An Open Letter to People Using Their Phones During a Movie

If only she had the Flashlight app on her iPhone!
If only she had the Flashlight app on her iPhone!
Legendary Pictures/Universal Pictures

Dear Movie Theater Patrons on Their Phones (re: Crimson Peak),

A few months ago, I got new contact lenses. The doctor strengthened my prescription, and now I can pretty much count the stars on the American flag on the moon. It’s pretty intense. There’s a raisin on the floor over there. My point is: I saw you at Crimson Peak! I was at a screening at Northpark on Saturday, and you were totally there. I saw you there because I have lenses that have made my eyesight the equivalent of Hawkeye’s marksmanship. Also, and this is the real reason I'm writing, your phones were lighting up your faces.

Speaking of which, I actually have a few questions:

Why is your screen brightness set to “quasar”?

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Are you scrolling through IMDB right now? At what point in the scene where a ghost materializes out of scarlet clay — meat cleaver buried deep in a spectral head — did you think, “Yawn, what’s going on tonight on IMDB?”

Wait, are you on Crimson Peak’s IMDB page? My contact lenses are not kidding around. One of you was on Facebook a lot, too. Saw it from a whole row away! You need to check your notifications more often. Also, If you answered “Yes” to the Crimson Peak IMDB question: Don’t you have to see the movie, which is where we were, to get some context for those cool production notes? You know we’re at the movie, right?

Maybe you’d prefer your films to be like Pop-Up Video, with trivia and cool notes running in whimsical bubbles? I’m being a dick, probably. Sorry. I’m just writing because I feel like you got cheated. Movie theaters these days, with their IMAX Super White Walker Luxor Sound (or whatever) can be expensive. I paid about 25 bucks for two tickets, and about 24 bucks for a couple of large beers (AMC, if you’re reading: WTF?) Next time, do you want to just 1) pay me said movie price and 2) I’ll tell you about the movie? It won’t take long.

I get it. Sometimes the phone-pants buzz, and you have to see what the deal is. To relax and settle into the movie, you need to make sure it’s not CNN saying “Texas-sized Meteor to Strike Southern U.S. in Hours.” That’s why I love that little moon icon on the iPhone that says “Do Not Disturb.” So satisfying. That way, I’ll be blissfully smiling when the meteor instantly turns Earth into coffee grounds. The problem is when you’re on your phone for a while — in a hilariously visible seat —people start to think you’re a true-blue asshole. I saw it happen. And the people who don’t think you’re an asshole may get anxious that a fistfight’s going to break out in the aisle, thus disrupting us all from watching Tom Hiddleston’s sculpted butt on screen.

And you do NOT want to distract us from watching Tom Hiddleston’s sculpted butt. Also, with my contacts in, every phone in a dark theater is like the memory eraser thing in Men in Black. OK, maybe my prescription is a little too strong. Anyway, next time we’re together, do you mind turning the phones off? Everyone with eyes can see them.


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