Let’s cut to the chase: I disagree with basically every point made in this article by Anil Dash – even though I can sense he has purposely set out to antagonise people just like me.
In essence, he’s taking the side of the ass-hats in cinemas who make too much noise, play with their phones and generally annoy every human with manners trying to watch the film.
People who have fun at the movies can make almost any movie better. When the first Transformers movie came out, one of the key moments in the film is the first time the leader of the Autobots transforms in grand fashion from tractor trailer to giant robot, and pronounces “I am Optimus Prime”.
At that precise moment, the guy next to me, a grown man in his early 30s, rose to his feet and shouted “YEAH!” while punching his fist in the air. I could see from his sheer emotion that he’d been waiting for this day, to hear this voice say those words, since the moment his stepdad walked out on his mother. This was catharsis. This was truly cinematic.
If this guy had done this next to me during a film, considering his cathartic release would not have been top of my responses.
Telling him to sit the hell down would probably be closer to the top.
You know how I have fun at a cinema? By staying in my seat, turning my phone off and keeping it in my pocket until it’s time to go. I also do other crazy shit like sitting still, not shouting at the screen when I disagree with events unfolding in the film and generally keep to myself.
I know, right? Crazy…
According to Dash, I’m a “shusher”:
The shushers claim that not giving a film on the screen one’s undivided attention is apparently unspeakably offensive to the many hardworking scriptwriters and carpenters and visual effects supervisors who made the film.
I just want to enjoy the film in peace and quiet and not have some troll-faced youth wave their brightly-lit smartphones around like they’re trying to guide an aircraft to its stand.
I’m not making up the rules. They are clearly spelled out (albeit by annoying cartoon animations) before the film starts. I can summarise them as “shut up” and “turn off your fucking phone”.
People who treat the cinema like their own living room do my head in. I don’t care what they do at home, but in the cinema, we’re supposed to be bound by the same social contract. When they break it, they’re not setting out on establishing a social reconstruction of what it means to be a cinema-goer in contemporary London.
They’re being a dick.