Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
'Justified' Rides Into the Sunset As One of TV's Best Shows, If Not One of Its Most Watched 'Justified' Rides Into the Sunset As One of TV's Best Shows, If Not One of Its Most Watched A Writer From The Onion Totally Destroys Patton Oswalt in This Epic Twitter Rant A Writer From The Onion Totally Destroys Patton Oswalt in This Epic Twitter Rant The Death-by-Skype Horror Movie 'Unfriended' Is an Unlikely Critical Hit The Death-by-Skype Horror Movie 'Unfriended' Is an Unlikely Critical Hit 'Justified's Finale Did Just Enough to Be Perfect 'Justified's Finale Did Just Enough to Be Perfect The 'Game of Thrones' Leak: Don't Blame Critics (At Least Not Yet) The 'Game of Thrones' Leak: Don't Blame Critics (At Least Not Yet) David Chase Has Explained the Ending of 'The Sopranos' Again. Maybe He Should Stop Explaining David Chase Has Explained the Ending of 'The Sopranos' Again. Maybe He Should Stop Explaining The A.V. Club Picks the 100 Best Movies of the Decade; 'The Master' Tops the List The A.V. Club Picks the 100 Best Movies of the Decade; 'The Master' Tops the List Daily Reads: Why CSI: Cyber Is a Bad Show Worth Watching, the New 'Twin Peaks' Mystery, and More Daily Reads: Why CSI: Cyber Is a Bad Show Worth Watching, the New 'Twin Peaks' Mystery, and More Daily Reads: 10 Reasons Why 'Justified' Rocked, The Case for Kristen Stewart, and more Daily Reads: 10 Reasons Why 'Justified' Rocked, The Case for Kristen Stewart, and more 'Simpsons' Showrunner Al Jean Says No Further Seasons Will Be Released on DVD 'Simpsons' Showrunner Al Jean Says No Further Seasons Will Be Released on DVD Daily Reads: Just Show Us the Damn Trailer, 'The Avengers' vs. 'Man of Steel,' and More Daily Reads: Just Show Us the Damn Trailer, 'The Avengers' vs. 'Man of Steel,' and More 'While We're Young': Noah Baumbach's Xer-Millennial Comedy Ponders the Difference Between Sharing People's Lives and Stealing Them 'While We're Young': Noah Baumbach's Xer-Millennial Comedy Ponders the Difference Between Sharing People's Lives and Stealing Them Daily Reads: 5 Key 'Game of Thrones' Premiere Scenes, Why 'Wonder Woman' Losing Its Director Was Good News, and More Daily Reads: 5 Key 'Game of Thrones' Premiere Scenes, Why 'Wonder Woman' Losing Its Director Was Good News, and More What Paul Walker's Digital "Fast & Furious" Double Reveals About the Troubling Future of Film Acting What Paul Walker's Digital "Fast & Furious" Double Reveals About the Troubling Future of Film Acting Why Andrew Jarecki's 'The Jinx' Could Be Very, Very Bad for Documentaries Why Andrew Jarecki's 'The Jinx' Could Be Very, Very Bad for Documentaries The Children's Book from 'The Babadook' Will Terrify You in the Real World The Children's Book from 'The Babadook' Will Terrify You in the Real World The Hollywood Reporter Ranks New York's Top Film Critics, From 'Cream Puffs' to 'F*ckers' The Hollywood Reporter Ranks New York's Top Film Critics, From 'Cream Puffs' to 'F*ckers' Criticwire Survey: Best Horror Movies Since 2000 Criticwire Survey: Best Horror Movies Since 2000 Daily Reads: Why No One Remembers "Avatar," the Best Blu-rays and DVDs of 2014, and more Daily Reads: Why No One Remembers "Avatar," the Best Blu-rays and DVDs of 2014, and more The Scrambled Sexuality of 'Frozen's "Let It Go" The Scrambled Sexuality of 'Frozen's "Let It Go"

From the Wire: In-Theater Cell Phone Use Epidemic Spreads to Sundance

Criticwire By Matt Singer | Criticwire January 22, 2013 at 3:19PM

And can it be stopped?
11
"Ratatouille."
"Ratatouille."

I've seen some of the best movies of my entire life at film festivals -- and shared the experiences with some of the worst audiences. That's because there's two different types of attendees at festivals: the people who are there to watch movies, and the people who are not. In the first group, you have critics and amateur enthusiasts who genuinely care about cinema and want to engage with the stuff they're seeing in a serious way. In the second group, you have everybody else, from deal-making distributors to star-fucking fame whores who just want to sit in the same room as Sam Rockwell. One group pays attention to the silver screen; the other pays attention to the screen on their cell phones.

It's getting to be a huge problem -- and, according to writer and longtime Sundance attendee Dor Dotson -- the problem has reached epidemic proportions at this year's Sundance. Unfortunately, this isn't a virus you can fight by handing out thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer, either. In a piece on her website, Movies With Dor, Dotson sizes up the gravity of the issue: 

"At last week's screening of Circles at the Egyptian, I did the math. A full 1.4% of the audience had their cell phone ring during the movie. I don't like those numbers. A gentleman in front of me at the 9 AM screening of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's hotly anticipated directorial debut must not have been looking as forward to it as the rest of us, since he took his phone out a total of three extended intervals during just the first 15 minutes of the movie, until I asked him politely to stop."

Dotson says she believes that most people are inherently good, and that by and large they simply don't realize their behavior is distracting and intrusive. I, being a cynical, horrible person take a different view: society, in the immortal words of Ivo Shandor, is too sick to survive. People know their behavior is unacceptable and simply don't care. Their email is way more important than the purity of your moviegoing experience. 

It really comes down to those two groups. I don't think people realize how many folks go to Sundance because they work for someone who advertises with a media company that uses the festival as a place to wine and dine their clients with free food, skiing, and maybe occasionally if the weather's really bad, a movie or two. These folks aren't cinephiles; they're businessmen and marketers. For them, it's basically the Sundance Schmooze Festival.

And hey, there's nothing wrong with that -- so long as it doesn't impede on the experiences of the folks who genuinely care about those movies they've flown thousands of miles, and paid hundreds of dollars, and waited hours in line to see. Dotson has some sensible suggestions how to get this epidemic under control -- making the no cell phone announcements before movies more pronounced; enforcing penalties for rule breakers -- but I'm not sure it's going to get any better as long as that second group is in attendance. 

Read more of "Should Sundance do more to stop cell phone usage during festival screenings?"

This article is related to: Sundance 2013, Sundance Film Festival, From the Wire


E-Mail Updates



Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome