Thursday, February 19, 2009

Let there be light! But not yet.

Yes, I, too, get sick of the sound of my own voice. So if you've got something to say, email me ( and I'll consider it for posting here. First entry is from Teresa, who has a complaint:

"What do you think about theaters that bring up the house lights before or just as the credits start? It makes me crazy. Since I patronize the arthouse circuit (hooray for sprung seats and lousy sound systems) and tend towards the heavier fare I like to process a little and watch the credits; others usually leave quietly. Lights are distracting and trigger an immediate ruckus. I have lights and ruckus at home for free. It's one thing at a multiplex but another thing entirely at an indie joint.

Examples - the Chez brought lights fully up halfway through the ending Bollywood number in Slumdog (movie not over yet IMO). There was plenty of time before the next showing - they didn't have to herd us right out.

The Regency blew the impact of No Country's ending by bringing lights up before the screen had even faded to black. We refused to go back to the Regency until yesterday, when I was dispatched there on a reconnaissance mission. Yup, the house lights came up during the written wrapup at the end of Frost/Nixon (again, movie not over, had to IMDB the cast later). Grrrrrr! The manager said this is permanent policy as a courtesy to their target market, which is seniors rather than filmies. That's their right, of course. But aren't there always throngs of seniors at the Landmarks? They somehow manage to survive five more minutes in the dark... I regret to announce that the Regency is dead to me forever. Too bad for them, we buy a heck of a lot of wine."

I agree with Teresa. Darkness is essential to the moviegoing experience. I don't like it when the lights don't dim until the main feature starts, and, yes, they should remain off until the last credit has rolled. Sometimes, you want to know who performed a song that's used on the soundtrack. Maybe you'd like to know where the movie was shot. Keeping the house lights off is not only a courtesy to the audience; it's a sign of respect for the filmmakers -- from the actors to the grips and gaffers. Yes, it really took all those people to get the movie on screen; they deserve their moment -- not in the sun, but in the dark. Replies from theater managers are most welcome.

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