Earlier this week a twitter user started a thread in which she live -tweeted her experience watching I Feel Pretty. No, not because she wanted to chronicle the film, but because Greta Gerwig sat in front of her and allegedly proceeded to act like an asshole. Admittedly, the thread was very funny, highlighting all of the quirky things that one would expect when a character such as Gerwig takes in a midday screening of a movie that, by all accounts, is pretty lame. Naturally, film twitter reacted to this news in a million different ways, some funny, some awful, and all relatively pointless. And while this whole situation is rather silly, it highlighted a lot of things that I find to be frustrating about celebrity culture, the moviegoing experience, and the punishingly awful news cycle that is so often attached to online film discourse. So let’s talk about all of that. Here are what I believe SHOULD be the takeaways from all of this.
- Put your phone away at the movies, you selfish child.
Under no circumstances should you ever use your phone at a movie. None. The doors are not locked, and if you absolutely cannot disconnect yourself from the world for two hours, you can always step outside and use your phone. I can’t believe that I have to say this, but yes, even silent texting is a huge distraction. Yes, even if your screen brightness is turned down to its lowest setting, it is still a huge distraction. No, it does not matter that you’re a doctor or that you need to be available for in case your babysitter calls, or that an indie film darling sat down in front of you and has decided to offer unsolicited commentary. Put your phone away. Movies are expensive, and even if it seems as if your fellow filmgoers don’t care (a distinction that this live-tweeter was careful to make – although she also indicated that Gerwig was shushed at some point), you still suck and are wrong. Put your phone away or wait until you can watch the movie at home. You’ve been out in public before, right? Act like it.
2. Shut up at the movies, you inconsiderate jerk.
Movies being shown at the theater cannot be paused. The volume cannot be altered. Until I sit down at home with the blu-ray and choose to watch a commentary track, I do not want commentary. I don’t care if you’re a beloved, Oscar nominated filmmaker/actor/notable person, the ticket that I purchased does not indicate that commentary will be included. Therefore, your unsolicited actions are inconsiderate and terrible. Shut your mouth. It’s also worth noting that movies, being a completely non-sentient entity, CANNOT HEAR YOU. No matter how loud you speak, the film in the can is the film on the screen. It cannot be changed. The characters cannot hear you. This isn’t a stage play.
Please note that you should shut up at plays too.
The tweeter (who I won’t link here because tweets made during a movie needn’t be read) even capped off her tweet storm by saying that Gerwig’s behavior has validated the many times she herself has been shushed at a movie. THE IS THE EXACT WRONG TAKEAWAY AND YOU ARE A SPOILED CHILD FOR THINKING THIS.
3. Celebrities don’t owe you a thing, because neither you nor they actually matter.
While I did indeed enjoy the thread which threw Ms. Gerwig under the bus, it did make me wonder at what point this tweet storm became an invasion of privacy. A lot of the subsequent online discourse got into the ethics of what happened, and it seems no consensus has been reached. For some it’s sort of a ‘who cares?’ kind of thing. For some, Gerwig “deserved” it because she’s a public figure who misbehaved. For others it’s a violation of privacy. I fall somewhere in the middle of all three reactions, but I do contend that if this were anybody but a celebrity, the conversation would be much different. The fact of the matter is that Gerwig deserves no special treatment due to her celebrity status. She also has the right to go see a movie and not have to worry about becoming a news item for doing so.
4. Don’t believe everything you read, you lazy moron.
Before any sort of reaction is tendered, it’s extremely important to remember that this whole thing likely didn’t even happen. While it feels very believable, we are taking the words of a follow-hungry rando as cold, hard fact. There’s a very real chance that this is all total make believe, and even if it’s not, it’s at least been punched up for entertainment’s sake. Sure my silly anger in the bulk of this piece probably rings as me not taking my own advice, so I’ll say it loud and clear: I don’t know or care if any of this is true, but I’ve had enough moviegoing experiences ruined by talkers and texters that this situation, regardless of validity, is very worth discussing. The movie theater is a public place that people pay hard-earned money to experience, and no matter who you are, no matter what you feel the quality of the movie is, no matter how close you are to other audience members, no matter what you think their reaction will be, YOU DO NOT GET TO BEHAVE OUTSIDE OF THE ESTABLISHED SET OF RULES. NOBODY HAS THAT RIGHT, AND IF THE WORLD WAS A PERFECT PLACE YOU WOULD BE KICKED OUT WITHOUT A REFUND.
Anywho, anyone see Revenge yet? You should. It’s fantastic.
Author: Dan Scully
Dan Scully is a film buff and humorist living in a tiny apartment in Philadelphia. He hosts the podcast I Like to Movie Movie and is the proud father to twin cactuses named Riggs & Murtaugh. Also, he doesn’t really mind when Batman kills people. Follow him on Twitter and Letterboxd.