Posts Tagged ‘movie etiquette’

Longtime readers know I like movies. They’re fun as a stand-alone proposition.

But movie-going is almost essential when Arizona’s solar-intensifying sprummer has come, gone, and Satan’s excessive heat warning says it’s 109 outside. Overnight it ‘cools down’ to the high 90’s.

So when outdoor activity partners with heat stroke, getting out often means movies. This weekend, it was Wonder Woman — highly enjoyable and big fun. Although I enjoy all genres, there’s nothing like a well done action film.

As some of you know, I’ve also seen my share of movies featuring lawyer protagonists. Admittedly, it’s been a while since there was one I liked. The Lincoln Lawyer is perhaps the last one I thought entertaining — but that was 6 years ago.

It’s not like I rush to see movies featuring lawyers. Quite the opposite. I think most are to be avoided. 2014’s The Judge was awful.

Nearly always they get the law and the ethics wrong. For instance, I missed last year’s The Whole Truth, starring that latter-day Olivier, the wooden thespian known as Keanu Reeves. I’m sorry to say I finally caught it online.

Of The Whole Truth, movie critic Rex Reed said, “A guaranteed cure for insomnia, an abomination called The Whole Truth is a courtroom movie that looks like a colorized version of an old Perry Mason TV show, starring Renée Zellweger’s new face and Keanu Reeves, who has the charisma and animated visual appeal of a mud fence.” Keanu plays that over-used movie stereotype, the ethically challenged criminal defense lawyer.

And why always an ethically challenged defense lawyer? Why not an amoral ERISA or corrupt water rights lawyer? In truth it’s probably because ERISA and water rights lawyers would have to arm-wrestle to avoid the title of most boring field of practice.

In any event, Keanu’s much better as pup-loving legendary hitman John Wick not as a lawyer. Just the same, I admit to liking his turn as the lawyer son of Satan in The Devil’s Advocate.

Recliner movie watching.

Glenn Whipp amusingly reported this past Friday that theater chains have “decided that the best way to sell tickets is to replicate moviegoers’ living rooms.” See “When moviegoers treat theaters like living rooms — texting, talking, even diaper changing happens.”

It’s true. Recliners have arrived at the cineplex, including the one in our neighborhood. I’m not sure, however, that Wonder Woman was better because my feet were up. The Whole Truth, on the other hand, is a different matter. The recliner would’ve meant In dormis delicto.

Fortunately, the movie-going pleasure of Wonder Woman was mostly unmarred unlike other recent movie experiences involving serial chatterboxes and obsessive texters. Save for a movie patron twice checking his cellphone two rows in front, we escaped Glenn Whipp’s exponentially worse experience with the in-the-theater toddler diaper-changing mother. “Because,” as Whipp explained, “that’s what those adjustable armrests are for, right?”

And that Bill Kilgore is not the smell of napalm in the morning.


Photo Credits: Empty cinema movie theater, by Iwan Gabovitch  at Flickr Creative Commons Attribution; First movie of the year, recliner chair theater, by stupid systemus at Flickr Creative Commons Attribution.


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File:QUIET PLEASE (4976399329).jpg

By Paul Mison at Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic Lic.

Caught a double feature on Saturday and saw “The Artist, a modern-day black and white silent film garnering molto cognoscenti buzz to win the Best Picture Oscar. But before the movie started, two film-goers sitting in the row ahead were conversing so loudly, I thought it ironic that at the start of a silent picture, they were putting the lie to the adage, “There are times when silence has the loudest voice.” [1]
‘Loud silence’ oxymoronically rarely applies to the movie-going public. For the record, the two chatterboxes at “The Artist” thankfully dropped a few decibels once the movie started. But anymore, that’s not the rule but the exception.

I know people who stopped going to the movies years ago because of the drop off in movie etiquette. Ticket prices being what they are, why pay to be annoyed by those who won’t stay quiet or won’t turn off their phones or won’t stop texting during a film?

This is hardly a new trend. In May 2007, in its “Guide to Movie Etiquette,” New York Magazine even said “the days of respectful silence are gone.” 

Last year, there was even a Quixotic PetitionOnline.com – – – a pointless exercise in impotent outrage futilely striking at bad manners at the movies.

Last month, Alan Gilbert, New York Philharmonic Conductor, halted Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 over a repeated and annoying iPhone marimba ring.

A few years ago, I spoke with a public library staff member about the increasing noise volume at my local library. “Whatever happened to the shushing librarian?,” I asked.

It may have been coincidental but this was likely the start of the trend now enveloping virtually all public libraries, which is that of public libraries as community meeting places and not places to serenely select and read books.

Indeed, it was 2008 when UK Culture Secretary Andy Burnham took steps to end silence in Britain’s libraries, specifically what he called “the somber face” of public libraries. In announcing plans to modernize “decades out of date” British public libraries into places to socialize, Burnham talked about introducing Internet cafes and allowing the use of cell phones and the consumption of snacks.

Portraits 22

Cell phones in the public library? Why not, the damn things are everywhere, including the toilet. A survey reveals 75% of those polled admit to using their mobiles in the restroom. 67 percent are reading texts on the throne, 63 percent answer phone calls and 41 percent initiate phone calls without finishing their business first. One unlucky guy even had to be rescued after losing his cell phone down the toilet. Also see “IT in the Toilet: Study shows cell phones big in bathroom.”

Last year, CNN Contributor Bob Greene haplessly asked “Did cell phones unleash our inner rudeness? Ya think?

Some blame an entitlement mindset or bad parenting or of course, technology. Amanda Onion writing for ABC News made note of this when she asked, “Have Americans Forgotten Their Manners?” She quoted a survey from QRC International by Lenox that said there’d been “a 50 percent jump from 2002” in the poor manners of Americans. And a 2010 Rasmussen poll indicated “69% Say Americans are Becoming More Rude, Less Civilized.”

A few days ago, going last November’s “Pepper Spray” shopper one better, a “Woman was tasered in front of her daughter after cutting the McDonalds Drive-Thru Line.”

I’ve previously belabored the subject of lawyer incivility. So I won’t go there, again here.

What’s interesting, though, is that with all the continued hullabaloo over rudeness – – – it ‘s also revealing something patently obvious. It’s our lack of self-awareness of our own manners.

Rudeness is on the rise, everyone agrees. But it’s ‘the other guy’ that’s rude – – – never ourselves.


[1] Leroy Brownlow

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