Memo to rude theater-goers: Hugh Jackman will go Wolverine on your ass

Seriously, people. Have we gotten to this point? It’s bad enough that folks in movie theaters have taken to interrupting films by eating loud snacks and reciting the Gettysburg Address to their moms on their cell phones. But now we’re forced to put up with such behavior in the theater theater? What’s next? Interrupting the president during a speech? (Oops, we can check that one off too.)

During a performance of Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman’s Broadway show, A Steady Rain, an audience member’s cell phone began ringing, forcing Jackman to stop mid-monologue to tell the theater-goer, “We can wait…Don’t be embarrassed. Just grab it.” Then, shortly after that little display of rudeness, the dude’s phone started ringing again. Now, I understand that mistakes happen. Back when ring tones were popular, my classmates would once in awhile be forced to listen to Britney Spears’ “Boys” when I accidentally left my cell phone on during lecture in college. (Terrible choice, I know.) But after that little display of embarrassment, you damn well believe I turned the phone off. (Also, apparently, that audience member wasn’t the only one seemingly sporting a cell phone — another patron somehow managed to get the whole scene on tape.)

Seeing that, as a society, we now seem unable to take in a television show, movie, or theater without playing around with our Blackberries or iPhones, is it time that we bring back ushers in entertainment venues? How else can we get people to STFU in theaters? (Unleash the wrath of Wolverine on them?) And what was the most egregious instance of movie/theater interruption that you’ve ever experienced?

For more: Read Lisa Schwarzbaum’s review of A Steady Rain


Comments (157 total) Add your comment
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  • A.M.

    Wow, you guys are way behind on this. This happened last Wed., and it’s been on the internet for almost 3 days already. Catch up.

  • Silent E

    Worst movie theater interruption: Couple came in late, smuggled in McDonald’s, and proceeded to eat loudly, talked about the lack of ketchup, and crumpled up the empty wrappers and played catch with them. I definitely went Wolverine, or at least as Wolverine as my southern upbringing will allow!

    • cara

      The worst is when people bring babies to anythign other than a G or PG movie – its unacceptable and stupid – also idiotic people who yell advice to the screen – “Look Out!!!!!”

      • Alex P Keaton

        I agree and have to mention that I have noticed that middle aged to senior women are the ones who insist on giving advice to characters on screen – please please shut up or just stay home

      • Melinda65

        My husband and I went to Terminator 3, and there were babies and young kids in the audience. Seriously, people, you needed to see this movie so badly that you took your pre-schooler with you? OK, so it was Terminator 3–we kinda deserved it for actually paying to see the movie. But still.

      • Stormy

        Ugh I hate hearing “Well, violence doesn’t affect my child” so PG13 and R rated movies are okay. One – extreme violence SHOULD affect them, and if it doesn’t you might be raising a sociopath. And two – it is unrealistic to expect a small child to be quiet and sit still for a long movie – and unfair to the child and the rest of us.

      • onestell

        I couldn’t agree more. I saw little kids in the audience for botn Eli Roth’s CABIN FEVER and Patrick Tatopoulos’ UNDERWORLD: Rise of the Lycans. What are these parents thinking?

      • Shel

        Bringing young children to ANY movie before they are ready to be there is a big mistake. Parents are so in a rush to have that “movie going experience” I guess, that they don’t stop to think about their own kid. Even when I saw Disney’s Hunchback, it was too disturbing for some of the kids in the audience – but there they sat, crying, because their parents were too ignorant to take them out!

      • Laura

        Back when I was in college, I went to a midnight screening of Scream 2—and there were small children there! (1) It’s past their bedtime and (2) it’s a freakin’ HORROR movie! Bad parents.

      • laura

        I hate .. HATE it when couple bring BRAND NEW BABYS!! that are a few DAYS OLD .. wtf!

      • elly

        Stormy – right on! Love your comment about people who say violence won’t affect their children. Zing. People brought their little kids to The Prestige, I guess because Jackman and Bale being in comic book films (which as we all know are ALWAYS juvenile) meant anything starring them was kid-friendly. Or something. The kids were acting like kids do when they’re really bored for over two hours, I felt too sorry for them to be mad about it. The worst to date was Casino Royale. We were really poor at the time, and being able to see something in the theater was a rare luxury. (Come to think of it, the same friend treated us to both movies. You rock, Scott!) Happily, the movie was fantastic. Unhappily, directly behind us was a father with his son and daughter who couldn’t have been more than 8, MAYBE 10 years old if they were very small for their age, so right off the bat they didn’t understand a word of the film and were constantly asking their dad to explain – literally, right off the bat, starting with the over-their-heads reference to “your second kill is easier” in the intro. Plus, I was personally really uncomfortable knowing that little kids were behind me watching things like a naked man having his genitals tortured. The icing on the cake was when the film ended, and the father turned and asked his little kids, “so, was that okay for you?” WTF!!! Could you try any harder to avoid all responsibility as a parent? That guy must be jonesing for a Darwin Award.

    • Gretchen

      Seriously, I went to see Sex and the City with my friend and this woman brought in her 8 year old SON and had to cover his eyes and ears quite often. What was she thinking?!

      • Jolie

        It’s usually clueless young parents in their early 20’s who bring their young kids to “R” rated movies. Yea, you stupid, you’re an idiot and thanks for perpatuating global warming by popping out those screaming mimis.

      • Shel

        I love the ones who bring infants and babies with them, in their carriages. I guess they think that THEIR baby will be the one to sleep through that extra loud movie soundtrack. Then when the baby wakes up (duh), they let us all enjoy the sound of the crying, too, because – gee – they paid their money right? They have been dying to get out of the house, right? Hire a babysitter!

      • Chelsea

        Not only do they bring their young children, but some of them DO NOT leave the theatre when their child starts crying! It’s not appropriate to bring them at all, but bringing your kid and then sitting there as they cry is even worse. Get thee to an exit!

      • Catherine

        It’s a little presumptuous to think this concerns “clueless young parents in their early 20’s”.
        I don’t think this as anything to do about age, but more about their judgement (or lack thereof…).

  • Laura

    Rudeness in movie theatres is bad enough-and I’ve told enough people off for it, but rudeness in a live theatre is appalling. The preformers are right there, and they can hear you. I applaud Jackman for telling this jacka** off.

    • el

      amen to that!

  • erin

    At a school music concert: a parent in the balcony having a (long) yelling argument with his kid (on the ground floor of the auditorium) WHILE the school’s band was on stage in the middle of a song. Made me sick.

  • J

    As an actor, there are few things more maddening/disheartening than an errant cell phone ring when your trying to be in the moment. Especially, when it’s standard practice now that the venue blatantly ask that they be turned off. But to be fair, I saw the offender post a comment on another site blasting him. He said that his wife was due to give birth this week and he needed to stay in contact.He’d placed his new iphone on vibrate, but it apparently got switched off somehow in his pocket. Being a new phone, he wasn’t accustomed to the ring and didn’t realize it was his, so it took him a few rings to catch on. He’s sent flowers and chocolates to the cast with a sincere apology.

    • Benjh

      oh really? you wife is expecting, so you put your phone on vibrate when you go see a broadway show? I’m sorry, but if there’s a phone call you just need to take, DON’T GO TO THE THEATRE!!!! What do you think lawyers and doctors on call around the country do?

      • mscisluv

        Um…doctors on call go about their lives and put their phones on vibrate. In some theaters, they tell doctors and others expecting important phone calls to have their businesses call the theater itself, and they will have an usher locate the audience member at their seat.

      • Luddite

        Amen.

    • LisaMama

      Sorry, but if was “about to give birth” my husband better be at home with me, not at a Broadway play WITHOUT ME!

      • me

        Exactly, his “about to give birth” excuse is lame.

      • Kate

        Maybe she was having girl time with friends, hanging out with her mom, napping, didn’t want to go, out doing something else…you have no idea what their situation was. As long as I’ve got my hospital bag within reach and my husband easily notifiable, it seems stupid to just sit around the house doing nothing but waiting. They tried, and when their system failed and offended theatergoers and the cast, the man apologized and sent gifts. No need to criticize him further at this point.

  • C.C.

    I was working as a Stage Manager for an outdoor Shakespeare festival. During a matinee performance someone had hired a plane to circle overhead with a “Happy Birthday” message to his wife. Our actors on stage stopped, explained that they would return when the plane was finished circling, and left the stage until that time.

  • Jolie

    The current generation in this society is in serious need of manners, and it is being reflected by the behavior of late by Senator Joe Wilson, professional tennis player Serena Williams, and attention-hog Kanye West. Unless we let these people know that their behavior is unacceptable, it will continue. Stupid parents out there: teach your moronic children some manners please.

    • Leslie

      I agree, & I hate it that all young people get a negative stigma from a few (ok, more than a few) ignorant & rude individuals. It makes my generation (I’m 24) look horribly disrespectful.

    • Caryn

      The people who invariably talk the most during a movie are seniors. Maybe they can’t hear as well so they talk a little louder but it drives me nuts. It’s not only the “current generation” that is rude.

    • LauraT

      And it’s not just the young, as the Senator showed. It seems our Western society doesn’t understand simple respect — whether it’s for the elected leader of your nation (even if you don’t agree with them), or people on a bus, or in a theatre. It’s like they believe that they’re the only ones that deserve respect, and they don’t have to give it.

      • Luddite

        The last part is dead on. We’ve become a nation of self-absorbed egomaniacs. Case in point – I sat through a movie next to a couple that talked (mostly profanity) loudly throughout the film. But when one of the girls down the row answered her cell phone, they were disgusted. Never mind that they had already made the experience miserable for everyone around them – now that someone was infringing on their enjoyment, they were horrified.

  • B

    Don’t take pictures, or you’ll get “Lupwned”:

    • Lisa Simpson

      They also should have thrown out the person who took the unauthorized audio.

      • mscisluv

        Amen to that!

  • Kay

    Not likely, J – I have an iPhone, and the toggle for ring or silent isn’t something that can just be jostled off or on. The dude forgot, and hopefully it’s a reminder to everyone to set their phones to silent or vibrate when they’re in an entertainment venue.

    • Different J

      I have an iPhone, Kay, and the toggle switch got bumped on me ALL the time until it finally broke off. Now I have to go to my settings for silent mode. Plus I think it would be pretty hard to forget a second time after being horribly embarrassed once.

  • joeinmemphis

    Manners…. a long forgotten art form!

  • Ban the rude people

    This is almost as good as when Patti Lupone yelled at the guy for taking pictures during Gypsy. ALMOST.

    • caty

      i don’t know, the Patti thing was pretty epic…she stopped mid-number and had the dude thrown out…

    • Dr. Zaius

      I was there for the Patti LuPone thing. This doesn’t come close to it at all.

      She got a standing ovation and couldn’t continue the final AND BEST number for five minutes. And she almost fell off the stage.

      Although seeing Hugh Jackman do it is pretty awesome.

  • warped

    Just an FYI turning your phone to silent doesn’t help if you are still going to text, surf the internet etc, because the display on your phone is going to light up the theater. The movie theater my friend works for has gotten to the point where they announce at the beginning of all movies that if you do not turn your phone OFF and they see it in use (don’t even have to hear it) they will kick you out.

    And for live performances please be aware that things like phones ringing (or even just the display lighting up) can distract the actors, musicians, and dancers – which may ruin the mood/scene or even worse be dangerous causing them to slip or fall.

    • Leslie

      I would love to go to the theater your friend works at; maybe then I could see a movie in peace. My bf & I have stopped seeing movies on the weekends because unfortunately many people are completely unable to control themselves. We saw Inglorious Basterds, 3 weeks after it was released, thinking that all the rude people would have already seen it. A group of people in the back row gave a running commentary through half the film, making loud comments they thought were “funny”. Ugh.

      • J

        I’m right there with you Leslie. It’s gotten quite ridiculous.

    • Abby

      I went to see Casino Royale and a bunch of tweenagers down in front were passing around their iPhone. Like you said, everyone in the theater could see the screen, and it’s distracting. I finally got fed up during the scene where the Bond Girl explains her past history with the movie’s villain. I missed virtually everything she said because of that stupid iPhone screen, so I went down to their row and told them to knock it off. I wish they could have been kicked out.

    • BlackIrish4094

      Thank you!!! That is the problem. I actually got into a fight on the opening day of Watchmen (at a 10AM show) because I asked some guy to close his phone because the ambient light was distracting AND he had a flashing Bluetooth earpiece. People are inconsiderate animals. Not only do we need a return to ushers, we need bad @ss ushers. As an aside though, theatre people can sometimes be snotty (like golf players) but this seemed justified. I think the Patti Lupone thing on Gypsy (stopping the show to get the guy ejected) is too much however.

      • Jessica S.

        I like to think that I was a bad@ss usher during my stint at a theater. My day’s joy was kicking out jerks (of any age) for talking/texting/emailing on their phones or having loud conversations throughout a film. Ah, memories…

    • Luddite

      Where is this theatre? Because I would like to go there and only there. I find phones lighting up in a darkened theatre more distracting than a phone ringing.

  • Michelle

    I saw The Graduate on Broadway (terrible play, but Kathleen Turner was fierce), and someone took a flash photo in Act 2. It was during the BC/EFA begging period, so Jason Biggs called the person out in the curtain call. But when the flash went off, there was a collective gasp in the theater…

  • JP

    As a society our manners have become non-existent. People just cannot seem to live without their phones, blackberries, etc. You know what, years ago when we did not have a phone attached to us like another appendage we survived. What in the world do these people have to talk about!!

    • Jolie

      I recently had a lunch date with a guy in his 20’s. He didn’t take out cell phone once. I felt he showed me a lot of respect by not using his cell phone or texting. Not a bit deal, but I turn, respected him for it.

      • jj11

        Trust me! I have been in your shoes. Marry this guy!!! They are few and far between. I fell in love with my husband because he called me (no text) and he hates cell phones

    • another J

      I’ve been in the middle of conversations with one of my friends, and she’ll actually stop to tweet or update her FB status. AS WE’RE SPEAKING. It’d be fine if it were something related to what we were talking about (soundbites from the convo, for instance), but it never is. And she wonders why she never gets any second dates!

  • pauch

    Its not just kids…I see countless boomers walking around with their cell phones permanently attached to their faces regardless of where they are, driving, theater, restaurants being as loud as possible. Which is weird because I can at least understand being apart of generation where this has always been but they spent 40+ years of their life without.

    • Lisa Simpson

      The rudest people I’ve experienced in the movie theater have been senior citizns (if you can’t hear, get the headphones), so it’s people from all age groups that are guilty.

    • Vicky

      Not just senior citizens, but older adults in general. They LOVE to explain the movie to their friends in the theater as it’s happening. Just watch the damn movie and discuss it later.

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