Driver's EDitorial #14: Cell Phones. Seriously?


by: Jeremey Gingrich

Our Driver’s EDitorial is a weekly column designed to express our opinion on something going on in Hollywood today. Sometimes we whine and complain about something we wish was different, other times we heap praise on the system for getting it right.

Really, I never wanted to be this guy. I love the movies. Not only do I love the experience of directors, writers, actors, producers, key grips coming together to create an entertainment, but I even enjoy sharing that entertainment in an auditorium of fellow movie-goers. Experiencing a movie on your own can be an academic as well as entertaining experience, as you can pay astute attention to even the most minute of details; but you don’t get the communal experience of sharing the laughs, the thrills, the tears with an audience going through those same emotions for the first time. That’s one of my favorite things about the movies, and the times I get to experience that the most are during the summer, with the crowded theaters for the summer blockbusters, and during the Christmas releases. At this time of year, everyone has countless days off, the Academy Award nominees start coming out, and it just feels good after the big Christmas feast to leave the dishes in the sink and just escape for two hours to a world of your choosing. Plus, after the unpleasant conversations most families have around the collective dinner table, sometimes it’s just good to sit in silence for two hours.

Cell Phones in Movie theaters

However, on three separate occasions during this holiday movie season, some audience members (one of my favorite aspects of the movies) have sullied my movie-going experience. I’m not the guy that points this stuff out, either. I love the movies so much, that these are usually the things I overlook to justify my continued attendance at the multiplexes across America to this site’s main proprietor, Brad Sturdivant, who is adamant on his premise that people ruin the movies. However, given these last few experiences, and don’t tell Brad this, I’m actually coming around a bit to his way of thinking.

My biggest problem, my HUGEST problem, is with cell phones. Cell phones in the God blessed movie theaters! Listen, American movie goers, I counted and there is not one, not two, but three reminders before the start of your movie to turn off/silence your cell phones. Some of which are done in creative and funny ways, such as the ads with the fictional Happy the Hedgehog movies and ROBOTS FROM SPACE in which they blow up the actual Mount Rushmore. Then there’s the requisite reminder before and after the previews to turn off your cell phones with the recently added caveat of NO TEXTS, as well. The “no texts” bit is genius, by the way, as a lit up screen on a cell phone with someone clickety-clacking away at a text during a movie is unbearable.

cell phone 3

But on these three recent occasions, the intrusion into my movie was so egregious, I felt the need to write this editorial, the main bullet point to which is TURN OFF YOUR DAMN CELL PHONES. I mean, it really is quite simple. I remember to do it and I’m as simple a creature as you’ll ever find. And if I think I’m going to receive an important phone call in the 2 hour movie (rare for all of us as, face it, none of us are that important) I will put it on vibrate and hold it in my hand so when I get the call I can walk out of the theater and take the call in the lobby. Is that really such a difficult plan to formulate? Apparently so, as when I was in UP IN THE AIR recently a woman behind me felt her phone call, announced to me by her “Party in the USA” ring tone, was so important she had to take the call during the movie, during a pivotal exchange between George Clooney and Anna Kendrick. I would have scolded her over movie theater etiquette but she was with her children and I would have felt bad. Either that or the children would have beat the hell out of me.

Other recent situations were more benign, both of which were simply phones ringing during the movie, one a regular ring tone and one a Jackson 5 song, and though I like the Jackson 5 and the offenders quickly and awkwardly fumbled around to turn off the sound, the sound was still there. And these three occasions combined to inspire me to work as another reminder to movie-goers to please silence your cell phones when you are in the car pulling up to the theater. Don’t wait until you’re in the building, just shut it off! Shut it off as soon as you make the decision to go to the movies! Think of this as a grand gesture of man’s humanity toward his fellow man. Think of it as following basic instructions. Or just think of it as a simple gesture of common decency. Just do it, okay? This has been a public service announcement from your good friends at But again, don’t tell Brad.

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