The IP Weekly
My son and I made it back to The Batman finally the other day. Needless to say we were excited to see the movie and happy to see it together. I am happy to report that the movie played all the way through without any technical difficulty and the theatre granted us admission despite having expired movie passes. This doesn’t mean that the movie was without drama.
In the partially filled theatre was a group of 6 or 7 teenaged viewers who were, seemingly, disinterested in the caped crusader. These movie goers, seated in the row in front of my son and I, changed seats constantly, threw food at each other and talked rather loudly throughout. I am aware that I probably sound a little uptight given my complaints. I was frustrated throughout the movie and so was my son. We sat wondering, we discovered later, exactly how to handle the situation. It was a distraction from the movie to be sure, but the world has changed these past few years and I wasn’t exactly sure how to press ahead without causing even more of a problem.
There is a social contract amongst movie goers that has been in existence for years. I think that contract is something like, don’t forget you aren’t the only people in the theatre. So keep your voices low and behave. Yes, there has been an adjustment with the advent of the cell phone. Even I am guilty of checking my phone from time to time and while I try to keep it low and my volume is always off it wouldn’t surprise me if the light creates a mild distraction for others. The social contract extends, however, to how we approach each other to change someone’s behavior and that was the struggle my son and I both were dealing with.
We have lost some of our social etiquette since the pandemic began I think. People have adopted hair trigger tempers and do not take corrective behavior suggestions, even polite ones, well. We get to see videos of this on airplanes, markets, restaurants, schools. I admit to being worried about this while being distracted from the movie. I was prepared to ask this group to please be quieter even though I know it was just as likely to create an even louder disturbance. So while I thought through my options and hoped my son wouldn’t take his own actions I sat paralyzed. A viewer in the row behind us did leave to alert management of this problem and someone did come and ask the teenagers to be quiet and that did work for a short time. By the way, I had considered that as a viable option only reminding myself of the low opinion of management I had maintained from our last attempt to see this movie.
I think most of us are aware that we have a societal problem here. Many of our social contracts, the ones we take for granted, are being violated. Maybe some are due for revision and we will all make adjustments over time. Maybe we will swing back as a collective closer to where we once were. Maybe we were never really there in the first place and it’s just become more socially acceptable to be rude or disruptive. Either way I’m glad we got to see the movie and we had a wonderful discussion after it. I’m not so sure how soon it’ll be before I go back to the theatre again. I need some time off I think.