I cannot TELL you how much I love this idea. Secret movie police! And I also think that I should be permanently issued one of these gizmos, so that I could use it on the side of good and clean up Dodge, or at least the Union Square multiplex.
According to the NY Times: "The device is small and light and looks like a child’s toy. When a patron presses a button to alert a theater employee about a problem, a pager on an employee’s hip vibrates and indicates what and where the difficulty is. The employee can then enter the seating area and deal with the problem. Although the company does not keep statistics on the number of complaints, cellphone use and talking during a movie are the most common issues, according to a company spokesman."
People these days don't seem to realize they're out in public with hundreds of other people, and therefore must not behave as if they're at home alone or with a couple of others.
When I was a kid, there were "matrons" at the Saturday matinees, prowling up and down the aisles with a flashlight to enforce order, and if she caught you with your feet on the seat in front, or being rowdy, she had the power to banish you from the theater, at least for that day.
We should have more of that sort of thing. Failing that, a snitch in the ranks is next best.
Though I wonder what a theater matron would have done at a screening of "Message to Love", the documentary about the 1970 Isle of Wight festival (fantastic, go rent it), at which I was present some years ago.
The first time I saw it, I went alone. By happy chance, the director was there that night to talk about the movie afterwards, and I went up to speak to him when he was done, as the Doors had played that festival in the middle of Jim's trial and Jim always maintained they had majorly sucked and I had wanted to see if he had been correct. Utterly not true, and I conveyed this to the director, along with my praise for the film. He remembered Jim and the circumstances very well, and we had a lovely chat.
The second time I went, because the movie is just that good, it was with my silversmith friend Audrey (who made my 25th-anniversary-of-Jim's-death ring, 20-carat white Ceylon sapphire from my dealer in Sri Lanka, big heavy silver setting of a crowned lizard on one side and a wolf's head on the other).
We're sitting there quietly and interestedly watching this amazing film when the Doors come on and the guy on my left starts going off on Jim. "Heeeeyyy Morrison you stupid drunk fat pig"...and like that.
Well. I politely suggest that he should shut the fuck up. He doesn't. I say I'm Jim's wife and that's my husband up there he's trashing and he REALLY better shut the fuck up. He still doesn't.
So I leap to my feet in the middle of this packed movie theater, get my hands around his throat and start CHOKING HIM. I swear I do not know what the hell came over me. Meanwhile, Audrey is falling out of her seat laughing.
I finally whack the guy upside his head and leave to ask the management to have HIM ejected. Again, I have no idea what I was thinking. Jim would have loved it; in fact, he's probably the one who egged me on.
So, the guy's still inside watching the movie. Audrey and I are in the lobby waiting for the cops, whom I have loudly and furiously prevailed upon the management to call, when the guy's friend comes out to go to the men's room, sees me and starts casting aspersions on my veracity. "Oh, yeah, right, Jim's wife, suuuuure."
I beckon him over, promising I'm not going to hurt him, and to prove my bona fides I show him my passport, Lizard Queen business card, a picture of Jim and me in Miami, and our claddagh wedding rings (whatever that was supposed to prove), which I happened to be wearing that night.
He looks, assimilates, then all but falls to his knees. In fact, I believe he may have actually done so. OMIGODOMIGODOMIGOD he's read my BOOK, he's my biggest fan EVAH, I'm terrific, his friend thinks so too at least he does when he's not drunk, he looooved the book, he'll be mortified when he realizes, he would LOVE to talk to me about Jim whom he really admires, I was quite right to beat up on him, oh if it's not too much trouble would I mind signing an autograph...the whole thing.
Absolutely SCREAMING with laughter within, I graciously forgive him, tell him he should choose his friends more wisely, and Audrey and I equally wisely split just as the cops are pulling up outside.
We can barely walk home to the East Village, we are laughing so hard, hanging on each other all the way along Houston Street. Never did hear what happened, but I've never been back to that theater since.
So I really can't cop too many virtuous attitudes about movie violence and rudeness. Well, not in the audience, anyway. But I still could be totally trusted with one of those phasers. Yes. I could.