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Mike Redmond Column

Please refer to the Mike Redmond Column main page for columns published in other issues.
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 Hogs on the Loose in Movie Theater

I've been to the movies twice lately, bringing to mind the old adage that begins, "Fool me once ..."

As I have said (repeatedly) to all my movie-loving friends, it's not that I don't like movies. I love movies, and have the DVD collection and premium cable bills to prove it.

It's theaters I am not wild about. Or, to be more specific, the behavior of 21st Century American Human Beings in theaters.

And, no, it is not just teen-agers I am talking about. Admit it. That's what you were thinking, wasn't it? Well, take a step back, because I've seen plenty of ridiculous behavior from so-called adults, too.

Let's start with the obvious: Talking.

Why is this so hard to understand? When the movie's on, you don't talk. You can whisper, of course. But not full-volume conversation, either with the person next to you or (heaven forfend) on your cell phone. It's rude.

Oh, wait. I think I just identified the problem. Rude doesn't mean what it used to, does it? In Mike's World, rude means "inconsiderate of others." This requires being aware of the presence of others, which seems not to be in fashion anymore.

Lots of moviegoers today don't seem to be aware that it is a shared experience, and lots of those who do know seem not to care. They behave, I suspect, pretty much as they would in their living rooms, which is to say boisterously and deplorably.

OK, now I want to get to something I saw at a screening of WALL-E, Disney/Pixar's terrific movie about a lonely little robot left to clean up an Earth that was completely and utterly trashed by its former occupants, humans.

The movie has great characters, a charming love story, trenchant commentary on the culture and habits of 21st Century Americans, and a compelling message about taking responsibility for our planet and cleaning up our messes.

The last seemed to be lost on the only other people in the theater, seated a few rows in front of me.

As the lights came on and we stood to leave, one of the them - a woman, a so-called grownup - tossed her popcorn bag to the floor. I guess I should mention that it was about three-quarters full of popcorn at the time.

Being the nosey sort, I drifter over to where she and her companion had been seated. It looked like an explosion at Orville Redenbacher's. I'm not kidding. There must have been a bushel of popped corn strewn around the place, along with several empty bags, a half-dozen drink cups and a few empty candy boxes.

I've tried to understand how someone could sit through a movie with such a strong environmental message and behave like Berkshire hogs. Perhaps they reason that since it's not their theater, they don't have to care. Or that it makes no difference because someone's going to clean it up after they leave. Or maybe they really are Berkshire hogs.

At any rate, I know this:

1. I want to see WALL-E again, but I fully intend to wait for the DVD.

2. I'm probably done going to theaters for the year. It's bad for my blood pressure.


3. If those hogs ever invite me over, I'm going to decline. If that's how they treat a shared space, I shudder to think how their living rooms must look.




© 2008 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.