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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Basic Biittner : Is this really necessary ? Unfortunately, yes

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fridley Theatres, an Iowa-based company which owns and operates several movie theaters throughout Iowa, including Cherokee's American Theater, has just developed a Courtesy Code that they expect their "guests" (aka paying customers) to follow. we printed the list of ten behaviors that the Fridley Co. and their local theater managers expect from their customers in order for all paying customers to be able to thoroughly enjoy the movie-going experience.

The Fridley management states that the code is based on "common courtesy" and "Midwestern values." The conduct they are expecting from their "guests" (i.e., the moviegoing public) is not all that demanding, in my opinion. They ask that customers not run, scream, use cell phones (be it for calling, receiving calls, texting or checking messages), use appropriate (i.e., not "R rated" language) or talk excessively.

While I personally have never encountered anyone running in the theater, I have been distracted by other audience members talking loudly and checking their cell phones (it's amazing how distracting a small light can be in a dark theater). As for abusive language, unfortunately I hear this virtually everywhere I go, not just in the theater.

The bottom line is, though it certainly shouldn't be necessary for Fridley (or anyone else) to have to draw up an actual statement of their expectations of conduct, unfortunately that seems to be the case these days.

And that's a shame. Obviously, some people aren't learning common courtesy at home or elsewhere. when I go to a movie (at least one which has a decent plot and good dialogue), I want to be able to hear what's being said between the characters on the screen. If one cares about the movie's story-line, it's kind of important.

If some audience members want to "talk amongst themselves," fine. Leave the theater and go somewhere else to have your chat. But you are awfully disturbing to those of us in the audience who paid good money to watch and LISTEN to a film.

There could be many reasons why such a lack of common courtesy seems to be more prevalent these days. Perhaps we're all so used to watching TV in our homes, we forget that we're in public and can't just burst out with a comments, etc. whenever we damn well please. For one thing, there is no rewind or DVR function in a theater - once you missed a line, that's it. Of course, I could ask my neighbor in the theater "What did he say?" , and believe me, I have - but that neighbor really isn't crazy about taking the time then and there to tell me what I missed. For one thing, if they do, chances are that both of us will miss the next thing that's being said or done on the screen.

I am a movie lover, a "film freak/geek," whatever you want to call it, and that involves sometimes actually enjoying a film in an actual theater. Though TV screens are getting larger and larger and "surround sound" and "Dolby Digital sound" can also make the "home theater" experience pretty nifty, the fact is that there is nothing like watching a good movie in an actual movie theater, grabbing some hot buttered popcorn and a soft drink an "getting away from it all," wrapped up in an entertaining film. That wonderful experience also includes limited distractions from those around you. I mean, audience members laughing, crying or cheering together in reaction to what's going on on the big screen is great.

Having to listen to other audience members talk loudly about what's going on in their own lives - is not.

C'mon people. Heed the call. Show (or learn) some common courtesy in the movie theater - and elsewhere.