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Darla and I saw Jet Li’s Fearless in the theatre a few days ago. Great flick, if you’re into epic martial arts movies — and I am — but it was what occurred in the seats that I thought I’d write about.

First of all, there were only about 20 people in the audience, yet four of them — a full 20% of those present — felt it was OK to talk during a movie. The two folks behind us were clearly discussing the movie (I could be wrong, as my Chinese isn’t so hot, but the rhythm and flow of their talk suggested as much), while the two numbnuts a few seats away and a row down to our right were just chatting away.

I don’t understand either couple. How is it possible for anyone to think it’s OK to talk in a movie?

In any event, I’m getting more tense by the second as their chat constantly drags me out of the movie. Unfortunately, I have to get to the snapping point to confront movie talkers, and I mean I have to get to a point where I will happily swing at someone and have been imagining fisticuffs scenarios for the last 10 minutes before I can do much more than shush someone. For those who don’t know me so well, I have a temper, but I’ve never been in an actual fight, so please don’t take that as me putting on airs of machismo.

Darla, on the other hand, doesn’t roll that way. About 12 minutes into the chatter, she says very, very, very loudly, "OH MY GOD, WILL YOU SHUT UP?!?!"

Gods above, I love her. 🙂

That shuts the couple behind us for about 20 minutes (and thereafter they at least talked more quietly), and the couple to the right for most of the movie. The bald mustachioed chap whose girlfriend/wife was doing most of the chatting glared our way for about 20 seconds, but it was his actions after the movie ended that I found the most fascinating.

As the movie winds down, I am wondering if we are going to get that fight I’ve never been in. Worse, yet, what if it’s a chick fight, and this stupid movie talking woman calls Darla out? What’s the proper thing to do? Do I intervene, or watch Darla either knock the crap out of this idiot, or get her own hair pulled out? None of those scenarios occurred, and on the way home, Darla didn’t give me an answer on what she would expect, other than in such a situation, she expected to be the one doing the kicking of the butt.

The movie ends, and the lights come up to nice twilight. Bald Mustache stand up to his full 5’8" frame and asks very quietly, "Now who told me to shut the fuck up?" Note the proper quote above, and note that I didn’t bother telling him it was Darla (or me — "I sound very womanly when I’m telling idiots to stop talking during movies" would have been my comment). My movie talker rage had subsided to the point where I wasn’t seeking a confrontation.

My question for you folks, however, is this: What was this pinhead thinking? Where did his moral outrage come from? He and his stupid girlfriend were talking during a bloody movie. I can’t for a second imagine the thought process that lead him to be confrontational 45 minutes later, after the public bitch slap had already been dealt.

And, if he was truly all macho and offended, why the very quiet voice? The verbiage of his question was clearly intended for the entire theatre, but only a few of us were likely to hear it. Was this some sort of face-saving gesture for his own benefit? If so, can such a quiet and soft spoken challenge truly achieve the end of assuaging his own humiliation?

But then, he clearly was coming from the standpoint that it was OK to talk during a movie in the first place, so why not some real outrage and anger?

As I said, the whole thing was fascinating.

8 Responses

  1. I have to say that we’ve had very good luck in the Bay Area when it comes to talking in the theatre, enough so that we very much enjoy most of our movies.

  2. Bryan –

    Much like you, I prefer to find other ways to diffuse a situation, but have a threashold. Once crossed, I Hulk. When Erica and I went to see “Batman & Robin,” a mother and her 8-ish son set behind us and chattered through the movie. We asked them a couple of times to be quite – to no avail. When Mr. Freeze made his appearane, the boy asked his mom who that was. I turned and said “Do you want to know who that is? I’ll tell you who that is. It’s Mr. Shut the Fuck Up!” They were quite through the rest of the movie.

  3. Dude…

    You are also my hero. 🙂

    Your soft, pleasant voice would have made that all the scarier, I should think, and I am literally laughing out loud thinking about it.

  4. Spry, am surprised your self-righteous indignation was diffused by a mere 45 minute hiatus in inappropriate movie theatre discourse. I have seen you maintain a diamond-cutting, hard-on for years on end over transgressions far less severe than this. With your pending marriage and age-induced mellowing, who will be there to keep the frat boys in line? This resultant vaccum could send ripples through the very fabric of space and time. I shudder to think…

  5. /me falls down laughing at Dave’s comment

    You, Mr. Storter, are correct. I know you thought that great sucking sound to the west was something else, but it is in fact Bryan learning to LET IT GO. Sometimes, at least. 😉

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