The future looks bright.
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You can strike it from the record, but AMC honcho Adam Aaron’s suggestion that the world’s largest theatre chain allow texting in designated auditoriums will forever stick in this juror’s mind.

It began on Wednesday when Variety published an interview with the head of AMC Entertainment. In it, Aaron publicly toyed with the idea of sectioning off select auditoriums and making them text- and mobile device-friendly.

One can’t begin to contemplate the horror of sitting in a theater that sanctioned this type of violently insane behavior. There’d be more light leaks than a Sergio Leone train station. Why not stock concession stands with bullhorns and laser pointers while you’re at it?

Friend and devoted multiplex front-liner, Jim Hemphill, didn’t appear flustered by the proposition. “I honestly don't understand why cinephiles have a problem with this,” Jim told his Facebook minions. ”I say let the imbeciles who want to text during movies have their own screens and keep them away from the rest of us. As long as use of cellphones in the non-texting screens is punishable by death.”

I don’t want the children and grandchildren I’ll never have growing up in a world where texting and cinema have become synonymous. After calming down, it became apparent just how much we can all benefit from the helpful radiance of Jim’s expounding. Sweetening the air of earmarked auditoriums with the delicate fragrance of Zyklon-B is one way to forever eliminate weakling texters. Force offending ticket buyers to wear armbands and I’m all for it!

AMC press release.

AMC press release.

It appears that we have won the battle. In a press release issued today, Aaron conceded, “We have heard loud and clear this is a concept our audience does not want.” If ever there was a, "No shit, Sherlock" moment, it's this.

There are but three people in the world who need to be on call 24 hours: doctors, lawyers, and Al Sharpton. All others should be instructed to return their mobile devices to the glove box. Only a mental patient would pay $16 for the privilege of checking their email midmovie.

Unless you have the attention span of a pineapple, there’s no reason one can’t sit silently in the darkness long enough to enjoy a movie.

Beefy jocks need work too. Why not employ a few high school gridiron stars capable of showing a little muscle as ushers? Instead of preshow cartoon reminders to silence your phone, how about a slide that reads, “We value our customers right to an enjoyable and uninterrupted moviegoing experience. If there is someone using a mobile device during the presentation, report it to an usher and we will see to it that the offending snot-for-brains is bounced.”

We’ll never reach the point where movie theaters are deemed phone-free zones. Now that AMC’s ears are open, hear this: it’s one thing to put to rest this silly notion. Patrons have made clear their contempt. It’s time AMC and other chains did something to ensure their patrons a phone-free experience.

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monaghan April 15, 2016 @ 5:41 p.m.

You are my hero, Scott -- so funny and so right on. Zyklon-B for movie theater i-phone users is not too much to ask! (There will be whippersnappers who ask, what's Zyklon-B, and in my view, they can be included in the roundup.)

When I read about the lamebrainstorm, I immediately calculated that I could never again go to AMC Fashion Valley 18 or the AMC La Jolla 12, further reducing the dwindling number of nearly-nearby movie houses. If Consumers Union can have an anti-robo-call campaign going that includes big offender ATT itself, maybe phone-free movie zones can become their next crusade.


Scott Marks April 19, 2016 @ 3:29 p.m.

Love you, too, Mon! I thought long and hard about replacing "Zyklon-B" with "nerve gas," but in the end decided to stay true to my roots.


Javajoe25 April 16, 2016 @ 11:38 a.m.

Scott, Unlike your Best of 2015 list, I can unequivocally agree with you on this. These dimwits who insist on booting up during the movie should be dragged from the theater and have their heads pressed against the hot dog rollers. Even that would be too kind. I cannot believe this behavior still goes on. I have learned however, to avoid the AMC's (they seem to attract the mental-lites), especially during prime time (evenings and weekends). I wish we could have something like they do for that guy on "Better Call Saul," where everyone is required to turn in their cell before entering the room. That would be wonderful. I actually took the time once, after the movie, to explain to a young man why it is wrong to turn on your cellphone during the movie. I explained that what we pay our money for is not to sit in a smelly dark room with strangers, but instead to be transformed by the film makers vision to a different place and time. And if the film is a good one, and the film maker has succeeded, we forget where we are and are immersed in what John Gardner (in the Art of Fiction) called, the fictive dream. When some halfwit opens their cellphone, we are pulled from that dream and brought back to that smelly dark place occupied by dimwiits with bright phones. I don't know if he got it. I don't know if any of them get it. Thank God, AMC backed off on this cockamamie idea. I'm really starting to wonder if the days of the big screens are numbered due to a combination of technology and ignorance.


Scott Marks April 19, 2016 @ 3:28 p.m.

Good answer... except the part about my Top Ten list.

I don't think that theatrical exhibition is going to dry up anytime soon. What galls me are people who sit passively by whenever a blue light pops off in the corner of their eyes. Unless they can take you in a street fight, speak up when someone interrupts the dream!

Cheeks pressed against hot dog rollers. I like the way you think!


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