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article imageOp-Ed: Poll suggests most youth want movie theatres to permit texting

By Andrew Moran     Mar 24, 2012 in Entertainment
Los Angeles - Do you hate it when people take out their phone and begin to text in the middle of a movie? Well, it seems a lot of young people want movie theatres to permit texting. Is this diminishing the traditional movie experience?
In the middle of this hectic week, I read about a new poll by the Hollywood Reporter that suggests nearly half of young people aged 18-34 want movie theatres to be texting-friendly. The study also showed that a majority of that age demographic believe visiting social media networks, like Facebook and Twitter, during a film would add to their experience.
When I first read this poll on, I was completely befuddled by it. Why would someone text message, surf the Internet or do anything other than watch the picture on the silverscreen? Didn’t they spend $12.95 (in some cases Toronto theaters charge upwards of $15) to watch the film? Is money that invaluable to them? I’ll get off at the depot and peg the quintessential question: are movies that unimportant to you?
I’ll be the first to admit that watching motion pictures is my favorite pastime. I love coming home on Saturday nights and renting a bunch of old pictures from the first half of the 20th century and eating a bag of popcorn from Dollarama. Heck, even on my birthday, I prefer to get a box of doughnuts and watch my favourite films all day instead of going out.
Also, when I worked as an entertainment reporter for the Toronto Times during my university days, I would be required to watch two to three films a week in theatres, even though I dislike majority of neoteric movies. It was great a job for an older version of a juvenile delinquent in university.
Movies are very important in my life. Whether it’s watching an Ingmar Bergman film depicting his view on what life is or seeing the Marx Bros. pull pranks on aristocrats or even anticipating James Cagney knocking someone out who is “yella,” it’s a lot of fun.
Without being cliché, what happened to the young people? Are they so entrenched in technology and completely narcissistic and egocentric that they need to communicate with others every minute of the day? Does little Jimmy need to know that you are in the middle of a scene at 4:53 p.m.? Of course not, but the average young person probably thinks so.
This whole idea that movie theatres need to adapt to societal trends is quite worrisome. It’s bad enough that the average picture-house has 25 minutes of non-stop commercials, but it’s worse that I have to endure two hours of some adolescent playing with his smartphone.
I am completely sympathetic that movie theatres are businesses and need to listen to its customers, but does a line need to be drawn? This opinion piece isn’t a critique of business models, but rather the appreciation for cinema is eroding. Who’s fault is it? Is it Michael Bay’s fault for producing films that do not require a lot of thought? Is it the parents’ fault for not teaching their children to be respectful in a theatre? Is it the theatres’ fault for permitting this kind of behaviour? Or is it even the studios’ fault for the paucity of quality?
Screenshot of Humphrey Bogart  James Cagney and Jeffrey Lynn from the trailer for the film  The Roar...
Screenshot of Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney and Jeffrey Lynn from the trailer for the film "The Roaring Twenties." One of the James Cagney pictures.
The Roaring Twenties
Occasionally, I like to think that I was born way too late. Whenever I ponder about the early days of cinema, I like to believe that people were grateful to attend a picture because it wasn’t often they could go. I also like to view the early days of cinema as the best. Nowadays, people can head to to their local cinema as often as they like with their (disposable?) income and have taken it for granted.
As kids are more and more reckless with someone else’s money, it’s understandable that they wouldn’t try to get the best value for the dollars. It’s about time for these people, no matter what age they are, that they can live without a phone for two hours, they will not be missed by anyone for two hours and that they are spending $12 to watch a picture for two hours.
“A good film is when the price of the dinner, the theatre admission and the babysitter were worth it” – Alfred Hitchcock.
Tonight I will be viewing “Le Trou” and “The Last Gangster” – with my hard earned money and my dame and without any technology-related interruptions.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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