Fighting back against talkers and texters at the movies

(CBS News) This morning, our critic David Edelstein tackles a talk-about topic . . . no matter what movie you're going to see:

Last week I had an experience maybe you have all the time, but I'm still fighting mad.

I was watching a movie in a theater and two people in back of me would not stop talking -- just low enough to keep everyone from turning on them, but loud enough to break the spell.

It's that ability to be brought into the action that's killed by someone talking, or for that matter texting, so that your eye is always being stabbed by little lights.

OK, some big, dumb movies ARE fun to talk at. I myself yelled at the characters in "White House Down": "Moron! Run!"

But this film was subtler.

People asked the couple to be quiet, but on they went, and no one wanted to make a scene. And after an hour of doing yoga breathing exercises to stay calm, I finally turned and shouted, "Shut up!"

And the woman said, "YOU shut up!"

And I threw a fit.

No matter how in the right you are, you never look good throwing a fit!

Where was the usher? The theater manager? Beats me.

I get emails all the time from people who say they don't go to the cinema anymore. It's not just the crazy ticket prices; they can't take their fellow audience members.

So they buy giant TVs and wait for the DVD, or watch the increasing number of movies on pay-per-view cable.

There is a larger question: Why is this an epidemic? My hunch is that our culture has become SO private -- meaning people spend so much time watching things on computers and interacting via so-called social media -- they've forgotten how to act in public.

But that's academic. What about now? We can't all turn vigilante, so we are dependent on the people who run the theaters.

The Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas, has the right idea. They THROW PEOPLE OUT for texting or talking!

In 2011 they made an example of a texter who left an indignant voice message, which they turned into a public service ad shown at their cinema (and here is a link to the NSFW version):

Texter: "You know what? I didn't know that I wasn't supposed to text in your little c***** a** theater. So EXCUSE ME for using MY phone in USA, MAGNITED STATES of America! Where yer-you are FREE to TEXT in a THE-A-TER!"

Theater: "You're welcome! Thanks for not coming back to the Alamo, Texter!"

Ha, ha! They are my heroes!

Most other places, you're on your own.

For more info:


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  • "The Spectacular Now"
  • "Blackfish"