This past weekend, I saw two movies on consecutive days and was reminded that you never know what the hell you’re going to get with your movie-going experience. In one instance, for X-Men: First Class, I was in a massive chain theater packed with a relatively young crowd there to see a big summer tentpole flick. The other was The Tree of Life which, as you might expect, was in a much smaller (though no less full) indie theater with an older and presumably more cinephiley crowd.
Now if I were to tell you that one theater had several assholes trying their best to ruin the movie experience, you’d be smart to bet on X-Men and I’d be happy to take your money. The crowd there was perfect. The Tree of Life theater, however, had several loud sumbitches who wouldn’t shut up or stop digging through large plastic bags to find shit to stuff in their pieholes, not to mention at least two cell phones going off, and a few text messagers. I spent half the time wanting to punch someone, and I don’t think that’s exactly the emotion Malick was trying to evoke. Point being, each and every time you go to the theater, you’re rolling the dice as you never know if you’re going to get one of those good movie theater experiences or one of the bad ones.
Unless you live in Austin, Texas. Because if you live there, you’ve got the Alamo Drafthouse chain, and I hate you for it. If you’ve ever read our South by Southwest coverage, you’ve heard just about every critic who writes for this site blather on lovingly about the Alamo Drafthouse. Run by Tim League, these theaters are things of beauty, as Long and company actually care about film and the moviegoing experience. Yes, they serve food (shockingly good food considering the large menu and how quickly they’re able to whip up their wares). And yes, they serve booze. But it’s more than that, from the fun decor, to the cool screening and events, to the always entertaining PSAs they run before their films reminding you that you should not be talking or texting.
And they’ve got a fantastic new PSA. As Tim Long wrote about on his blog yesterday, a story which has been widely publicized since then (well, “widely” among the film blogosphere anyways), they are more than willing to kick your ass out for texting:
Recently, we had a situation where a customer persisted in texting in the theater despite two warnings to stop. Our policy at that point is to eject the customer without a refund, which is exactly what went down that night. Luckily, this former patron was so incensed at being kicked out, she quickly called the office and left us the raw ingredients for our latest “Don’t Talk or Text” PSA.
And, well, this is just amazing (NSFW at a high volume, as there are vulgarities a-plenty):
I’ve watched this thing at least five times and just can’t get enough.
Tim buddy, if you’re reading this, I know there are growing rumors that you’re going to open an LA theater now that you’re into film distribution. Please make it happen, sir. I’m happy to invest. Or if nothing else, I can at least promise to bring all my friends and that we’ll all become regular patrons.