From Ryan Sartor, Brookville, NY:
This Thanksgiving weekend I went to a midnight showing of "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" at my local theatre. Despite protests from friends and relatives who said I was "wasting my money" watching a film that is annually on television, I went ahead. As the film began, I instantly appreciated the big screen experience: the whole audience was laughing, and certain edits and facial expressions were twice as funny in a theatre.
However, this joyous time did not last. Around the fifteen minute mark, two gentlemen came into the theatre and proceeded to loudly comment on every scene and laugh, quite loudly, not at the film, but at one another's comments. I moved up to the front row but I could still hear them over the dialogue. I spoke to the manager who assured me he would speak with them. They continued talking even as other people in the theatre "Shh"ed them to no avail.
I finally had had enough and went to leave and get a refund. On my way out, the men were as loud as ever. I stopped and said, "You ruined the movie for a lot of people here. Nobody came here to listen to your commentary. It's very rude." The two men then told me to f*** myself and I told them they were a couple of punks and left. I gave this information to the manager. He apologized and gave me a refund.
I am a film major at Long Island University - C.W. Post Campus, and I can't tell you how discouraging it is to encounter moviegoers who have such a disrespect for the experience of their fellow theatregoers. As I write and direct films, hopefully one day for all to see, I want to use the medium of film to connect us. Films should be the one event where we can all come together and put aside our differences to enjoy the simple pleasure of lights flickering on a wall.
Theatre chains need to unite on a no tolerance policy for such things as talking, cell phones, etc. Everyone should get one warning, and then be removed.
Rather than concerning themselves with labeling art films such as "Lust, Caution" NC-17, the Motion Picture Association of America should perhaps regulate that which is most important: theatre etiquette. By getting the major chains together on a specific policy, we can get people to come back to the movies, and make it so that you don't get any more letters like this one. Are you aware of any groups or organizations currently working towards such a policy?