I go to a lot of movies. I have three kids, so I can’t turn my phone off or put it on Do Not Disturb, because I have seen Manchester by the Sea and I remain terrified that if something terrible happens to my family, it will almost certainly happen while I’m in the theater. That doesn’t mean I text during a movie. That doesn’t mean I check my phone, but if it rings — on vibrate mode, of course — I want to know that my wife is not calling. I’ve set up a system: If it’s an emergency, call twice, because I will ignore the first phone call. If I get a second phone call, I will leave the theater as quietly as possible, walk out to the lobby, call my wife back and say, “This better be a fucking emergency.”
However, this system requires that I leave my phone on, which also means that my fucking pocket is going to buzz every time someone texts me, and it’s probably just my fantasy football text chain, but it’s still going to bug the shit out of me while I’m watching a movie.
So Apple’s “Theater Mode,” which is set to be introduced in the next IOS update, according to rumors, sounds perfect for me: It will turn off all notifications and dim the screen to the lowest setting, so theoretically I can check the home screen periodically to ensure that I haven’t been Casey Affleck’d (this is not a reference to his sexual harassment charges, but to his character in Manchester by the Sea).
Other people, however, fear that “Theater Mode” will open the doors to movie-theater texting, because people may feel encouraged by the dimly lit screen.
DO NOT BE THIS PERSON.
I don’t care how dim the screen is, if you’re sitting next to me and texting, I’m going to take the straw out of my soda and stab it into your eyeball. If you are not sitting near anyone else — and I always make it a point to sit as far away from other people as possible — you are allowed to briefly glance at your home screen no more than twice a movie, three times if it’s longer than two hours. That’s it. Anything beyond that, whether it’s in Theater Mode or not, means a straw stabbin’.
Full details of the update still remain shrouded in secrecy, but it’s expected to roll out on January 10th and have a popcorn icon, just in time for the release of Monster Trucks.