A tired old rant -- but this time it nearly came to blows. [Theatre etiquette.]

For the second time in as many weeks, I nearly got into a fist-fight last night.

I haven’t actually gotten in a fist-fight for many years, because I’m a grown-up, and all that – but last night, I was totally ready to get into it. I honestly don’t remember the last time I was so angry.

The embarrassing thing was, the offender was a punk kid. Maybe nineteen or twenty years old. (I’m thirty-five.) I didn’t know he was just a boy until my blood was already up, though.

This is what happened:

Last night, I went to see Jack Black’s Nacho Libre, which was fecking awesome. It was marred by one thing, though.

About halfway through, a cellphone rang. “Great,” I thought. “What dumbass forgot to turn their phone off?” Then, something incredible happened. After three rings, instead of being silenced and turned off, the phone was answered. By some twatwaffle in the first row.

This obnoxious fucking cockbiscuit then goes on in an extremely loud voice (to ensure that his caller can hear him over the Dolby soundtrack of Friar Ignacio attempting to seduce the lovely Sister Incarnacia with his smooth moves and fancy new threads) about what he’s doing at the moment, who Jack Black is, and the possible itinerary for the remainder of the night after the movie is finished.

The oblivious little asspastry is not at all mindful of the quiet sounds of disapproval being exchanged between theatre patrons all around him, so after a minute or two, I addressed him directly, at the same volume he was using: “Oh, fuck off.” No response or change. I sit there for ten or twenty more seconds while he continues his conversation, and the rage rises quickly. I can feel it pounding in my head.

I can’t take it. There’s no-one between me and the aisle, and I get up and walk around to the front to have a word with him. As I’m making my way over, I see two more people get up, and figure they’re doing the same thing – but they make for the back of the theatre. When I face the guy, I see he’s wearing the suburban punk wannabe-gangsta uniform of big pants, sports jersey, and dink hat.

I bent down close to him and and said, “Turn your phone off now and watch the movie, or get the fuck out of here.”

He looked up and said, (apparently perplexed,) “What? It’s my phone.

I was nearly apoplectic. While I tried to process what I had just heard, (did the kid honestly have no idea that he was annoying the people around him?) a guy in the row behind him appeared to decide the guy was retarded or something and explain it in simple terms: “What you are doing is very rude. Hang it up or take it to the lobby.” There follows a chorus of affirmation and assent.

The arrogant cuntbagel turned around and repeated, (with a helpful change of emphasis,) “It’s my phone.”

Now my fist was tightly-balled and dearly wanted (pathetic fallacy or no) to strike his nose in such a way as to drive nasty little bits of cartilage into his skull to float around in his cerebral fluid. I grabbed his jersey at the collar, twisted a bit, and said “Turn your phone off now or I’ll drag you out of here and break your fucking arm.” Another guy, sitting directly behind him, added, “I’ll hold you down while he does it.”

He said (into his phone,) “I’ll call you back,” and hung up. I walked back to my seat and sat down. My heart was pounding. Holy shit. I realized that I had totally lost my cool, and apologized to me friend, who said, “No, it’s not just you.” Some consolation. As I’m sitting there and trying to turn my attention back to the movie, the manager or someone (obviously summoned by the people who had gotten up at the same time I did,) walked down to the front and started craning his neck looking around for the offender. Numerous fingers in the audience pointed toward the glanspudding in the front row, and the manager looked at him for a bit and then walked away.

Moments after he walked away, though – out comes the phone again. The fucking little sackomelette is holding his phone about a foot in front of his face and continuing his conversation by texting. He’s got a Motorola Razr or one of its imitators, and the backlit LCD screen is massive and hugely distracting.

By now, though, I’m chagrined by my behaviour, and just try to ignore it. It’s at least somewhat easier to ignore than one half of a loud conversation, but it continues to be annoying, throughout the entire movie.

It bothers me to reflect that if I’d just sat in my seat and kept as cool as possible, the clitbanger might have been ejected – or at the very least, the same end would have been reached, with him clueing in and stopping (the worst of) his obnoxious behaviour.

On the other hand, I think it might be better for people like that to know that if they pull that shit there’s a chance that people around them may drag them outside and kick their fucking teeth in, instead of the mere possibility that an obsequious man in a suit might ask them to wrap up their conversation.

This is why Karana gives us DVDs and video on demand via cable systems.

Karana is wise. He knows that his most loyal druid may, yea verily, smite the living snot out of a punk with a cell phone at the local cinema.

Had you tagged the guy, and retained me as defense counsel, I know a few judges that might be persuaded by the “he had it coming” defense…or at least impose a minimum fine.

Yeah, that’s why I don’t go to many movies anymore. When I do go, it’s usually late in a movie’s run when there are fewer people and thus fewer chances for such douchebaggery.

I think you should have not only broken his arm, but filmed the entire thing and posted it to YouTube as a warning to others of his kind.

I totally understand… but be careful. All you need is to flip out on some guy with a handgun in his car.

I must say, you’ve given me some good new insults. “Twatwaffle,”, “Fucking cockbiscuit,”, “Asspastry,”, “Cuntbagel,”, “Sackomelette,”, etc. “Glanspudding,” is a little obscure, though, and I’d have counted “Clitbanger,” as a good thing.

What? Oh, right, topic.

I don’t think anyone will disagree with your emotions, though you did go a little overboard in your reaction. But you know that, and it certainly could have been worse. Since it didn’t come to blows, maybe in the grand scheme of things it all worked out for the best, except possibly for your blood pressure.

I wouldn’t say I’ve ever lost my cool in that way, but I’ve definitely given a verbal beat down to rude jackasses in the theatre on numerous occassions. It usually just takes one person to point out the incident, and it will embolden the rest of the people in the audience to voice their displeasure. Kind of a reverse-Genovese syndrome. Of course it helps that I’m 6 foot 6 and strike a bit of an imposing figure.

As to the actual behaviour, I’ve seen the cell phone answering phenomenon before, and it’s mind blowing as to how these people (kids, usually) don’t understand how anyone could possible view this as rude. How do you get to that point in life without learning that much in regards to social ettiquette?

This is why I installed a projection system in my house almost two years ago. Most movies I see in the theater are arthouse releases with well-behaved audiences; mainstream releases, with very rare exceptions, get seen six months later on DVD.

I’m reasonably certain that without my home theater I would be on death row by now.

<-----------Claps, jumps up and down and gives Our Hero a resounding kiss!

I wish SO many more people would resort to the old mode of public disapproval for idiots like this. No one wants to make a fuss, so the rudeness (the “Gateway Drug” for arrogance and the huge sense of entitlement which so often leads to crime IMHO) is tacitly approved and just gets worse and worse.

Go YOU! There is nothing to be ashamed of. If more people would stand up for what’s right, all it would have taken would have been those “quiet noises of disapproval” you first noted happening.

Oh, and for the record, the very worst example I’ve ever seen of Rude Audience Member Answering Cell Phone in the Middle of a Show occurred during a performance of Six Degrees of Separation.

A live performance.

Capital-T Theater. Stage, lights, curtain, actual walking talking actors.

And the cellular sphinctron was in the front. motherfucking. row. Fifteen feet from the actress delivering the play’s big climactic speech.

That was a number of years ago, when I was younger and less sure of myself than I am today. Were I to witness such behavior now, I would have no hesitation in punching the offender as hard as I could in the back of the neck and separating their vertebrae to sever their spinal cord. Unlikely the police would be able to get a single witness to step forward on the newly drooly fool’s behalf, I think.

It’s amazing how we can be filled with righteous anger when somebody’s doing something that isn’t actually harming anyone, but is rude to the point of being infuriating.

Every time I’ve been to the movies for, literally, the past several years, cell phones have been a factor. Even if nobody talks on one, I see the remarkably bright blue squares appear like flashlights in the audience. Are people text-messaging? Checking their email, playing games, what? If somebody can’t stand to go two hours with his cell phone turned off, maybe he should just not go to movies.

[Shepard Book]… you’re going to burn in a very special level of Hell, a level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater. [/Shepard Book]

Honestly, I think a lot of the time it’s people who can’t be bothered to wear or check their watches.

I whole heartedly agree, but I just know some indignant person is gonna pop in this thread and tell us how they have every God-given right to be in constant contact with their babysitter, aunt-on-life-support, broker, etc, etc. Just wait.

They have a right to enjoy movies too, you know! :rolleyes:

Ordinarily, yes – but in this context, a “banger” is a low-quality comestible in the form of ground-up pigs seasoned, nitrated, stuffed into their own intestines, and fried in their own fat.

I don’t mind admitting that I was feeling pretty cagey on the way out of the theatre. I was a little worried that he might have spent the rest of the movie texting his friends to try to organize a mass drubbing or sommat.

I mean, what the fuck was he thinking? He clearly wasn’t all that interested in the movie, since he talked and texted through so much of it.

I dunno, maybe some youths today just have reeaaaally short attention spans.

Oh, I want one – you bet your ass. I had a poor-man’s LCD projector and a cheapie surround unit years ago, and even that kicked ass. I’m looking forward to a nice HD system, as soon as I can afford it.

(Probably a coupla few years, though – there a few other priorities.)

Heh. I’m 5’4" and weigh 120lbs. I guess I should be grateful that the offender was in approximately the same weight class as I am – I’m not sure what would have happened if I got down there and found a 200lb bruiser scrunched down in his seat, although I was in such a state I think it might have been something like the over-the-top dwarf wrestlers in the movie. (Despite the reviewer’s opinion, it was fecking hilarious.)

Thanks, CanvasShoes. (A kiss? swoon) But… although it turned out okay, now that I’ve cooled off I realize it could have just as easily turned into a huge mess and been even worse. A big dust-up in the front of the theatre would have ruined the night for everyone. I think the people who went for the manager/security/whatever had the right idea.

I guess I don’t mind too much since it turned out relatively okay and the guy probably has an idea that it can be dangerous to disturb other theatre patrons since some of them are crazy motherfuckers with Poor Impulse Control, but I ain’t proud of it.

A few years ago I thought it would be a neat idea to start an urban legend for the Betterment of Mankind: to put it about that there’s a secret organization of cinephiles who quietly follow home rude theatregoers and torture and murder them. A “Side of the Angels” version of the “Don’t flash your headlights!” meme which would result in less assholery in theatres instead of more people afraid to remind other drivers that their headlights are off.

They do have that right, but to exercise it the phone should be placed on vibrate and if you must answer you should leave the theater.

I’m always amused by how everybody is “connected” nowadays. I had a cellphone that I almost never used so I got rid of it, being perfectly content with a prepaid calling card for emergencies. Now my mother got me one for my birthday so I can be more responsive if something happens to Aaron, and I have currently accrued over 2000 rollover minutes. I would have to talk like 8 hours a day to use my minutes.

How anybody can talk that much, or more appropriately feels the need to talk that much is beyond me.

If movie theatre’s are going to survive either cell-phone signal blockers should be legalized or they should line there walls with lead.

You will almost certainly continue to be baffled as your child becomes a teenager and gets the cellular ear and tongue piercings so that they never actually have to talk to another person in real life ever again.

Over my dead body will he get a tongue piercing. I can put up with a lot of stuff, but until he turns 18 that kind of mutilation is out of the question. As far as cell phones go, we’ll see. I’m not inclined to hook him up with one, but I’m not the only factor.

In that same vein, have you seen the [Normally, the R&D and Marketing costs per vehicle drop as the cars are sold in greater numbers."]child cellphones](“One industry official said each EV1 cost the company about $80,000, including research and development costs.” [7)? My God, they’re marketing to juveniles now! When will there ever be an occasion where he is unattended to the point that he needs to use a cellphone to tell me where he is? At that age, never.

I disagree. Much more was called for. In a perfect world, this punk would have been soaked head to toe with soda and covered with popcorn and jujubees.