Let’s All Go to the Movies! (And Get Ourselves a Thwack.)

I have thoughts on Infinity War, but they include spoilers to first I’m going to give you a bonus story about something that happened to me at the theater first to give you a chance to go away before you can blame me for spoiling the movie for you.

We go to the Cinebistro close by because once you experience a movie with seat service, it’s very difficult to go back to sitting with the peasants. We got there just in time to order our food, we started eating when the previews began, and then the lights went all the way down and we began to enjoy the movie.

About 15 minutes in a man came into the theater with his cell phone out and on, and stood near us just chatting away on it, and it even dinged a few times for good measure.

I said: “Can you take that outside please?” (in a slightly aggravated tone, tbh, and for good reason)

He said: “Shut your fucking mouth, I’m just trying to find someone. If you want to get lippy about it I’ll come over there and backhand you.”

My husband said: “EXCUSE ME?”

And then the man walked away, down into the first row of the balcony to sit down.

I immediately stood up, walked out of the theater (again, we were already like 15 minutes into the movie. I am missing the movie at this point) and went to the front desk and asked to speak to a manager. I informed him that I was threatened in my theater by a man who arrived significantly late for the movie and was using his cell phone, and I expected that he be removed so I could feel safe to reenter the theater and enjoy the movie.

The first manager I spoke to said: “We can’t do anything about hearsay. If we didnt see it happen, there’s nothing I can do about it.”

This is when I began to shake and hold back tears. “it’s not hearsay if it happened directly to me. You mean to say that this man, who showed up late, used his cell phone, threatened to hit me, gets to enjoy this movie while I have already been disturbed during it, threatened, and I am now missing a significant chunk of it trying to get help BECAUSE I WAS THREATENED WITH PHYSICAL HARM????”

This manager said: “Hold on one second” and then walked away. I got to stand awkwardly in the lobby, waiting.

Another manager came back around the corner, and asked me what the man looked like and what theater I was in. I walked back with him to the theater, pointed him out, and went back to my seat. The husband asked if I wanted to leave, and in that moment, my answer was yes. This man knew where I was sitting, could confront me at any time, and I did not feel safe to stay there if the theater wasn’t going to do anything about it.

So we made our way out to the front desk to get a refund for the tickets and our food (which we had only partially eaten). The manager came back and said that the guy denied it, but he planned to go back in as the movie was ending to confront him about it. They issued our refund, but then the manager, this second manager who has been so kind and apologizing the entire time, asked if I still wanted to see the movie.

I wasn’t sure. I was pretty shaken up. Not since I was getting batted around in my teens had I been threatened so directly and aggressively and that trauma came to the surface and I couldn’t seem to manage it. The manager, I’ll call him Tom, Tom said there was a showing in just 45 minutes and they have two seats together on an aisle that we were welcome to have for free if we wanted, and would it be okay if he refired our food fresh for us for this new showing?

I took a deep breath, and decided to stay. The husband and I got a drink of water and took a short walk before going into the theater for attempt 2 at Avengers: Infinity War. I’m not sure what happened to that man, but he can rest assured that I have imagined 100 ways I could have handled that differently, so when the next asshole thinks he can test me he won’t catch me unawares. He’ll get a response he wasn’t expecting.

I mean, imagine walking into a movie late, and not just during the previews but like, into the movie, so really you’re like 30-45 minutes late. Imagine not being at all apologetic, and on top of that you walk into the theater where someone was shot in an altercation involving the use of a cell phone, USING YOUR CELL PHONE ON FULL BRIGHTNESS WITH THE SOUND ON. And then, when someone nearby asks you to take your phone outside YOU THREATEN THEM WITH PHYSICAL HARM. I mean, that takes so many levels of entitlement and privilege that it’s almost impossible to wrap my mind around.

Thank goodness for the kindness and caring of Tom, because if that first manager was the only person to interact with me on this issue my next call would have been to a local TV station or to the actual police.

Anyway that’s my story. It was scary but people (eventually) took care of me, and of course the husband was there supporting me too. I got to see the full movie with no interruptions, and that review will be up tomorrow. It will be stuffed with spoilers though, so be warned.