Silence, Please! The Movie is Playing

Leonardo DiCaprio in a scene from Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby
I haven't been to a movie theatre in a long time but I do remember how rude some people can be, talking on their cell phones while the film is playing! So I had to laugh at a recent post by Susan Goldberg, a busy married lesbian mom who writes about her parenting experiences with a lot of heart and humour on her blog, mama non grata. In the excerpt below, she shares her frustration of a recent movie going experience - one I am sure we can all relate to - in her small Northwestern Ontario city of Thunder Bay (population: 110,000).

Susan Goldberg writes:
I took myself to the local (read: only one in town) movie theatre to see The Great Gatsby the other night.  
Quick crowdsource poll: How many of you go to movies by yourselves? Some people are horrified, or at least somewhat skeptical, when I mention going to movies by myself. Which I really don’t get — I mean, first of all there’s the whole child-care issue: if Rachel and I had to hire a sitter every time we wanted to see a movie, would see far fewer movies than the scant few we already do. Further, if we do splurge on a sitter, then I generally want to spend the time actually talking to her, not sitting side by side in the dark. I’m as happy as the next person for movie company, but, really, it’s not like we’re going to have a conversation, or anything. 
Except. 
Except that I live here, in Thunder Bay, where people do. They do have conversations. People in this city chat all the way through the commercials (including that asinine anti-obesity commercial sponsored by, of all companies Coca-Cola, that protector of all things healthy) and the previews and the film itself. Sometimes they talk to their seatmates — usually inane comments like “Didja see that?” or “She looks pretty angry!” or “Now, Doris, what is the name of that actress again? Oh! Oh! She’s the one from that show!”— and sometimes they talk directly to the characters in the movie themselves. It’s like watching Dora the Explorer with a bunch of adult-sized toddlers yelling “Backpack!” Except that they’re yelling things like “Yeah! Get him!” All this talking irritates me. And not just because I came here from Toronto, where nobody talks during the movies — where nobody you don’t know might talk to you at all, for days. 
Similarly, Toronto supermarket cashiers do not comment on or question your purchases the way they do here. No, all this talking irritates me because it means — drumroll please — I’m a bitch I CAN’T HEAR THE MOVIE. Look. I already live with two young children who make it nearly impossible to have any kind of continuous conversation, and on the rare evening that I get to fully immerse myself in some kind of cultural production, I don’t need fully grown adults treating a public movie theatre like their own private living room.  
Continue reading Susan Goldberg: What I think about when I think about going to the movies in Thunder Bay (when I can hear myself think)

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