The big topic of discussion among movie fans this week involved the possibility of major cinema chains allowing texting and other smartphone usage during the show. In another discussion post on the issue, I sarcastically pondered some other activities that might one day warrant their own special screenings, a la the showtimes and auditoriums designated for people with babies. Some people seemed genuinely interested in a theater that allowed smoking again. I'm sure more than a few would like permission to smoke something other than cigarettes, too.
On the other side of the coin, I heard of people being distracted enough with in-theater food service and alcohol consumption at places like the Alamo Drafthouse, which is one chain deadset against phone use. The same chain also features special screenings for the purpose of singing or talking along with classic films (maybe even texting along at certain events?), titles that some people might wish were playing on the big screen without the allowance of such interactivity. I guess it just depends on what a theater owner finds acceptable fun.
I expect some jokey responses to this poll will involve sex, whether of the kind exhibited by Pee-Wee Herman, Peggy Olsen, Stifler's Mom or any other character (I think Unfaithful has a cinema sex scene too). I see nothing wrong with that being suggested. Now that there are no drive-ins, that heavy petting part of young moviegoing is indeed trickier than it was for previous generations. Not that any cinema chain would want to bother with the kind of insurance, safety measures and higher pay demands for ushers at those sorts of screenings.
Maybe there aren't a whole lot of other activities you wish you could do at the movies. Or maybe you just haven't been given the option of having your own private screening where you could smoke, drink, belch, eat loud foods, talk at the screen, talk with your friends, make a mess, etc. Basically, when I've had the privilege of being alone in an auditorium, Fred Topel's list of 10 Movie Habits Worse Than Texting is just a list of thing I'm doing at the movies, save for the ones about infants (this could soon change) and sitting in front of someone else.
Fortunately for all you other moviegoers out there, when I'm surrounded by others in a public screening I know to be on my best behavior, and I'll even feel bad when my popcorn eating during quiet scenes is bothering you. I guess the only real frowned-upon thing I still wish I could do is put my feet up on the chair or armrest in front of me. This is possible if the theater isn't too full, but even then I've had ushers get upset. So, while CinemaCon is over and it's too late to officially pitch the idea, when are theaters going to install ottomans in front of every seat?