place.

Maybe texting doesn't bother you because you go to movies for a different reason.

Or maybe you're just better at tuning out distractions than I am.
posted by grumblebee at 4:17 PM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Reading the facebook link regarding them instituting this new policy in the first place, I feel sorta bad for the staff.
They want someone to be in the theatre during the movie, which would just make me feel incredibly awkward.
Think of it this way, you're standing in the back of the room. There's a GIANT SCREEN playing things designed to elicit emotions. But you have to ignore that, because you're not being paid to watch the movie, you're looking for cards.
So that dude who's looking for cards is going to be *really* tense and just itching for someone to be a jerk so he can kick them out, and get out of the theatre.
posted by WeX Majors at 4:28 PM on June 6, 2011


That voice mail is a perfect illustration of the idea that stupid people do not understand that they are stupid. Just once, I would like to see someone doing something obnoxious in public appear ashamed to be doing it.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 4:28 PM on June 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


I don't see any reason to go to a movie theater at all anymore. I can watch whatever I want at home for a lot less and drink whatever I damn well please and put on the subtitles if I want and not have to worry about anyone else.

I have felt for some time now that if you are serious about wanting to see a movie, there are fewer worse places to go than a movie theater. Cheers to the Alamo Drafthouse for throwing this mouthbreather out, but it's a losing battle for a hill no one needs.
posted by Legomancer at 4:31 PM on June 6, 2011


Reading the facebook link regarding them instituting this new policy in the first place, I feel sorta bad for the staff.
They want someone to be in the theatre during the movie, which would just make me feel incredibly awkward.
Think of it this way, you're standing in the back of the room. There's a GIANT SCREEN playing things designed to elicit emotions. But you have to ignore that, because you're not being paid to watch the movie, you're looking for cards.
So that dude who's looking for cards is going to be *really* tense and just itching for someone to be a jerk so he can kick them out, and get out of the theatre.


Well, the Drafthouse pretty much always has people in the theater during the movie -- the waitstaff.
posted by eugenen at 4:32 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


This really isn't a new policy. They've said this before every film I've seen there since 1999 at the original on Colorado street.
posted by jbelshaw at 4:32 PM on June 6, 2011


Are there theaters like this anywhere in the L.A. area? I'd love a place where I could watch a movie accompanied only by the sounds of appropriate shrieks or laughter. And people cared enough not to kick my seat hard enough to almost knock me out of it.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:34 PM on June 6, 2011


Sternmeyer: How do you disturb a movie by texting?

The light is very distracting. Even more so when watching 3d movies.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 4:36 PM on June 6, 2011


Ah, see I was thinking in terms of my own set-up and how terrible it is when we have a complain, go in ready to eliminate said complaint, and complaint has STFU.
Which then means we have to stand in the back awkwardly waiting for them to fuck up.
posted by WeX Majors at 4:37 PM on June 6, 2011


I once watched a first rum bollywood movie in the theater. The place was packed. Not a single empty seat. The audience was screaming, cheering, booing, laughing, crying, and talking the entire time. Surfing those waves of emotion was one of the most incredibly cathartic experiences I've ever had. So I guess what I'm saying is, I have no interest in patronizing the Alamo Drafthouse.
posted by yeolcoatl at 4:38 PM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


So I guess what I'm saying is, I have no interest in patronizing the Alamo Drafthouse.

Lucky for you, you have thousands of other choices.
posted by Legomancer at 4:39 PM on June 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


How do you disturb a movie by texting?

Apart from the light that others have mentioned, if the keypad has auditory feedback and the phone has a sound effect or chime when a message is sent or received and I am within 5 seats or rows of you then I'll go and get the manager myself.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:39 PM on June 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


This really isn't a new policy. They've said this before every film I've seen there since 1999 at the original on Colorado street.

It's an old policy that was not always enforced. About 2 months ago, some people talked through a screening of Rubber and nothing happened to them, despite people raising flags and alerting staff. If you read the comments to the post where Alamo announced their updated policy on Facebook, you'll see that other people had the same thing (alerting the staff to talking/texting and the staff doing nothing about it) happen in the past.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:39 PM on June 6, 2011


Yes, oxford blue, the darned proles are revolting.

If kicking the back of your seat, talking over the movie, and obnoxious behavior were limited to the poor, then perhaps you'd have a point. In my experience, theatergoers of all stripes engage in this increasingly prevalent behavior. So please refrain from putting words in my mouth, snarky strike tag or not.
posted by ooga_booga at 4:41 PM on June 6, 2011 [23 favorites]


How do you disturb a movie by texting?

One, it's not so much the outgoing texts, as the "binkBONKBONKbinkbinkbink" wood-block incoming text noise when you get the response, or the loud-during-quiet-parts "HRRRMMMM" of the vibrate-only sound. Over and over. As you spend twenty minutes having a text conversation with somebody else when there's a huge movie on the screen in front of you.

I'm another who rarely goes to movies, because the cost doesn't equal the experience. I'm OK with tomfoolery going on at the $1.50 theatre, because there's a poorly-repaired cut in the screen and the chairs are uncomfortable and we're all just enjoying cheap popcorn and a movie too new for Netflix. Going to a full-price theater and dropping $40 for the family - without snacks - to see a first-run movie and experience the same things is a crappy way to blow $40.

My first cellphone in the theatre experience: Pulp Fiction. The fact that a phone would even ring in a theatre was about as alien as you could get for the time, and then the 40-something guy yammering into his StarTAC actually got him screamed at by the woman sitting in front of him. Little did we know that he would become the norm for movie behavior, and not the lady's reaction.
posted by AzraelBrown at 4:43 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh man. Just knowing that they bring the hammer down so hard on in-theater texters makes part of me want to mail them money.

Me too.

Are there theaters like this anywhere in the L.A. area? I'd love a place where I could watch a movie accompanied only by the sounds of appropriate shrieks or laughter. And people cared enough not to kick my seat hard enough to almost knock me out of it.

ArcLight is your best bet. They aren't this hard-assed (they claim not to seat people after the movie starts and I've seen them do it) but they do keep an usher in the theater at all times (I think) and certainly are better than any of the other chains in town. They're more pricey as well, which keeps out a lot of the teenagers who just go to movies to socialize.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:44 PM on June 6, 2011


Are there theaters like this anywhere in the L.A. area? I'd love a place where I could watch a movie accompanied only by the sounds of appropriate shrieks or laughter. And people cared enough not to kick my seat hard enough to almost knock me out of it.

No, but I read that they want to open a Drafthouse in Los Angeles.
posted by birdherder at 4:44 PM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Are there theaters like this anywhere in the L.A. area?

How about in NYC?

Any theatres that ENFORCE quietness? I'm not talking about art-house theatres where, supposedly, people are just polite and into watching movies seriously. In my experience, there's still lots of talking at those places. I would only consider going back to movie theatres if I found a place like the Alamo.
posted by grumblebee at 4:46 PM on June 6, 2011


I wonder if she is single?
posted by LarryC at 4:47 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised more theatres don't offer a quiet show. They should pick their slowest night, say Monday night, and make it Quiet Night. They should have a staff member in the theatre, enforcing quiet. And they should charge $2 extra for tickets.

I would pay.

I know lots of people who would pay.
posted by grumblebee at 4:48 PM on June 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Sternmeyer: "How do you disturb a movie by texting?"

It makes the movie self conscious: "Are they talking about me? Don't they my characters? Is my score too overblown? Is there a bug on the screen? Oh god!
posted by oxford blue at 4:48 PM on June 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Ironically, while it is forbidden to talk or text at the Alamo Drafthouse, you are allowed to blow dry your balls.
posted by MegoSteve at 4:49 PM on June 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm surprised more theatres don't offer a quiet show. They should pick their slowest night, say Monday night, and make it Quiet Night. They should have a staff member in the theatre, enforcing quiet. And they should charge $2 extra for tickets.

By making one show a week your "quiet show," aren't you essentially making every other showing your "loud show"? Better for some theater chains to brand themselves this way, and other theater chains to go after a different type of customer.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:50 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Every other show IS the loud show.
posted by grumblebee at 4:51 PM on June 6, 2011


So I guess what I'm saying is, I have no interest in patronizing the Alamo Drafthouse

You won't be missed.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 4:52 PM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Alamo doesn't enforce a total silence rule. They enforce no talking and no texting. The crowds get noisy when the movies get emotional (at Hanna, the audience I was with was making noise when the movie demanded it). What people raise complaint cards about, and what they warn you about, are conversations, and texting.

So, it's not a sterile experience. It tends to be a bunch of people who enjoy movies eating and drinking (they serve food and beer) and really digging the movie, and no one having some random conversation behind you.

I really wish there were concert halls like this.
posted by blixco at 4:54 PM on June 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


ArcLight is your best bet.

THIS. I've never had a bad/out of focus screen or crappy audio. They're not zealous about enforcing their no talking, no texting rule, but an usher comes out before every single show and tells people not to cause trouble. They also have assigned seating, so you can choose not to have crappy seats. Because of these things, it's been many years since we've seen a movie anywhere else (aside from the Bridge in Culver City which also has some assigned seating so we go there once in a while).

I haven't tried out Gold Class cinemas, though, but Arclight is the best in LA.
posted by chimaera at 4:55 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


How do you disturb a movie by texting?

Your phone becomes the only bright thing in the room below the bottom of the movie screen. It's pretty distracting.
posted by dfan at 4:55 PM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wonder if she is single?

Funniest post so far!
posted by birdhaus at 4:57 PM on June 6, 2011


Warrior. And then, Real Steel.

Tell me those aren't almost the exact same movie. Only one has robots.


The vital difference between the two is that Warrior features the glorious and delightful Tom Hardy all sweaty and shirtless and buff while the other film does not.
posted by elizardbits at 4:58 PM on June 6, 2011


Ironically, while it is forbidden to talk or text at the Alamo Drafthouse, you are allowed to blow dry your balls.

Now THAT is the funniest post so far . . . .
posted by birdhaus at 4:59 PM on June 6, 2011


I always thought it was so cool how some of the art house theaters in portland have a dedicated sound-proofed 'baby room' where you can take your fussy kid, but still be able to see the flick. It sounds like there's no age on baby-like behavior =p
posted by nomisxid at 4:59 PM on June 6, 2011


I had already known about Real Steel ahead of time; while watching Warrior it just seemed so rote and uninteresting that I kept waiting for the record scratch which would reveal it to actually be a screwball comedy, or for the moment which revealed that it was a "please turn off your cell phone" ad.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 5:00 PM on June 6, 2011


Er, while watching the trailer for Warrior.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 5:00 PM on June 6, 2011


By making one show a week your "quiet show," aren't you essentially making every other showing your "loud show"? Better for some theater chains to brand themselves this way, and other theater chains to go after a different type of customer.

When I was in Austin, one of the Drafthouses would have a screaming baby matinee show on Tuesdays. Moms (and dads) could come with their toddler, have a nice lunch and see a movie and not worry about their kids making too much noise because everyone has kids. People not wanting the possibility of crying babies could see something else.
posted by birdherder at 5:00 PM on June 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


I once watched a first rum bollywood movie in the theater. The place was packed. Not a single empty seat. The audience was screaming, cheering, booing, laughing, crying, and talking the entire time. Surfing those waves of emotion was one of the most incredibly cathartic experiences I've ever had. So I guess what I'm saying is, I have no interest in patronizing the Alamo Drafthouse.

You won't be missed.

What saddens me is that these are both legitimate ways of watching movies. By "legitimate," I mean that even though I like watching in morgue-like silence, I totally get why someone else would enjoy a more social experience. And, of course, I understand why someone else would prefer silence.

Obviously, a party atmosphere and a quiet one can't be had at the same time in the same place, and that's too bad. But what really sucks is how people start patronizing each other, getting all sarcastic, and acting like the "other side" is being a special-snowflake wittle baby.

We might actually be able to solve some problems if people started from a base position of "Your way isn't my way, but I respect your way." It's one thing to get pissed off at people who are ruining your movie-going experience. It's another thing to suggest that they way they like to watch movies is inferior to the way you like to watch movies.

"I have no interest in patronizing the Alamo Drafthouse," sounds suspiciously condescending to me, as if it's saying, "You special snowflakes are missing out on being HUMAN by snobbishly insisting on quiet." The post didn't literally say that, though, so forgive me if I'm reading into it. Maybe that wasn't the intended meaning in this case, but I've certainly heard those sentiments before.

And, of course, "You won't be missed" was outright snark.

When it's impossible for two people to both have what they want at once, there are other possibilities besides snarkiness, sarcasm and condescension.
posted by grumblebee at 5:01 PM on June 6, 2011 [11 favorites]



I once watched a first rum bollywood movie in the theater. The place was packed. Not a single empty seat. The audience was screaming, cheering, booing, laughing, crying, and talking the entire time. Surfing those waves of emotion was one of the most incredibly cathartic experiences I've ever had. So I guess what I'm saying is, I have no interest in patronizing the Alamo Drafthouse.



You were watching something in a completely different cultural context, though. When it's expected that the audience will be talking, laughing, and shouting, then it isn't disruptive.

And of course, you can laugh and react at the appropriate times in the Drafthouse. It's just the loud conversations during quiet parts, talking on the phone or texting during the film, and other behaviors that ruin the experience of other patrons that they prohibit.


As much as I love local treasures like The Trylon, The Heights, and The Riverview, God do I love and miss the Alamo Drafthouse. It is a great, great place. I appreciate the work they do to make it a good place to see a film, and that they are serious about making it a good experience for everyone by getting rid of the occasional obnoxious patron.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:03 PM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


And, of course, "You won't be missed" was outright snark.

No it wasn't. It was saying that neither the Alamo Drafthouse nor the people who like their particular service are all that concerned that some people might want something else.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 5:04 PM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sorry if I misunderstood then. "You won't be missed," in my experience, is almost always used sarcastically.
posted by grumblebee at 5:06 PM on June 6, 2011


ArcLight is your best bet.

I've been there quite a few times and haven't noticed any difference really. They have nicer food and a gift shop is pretty much it.
posted by eyeballkid at 5:06 PM on June 6, 2011


grumblebee : Or maybe you're just better at tuning out distractions than I am.

Don't most theaters make hearing-impaired headsets available on request? I've never used them so I don't know how good they'd be for blocking out the crowd noises, but I'd bet it'd help some.

I'd hate to be denied the theater experience if there was a viable workaround.

posted by quin at 5:09 PM on June 6, 2011


For me, it's all about the assigned seating. On opening weekends or popular movies, I'm not sitting for an hour (or several) to get in and hope I get a good one. Your mileage may vary, but assigned seating is almost criminally uncommon in theaters nowadays.
posted by chimaera at 5:09 PM on June 6, 2011


Don't most theaters make hearing-impaired headsets available on request?

DO they?
posted by grumblebee at 5:11 PM on June 6, 2011


I wish I could remember the name of the fantastic little movie theater I used to go to in Columbus, OH. It was in walking distance of my house, and they did double-features, pairing a recent second-run movie with something older and thematically linked. I went to see American Psycho / Taxi Driver there at least twice.

They had a deal with a nearby local pizza place -- you could order a pizza when you bought your tickets, and pick it up during the intermission. They also had a full bar.

That movie theater is the only thing I miss about Columbis Ohio.
posted by rifflesby at 5:12 PM on June 6, 2011


chimaera: "Your mileage may vary, but assigned seating is almost criminally uncommon in theaters nowadays."

In Australia one of the major chains uses assigned seating and generally people seem to hate it. You have to pick your seat from a little plastic sheet when you buy your ticket, and there are invariably confrontations when people ignore the seats they've been assigned and seat wherever.
posted by oxford blue at 5:12 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I once watched a first run bollywood movie in the theater. The place was packed. Not a single empty seat. The audience was screaming, cheering, booing, laughing, crying, and talking the entire time. Surfing those waves of emotion was one of the most incredibly cathartic experiences I've ever had. So I guess what I'm saying is, I have no interest in patronizing the Alamo Drafthouse.

I've had experiences like that at the Alamo Draft House. More there than at every other theater I've ever been to, combined. The repressed fascist reading room you are imagining couldn't be further from the truth. For the most part, everybody in attendance knows what appropriate behavior is for what they're there to see. And if they don't, their asses get kicked out. It's the best movie theater in the world.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 5:14 PM on June 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


To quote Wil Wheaton, Dear AlamoDrafthouse: I love you so hard, it’s going to hurt both of us.

This one rivals John Waters' Don't you want a cigarette right now, mmmmm, nom, nom, nom, PSA. I was so bummed when the last theater I knew that showed that one closed down.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 5:15 PM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I saw the Derek Jacobi King Lear in Brooklyn last week, and at one critical point late in the play the woman in front of me dropped her bag. She then proceeded to pick up and reassemble, folio by folio and section by section, that day's edition of the MOTHERF-----G New York Times,. There is a special place in hell reserved for these people.
posted by stargell at 5:16 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I once watched a first rum bollywood movie in the theater. The place was packed. Not a single empty seat. The audience was screaming, cheering, booing, laughing, crying, and talking the entire time.

But were they screaming, cheering, booing, laughing, crying, and talking ABOUT THE MOVIE the entire time?

Or did they spend the movie screaming, cheering, booing, laughing, crying, and talking about how that bitch Julie TOTALLY stole their lipgloss and if they do it again they'll kick her right in the fucking crotch, or about how they can't talk now, they're in a movie, but do you want to go get beer later? Or about how they're out of milk and can whoever they're talking to get milk on their way back from work and how was work oh holy shit Patrick did WHAT to the milk shake machine he's gonna get fired and what? what? what? I can't hear you I SAID I CAN'T HEAR YOU and this asshole is trying to shut me up?

'cuz if it were about the movie, then it does Not. Fucking. Count.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:16 PM on June 6, 2011 [21 favorites]


I don't go to the movies much, only a few times a year (and even then, it's the cheap theater), but I never run into people constantly on their cell phones, or chattering to their companions.

I don't know if I'm completely oblivious (fairly unlikely) or just lucky in the films I see.
Generally, they aren't first run films, and usually off times (Sunday afternoons) but hey, given the amount of crap a lot of you have to put up with, maybe I'll go knock on a bunch of wood!
posted by madajb at 5:29 PM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


There is nothing I don't love about Alamo Drafthouse, including the posting of this voicemail.
posted by found missing at 5:30 PM on June 6, 2011


Oh, I also love that you don't have to blowdry your own balls.
posted by found missing at 5:31 PM on June 6, 2011


A special<> hell.
posted by erniepan at 5:31 PM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I love the Alamo Drafthouse so much. It is by far my favorite movie theater in the world, and being a film producer I have seen a lot of movie theaters. In fact, I love the entire entertainment empire Tim League has been quietly building in Austin including Mondo Tees, Badass Digest, Fantastic Fest, and The Highball.

Tim League is so amazing that when no major or indie distributor would release the wonderful FOUR LIONS, Tim decided to set up a distribution company to release it himself.

And yes, the rumor is that the Alamo Drafthouse will be expanding to more cities over the next few years. I have my fingers crossed for a Los Angeles location, which I hear is a top priority.
posted by kcalder at 5:33 PM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


My wife complains that she cannot watch a movie anymore without someone talking to surfing on their iPhone during the film.

"But honey," I replied, "We watch all of our movies at home."

"I know," she said.
posted by 4ster at 5:36 PM on June 6, 2011 [23 favorites]


talking *or* surfing. Sheesh.
posted by 4ster at 5:36 PM on June 6, 2011


Hey, that's the theater my college housemate's sister and brother-in-law started! I don't have any particularly amazing stories about the theater (or the people who founded it), but it's simultaneously gratifying and surreal to see how devoted a following they now have.

I met the founders (Tim and Karrie) when I was in college; they'd just started the Alamo, I think, and (in my memory, anyway) it was far from a sure thing that they were going to succeed. I remember thinking about what a risk they'd taken: Tim had an engineering degree from Rice, and could've easily gotten a job in the oil industry or something similarly soul-crushing, but they chose to do this instead. That sort of choice made me happy and optimistic then; to see that they've succeeded so extravagantly makes me even happier.

Also: I recall my housemate telling us that during one of their road show screenings of Jaws, they had patrons sit in paddle-boats while the movie was projected on a big screen. That's already pretty cool. But you know what's cooler? They hired divers to swim around and pop out of the water to scare people.
posted by chalkbored at 5:38 PM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I once watched a first run bollywood movie in the theater. (quoted lots already you get the idea) So I guess what I'm saying is, I have no interest in patronizing the Alamo Drafthouse.

I've had experiences like that at the Alamo Draft House.


I saw Big Trouble in Little China there, and it was very much a party.



I will even go so far as to say that I think you ought to have an interest in patronizing the Alamo Drafthouse. I bet cash money dollars you would really like it, a lot more than the conventional American moviegoing experience.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:39 PM on June 6, 2011


grumblebee: Alamo Drafthouses Coming to New York, L.A. in 2011/2012 (thanks birdherder)
posted by eyeballkid at 5:46 PM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


So I guess what I'm saying is, I have no interest in patronizing the Alamo Drafthouse.

The Alamo often has singalongs. This month it is Grease. There's Rocky Horror Picture Show. There's lots of other audience participation films. I think some people have this feeling that a movie at the Drafthouse is you get packed into a silent room and if you make any noise they'll throw your ass out. It couldn't be any farther from the truth. It offers the most consistently entertaining experience you can get. Everything from theme food, to the pre-movie entertainment. To live bands. It is great fun. When I lived in Austin, I'd go to the Alamo several times month. Now I'm away from Austin, I'll usually wait for Netflix.

But what you don't get are chatty cathys talking during the movie's quiet parts. Or people on their phone or playing Angry Birds or whatever. 99% of the patrons love the Alamo for this. The other people don't get it.
posted by birdherder at 6:00 PM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Um, they tell you not to make-out in their theatre? What the hell is wrong with these people?
posted by oddman at 6:00 PM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's just not okay to make out during Schindler's List.
posted by cazoo at 6:04 PM on June 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Holy crap I wish Hong Kong's theatres had the balls to do this.

More than once I've had to turn around in my seat to tell the yappers behind me to shut up.

Remember the Alamo!
posted by bwg at 6:06 PM on June 6, 2011


I'm finally DONE done. No more movie theatres for me. I'm sad about it, and I know it means I'm going to miss out on some experiences, and I know I'll be six-months behind everyone else. But my blood pressure will be lower and I'll actually ENJOY some movies. And the people around me will enjoy them more, too.

You would like the "one and a half run" theater near me.
It's kind of a cross between an independent art-house theater and a home theater.

Reasonably big screen, intimate seating (couches, chairs), plays relatively new movies and, importantly for you, has a sort of "enjoy the movie you're seeing, not the company you're with" vibe about it.
However, it's not as pretentious as a full-on arthouse, it will eventually play the blockbuster of the summer.
posted by madajb at 6:08 PM on June 6, 2011


What kind of accent/dialect is that? It's driving me crazy. Especially the way she says things like "muh PHONE" and "muh MONEY".

Also, she's clearly tipsy.
posted by mad bomber what bombs at midnight at 6:14 PM on June 6, 2011


Prince Charles cinema in London, late 90s, midnight double-bill of Hong Kong action movies... I think it was a couple of the Once Upon A Time In Chinas, though I could be wrong.

A few rows in front of me, a phone rings. (It was the late 90s like I said, so this was still a novelty and these things were kind of large and kind of expensive.)

The guy (it was a guy, the entire audience was guys) pulls out the phone and answers it.

The guy next to him grabs it from his hand and HURLS it across the room, against the wall.

It hits the wall and SHATTERS.

The entire cinema explodes into shrieks, cheers and applause.

I miss those double-bills. They were great.
posted by Hogshead at 6:37 PM on June 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


Is this the right place to admit that I haven't been to the movies since Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and won't be going again until the end of the month, to see Transformers: Optimus Still Doing Everything?
posted by tumid dahlia at 6:37 PM on June 6, 2011


I wish the AMC had this policy, which would have saved me from going completely mad recently when half the audience was watching the damn Lakers game on their phones during the movie. I'm surprised I got out of there without killing anybody.
posted by OolooKitty at 6:39 PM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Re: "the poor staff who just sit in the theater and look for no-fun fascists to raise cards:" that's not how it works. The Drafthouse is also a restaurant; you order by writing your request on provided paper and propping it up on the narrow table in front of every seat. Servers patrol the theater and pick up the papers. So reporting a problem is as simple as ordering a beer.

The Drafhouse is far and away the best thing about Austin.
posted by liet at 6:41 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The vital difference between the two is that Warrior features the glorious and delightful Tom Hardy all sweaty and shirtless and buff while the other film does not.

elizardbits, if you liked that, I hope you know about Bronson. If not, you're gonna love Bronson, wherein Mr. Hardy is almost 70s Big and not wearing a lot for much of the film.

Disclaimer: Do not watch this movie if you are bothered by Brits whipping out the c-word at any instance; do watch for the Pet Shop Boys scene.
posted by adipocere at 6:45 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I listened to Tim League (one of the founders of the Alamo) a while ago talking about how he went to this theater-industry trade seminar/conference thing, and he sat through all these presentations from marketing research firms talking about what theater patrons liked and hated about going to the movies. Number one on the list? Commercials and ads before movies.

"No problem," he says, since they don't do that shit. The stuff they show before movies is fucking awesome and sometimes more entertaining than the feature film. So he goes back to the seminar/conference thing next year and what is everyone talking about? How to cram more ads for Jujubes and mortgage companies and crap before movies. It's nice to have a company that really cares about the product and service that they're delivering.

Others have mentioned the Jaws screening on the water. They've also screened Deliverance, but to get there you had to take a canoe trip. They showed Goonies IN A CAVE WITH CORY FELDMAN AND COMPLIMENTARY BABY RUTHS! They showed Cannonball Run, but you first had to compete in a rally race to get there.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:48 PM on June 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


"they tell you not to make-out in their theatre"

Yeah but you can give hand jobs to the air!
posted by xarnop at 6:50 PM on June 6, 2011


The guy (it was a guy, the entire audience was guys) pulls out the phone and answers it.

I saw the movie Changing Lanes at a theatre in Toronto and a woman made two calls. "Yeah, I'm in a movie. What are you doing?"
posted by dobbs at 6:56 PM on June 6, 2011


drink a beer, order some fried pickles and shut the fuck up
posted by nathancaswell at 7:00 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


God bless the Alamo. I had the pleasure of seeing one of the Joe Strummer docs there 6 years ago.

I wish major chains had the usher present policy n effect. Last winter I went to the last screening for the day of Barney's Version at the Regal Union Square. A pack of thugs came in during the last 1/2 hour and immediately began shouting, throwing things and trying to break the seats. I figured the management had left for the night( as had been the case previously...and I didn't see them on my way to the bathroom before the vermin showed up) <so I gritted my teeth and stayed put. It turned out that someone WAS there, but I'd had no Idea where to find him.
posted by brujita at 7:03 PM on June 6, 2011


Tell me those aren't almost the exact same movie. Only one has robots.

They're not Real Steel is based on a Richard Matheson story that has already been adapted into a Twilight Zone episode. "Steel"

You think they're the same, because they're keeping a key element of Real Steel secret, which isn't a secret if you click on that link. My only hope is that this movie stays focused on the father/son relationship, which the trailer does support.

On topic: Good, glad they booted the woman. I only wish they could do it twice.
posted by CarlRossi at 7:08 PM on June 6, 2011


Tim League is so amazing that when no major or indie distributor would release the wonderful FOUR LIONS, Tim decided to set up a distribution company to release it himself.

Oh, man, that is the most ringing endorsement. I had no idea. If folks haven't seen it, Four Lions is the funniest movie about suicide bombers you'll see this year. My fave part is the terrorist who keeps trying to get his buddies to bomb a mosque and blame it on the infidels, but can't keep himself from filming a video taking credit for the explosion. And the part after the scene in the trailer where one of them falls over a stone wall and blows himself up in a bunch of sheep, where his pals try to decide if he counts as a martyr or not. "He died fighting the infidels." "How the hell did he die fighting the infidels?" "He went after the food supply."

Anyway, if you can handle jokes about the idiocy of terrorism along with some genuinely poignant moments, Four Lions is worth a look. And to find out a movie theater in Austin Texas is responsible for it showing up at my local indie video store? Fucking go Drafthouse is all I have to say.
posted by mediareport at 7:10 PM on June 6, 2011


Tl, dr:

I figured I wouldn't have to put up with this shit at a literary adaptation which didnt feature graphic sex, but no.
posted by brujita at 7:16 PM on June 6, 2011


Can't wait to see this in the theater. There's no way they won't use this as the next "DON'T FUCKING TALK OR TEXT IN HERE" spot.
posted by sanko at 7:43 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I once watched a first rum bollywood movie in the theater. The place was packed. Not a single empty seat. The audience was screaming, cheering, booing, laughing, crying, and talking the entire time. Surfing those waves of emotion was one of the most incredibly cathartic experiences I've ever had. So I guess what I'm saying is, I have no interest in patronizing the Alamo Drafthouse.

I wouldn't say that was exactly my experience watching Endirhan at the Drafthouse, but certainly there were plenty of people reacting to the movie. There just was nobody talking on their phone or texting someone outside the theater or loudly talking to their neighbor in a way that interfered with the rest of the audience. But if it's not your thing, don't go. The South Lamar location was packing them in on Monday night, so there's a good market for what they offer.

(The major thing I don't care for about the Alamo right now is the singalongs and special gigs together with a stronger emphasis on first-run fare have knocked out a bunch of the indie documentaries and second-tier movies. I missed Limitless in the theater because it didn't show up at the Drafthouse. Fortunately the art-house movies and the documentaries are shifting to the Violet Crown downtown, because I am not hauling up to the Arboretum to see stuff there, and in any case my friend who went up there for Tree of Life said the audience was badly behaved. This is why I stay at the Drafthouse.)

Sort of related: Austin American-Statesman on shitty concert behavior in Austin. I think I've met that girl who called in to the Drafthouse at Stubb's or Emo's or somewhere too.
posted by immlass at 7:57 PM on June 6, 2011


The problem with texting in a cinema is that it immediately classifies you until the end of time as as one of those people who text in a cinema, same as if you fuck one goat and you are forever a goat-fucker. Doesn't matter who you are, or what good deeds you do in life, or how important the news is that it has to be communicated instantly (and, let's face it, if you're the sort of person who texts in a cinema, there is absolutely no information in your life that can't wait a couple of hours to be transmitted or received). You're actually worse than a child murderer because there is literally nothing redeeming about you whatsoever.

When somebody comes up to you at a party with a piece of cheese on a toothpick and tells you that they murder children, you can at least have an interesting conversation with them, starting with "What got you doing that?" But a different person with that same toothpick-cheese comes up to you at the same party and says "Oh, yeah, I text in cinemas, I can't get enough of it," there is simply no conversation to be had. Nobody is going to acknowledge you. Try it. Say you text in cinemas and watch pupils dilate the world over as the second party forgets you exist as a person. You're just forever that cinema-texting guy, if you're anybody at all.

Nobody is going to remember your name, they're just going to remember what you looked like with your phone out in the cinema. Even if you're a doctor, and the text is about some surgery you have to go and do right now, nobody is going to remember that you're a doctor (who wants a doctor that goes to the movies when they're on-call anyway?), just that you checked a text message whilst in a darkened movie theatre.

I guess what I'm saying is if you've got your phone out at any point for any reason during the screening of a movie, you should get to work learning to fuck yourself in the face inside your own ass.
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:25 PM on June 6, 2011 [19 favorites]


I once watched a first rum bollywood movie in the theater. The place was packed. Not a single empty seat. The audience was screaming, cheering, booing, laughing, crying, and talking the entire time. Surfing those waves of emotion was one of the most incredibly cathartic experiences I've ever had. So I guess what I'm saying is, I have no interest in patronizing the Alamo Drafthouse.

There's a difference between talking during a movie (bad) and reacting emotionally to a movie (good). I wish there was an Alamo Drafthouse near me, though there are some decent options.

I went to a program of French short films and one featured a director killing somebody who talked during a movie.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:25 PM on June 6, 2011


chimaera writes "For me, it's all about the assigned seating. On opening weekends or popular movies, I'm not sitting for an hour (or several) to get in and hope I get a good one. Your mileage may vary, but assigned seating is almost criminally uncommon in theaters nowadays."

Cynically I suspect it's part of the plan to sell ads. Assigned seating allows you to show up right as the movie starts. Unassigned seating means you have to get there significantly earlier depending on the popularity to be sitting together in good for you seats.
posted by Mitheral at 8:39 PM on June 6, 2011


They gave her a warning, and she's clearly rude and stupid; not a lovely combination. Posting the rant - hilarious. But, seriously, a theater with waitstaff, food, beer in bottles, is worried that texting is distracting? Can we give a pass to parents who want to monitor texts in case the babysitter has trouble? Health care providers? Other workers who may be on call?

I read about them on their site. If it's true that they don't show ads, they can be forgiven almost anything.
posted by theora55 at 9:09 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Someone needs to explain to her the finer points of the special hell.
posted by Riki tiki at 9:17 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can we give a pass to parents who want to monitor texts in case the babysitter has trouble? Health care providers? Other workers who may be on call?

No, no, and no. If you feel you need to text in a theater, just go to a theater where people don't care about that.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:19 PM on June 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Can we give a pass to parents who want to monitor texts in case the babysitter has trouble? Health care providers? Other workers who may be on call?

As a parent myself all I can say is, get a better baby sitter. Finding someone who can keep your kids safe, sound and sane for a couple hours without needing to call you should be a prerequisite for any sitter no matter how long your outting (movie or otherwise). If someone really needs to be 'on call' turn on vibrate and sit on an aisle toward the back. No sound and you can quietly slip out to the lobby if you are paged.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 9:24 PM on June 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Personal anecdote: I moved to San Francisco September 7, 2001, which was the weekend of Fray Day 5. There were a hundred billion bloggers in SF that weekend, people I had lurked at online for the last few years. People hung out, partied and whatever and then were preparing to go home. Then, on Tuesday, terrorists hijacked some planes and 9/11 happened. A bunch of people were trapped in SF for longer than they had expected. (I met Jessamyn at the Thirsty Bear and she told me a fascinating story) People were organizing events to keep people together in the aftermath. A whole bunch of us went to see Zoolander at the Metreon - like two full rows of blogers/nerds. The movie was the best respite, the best bonding experience I'd had since those towers fell. While I was sitting there, enjoying the flick, the phone of the girl next to me rang. She answered it, "Nothing, what are you doing?"
posted by bendy at 9:36 PM on June 6, 2011


This one rivals John Waters' Don't you want a cigarette right now, mmmmm, nom, nom, nom, yt PSA. I was so bummed when the last theater I knew that showed that one closed down.

The Charles in Baltimore shows that before lots of movies. Which here is a story about that.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:16 PM on June 6, 2011


I'm with you, theora55. I hate genuinely obnoxious movie-goers as much as anyone, and I personally sit in a cinema like a particularly taciturn end table. But cellphones aren't going anywhere at this point, and all this ugly fury at even their reasonable, considerate use has been stupid and boring for a long time. If some mother is worried about her baby or whatever (and, please, even a perfect baby sitter only protects children from swallowing icepicks and dipping their fingers in bleach and so on, not from random electrical fires and appendicitis), I don't mind if she looks at a quick text or two as long as her phone is on vibrate and she's not ridiculous about the light from the screen. Going outside means having to tolerate other people, just a little bit.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 10:18 PM on June 6, 2011


I was texting during a daytime showing of Thor the other day but there were only 2 other people there far away from me and if it distracted them from Thor they should actually thank me rather than get me thrown out.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:21 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Going outside means having to tolerate other people, just a little bit.

Going to the Alamo means not having to tolerate people who text or talk during the movie. Not even a little bit. Not at all.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:41 PM on June 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Can we give a pass to parents who want to monitor texts in case the babysitter has trouble?

Nope. Resign yourself that, like every parent seeing a movie from 18whatever until about 2000, you're going to be out of touch for two hours. Really, actually, out of touch. IF the house is really burning down or there's a true medical emergency, the babysitter can always call the theater who will surely alert you to whatever disaster is underway.

Health care providers? Other workers who may be on call?

Not just "No" but "Hell no." If you're on call and can reasonably expect that you're going to be contacted, that's an especially good reason not to go to a place where you being contacted will annoy many other people. Do some other activity while you're on call, and go to the theater sometime when you're not on call.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:16 PM on June 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


> Going outside means having to tolerate other people, just a little bit.

The Alamo isn't petitioning the state for an referendum on texting in movie theatres being a criminal offense. They are setting the standards of participation in their movie experience. Again, if you want to go out for the night and be able to check text messages, you should probably not decide to go to a movie theatre with a very strict no texting or cellphone use policy. Just as if you are taking you children out for dinner with you, you should probably refine your search for places that are children friendly, will have booster seats, and a kids menu.

Not every space has to be accommodating to every person's personal preference or comfort (unless such things are legal issues or civil rights issue).

I can't imagine a situation where someone is forced to attend an event at the Alamo. If in such a case as an electrical fire, a good parent would have given the babysitter the phone number of the restaurant and the movie theatre you were planning to go out to for the night, just incase your cellphone couldn't be reached because you forgot to charge it. It is what parents did before the advent of cellphones, and surprisingly, I doubt there has been any change in fires prevented by being able to call the parents during a movie theatre, vs dialing 911.
posted by mrzarquon at 11:18 PM on June 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


Checking in late here to say I love it love it love it. Screw her and screw people like her, I hope her legs grow together. I'm really glad they put the voice mail online. But putting her in stocks would be okay with me, too.

The Alamo rocks. I'm not so much for the food and drinks in the theater, quite frankly I find that as 'in the way' as txt msgs. But I understand that's part of the Alamo, and probably a large part of how they keep the doors open, and since I so love what they stand for -- great movies, great movie experience (ie no ads), and keep. jerks. OUT -- I'm glad to fork over my money. I rarely go to movies anymore, I either go to Arbor, Alamo, or a late-night early-in-the-week movie at a regular theater, hardly anyone else in the theater, suffer the ads to see the show without idiots ruining it talking, cell-phoning, whatever. I guess it'd be a good idea to just start going later, ten minutes after scheduled start time, to avoid most of the ads.

I take movies seriously, I want to see what the writer wrote, what the director made of that, what the editor stuck together, and how; if I'm going to spend the time with it, I want to see what they've put together. I don't watch exploding helicopter movies or titanic boobs kissing capped teeth, I just won't do hollywood, I don't watch television, I don't watch movies I'm not really interested in -- why bother, why waste that time? And if whoever I'm watching the movie with talks while the movie is running, I'll stop the thing, have whatever conversation is happening, then start the movie again.

I mean, if I'm talking with someone, talk to them, have the conversation. If I'm watching a movie, watch the movie. Seems simple.

Maybe it's because I've never had kids, an experience which appears to give people WAY more leeway, WAY more latitude around this whole thing, and most other things, too -- they're totally used to everything being disrupted, they'd have jumped off the roof by now if they'd not learned to deal.

I went to the cave painting flick couple weeks ago at the new art-house theater downtown, I like the assigned seating thing, it's a pretty theater, too, really done well. No ads prior to movie, either, that I recall, and only a couple of previews -- nice. Anyways. Some mope kicked my seat like three times, maybe four, I don't know, five? six? kicked it pretty hard, I finally turned around and asked him, politely, Mr. Smiling Charming Kindness, plz be careful about kicking my seat. He did it again, then once again, Mr. Smiling Charming Kindness now long gone, I turned around looked him dead in the eye and told him to quit kicking my fucking chair, now, I'm not kidding. He stopped but it was clear that he had no idea why it bothered me. I hope he got hit by a bus on the way home. Jagoff.

I just don't see how it's so difficult for people to understand. Maybe I'm in the get off my lawn category but from the sound of this thread I'm far from the only one, yet another reason to like people here at metafilter.
posted by dancestoblue at 11:36 PM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Going to the Alamo means not having to tolerate people who text or talk during the movie. Not even a little bit. Not at all.

I'll stay home. In my opinion, if a movie is worth watching, it's bound to elicit at least *some* comment from me to my cohort. And I'm not bitter. Hating how other people enjoy the cinema is the primary reason I now avoid them (cinemas).

It's hilarious that cinemas think that posting warnings will eliminate cell phone use. I was in court recently, and after no fewer than several hundred warnings regarding "confiscation" and "contempt of court," we still had 2 phones start ringing within minutes. The only thing these draconian rules do is allow this theatre to portray itself as some kind of "front line in the (losing) war against assholism.

Now that it's gotten to the point where phrases like "zero tolerance" have to be employed at theaters, clearly society has failed (in the particular endeavor of "having a bunch of strangers watch the same movie together") and I'll happily wait 6 months and watch said movie on better equipment with like-minded friends, at home.
posted by ShutterBun at 11:39 PM on June 6, 2011


I take movies seriously

I happen to have Marshall McLuhan right here...
posted by ShutterBun at 11:46 PM on June 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Every time I hear about The Alamo I want to move to Texas and check it out. And I live near both the Chauvel Cinema and the Mu Meson Archives.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:54 PM on June 6, 2011


ShutterBun, you did not read the while thread, did you? Everything you don't like about the Alamo only exists in your head.
posted by Dr. Curare at 11:56 PM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is it OK if my late response is in reaction only to the original story? Or is it too late for that, and I must (ahem) filter my response through umpteen follow-ups?
posted by ShutterBun at 11:59 PM on June 6, 2011


It's hilarious that cinemas think that posting warnings will eliminate cell phone use. I was in court recently, and after no fewer than several hundred warnings regarding "confiscation" and "contempt of court," we still had 2 phones start ringing within minutes. The only thing these draconian rules do is allow this theatre to portray itself as some kind of "front line in the (losing) war against assholism.

Were the 2 phones confiscated? Were those people held in contempt of court? People ignore empty warnings and respond to strict ones. You had 2 cell phones go off the last time you were in court? I literally (not figurively-literally, but LITERALLY-literally) cannot remember the last time I heard a cell phone ring at the Alamo Drafthouse. And I think that's totally because of the constant reminders that it's not tolerated there.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:06 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shutterbun: I'll stay home. In my opinion, if a movie is worth watching, it's bound to elicit at least *some* comment from me to my cohort. And I'm not bitter. Hating how other people enjoy the cinema is the primary reason I now avoid them (cinemas).


Having just watched one of the summer blockbusters at the Alamo in a mostly-full house, I think there's a difference between how you think it works and how the place actually operates. (on-edit: even assuming you did not read all the follow up that said "your premise is wrong", you're missing what it takes to actually get booted.

In order to get removed, someone has to notice your behavior and feel that it is disturbing enough to try to change it. Might be a patron, might be a waitron, might be a manager. In a "normal" theater, this is when someone turns around a glares at you, but you don't notice it, because if you were the type to notice something like that, you'd probably be better behaved. As a glarer, my main hope is that your friends are more sensitive and will shut you up. At the Alamo, if you are talking so much that I am being bothered by it, I write a quick note to the manager and leave it where I would normally leave my beer order.

Then a manager has to come in, observe more bad behavior, and you're warned. Then you have to do it again, despite being warned. That's what it takes to get asked to leave.

Aside: The charming and talented young lady in question was, according to the owner's blog, warned twice, which is one more time than the policy calls for. She may not have known the first time, but why didn't she know after the second warning?

It's not talking or texting per se, it's disturbing other patrons. If you can make *some* comment without disturbing anyone, you'll fit right in.

But don't text. There's no way to do that without bugging someone.
posted by Mad_Carew at 12:08 AM on June 7, 2011


Good food, good beer, no texting, no talking and no ads.

That is a movie experience that I'm willing to pay a premium for. Take note, Hollywood.
posted by Avenger at 12:24 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I literally (not figurively-literally, but LITERALLY-literally) cannot remember the last time I heard a cell phone ring at the Alamo Drafthouse. And I think that's totally because of the constant reminders that it's not tolerated there. posted by 23skidoo

So it's (anecdotally) 100% effective against cell phones ringing, but apparently not as effective against texting?

My point is "there's always one," which is enough to keep me away from cinemas. Your point seems to be that "there's always one, but the Alamo has managed to lower it to 'there's always 0.2 or so.'"
Fair enough.

Based on what Mad_Carew has described, it seems that the crux of the policy hinges on "making it easier / more comfortable / more effective to complain to management about unruly patrons. That's fine. Although I'm still cynical enough to believe that if things have gotten that bad, the cinema-going experiment is in trouble.

Maybe it's a step in the right direction, I dunno. A not-so-gentle reminder that "hey, going to the movies didn't use to suck as much as you're used to" or something.

I guess I'm not so much lambasting the Alamo for their methods as I am lamenting the fact that the overriding complaint about cinemas today (as compared to prices, snacks, parking, advertising, etc.) is in fact the ONLY thing that they have in common with cinemas of the past: the audience.

THX: The Audience is Listening Listless
posted by ShutterBun at 12:37 AM on June 7, 2011


If more cinemas enforced these rules, I would still go to the cinema. As it is, I had to give that up over ten years ago because I was in danger of every cinema trip turning into an assault arrest. Hey ho. Films have been largely rubbish since then anyway.
posted by Decani at 12:51 AM on June 7, 2011


I'm in the same boat. I've been biting my tongue in cinemas ever since I told a woman to go fuck herself due to a series of retorts originating around her perceived right to bring the world's stinkiest Yoshinoya Beef Bowl into a screening of "Saving Private Ryan."

I guess I'll do a 390 degree turn and suggest that I approve of the Alamo's rules, with the addendum that they haven't gone far enough; namely, allowing me to personally pre-screen everyone I watch a movie with.
posted by ShutterBun at 1:08 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I went to the cave painting flick couple weeks ago at the new art-house theater downtown, I like the assigned seating thing, it's a pretty theater, too, really done well. No ads prior to movie, either, that I recall, and only a couple of previews -- nice.

We also saw the cave painting movie at the art house and my sense was that it was a second-tier substitute for the Drafthouse. There are definitely some movies I'll see there (the NYT and chimp documentaries are looking good) but in general I'd still rather hit the Alamo.

For those wondering about the waitstaff at the Alamo, the theaters are built stadium-style and the waitstaff walks on the level of the row of seats in front of you. They're pretty well trained in keeping out of your way while they deliver your order. Actual order-taking happens, for the most part, during the pre-show montage, before the previews, in the time where ads would usually be aired at other theaters. Any talking to the waitstaff you need to do happens then. If you need to refill your order, you have a pen and paper and can do it silently, just leaving the slip for the waitron to pick up on the next pass through your row. (This is also how you tell them about a talker/texter/etc.) It's not perfect, but it's less interference in your enjoyment than you get a lot of places.
posted by immlass at 6:07 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


My point is "there's always one," which is enough to keep me away from cinemas. Your point seems to be that "there's always one, but the Alamo has managed to lower it to 'there's always 0.2 or so.'" Fair enough.

If you're point is "there's always one", my point is "there isn't always one, but when there is, the staff has measures in place to deal with it, and since the theaters attract people who appreciate this, and since everyone and their mother knows that texting/talking isn't tolerated there, to describe it as "there's always 0.2 or so" grossly overestimates the number of times that this behavior happens in an Alamo theater".
posted by 23skidoo at 6:19 AM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


We also saw the cave painting movie at the art house and my sense was that it was a second-tier substitute for the Drafthouse. There are definitely some movies I'll see there (the NYT and chimp documentaries are looking good) but in general I'd still rather hit the Alamo.

I suspect that the Violet Crown is the end to small indie films and docs at the Drafthouse, except on rare occasions. Cave of Forgotten Dreams has an exclusive run at VC. I saw a little documentary at VC about a Mexican circus family that last year, probably would've run at the Drafthouse on a weeknight. Which is a shame. I love the Drafthouse but I don't go as often as I used to, because they're not showing anything I want to see. The Violet Crown is nice--I love the assigned seating, free and convenient parking, and not having to get there an hour early, but it's definitely not the same movie-going experience.

BTW, I saw Page One at Sx, and it's great. Also keep your eye out for Buck, the documentary about the horse-whisperer guy. It's also fantastic, even if you have no particular interest in horses (like me).
posted by donajo at 7:33 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I suspect that the Violet Crown is the end to small indie films and docs at the Drafthouse, except on rare occasions.

That is my sentiment as well. Maybe they'll pick up some best practices about kicking people in the seats from the Alamo!

We've been talking about art films vs the Alamo on Tumblr a bit (hi bluishorange!). Maybe it's time for an arthouse meetup? I've been thinking about organizing a meetup and given the number of Austinites who are talking about the Violet Crown in this thread, that's something we should consider.
posted by immlass at 7:56 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


To people asking for an "exception" to the no calls/texts rule for parents with babysitters or whatever - y'know, there was a time before cell phones, right? When going out to a movie meant you weren't going to be immediately available to answer the phone? Go ask your parents how they used to handle it, and then do that.
posted by dnash at 8:03 AM on June 7, 2011 [10 favorites]


What really surprises me are the people commenting (not here, other places) saying that they really see nothing wrong with texting in theaters. And they are not trolling either. They're serious.

People seem to think it's acceptable to pull out their phone and text because 'it's on silent.'

It should become socially acceptable to punch said people in the head. No wonder I don't bother with movie theaters anymore.
posted by drstein at 8:16 AM on June 7, 2011


I've been thinking about organizing a meetup and given the number of Austinites who are talking about the Violet Crown in this thread, that's something we should consider.

I'm in. Everything on their "Coming Soon" page looks good.
posted by donajo at 8:29 AM on June 7, 2011


Yeah, I too gotta say I'm honestly surprised to see comments on other sites that don't seem to grasp how obnoxious in-theater texting and talking is. Staggering, really, the amount of entitlement on display in such attitudes. This is not a controversy - no amount of texting or talking during a movie is acceptable under any circumstances, no exceptions. I wish the Alamo's hardline approach to this were more widespread in the theater industry. I could give a shit what goes on during previews or those awful big-screen ads, but when the show starts, you're either against any further use of your phone or you are wrong. #firstworldproblems
posted by EatTheWeak at 8:55 AM on June 7, 2011


I once watched a first rum bollywood movie in the theater. The place was packed. Not a single empty seat. The audience was screaming, cheering, booing, laughing, crying, and talking the entire time. Surfing those waves of emotion was one of the most incredibly cathartic experiences I've ever had. So I guess what I'm saying is, I have no interest in patronizing the Alamo Drafthouse.

It was probably the rum, but I do not get this way until my fifth or sixth.

Anyway, I understand what you are talking about -- bar none, the best experience of my moviegoing life was at the Bloor Cinema in Toronto, during the FantAsia Film Festival, seeing a late-night showing of Drunken Master 2 in a packed theatre of people who were totally into it. There were cheers and applause and bursts of raucous laughter at the funny bits. However, the point is that not every showing of every movie should that be an option. Screaming and setting off air horns and waving banners is fine at a hockey or football game; less so in golf or tennis.

When someone decrees he paid his eight bucks too so he will do whatever the fuck he wants in the movie -- chatting on the phone, checking his messages, holding conversations with his neighbours or the people on screen -- it is little different in my view as declaring that since he pays six hundred bucks a month rent for his apartment, he should be allowed to blast Guns 'n' Roses at 4:00 AM, because, hey, it's his place, amirite?

This is all due to a basic failure to grasp the differences between public and private space. I have met many such misguided souls in movie theatres in my time, and have a decent but not infinite tolerance for those who cannot behave like grownups. I can deal with almost anything but people yammering away directly behind me (i.e. one row back) but due to an ancient curse placed on my family, I am unable to escape this. Ten years ago I went to an early afternoon showing of a middlingly-popular movie in about the third week of its run in a decently large theatre (one of the big auditoriums at the Varsity in Toronto... around 600 seats, I would reckon). I was pleased to see the place was virtually empty. When I arrived just before the opening credits, there were maybe nine people, all misanthrope/cineastes like me, all sitting on their own. "Ah," I thought, "quiet." During the opening credits, a very chatty couple arrived, surveyed, the 590 seats still available, and chose to sit down directly behind me. I ask you...
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:56 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can deal with almost anything but people yammering away directly behind me (i.e. one row back) but due to an ancient curse placed on my family, I am unable to escape this.

I have a similar curse -- I spent a year working as an usher for an off-Broadway show (STOMP, here in NYC), several years as a stage manager, and a couple years in high school as an usher at my local cineplex. All three stints trained me not to ignore any rogue whisper, flickering text screen, etc. in a theater, but rather to go on high alert, so I could locate where it was coming from, find the offender, and get them to knock it off. So now, when I go to a movie and someone's texting, I have the Pavlovian response of "find them find them find them find them" but I don't work there, so I can't do anything about it once I have found them.

Drives. Me. Crazy.

Although at least movie theaters don't have people trying to take flash pictures of what they're watching, which was the worst part of ushering live shows. We had to confiscate a couple cameras now and then.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:13 AM on June 7, 2011


I hope you know about Bronson. If not, you're gonna love Bronson, wherein Mr. Hardy is almost 70s Big and not wearing a lot for much of the film.

I have indeed seen that as well as most of the other films in his bizarre oeuvre, including the execrable Minotaur and the extremely awesome The Take.

The assbuttering scene in Bronson is a neverending source of hilarity to me.
posted by elizardbits at 9:42 AM on June 7, 2011


I love going to the cinema because, in my estimation, some films are best experienced with the screen filling your entire range of vision. (And because at home my attention is drawn by the dogs.)

I realize that going out in public means having to expect a certain amount of inconvenience, even annoyance, so I try to pick my battles. Given the types of films I frequent, generally the offender realizes as soon as I make contact with them that their lighted mobile unit is a no-no for which no argument can be made.

I agree that reacting to the movie is different than participating in something completely unrelated. One of my favorite film memories is of seeing Trainspotting in an art house in Pasadena. The audience reaction to the crazy & seemingly unexplained scene of the man in flames lurching out of the bar united us all. (Perhaps you had to be there.)

One of the more grievous offenses I experienced was at a live theatre, where a man's flashing bluetooth (yes, in his ear during the play!) caused me no small amount of irritation. I mean, if you're just that important, perhaps you ought not to be at a play, for crying out loud.
posted by PepperMax at 10:30 AM on June 7, 2011


One of the more grievous offenses I experienced was at a live theatre, where a man's flashing bluetooth (yes, in his ear during the play!) caused me no small amount of irritation. I mean, if you're just that important, perhaps you ought not to be at a play, for crying out loud.

But if he does not keep it in his ear, how will you know he is important?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:41 AM on June 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ignoring the rudeness of texting during a movie for a moment, I'm generally curious about the mindset behind it. I assume I won't get any answers here since the tone of the thread would probably scare anyone off from coming out of the closet as a movie texter, but I honestly don't comprehend how a person could even follow a movie if they are constantly being distracted by reading and sending text messages, which seems like a colossal waste of money considering how expensive the movie experience is these days (I even get stressed when nature calls during a film, as I'm always worried, often justifiably so, that important plot points are going to occur in the few minutes I'm out of the theater). One of the reasons I ENJOY going to the movies is because it is a justifiable excuse to be untied from communication for a couple of hours.

(Then again, I may be something of a relic as I'm one of those people who isn't a big fan of many of the ways cell phones have changed our cultural expectations, such as the idea that I'm never really "off" work anymore since it's sort of an unstated expectation that I'm available for calls or email responses all hours of the day)
posted by The Gooch at 11:47 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Gooch, I'm with you on the puzzlement for the need for constant connectedness. Work demands or family safety issues aside, I lived quite well in that prehistoric age before cellphones & frankly can't be bothered to carry my cell with me most times. In my view, it's there for my convenience & no one else's.
posted by PepperMax at 12:05 PM on June 7, 2011


I dunno.. I have finished a text-based conversation near the beginning of the movie. I acknowledge the fact that once the lights go down, the screen can be irritating. But we're talking like 1-2 exchanges as I inform the person that I have to touch base with them at a later point.

But, I can think of several reasons I would respond to a text during a movie. If someone was supposed to meet me/us and didn't show, someone is meeting me/us after, or another "important," yet easily answered, non conversation starting message came in... sure...

I wouldn't respond to a "hey, what's up, dude?" text, of course, and if it was a serious issue, It'd probably be a phone call, in which case I would excuse myself to the lobby.

When I receive text messages in movies, I usually hold the phone near the floor under the seat and crane my head to see what the gist of it is... and if it were going to be more than a 1-2 exchange type of thing, I'd definitely head for the exit... but a simple:

"Hey, I'm really late, so I'm going to meet you outside the Regal on 34th at 10:30"

may prompt a quick "in theater" response of:

"Hey... in the movie... we're actually in the AMC on 42nd, dumbass... see you at 10:30!"
posted by Debaser626 at 12:54 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


What you're talking about, Debaser, isn't what most of us are talking about -- there are people who do this kind of thing:

"hey, what's up dude?"

"not much -- watchin a movie"

"is liza there with u?"

"Nah - had her class -- im here with rachel"

"dude, is liza cool with that?"

"who cares lol"

Those are the people most of us want to flail with nerf balls.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:05 PM on June 7, 2011


Who said anything about nerf?
posted by ooga_booga at 1:09 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Randianism displayed by those defending their mobile phone use, even to text, even to end a conversation in the opening moments of a film is breathtaking.

There's really nothing worse even at the beginning of the film to have to see a light in the corner of your eye as a film begin because your attention is still being pulled away from the very moment you should becoming immersed in the world of a film.

By texting, you're stopping the person sitting next to you from doing that.

Plus, you're being rude to the film maker who, even if it is just the credits have probably spent days deciding on music and fonts and the kind of atmosphere they're trying to create.

With the additional question as to how you consider people conducted their social lives pre-mobile phone?

Anyone who's defending their right to use mobile communication in this kind of situation should take a long hard look at themselves and wonder if they're ruling technology or technology is ruling their lives.

We seemed to get by pretty adequately before cheap mobile communication, indeed cinema going was a pleasure only disrupted by random chatter.

Although as I remember it, audience were politer all round. Especially in the mid-90s when I fell in love with cinema.

In care you're wondering, yes, I've had come bad experiences.

Trying to watch There Will Be Blood while some arsehole snapped his oyster shell Nokia open and closed for two and a half hours the little light flashing on and off was probably the last proverbial.
posted by feelinglistless at 1:57 PM on June 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm confused.

Why is a theater in Austin named the Alamo?
posted by desjardins at 2:08 PM on June 7, 2011


I acknowledge the fact that once the lights go down, the screen can be irritating. But we're talking like 1-2 exchanges as I inform the person that I have to touch base with them at a later point.

No, no, no, no, no. Once the lights go down, cellphone screens are not irritating, they are intolerable. There is not an acceptable non-zero number of in-theater exchanges. One is too many, seriously. If a text requires a response, that must happen in the hallway. Not the theater, not ever. But then, I'm not sure how anyone in a theater is even receiving texts, as their phones by rights ought to be shut off.

(I don't mean to jump all over you, Debaser, your take on in-theater texting is fairly conscientious with the hiding and the craning and all of that, but this is one of those things a theater really ought to be uncompromising on. The sight of one person texting and getting away with it in the theater is often all the encouragement other phone-owners - perhaps those less considerate than you - need to do so themselves. Social things like these tend to grow like a fire - therefore, the only real solution is to snuff it out at the source)
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:11 PM on June 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm confused.

Why is a theater in Austin named the Alamo?


That's kind of silly. Why are restaurants all across America named Olive Garden?

It's a name. Of a place.

Anyway, it's named the Alamo Drafthouse.

There's also a Waterloo Records in Austin. But I bet Napoleon never fought there.
posted by hippybear at 2:19 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I receive text messages in movies, I usually hold the phone near the floor under the seat and crane my head to see what the gist of it is... and if it were going to be more than a 1-2 exchange type of thing, I'd definitely head for the exit... but a simple:

"Hey, I'm really late, so I'm going to meet you outside the Regal on 34th at 10:30"

may prompt a quick "in theater" response of:

"Hey... in the movie... we're actually in the AMC on 42nd, dumbass... see you at 10:30!"
Couldn't that wait for the closing credits? Surely once the movie has started, it's too late to do anything about your misplaced associate in any case. There's really very few things in the world so important that they can't wait 90 minutes (or fewer) to deal with.
posted by Karmakaze at 2:52 PM on June 7, 2011


What you're talking about, Debaser, isn't what most of us are talking about

But it is what some of us are talking about. People who text important directions are just as distracting as people who text misspelled inanities. I don't care if you think you have a good reason to text, because EVERYONE thinks they have a good reason to text.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:56 PM on June 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


There's really nothing worse even at the beginning of the film to have to see a light in the corner of your eye as a film begin

Not even Reavers?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:02 PM on June 7, 2011


The Drafthouse has put some of their "Don't Talk PSA" bumpers on YouTube. Peggy is my favorite.
posted by jbelshaw at 3:05 PM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's also a Waterloo Records in Austin. But I bet Napoleon never fought there.

Not the point, I know, but Austin was originally named Waterloo.
posted by donajo at 3:30 PM on June 7, 2011


The Drafthouse has put some of their "Don't Talk PSA" bumpers on YouTube.

In blog form: An Epic History of the Alamo Drafthouse Don’t Talk PSAs.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 3:52 PM on June 7, 2011


There's also a Waterloo Records in Austin. But I bet Napoleon never fought there.

Not the point, I know, but Austin was originally named Waterloo.


And anyway, I bet they've got Abba's Greatest Hits in stock.
posted by philip-random at 3:57 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


.. and if it were going to be more than a 1-2 exchange type of thing, I'd definitely head for the exit... but a simple:

"Hey, I'm really late, so I'm going to meet you outside the Regal on 34th at 10:30"

may prompt a quick "in theater" response of:

"Hey... in the movie... we're actually in the AMC on 42nd, dumbass... see you at 10:30!"


Back in the day, before I even had a lawn, this situation would have been resolved by the friend in the theater shrugging and saying, "Oh well, [idiot-friend] is late again. Maybe I'll see him after the show."

As for [idiot-friend], his chronic inability to be on time would inevitably lead to his violent demise. Torn to pieces by velociraptors outside the locked cinema. This kind of thing happened all the time in the 1970s and 80s, though seemed to diminish notably come the 90s, probably due to the growing popularity of cellphones, or perhaps grunge music.
posted by philip-random at 4:04 PM on June 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Back in the day, before I even had a lawn, this situation would have been resolved by the friend in the theater shrugging and saying, "Oh well, [idiot-friend] is late again. Maybe I'll see him after the show."

You know, honestly, THIS. There is no need to be constantly in touch. All the people I know who are the most connected via cell phone and such seem to be the most miserable stressed, and the tiny minority I know who don't carry cell phones (or even own them) seem to have a much more laid-back approach to life and are generally happier on a casual basis.
posted by hippybear at 4:07 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think it matters what people did before there were cell phones. That was ages ago - a lifetime ago for a number of people that's only getting bigger. Everybody's free to rage away and never ever adapt to whatever norms of politeness emerge from cell phones' ubiquity and all the changes in expectations about communication that are resulting from that, but understand that your preferences are the product of your personality and the way you've lived, not holy law handed down from god to all mankind.

To be clear, my position isn't that it's OK to be disruptive in a cinema - it's that the type of behaviour Debaser is talking about isn't particularly disruptive to me or, I imagine, to lots of people who've grown up with cell phones. It's a little worse than people who fidget and a good deal better than people who to get up to go and pee. Mostly, it's just how it is. The outrage about cell phones (in cinemas, on buses, in restaurants, on the street, wherever) that's so fashionable among people a bit older than me feels just as alien as my grandmother's horror of car noises and microwaves.

I'm glad there are cinemas in some places that enforce rules against things like this, as lots of people obviously appreciate it, and again, I don't text myself because I know it bothers you - but it's silly to act as if there's anything inherently, objectively intolerable about people using their phones quickly, discreetly, silently and rarely. It's just not so.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 4:09 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Recently we went to a few movies at the Vancouver Documentary film festival and you would think there wouldn't be adults who would talk the whole way through - that they would be people who liked film enough to know better - you would be WRONG VERY WRONG.

The first time I attended a major film event, I was floored by just how rude some of the audience members were. Some of the rudest audiences I've encountered were at pretty serious international festivals.

I love that Drafthouse posted this. I am that crankypants in the theatre who has, after several minutes of being blinded by the texting idiot in front of her, finally leaned over and said, "You need to turn off your phone. The bright light is very distracting." I knew there was a good chance I'd be told to fuck off, but surprisingly, the person complied immediately.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:18 PM on June 7, 2011


"Hey, I'm really late, so I'm going to meet you outside the Regal on 34th at 10:30"

Not that I'd have my phone on anyway, but pretend I did, I'd step out for this one, because it's going to take a while:

"Hello shitdick. Since we're going to the movies together we've either got a situation where you know me really well, in which case you know I have no tolerance for lateness - if you say 10:00, be there at 9:30 - or we're on a first date, in which case you have made a shorty impression and I hope your head falls out. Enjoy what parts of your life you manage not to be late for. Goodbye...FOREVER!"
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:19 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Text 2: "I meant shitty impression. Sorry, autocorrect."
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:19 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


but it's silly to act as if there's anything inherently, objectively intolerable about people using their phones quickly, discreetly, silently and rarely

If other people in the theater know that you are texting, you are failing the discretion test (and probably also the rarely test).
posted by immlass at 4:21 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The outrage about cell phones (in cinemas, on buses, in restaurants, on the street, wherever)

Not all of those things are the same. Use your cell on the bus, I don't care. The bus is not a place where quiet is expected, or where using a cellphone will distract people from doing other things. In a restaurant? Go for it. On the street? Sure. In a restroom? Ummm, gross, but you can do it if you want. On a first date? K. You need to update your FB status from the altar during the wedding ceremony? Be yourself. Seriously, in a box, with a fox, in a house, with a mouse. Samiam, it's all good.

But at the movies is completely different. The light from your cellphone is a distraction in a dark theater. I'm not outraged about the ubiquity of cellphone usage. I'm just saying that just because people use them post places doesn't mean they are appropriate to use in ALL places.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:36 PM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I should also clarify: outside of a theater, I'm a cell phone fiend. I text up and down the block. I'll text to avoid talking to people actually in the room or on the bus. Cell phones are fantastic inventions and I'll never go back to not having one.

But in a theater? Come on. Any use of a cell phone whatsoever in any capacity, for any duration, for any reason is absolutely unacceptable. Bad enough that this happens at films, but I've seen people pull them out at stage productions. That's disrespect on a level I can't begin to comprehend - disrespect of fellow audience members, of the players, of the director, of the technical crew, of everyone else but one's texting self. It's not okay, not ever. Consider this a getoffmylawn position if you like - I grew up just slightly ahead of complete cellphone saturation - I can still remember my Dad's massive briefcase model that had a rubber whip antenna and had to stay more or less constantly plugged into his car. So, there's that.

Having grown up with or without phones isn't really the point though - basic, uncomplicated courtesy is what's at issue. Everyone who grew up with phones will also have grown up farting. I would hope that they would still refrain from doing so in a crowded elevator - nothing wrong with texting or passing gas in and of themselves - it's when the careless execution of these actions in settings where they have a direct, negative impact on others that one strays from Reasonable Person territory into Thoughtless Prickdom.
posted by EatTheWeak at 4:46 PM on June 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


but it's silly to act as if there's anything inherently, objectively intolerable about people using their phones quickly, discreetly, silently and rarely. It's just not so.

Objectively intolerable, no, since I'm sure there are people who can tolerate it, but I would say it is objectively rude in the sense that the texter is making the decision to do something that he/she knows is very possibly a major annoyance to those around him/her, but decides his/her desire to do it anyway overrules whatever annoyance it causes to others.
posted by The Gooch at 4:47 PM on June 7, 2011


She was in her seat texting NOT looking for her seat.
Here is the link to the COO explaining the situation: http://www.myfoxaustin.com/dpp/top_stories/Alamo-Drafthouse-Turns-Angry-Voicemail-into-PSA-20110606-ktbcw
posted by walkingcontradiction at 4:54 PM on June 7, 2011


If kicking the back of your seat, talking over the movie, and obnoxious behavior were limited to the poor, then perhaps you'd have a point.

The only time I go to the movies these days is to the Met's HD broadcasts. Invariably there's some douchenozzle talking behind me about how HE played the role of Don Carlos' fifteenth guard in the auto da fe scene blah blah blah or some utter slattern rattling a big ass bag of candy because the hag can't refrain from filling her maw for three or four hours without dying right behind my ear during Juan Diego Flórez' aria in La Fille du Regiment. It's not just trash from the gutter who lack manners.

I fucking hate people who talk in the theater. I hate them. If I were bleak mistress of the world, people who opened their mouths to converse in any way in the theater would have their tongues ripped out at the roots and nailed to a big board in the front of the theater. Their parents would be shamed in the town square and they would lose their homes and be branded with a mark indicating that they could not be bothered to raise children with any manners. Their children would be forced into emergency remedial etiquette classes and the shame would linger over them forever.

Failing that, I feel like getting kicked out of the theater is a dim second best, but better than nothing.
posted by winna at 5:23 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love those threads where I find out metafilter as a whole has some insane neurosis that I don't share and I spend a few seconds going "what. the hell. these guys."

From reading the most-favorited comments in this thread it sounds like the ideal situation would just be for every patron to get noise-canceling headphones

Wait, did I just try and snark up a strawman and come up with a half-decent idea instead

I must have gone wrong somewhere

YOU CRAZY SILENCE-WORSHIPPING PEOPLE WOULD BE HAPPY IF PATRONS WERE TO BE INSTANTLY VAPORIZED AT THE FIRST THROAT CLEARING OR CLOTHING RUSTLE

that's better
posted by tehloki at 5:57 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Come on, you wouldn't like a bright blue light in the seat next to you during an intense movie either, tehloki.
posted by mediareport at 7:38 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Remember the time some woman took a cell phone call during Kevin Kline's death scene in Cyrano? I kind of wish that happened at the Alamo Drafthouse.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:59 AM on June 8, 2011


YOU CRAZY SILENCE-WORSHIPPING PEOPLE WOULD BE HAPPY IF PATRONS WERE TO BE INSTANTLY VAPORIZED AT THE FIRST THROAT CLEARING OR CLOTHING RUSTLE

For the record, I only wish that for live theater. Because I can't get live theater on Netflix and if someone had talked behind me when I was seeing David Tennant and Catherine Tate live onstage last week so help me I would have shanked them.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:33 AM on June 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Get the t-shirt here! Also, Anderson Cooper covers the story.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:55 AM on June 8, 2011


To be clear, my actual opinion on the matter is located between the introduction and the jokey snark
posted by tehloki at 4:51 PM on June 8, 2011


Now that it's gotten to the point where phrases like "zero tolerance" have to be employed at theaters, clearly society has failed (in the particular endeavor of "having a bunch of strangers watch the same movie together") and I'll happily wait 6 months and watch said movie on better equipment with like-minded friends, at home.

No, society's failed when you're in danger of catching a hatchet to the skull at the theater and having your home raided while you watch a movie, your women and children dragged off, and your men scalped and eaten, and movie snacks and plasma screen taken by your neighbors as booty.
posted by saysthis at 9:50 AM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can only hope my drunken phone calls are never used (without my permission?) in lame publicity stunts. I WILL SUE, ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE!

Seriously, does this person have any case for litigation? Does leaving a message on an answering machine give the owner of the answering machine the right to turn your message into marketing materials? I suppose it's Texas.

I'm with the movie chain kicking out a patron who breaks the rules. (Take 'em to small claims if you feel violated.)

I'm not with the lame PR stunt, or making fun of someone who has not really harmed you in any real way.

I love that Drafthouse posted this. I am that crankypants in the theatre who has, after several minutes of being blinded by the texting idiot in front of her, finally leaned over and said, "You need to turn off your phone. The bright light is very distracting." I knew there was a good chance I'd be told to fuck off, but surprisingly, the person complied immediately.

Your behavior is the correct action, I think. But this publicity stunt won't change anyone's behavior. It's shameless advertising in the form of public shaming.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:14 AM on June 9, 2011


"I have no interest in patronizing the Alamo Drafthouse," sounds suspiciously condescending to me, as if it's saying, "You special snowflakes are missing out on being HUMAN by snobbishly insisting on quiet."

I have no interest in patronizing the Alamo Drafthouse because what I think they did to that customer was mean (the PSA, not kicking her out).

We all make mistakes. The correct thing to do would be to delete the message and move on, imo.

I wouldn't want to give my money to a place that uses its power to make fun of The Other in a mean way. Plus, I don't like cheap, low humor (unless it's really funny).

When it's impossible for two people to both have what they want at once, there are other possibilities besides snarkiness, sarcasm and condescension.

Agreed. I see that PSA as the ultimate in condescension. A teaching moment (or opportunity to exercise restraint and compassion) is used instead to shame publicly. That's sad to me and I wouldn't want to encourage it.

I can understand why people enjoy beating up on scapegoats, but it's not for me. It's not like if my friends were going to the Alamo Drafthouse, I'd say "oh no no, I absolutely couldn't!" but if it were up to me, I'd pass. justmy2c.

Um, they tell you not to make-out in their theatre?

Well that's just the final straw.

They're just something about the required conformity that sickens me a little.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:34 AM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm okay with required social conformity to the expectation that one not act like a rude, thoughtless pillock in a public place, honestly. No one put a gun to this girl's head and made her dial in an entitled drunken tirade - I'm okay with it appearing in an advertisement. For me, this is an overwhelmingly persuasive pitch. I only wish there were a theater near me which made it so clear that texting, talking and generally shitting on other moviegoers' experiences was not tolerated there - they would have in me a customer of ironclad loyalty.

Was this public shaming? Maybe. Seems to me, though, this gal could use a little more shame in her life. A little shot of shame is good for you, quite frankly - it's a natural check against this kind of obnoxiousness.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:56 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess I can see how some people might think of the PSA as public shaming, in large part because I doubt that any of us who live here and are seeing the PSAs in our theater know who the woman is, never mind all the random folks around the world who've watched it. (I had a non-Austin friend who's on an exchange program in Australia post it to my FB wall last night.) What will be publicly shaming for the woman who made that phone call is if the local newspaper catches up with her and names her.
posted by immlass at 6:27 AM on June 10, 2011


ouch, I need a 30 minute edit window. "for all that I doubt". Anyway, the Statesman is looking for the caller's friends to rat her out and that's going to be uncool if it happens.
posted by immlass at 6:54 AM on June 10, 2011


During periods of famine, plague, pestilence, or some other hardship, the ancient Greeks responded by choosing a person from within their community, ritually transferring the communal afflictions onto him, and then by driving him beyond the boundaries of the state. This was a curious process, and one marked by contradictions.

...

The pharmakos (PDF) was an ancient form of purification as follows. If a disaster, such as famine or pestilence or some other blight, struck a city because of divine wrath, they led the ugliest man of all as if to a sacrifice in order to purify and cure the city's ills. They set the victim in an appropriate place, put cheese, barley cake and dried figs in his hand, flogged him seven times on the penis with squills, wild fig branches, and other wild plants, and finally burned him on wood from wild trees and scattered his ashes into the sea and winds in order to purify the city of its ills...

posted by mrgrimm at 9:02 AM on June 10, 2011


What's worse, seven squill flogs on the penis, or worldwide YouTube mockery?
posted by mrgrimm at 9:04 AM on June 10, 2011


We all make mistakes. The correct thing to do would be to delete the message and move on, imo.

I have a feeling that the oversized scale of this woman's ego is obscuring her ability to ascertain that this even was a mistake on her part, however. To her mind, she didn't "make a mistake," she was whollly in the right and the Alamo were just being "mean".

You are correct that we all do make mistakes. But some people are unable to perceive that that they have made a mistake in the first place.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:19 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


We all make mistakes. The correct thing to do would be to delete the message and move on, imo.

I have a feeling that the oversized scale of this woman's ego is obscuring her ability to ascertain that this even was a mistake on her part, however. To her mind, she didn't "make a mistake," she was whollly in the right and the Alamo were just being "mean".

You are correct that we all do make mistakes. But some people are unable to perceive that that they have made a mistake in the first place.


I don't think the woman is aware of her "mistake" either. But I'm pretty sure that this public shaming won't change her perspective either.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:42 PM on June 13, 2011


I don't think the woman is aware of her "mistake" either. But I'm pretty sure that this public shaming won't change her perspective either.

You're assuming the Alamo was seeking to change her perspective. They're not.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:48 PM on June 13, 2011


You're assuming the Alamo was seeking to change her perspective. They're not.

I don't understand. I said that she made a simple mistake and the movie house should move on instead of publicly shaming her. You said "but what if she doesn't know she's made a mistake."

Why should that have anything to do with how the movie house treats her voicemail?
posted by mrgrimm at 2:33 PM on June 13, 2011


She didn't "make a simple mistake." She came in with a sense of entitlement the size of an emu, threw an ear-splitting snit when she didn't get her way, and swore to never come back -- and still had enough of a sense of entitlement to go "neener neener" at them so they'd feel sooooorry.

She's already declared her intentions to not be a customer any more. So why not use her voicemail as an illustrative example to other patrons as an "Exhibit A" for "what not to act like"?

I'm not sure why you're worried about them shaming her, when the whole reason she left a voicemail was entirely because she was trying to shame them. Are you saying it's okay for her to try to shame them, but not the opposite?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:36 PM on June 13, 2011


All that texting is taking away from the atmosphere of solemn consumption.
posted by TheKM at 4:15 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really wish this post had been tagged a bit better. Ah well, burned my post of the day. Hilarious video. Payback is a bitch.
posted by Fizz at 10:25 AM on June 19, 2011


She came in with a sense of entitlement the size of an emu, threw an ear-splitting snit when she didn't get her way, and swore to never come back -- and still had enough of a sense of entitlement to go "neener neener" at them so they'd feel sooooorry.

Absolutely agreed.

She's already declared her intentions to not be a customer any more. So why not use her voicemail as an illustrative example to other patrons as an "Exhibit A" for "what not to act like"?

Because it's mean and exploitative. And the Alamo Drafthouse rules already make it painfully clear "what not to act like." It seems like the whole point of the chain is to serve fussbodies who want the damn kids off their lawns, so I would guess patrons already know about the no-texting rules, especially by the time they take their seats.

That was not the purpose of the advertisement. The purpose of the ad was to make fun of a possible jerk who could have be a good person in other ways or possibly just having a bad day and unwisely deciding to vent on what she thought was a standard corporate voicemail account.

I'm not sure why you're worried about them shaming her, when the whole reason she left a voicemail was entirely because she was trying to shame them.

I'm not sure how a voicemail message is trying to shame them. If she had taken to posting fliers calling for a boycott of Alamo Drafthouse, sure, go to war, but this woman left what I can only think she thought was a private message to corporate support on an answering machine.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:46 AM on June 20, 2011


MrGrimm: I don't know about you, but when I leave a private message to corporate support, I generally am demanding some kind of restitution, I'm not just venting spleen and saying "you suck and your company sucks and I just wanted to tell you that by the way you suck."

I'm not sure what other reason she had to call other than to make them feel bad. That's why I'm saying she was trying to 'shame them". She wasn't demanding her money back, or any other kind of consumer-restitution thing that usually happens when you escalate to corporate complaints; she was simply calling to say "you were mean to me and so I'm never coming back to your company again because you suck and I hate you nyah nyah." She simply and solely wanted them to feel bad for making her feel bad.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:58 AM on June 20, 2011


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