What to ask yourself before texting during a movie…

Every movie fan has been annoyed by inconsiderate people in the audience.  Worst of all might be the people who check their phone during the movie, not caring about the bright screen that’s hugely distracting.  Every theater has some sort of pre-show behavior warning, though some are better than others.  (We’ve come a long way since the days where “no smoking” was the most important warning that theaters had to give.)  Here’s one, from the famous Alamo Drafthouse, which has a very strict etiquette policy.

That’s Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller Continue reading

This is not the Joss Whedon article I intended to write…

I had every intention of writing an article exploring Joss Whedon’s treatment of sex in his various works, and then I started doing some research online.  When I write articles like the one I was envisioning, I worry about unintentionally copying someone else’s ideas, so do a bit of searching to make sure that I still have something new to say.  Sometimes I find that someone else has put out an essay that says exactly what I wanted, only better, and I’ll simply abandon my idea.  Other times, I’ll find an article arguing the opposite of what I want to say, but in a way that allows me to write my opinions as a rebuttal (this worked really well for my Star Wars prequel analysis).  It’s important to read a variety of opinions, because challenging ourselves is the best way to grow, both as a writer/blogger and as a person.

But something different happened to me when I started searching for articles about Joss Whedon and sex.  I still have a lot to say, and maybe I’ll write that analysis soon, but for the moment I’m giving up on it.   Continue reading

How do we deal with Orson Scott Card and the Ender’s Game movie?

The discussion about Ender’s Game has reached a head in the last several days, with new statements from Orson Scott Card, Lionsgate and now with the film appearing at Comic-con, so I thought I’d give my two cents worth.  For those of you who don’t know, Ender’s Game is a science fiction book from 1985 written by Card, which has a movie adaptation of it coming out on November 1st.  I remember reading the book repeatedly in middle school; at the time it was one of my favorites, though I never read any of its sequels.  It wasn’t until later that I learned the truth about Orson Scott Card.

You see, Card is the worst sort of homophobe.   Continue reading

A Critic’s Manifesto

I’ve been watching the Rotten Tomatoes score for The Lone Ranger slowly climb from a rather horrific 17% today, and it’s gotten me thinking about critics and reviews and the movie review industry as a whole.  In fact, I read a blurb from one review that stated, “Everyone wants this to be horrible,” and it makes me wonder how much film reviews in the industry are shaped both by what people expect from a movie, what they want to happen to the movie, and what they think people expect and want the reviews to say.  So if you’ll excuse the rambling, unorganized and meta nature of this post, here are some of my thoughts. Continue reading

Why is it so hard to make a good soundtrack album?

The third CD that I ever bought was a film soundtrack (the first two were Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” and Garth Brooks’ “Greatest Hits”).  It was the soundtrack to Independence Day, and I actually bought it in the hopes of it having R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” which for some reason I really wanted on CD.  I was disappointed when the song was missing from the soundtrack album, but after listening to the CD I realized how much I enjoyed the score, composed by David Arnold.  Thus began my obsession with film scores, and my collection of albums showcasing them.

I’ve been listening to the Jurassic Park soundtrack for the past week or so on my commute to work, and I’ve realized that there are several very big problems with the film score album as a whole in the industry.  I don’t know why it’s so damn hard to put together a decent album from a film score, but I’ve come up with a list of several of the problems: Continue reading

Movie Marathon Planning

Movie Marathon Planning Schedule

Last year for my birthday I had a movie marathon.  I saw Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Brave and The Avengers in the theater in one day.  Yes I paid for a ticket for every film.  I decided to do it partially because it just seemed like a fun idea, but also because I wanted to break my previous record of 3 films in a day in the theater.  I picked the day in advance, knowing which films would be available for viewing and waited for the showtimes to be posted.  It all worked out, I was able to schedule everything in what I anticipated to be an ascending level of quality (I had already seen The Avengers by this point).  Everything went smoothly and I had a great time and some friends even joined me for Brave.

So, naturally, I decided to repeat the event this year, making it an annual birthday tradition.  I decided on having it this Saturday at the newly refurbished theater that is the closest to my house (a different theater than the one I went to last year).  I chose a range of movies that would give me a variety of styles and hopefully a good scattering of showtimes.   Continue reading

Patrick Stewart Fights to Stop Violence Against Women

Just in case you needed another reason that Patrick Stewart is awesome, there’s this video, which has been making the rounds lately.  Many people tend to criticize celebrities who speak out in support of or in opposition to an issue, a cause, or a politician, though most only seem to criticize when the celebrity supports a position they themselves are opposed to and have no problem when a celebrity supports their side.  Aside from the fact that celebrities have the same right to voice their opinions as any other person, they also are in a special position given their fame.  And in no way is violence against women or empowering women a “political” issue, no matter what some people may try to say.  Take a look (Click here to read more from the woman who asked the question on her blog):

Are Patrick Stewart’s opinion and views more important than yours or mine?  No, of course not.  However, they are in a special position because of who he is.  Celebrities can reach a much wider audience than the average Love Pirate with a blog.   Continue reading

Analysis: Star Trek Into Darkness

This is my analysis of Star Trek Into Darkness.  Click here to read my spoiler-free review of the film.

I’ve documented my dislike for 2009’s Star Trek in a couple of places.  But to understand my more in-depth opinions on Star Trek Into Darkness I feel like I should summarize my general feelings about this “reboot;” feelings which carry over into this new film.  The gist of it is this: I wish that they had not chosen to use the time travel/alternate universe story telling device.

They really had three options if they wanted to do a story based on a young Kirk and his crew.  The first option was to simply do a prequel film, set within the timeline and beholden to everything we’d already seen in the various incarnations of Star Trek.  I can completely understand why they chose not to do this.  It would be very restrictive, with 10 films and 28 seasons of television that their prequels would have to respect and fit into.  It would be a chore simply to ensure accuracy, much less to write an enjoyable film within those rules.  And while many fans would surely have loved to see the Kirk that we love in Starfleet Academy, it’s probably for the best that they chose not to go this route.

The best option, in my opinion, would have been to opt for a complete reboot. Continue reading

A Few Words About Piracy

No, not this kind of piracy.

No, not this kind of piracy.

For those not familiar with WordPress, the site tracks a variety of stats for my blog, including what search terms led people here.  After a few months on WordPress, I’ve realized that having the word “Pirate” in my movie-related blog title leads some people here who might be searching for pirated movies.  I get a lot of searches like “iron man 3 pirate” or “life of pi from the pirate way,” presumably a misspelling of The Pirate Bay, the popular torrent site.  (I also randomly get people who click over to my Tomb Raider videogame review, looking for a walkthrough of the pirate ship section of the game.  To those people I apologize, and recommend they check IGN.)  So with the number of people who come looking for pirated movies, I feel like I should tell you: I am strongly opposed to media piracy.

I know many people who regularly pirate movies and tv shows. Continue reading

Movie Etiquette

It has become evident to me that many people are unaware of the proper etiquette for attending a movie.  Recently, many theaters have started having less subtle messages to create a more enjoyable movie going experience, but I felt I should provide a step by step instruction sheet for those who might be confused or uninformed.  Feel free to copy this and print it out to take to a movie with you, and if you see someone being rude hand it to them after the show.  I will attempt to put this in a chronological order, with individual guidelines for each stage of the movie going experience.



Movie Etiquette


            – First and foremost, do not be rude.  If you are doing something that you think might have the potential to disturb someone, then do not do it.  If you are doing something that would disturb you should someone else do it, then do not do it.  Above all else, think of others before yourself.

            – Movies are not social events.  You may be social before or after the movie, but a film is a work of art to be appreciated both on an individual level and as a group.  If you are with a group of your friends or family, all of you focus on the film and save discussions for later.  If you are not enjoying the film as much as you would like do not attempt to supplement it with socializing.  If you are bored with the film, leave, otherwise enjoy the film and enjoy the feeling of a shared artistic experience, leave the socializing for later.




            – Do your best to arrive on time for the feature.  It is better for all involved if everyone is comfortably seated and situated before the houselights dim.  If you must arrive late, do so without talking or excessive wandering.  Take the first available seating and be satisfied.



            – Many people have particular seating locations that they prefer (e.g., I like to be as close to center as possible).  However, at a showing that is not sold out, please refrain from sitting directly behind, in front of, or next to other patrons if at all possible.  It is immensely frustrating to be alone in a theater and to have someone else come sit directly in front or behind you.  Please also decide on seating arrangements, so that there is no playing of musical chairs once the lights dim.

            – At a sold out showing, please fill in all available seats, sliding towards the center and leaving no empty seats.  This allows late comers to fill in at the aisles with a minimum amount of disruption.



            – I will skip the commentary on the ridiculous state of the concessions at most theaters and simply say this.  Please get all food arranged before the lights dim.  If any candy needs to be opened, now is the time.  If food is to be shared, arrange this so as to do it silently once the film starts.


Trailers (Previews)

            – It is understandable that people will want to discuss a trailer for a particular film, and their desire (or lack thereof) to see such a film.  Please follow the guidelines in the film section, however, for all discussions during trailers.  If you feel you must discuss something with your companions, the best time is between trailers.  Many people very much enjoy the trailer portion of the movie going experience, and it is equally as rude to disturb them during this time as it is to disturb them during the film itself.





            – To me, one of the most important things to be aware of is attitude.  Those who know me know that I take my movies very seriously.  That does not mean that I do not laugh or have a good time, it just means that I get very emotionally involved in a film.  One of the things that is the most frustrating is when someone laughs at something that is not meant to be funny, especially if done repeatedly.  I have seen many a film, serious dramatic films, where what would have been a heart-wrenching scene is spoiled because someone lacking in maturity thought a character’s pain was funny.  Perhaps modern movie goers have no empathy for others and therefore find inappropriate things funny.  If you want to laugh at or relish in the pain of others then see a slapstick comedy, or a horror movie designed for that purpose.  Otherwise, appreciate the movie for what it is and not what you wish it was.  One suggestion is to try to involve yourself in the movie, and if you can not empathize with the characters, at least sympathize, and you will find that you will have a much more fulfilling experience.


Cell Phones/Electronic Devices

            – By far the most common rudeness involves the use of cell phones, and other such devices.  The guideline for such devices is very simple.  TURN THEM OFF.  If you are unable to be out of contact with the world outside the theater for the length of the film, then you should not be there.  DO NOT put your phone on vibrate or silent modes.  Vibrate mode still makes noise and shows those around you that you are so rude as to know that cell phones disturb others but you still are so rude as to leave it on.  I understand that if you turn your phone off it will not show you any calls that are missed, but if the calls are important they will leave a message.  Do everyone around you a favor and just turn it off.  The remaining guidelines should be moot if this one rule is followed.  DO NOT send text messages, DO NOT check your missed calls, and DO NOT even open your phone.  Cell phone screens give off an unreal amount of light, even if you hold it down by your hip.  They can light up the entire theater and distract and annoy everyone sitting behind you, the same goes for watches with glowing faces.  Your phone should be off.  DO NOT call people or answer your phone during the film.  DO NOT play games on your phone.  DO NOT be rude in any way.  Your phone should be off before the film starts and should stay off until you exit the theater.



            – Generally, there should be no talking during a film.  All discussion can take place once you have exited the theater.  However, it is understandable that through the course of 2-3 hours, some talking might need to occur.  If you must talk to someone, ONLY talk to the person sitting directly next to you.  When you want to talk to them, tap them to get their attention, lean in and place your mouth within an inch or so of their ear, cup your hands around your mouth so that no sound can escape, and whisper as quietly as you can.  If you follow this simple procedure, no one else should be able to hear even the slightest noise.  DO NOT provide your own commentary on the movie, this is a public theater not your private living room.  DO NOT make comments designed to cause others to laugh, especially during serious films.  DO NOT attempt to communicate with anyone who is not sitting directly next to you.  These guidelines apply to ALL movies, not just serious dramas.  A comedy can be ruined by rude behavior just as easily as a drama.

            – Avoid going to the restroom during the movie if at all possible.  It usually is not necessary to get the largest size drink.  Know how long the movie is beforehand and plan your drinking accordingly.  If you must go to the restroom, wait until a moment in the movie which would be the least disturbing for those around and behind you.  During an action film this could be immediately following an action scene, during a drama it could be soon after a scene of heightened emotion, during a comedy after a particularly funny scene.  If you know before the film starts that you are likely to need to use the restroom, try to find a seat on an aisle, and as near as possible to the exit, allowing you to slip away and back with a minimum amount of disturbance.  Avoid walking along a walkway across the front of the theater.  Most modern theaters have two entrances/exits to the lobby; use the one nearest to you.  Walking across the whole theater is a sure way to bother the maximum amount of people.

            – Avoid fidgeting as much as possible.  It is understandable that most people will need to shift position during the course of a movie, but do so as little as necessary, and as quietly and smoothly as possible.  Do not let your feet tap on the floor, do not kick the seat in front of you, do not raise and lower the armrests, and do not switch seats.

            – If you have concessions with you, please eat/drink them as quietly as possible.  It is preferable for you to finish all snacks before the start of the film, but if you are unable to, be quiet about it.  Do not crunch ice or make slurping noises with your straw.



            – If you desire to attend a film while sick, please put considerable thought into whether you can comfortably sit through a movie without disturbing others.  Take medicine beforehand if necessary.  If you think you will need to blow your nose, have your tissues ready before the lights dim, so you do not have to hunt for them.  Only blow your nose, cough, or make any other noise at a time when you feel you will cause the least disruption, preferably during a noisy part.  If you have an extended fit of coughing, excuse yourself from the theater and go OUTSIDE to the lobby.  You can still be heard coughing in the entrance hallway.  If you think you will have trouble with any of these guidelines, stay at home and watch a DVD.  It will be more enjoyable for those at the theater and for you if you do not have to worry about making sick noises.



            – I go to all types of movies, from R-rated to G-rated, and I am a great supporter of taking your children to a movie as a family.  I very much look forward to the day when my wife and I can take our children to the movies.  There are several things that must be considered before taking a child to a film.

            – Know your child and do your research.  There are many sources available that will tell you EXACTLY what is in a particular film (www.kids-in-mind.com).  If you are unsure if a film is suitable for a child, then do not take that child.  I cannot recall the number of times that I have seen children of 10 or younger in an R-rated film.  If you feel your child can handle this film, then that is your choice to make.  If you think your child will be scared or bored during a movie, choose something else.  If you can not find a babysitter to watch your child while you see a more adult movie, then wait until it is available to rent and you can watch it at home.

            – If your child is too young to sit through a movie then do not bring it.  Before bringing a child to a movie, find a comparable movie on DVD and sit down with your child to watch it.  If the child runs around, talks, cannot sit still, or cries during the course of the DVD, then it is probably not ready for the theater experience.

            – Please teach your child the proper etiquette for a film.  Teach them not to talk aloud, run around, kick the seat in front, or otherwise disturb people.  Just because you might be watching a “kids movie” does not excuse anyone from the guidelines.  Pay attention to your child’s behavior and if it becomes unruly, take the child out of the theater.  If this means you have to sit outside and wait for the rest of your party to finish watching the movie, or if it means your entire party must leave, then that is what must happen.




            – Many people enjoy watching the ending credits of a film.  For this reason please keep talking to a minimum at least until inside the exit hallways.  Do not stand in front of people who appear to be watching the credits, you might cause them to miss the credit that they were looking for.  Wait until you leave the theater to turn your cell phone on.  REMOVE YOUR TRASH.  The employees of the theater are not there to clean up your trash, this is not a football game.  Also, there is nothing worse than getting nacho cheese all over your shoe because someone left their nacho tray underfoot.  Hold the door when leaving so it does not slam someone in the face.


Above all things put others before yourself.  Be kind and considerate, avoid being rude, and help others to enjoy the film.  Remember that you are there to see and hear a work of art, not to participate in a show.  Hundreds and sometimes even thousands of people worked hard to bring this art to you, and it is a shame to ruin their hard work and other people’s enjoyment of that work for your own selfish needs.