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It looks as though I'm going to have to start packing a ball peen hammer in my movie theatre survival kit. A multiplex in Bellevue (Washington, not the New York mental hospital) is considering encouraging texting during movies. Why not just put in a line of cellphones and bullhorns at the concession stand?

John Haynes, executive director of the Tateuchi Center, a new-build scheduled to open its doors in 2014, told the New York Times, “This is the wave of the future for the people we worry about attracting." Hey, Haynes -- the wave of the future is empty theatres if you allow this type of boorish conduct to occur in a place where most right-thinking people go to be entertained by the sounds and light show emanating from the screen, not their fellow theatre-dwellers.

Honcho Haynes continues, “Simply forbidding it and embarrassing people is not the way to go." Oh, yes it is. They should exhume William Castle and have him wire every theatre seat across this great land of ours with an electric sensor that zaps each offending texter and talker.

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If they want to convert one auditorium to accommodate texters, similar to the way they corral moms and their tots for Crybaby Matinees, that's fine. Encouraging cellphone use throughout an entire multiplex is a form of madness, pure and simple.

There are twelve months in the year. Why does Hollywood limit the release of films geared for adults to November and December? Are movie theatre chains so desperate that they'd stoop this low to attract a younger clientele? Are they that afraid of ineffectual 3D, high ticket prices, and sub-standard service keeping customers at bay? You know how to keep people quietly in their seats? TRAIN YOUR PROJECTION STAFF AND PUT SOMETHING ON THE SCREEN THAT WILL HOLD AN AUDIENCES ATTENTION FOR MORE THAN TEN MINUTES!

Instead of sending out messages that encourage bad behavior, exhibitors should put the pressure on Hollywood to stop viewing multiplexes as Comic Con screening rooms, lay off the sequels for six-year-olds, and populate screens with credible characters and well-plotted, not plodding, storytelling.

Here's how they deal with texters where I hail from. You take 'em in the back room and bada-bing, bada-boom, no more texting.

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Comments

John71471 Dec. 6, 2011 @ 9:32 a.m.

I like the idea of putting all the texters and cel phone talkers in one theatre...and then light the theatre on fire, like in "Inglorious Basterds".

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Scott Marks Dec. 6, 2011 @ 9:51 a.m.

You brought tears to my eyes, Johnny.

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MattDW Dec. 6, 2011 @ 10:03 a.m.

I'd rather go back to the days of smoking in the theater than endure this crap.

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Scott Marks Dec. 6, 2011 @ 10:09 a.m.

Good point. If they can text, I can smoke!

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Gekko4321 Dec. 6, 2011 @ 10:20 a.m.

I notice in all Ultrastar theaters the usher announces to all to please 'silence' their phones during the movie but they say nothing about not texting. It is extremely annoying when someone in your vicinity texts and has the light from their phone going off all movie long. It happens all the time now to the point I would rather wait for the Blu Ray to come out than endure some ill mannered inconsiderate. It is a horrible distraction and people who do it are some seriously malfunctioned people!

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Scott Marks Dec. 6, 2011 @ 11:04 a.m.

One day I have to interview one of the "bouncers" sent to screenings in order to ensure that no electronic devices are used. I love these guys. Every time I see Hans or Rich, I shake their hands and say, "I wish I had your presence at every screening." They're gentlemen who get their message of zero tolerance across in a direct, humorous, and always polite manner. Until you mess with them. I have seen them escort violators from the theatre, always to a standing ovation. They've told me numerous stories off the record. Maybe it's time to see if I can coax them to go public.

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agent_00711 Dec. 6, 2011 @ 11:56 a.m.

Love the Casino still, Scott. That's how I feel when I see someone texting during a film. I believe that movie theaters should be made so that cell phones don't get any reception in the screening rooms. What do you need a phone at a movie for anyway? Is your wife expecting a baby at any minute? I would make one exception, however: everyone should be able to directly call the projection booth & the manager if the projection is screwed up.

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Scott Marks Dec. 6, 2011 @ 12:14 p.m.

I can see if you are a doctor, lawyer, or Al Sharpton, and may need to be summoned in mid-movie. People go to movies to escape for two hours. Leave your phone in the glove compartment.

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 6, 2011 @ 1:47 p.m.

No excuse for having a phone at a movie theater......just insconsidate jerks.

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Ponzi Dec. 6, 2011 @ 2:04 p.m.

I agree. People that do that have no manners. Unfortunately, it’s all too common. I stopped going to movie in the evenings. I go to matinees when there are few people or sometimes empty. Plus... I sit where I want to, not where I have to.

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Scott Marks Dec. 6, 2011 @ 4:04 p.m.

The best time to catch a movie is the first show at any Reading Cinema. $5.75 admission for all features (except 3D) and a free cup of coffee to boot! Other than that, try a 4 pm show. They're usually dead. Weekends are a sucker's game.

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