Why a Theater Should Not Include Picnic Tables

This post is in response to a hilarious article at slashfilm regarding an obnoxious patron and her voice mail complaint to the Alamo Drafthouse. The Drafthouse theater incorporated the message into a “no texting” PSA that is played before each film. If you haven’t seen the PSA, you can view it here.

This whole situation is humorous on a variety of levels. For starters, it’s amazing to me that there are still people who need to be told that cell phones are obnoxious in movie theaters and that they should never even be seen from the moment the lights go down to the time the credits are rolling. Secondly, and most obviously, that Alamo Drafthouse created this amazing video to begin with, and lastly, that everyone missed the biggest offense in this whole scenario. I doubt I would pay much attention to the blinding glare of a cell phone when I’m too busy listening to the opus of chomping, slurping, and lip smacking that is inevitably going on all around me because instead of watching a movie, I’m apparently eating dinner.

Now, I have nothing against the Alamo Drafthouse, or other theater chains who feel it’s necessary to proliferate the mentality that no matter what Americans are doing they might as well be eating crappy food. Because that’s obviously what we need. I’m sure you’re saying, well, people already expect that everyone in the audience is going to be eating, and since they’re eating as well, they’re not bothered by it. AND, if you don’t like it, don’t go. Again, I totally understand that. But, I think it’s an unfortunate state of affairs when people insist on turning a beloved theater experience into basically a Friday night dinner at their house. One of my favorite things to do with friends is watch a movie (usually an “oldie but goodie”) and stuff pizza down my throat in the comfort of my own home. I also usually talk during these little get togethers because adding food to a group of people is bound to get them talking. It just happens. Eating is a social experience and that’s great.

But that’s just it-this only occurs in my home because I find it to be an intimate experience that is shared with great friends. When I go to a theater I have a different experience in mind. Usually I’m seeing a film for the first time, and crazy people like me, who are avid film lovers want to be completely immersed in the experience of watching and being attentive to a movie. Adding food in the mix diminishes this experience. I fear that if this becomes popular (and I hope that high prices keep most people away) everything I cherish about the filmgoing experience will be ruined. The dimmed lights, people reacting to the film and not the clams casino. Can we please just have one place where a giant feed bag isn’t required America? Isn’t dealing with cell phones and their idiot owners enough?