Archive | 8:05 pm

Should I Press the Button?

31 May

I’m not going to lie: I was pretty excited by the story in Thursday’s Boston Herald about how Regal Cinemas is going to start having selected moviegoing patrons monitoring the conditions in the theaters. Sure, I don’t exactly agree with the methodology (how will they choose the one person to hold the device?), but I appreciate that at least one theater chain is willing to take action against bad moviegoers and will fix things when the presentation quality is off.

I agree with the person in the article who said you take a risk when going to watch a movie in a public place that people will be discourteous or that there will be disturbances. So that makes it difficult to gauge how successful this device will be. I hate when the sound in a theater isn’t right. I’d definitely press the button for that. But would an average moviegoer be as sensitive about that as I am? And if someone behind me is laughing annoyingly, or there’s an intermittent request to repeat a line of dialogue, is that worth alerting an usher? I don’t think so. After all, I’d be more annoyed if I had to explain to an usher why I had pressed the button in the first place. And I’d be even more annoyed if the person behind me was explaining it to the usher. But if it’s nonstop talking or repeated looks at a cell phone, then of course I’ll do it. And an unruly kid who should be in bed instead of at a 9pm movie? Sure, that’s worth pressing the button for too (even if it’s during an animated film).

So I’m excited for this new device and secretly (or maybe not) hope that I’m asked to hold it once or twice. But I’d hate for a normal Sunday afternoon at the movies to turn into Symphony Hall, so I’d try to use some restraint. Which means things probably won’t change at all. And that sorta sucks.