I enjoy the movies a lot, but I have begun to enter movie theaters with great trepidation, knowing that it takes just one moron to ruin the experience.
The idiots who text during the movie are bad enough, and the people who actually make and receive calls on their cell phones make the experience untenable.
Then there are the extreme, albeit seemingly common, cases:
On Valentines Day this year, I found myself sitting next to a couple and their infant. The baby was noisy, cried at least twice, and at one point the couple changed the baby’s diaper while still sitting in their seats.
I don’t care what anyone says. Infants do not belong in movie theaters.
Then there was the toddler sitting in the front row for Cloverfield until the parents finally decided to act responsibly and remove their terrified child from the theater.
All I ask is to watch a movie in peace and quiet, but people seem so willing and capable of screwing this up.
Unfortunately, movie theaters do little to prevent these distractions even as they watch their ticket sales decrease year after year. They have no policy against bringing a baby into a theater and they rarely monitor the behavior of their patrons as they are watching the film. And even if a person wants to complain, it means missing a significant portion of the movie to do so.
I’m happy to report that someone is finally doing something about this problem, and the solution is almost too good to be true:
The Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square has joined forces with Morphsuits — a manufacturer of skin-tight zentai suits — to launch an army of volunteer "cinema ninjas" who get to watch the movie for free in exchange for donning a black body suit and pouncing on misbehaving moviegoers from behind the cinema's shadows.
The "ninja taskforce" stunt has been met with critical acclaim, and was recently picked up by two other British movie theaters.
While I would prefer that the ninjas be professionals, capable of actually removing unwanted patrons from the theater (and inflicting a modicum of pain in the process), this is at least a step in the right direction.
It’s also the only step I’ve ever seen any movie theater to ensure that their customers enjoy a disturbance-free experience.
I have a few suggestions as well:
- Install cellphone jamming devices in a designated number of theaters in the establishment and declare them phone-free zones. Even though people went to movies, plays, concerts, sporting events and monster truck shows for decades without the benefit of immediate access to the outside world, I understand that some people feel the need to be connected to babysitters and other outside entities at all times in the event of an emergency. I think it’s a little crazy, but I’m willing to accommodate their need. Place jamming devices in half of the theaters and make the rest jammer-free.
- Prohibit infants from all movie theaters except for those showing rated G films.
- Prohibit all children 5 years old and younger from all movie theaters after 6:00 PM except for those showing rate G films.
I think these three suggestions are reasonable in scope and would be fairly simple to enact and would be greeted with near-universal appreciation.
Most important, these three steps (in addition to heavily armed ninjas) would go a long way in providing movie theater patrons the kind of experience that the high cost of a movie ticket should guarantee.