February 17, 2009

Should movie theaters have to provide captioning for the hearing impaired?

The lawsuit.
Although most theaters provide amplifying headphones to customers, those are of little use to people with moderate or severe hearing impairment. Instead, Waldo said, customers with hearing impairment need to be able to read the dialogue, either through captions projected onto the screen or through another system in use at some Seattle theaters.

In the second system, currently used at AMC Pacific Place 11 in Seattle and other area cinemas, the written dialogue is projected from the rear of the theater onto clear plastic panels affixed to hearing-impaired customers' seats. The captions aren't visible to anyone without a panel.

[According to John Waldo, an attorney with the Washington State Communication Access Project], captions are available for 80 percent to 90 percent of all films shown in Seattle-area theaters. The problem, he said, is that theaters only offer a limited number of shows with any kind of captioning available.

At best, he said, most theaters only offer one or two showings daily that include either type of captioning. Waldo hopes to change that, and insists that the theaters should at least offer captioned showings of each movie they play.

"The dream," he said, is "that we'd be able to go to any movie, any time and understand it."
The dream that we'd be able to go to any movie, any time and understand it. Well, then, I'm dreaming of a machine that will project explanations for the apparent plot holes and that will provide lists and charts to answer the usual questions like is that guy the same guy that was in that other scene and exactly why am I supposed to care that the Nazi learned to read.

116 comments:

ricpic said...

The hearing impaired should stay in their rooms!

Bissage said...

I propose a compromise settlement.

Hire Garrett Morris to stand under the projection screen and do his shtick as "President of the New York School for the Hard of Hearing."

He could use the work, I’m sure.

Everybody WINS!!11!!!!!!

bearbee said...

I assume the 'stimulus package' has something in it to remedy the situation.

TC Powell said...

What if you're hearing impaired and illiterate?

rhhardin said...

I'd suggest pairing each deaf person with a blind person.

In a historical solution, Edison's wife tapped out the dialogue on Edison's knee in Morse code.

John said...

I dream that Selma Hyak and Natalie Portman will do an X rated lesbian love scene in a movie soon. Can I sue to see it happen?

Original Mike said...

What if your have Attention Deficit Disorder? I think they should have to stop the film every 15 minutes and recap what's happened so far.

TC Powell said...

Original Mike, can you repeat what you just said?

Pogo said...

Thank God for lawyers.

The Tort Tax
"Based on our estimates, and applying the best available scholarly research, we believe America's tort system imposes a total cost on the U.S. economy of $865 billion per year. This constitutes an annual "tort tax" of $9,827 on a family of four. It is equivalent to the total annual output of all six New England states, or the yearly sales of the entire U.S. restaurant industry."

A lawyer tax of $2500 per person annually for this kind of make-work bullshit.

Psychedelic George said...

Of course, yes.

Our government wants everyone to have everything all the time.

I could not help but notice in a NYT education article that moolah the Dept. of Education is getting billions to spend to prevent layoffs in public schools.

So we have layoffs like crazy in the private sector, but there will be more government jobs.

So we must also ask private movie theatre owners to provide special services like public schools.

Ann Althouse said...

Wouldn't it be hilarious if they forced the theaters to install all this gear and the theaters raised the prices to cover the cost and everyone who wanted to go to the theater was annoyed not only by the higher price but by the irritating little screens -- oh, sure, you can't see them, they'll be like those little seat-back screens at the Metropolitan Opera with an elegant metal barrier making them completely invisible somehow, bullshit -- and then nobody goes to the theater anymore? Because the idea that somewhere a deaf person is staying home and watching the DVD offends our lofty sensibilities, everyone will be staying home and watching their movies on TV.

former law student said...

This constitutes an annual "tort tax" of $9,827 on a family of four.

From the linked article:

It is a well documented fact that the fear of litigation prompts doctors to engage in expensive defensive medicine.

I call bullshit. The piecemeal nature of medical care insures enough screwups to feed our tort system.

An acquaintance of mine just told me about how doctors' arrogance resulted in two incisions for one lumpectomy. The details flew over my head, but apparently her lump was tagged to show up on an x-ray. Despite her protests, the radiologist chose to look for it with ultrasound instead, and inserted some kind of wire into a harmless lump. The radiologist realized his mistake (boy, was his face red), and eventually the wire was inserted in the proper lump. But such wires have to be surgically removed.

My acquaintance will not sue for this relatively minor screwup. But it shows the systematic defects of medical care.

Pogo -- heal thy processes.

Original Mike said...

For TC Powell:

The thread so far:

ricpic insulted the hearing impaired. Bissage suggested scouring skid row for Garrett Morris. bearbee called on government to solve the problem. TC Powell (Hey! Pay attention!) was concerned about the 1 in 4 of us who are functionally illiterate. rhhardin insulted the blind and the deaf. John is unavailable right now.

TC Powell said...

Original Mike,

I can get a Spanish translation for my illegal friend reading this over my shoulder?

Henry Buck said...

"The details flew over my head," but I'll make a sweeping generalization based upon the anecdote anyway.

Isn't that the story of your life, FLS?

mcg said...

I was driving by the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired the other day. They are currently undergoing a $68MM renovation. It sounds like the school is in pretty poor condition and the work is overdue.

Anyway, on their school sign they've added the message (paraphrasing), "Come see what we're doing to improve our campus."

The question: am I evil for mentally appending "...because our students can't??"

mcg said...

Pogo -- heal thy processes.

No, FLS: heal your expectations. Medicine is practiced by humans, and humans make mistakes. Not every mistake ought to translate to a tort. Seems your acquaintance has her head on straight.

Is it even possible that he had a defensible reason for trying the ultrasound approach first? Is your acquaintance more knowledgeable about the procedures than the doctor?

former law student said...

Isn't that the story of your life, FLS?

What part of "radiologist used wrong equipment, ignoring customer's protests" did you not understand?

mcg said...

If you don't understand the details, how do you know he used the wrong equipment?

Tibore said...

Do the captions have to actually apply to the film? Because I think it'd be hilarious to pull a stunt like they did with Monty Python's "Holy Grail" DVD (special edition) where the subtitles were lines from "Henry V". Could you imagine, say, Tropic Thunder with lines taken from Platoon?

former law student said...

Not every mistake ought to translate to a tort.

Agree 100%. Systems should detect and eliminate mistakes; ones that tolerate mistakes -- especially those that are pointed out to them -- increase the incidence of truly harmful ones. I would say the culture of not listening to the patient needs to be rooted out.

The only task the radiologist had before him was to locate the previously located lump.

traditionalguy said...

I think it seems rude for The Hearing people to talk to each other right in front of a Deaf person. We need to outlaw speech that is unequally heard by all. That's the right ting to do, like the Fairness Doctrine.

former law student said...

If you don't understand the details, how do you know he used the wrong equipment?

The lump to be removed had been tagged to show up on an x-ray. The radiologist used ultrasound.

mcg said...

Not doing what the patient says is not the same as not listening to the patient.

Again, how do you know the he didn't have a legit reason to try ultrasound first? Perhaps the risk of error with ultrasound is mitigated by other factors over the long term.

mcg said...

The lump to be removed had been tagged to show up on an x-ray. The radiologist used ultrasound.

Yes. And? If the doctor knew that, and chose to use ultrasound anyway, he had to have a reason. That reason may have been good or bad, but he did have one, right? And do you know what that reason is?

Pogo said...

FLS makes a serious error, conflating a mistake with a tort, and justifying all torts, even frivolous ones, because some serious torts exist.

Craptastic.
And when the additional equipment and worsening margins finally drives the last cineplex out of business and rids us of ladders to use and makes obstetrics and neurosurgery unobtainable because no one is stupid enough to train for 10 years knowing they have a 100% chance of being sued, I will say thank you to FLS for his advancement of the world.

Plus, your explanation of the 'error' is insufficient. I can think of a few reasons why a proceduralist would want an ultrasound in addition to the MMG.

But the customer knows better, I guess.

holdfast said...

Some sort of clear glasses with a heads-up display would seem to make more sense. You just need a standard for data delivery, and each deaf person would own their own pair and bring it to the theater with them (much cleaner, and you could even make it an FSA eligible medical expense). The theater would provide a datastream of the text, which would be picked up by the glasses, and displayed in the size and color of the wearer's choice.

This technology could also be applied to tours in museums, plus other things I can't think of now.

mcg said...

Systems should detect and eliminate mistakes; ones that tolerate mistakes... increase the incidence of truly harmful ones.

Systems that depend on human input must tolerate mistakes. They should be minimized, but the achievable minimum is not zero. Systems that are not tuned to this reality are prohibitively expensive.

I would say the culture of not listening to the patient needs to be rooted out.

Let me know when you present actual evidence the doctor did not listen to the patient. What you've described is that he listened and overruled her. That is not the same.

Original Mike said...

Because I think it'd be hilarious to pull a stunt like they did with Monty Python's "Holy Grail" DVD (special edition) where the subtitles were lines from "Henry V".

That's funny!

former law student said...

I can think of a few reasons why a proceduralist would want an ultrasound in addition to the MMG.

Fine. Can you tell me why he would want an ultrasound instead of the MMG?

Pogo shows the "doctor knows best" attitude that leads to mistakes, which lead to malpractice lawsuits. The doctor's decisions are not to be questioned. "We all make mistakes," as he removes the patient's remaining functioning kidney.

bearbee said...

Wouldn't it be hilarious if they forced the theaters to install all this gear and the theaters raised the prices to cover the cost and everyone who wanted to go to the theater was annoyed not only by the higher price but by the irritating little screens ....

Require separate theatre facilities with higher admission to offset the additional costs which could lead to:
1. discrimination lawsuits on the higher admissions;
2. punitive damages for emotional scarring caused by:
a. contributing to break up of the family unit,
b. humilitation caused by targeting the disability.

Original Mike said...

My research is in image-guided interventional procedures (among other things). I would definitely want to know more about this case before jumping to the conclusion you have, FLS.

former law student said...

Let me know when you present actual evidence the doctor did not listen to the patient. What you've described is that he listened and overruled her. That is not the same.

THe doctor is always right, even when he's wrong. No wonder pogo's exercised about the tort tax hampering his productivity.

mcg said...

Pogo shows the "doctor knows best" attitude that leads to mistakes,

If a doctor has all the same information the patient has, plus the years of medical training and experience dealing with the same conditions in other patients---I'm putting my money on "doctor knows best."

If you don't, then by all means, self medicate.

mcg said...

THe doctor is always right, even when he's wrong.

Did I say that? I said that the reason he chose ultrasound anyway might be a bad one. But you don't know what that reason is.

Trooper York said...

I haven't been to an actual movie theater in about ten years. With a wide screen plasma and pay per view on cable it's silly to go to have your feet stick to floor in a stained seat with ignorant fools talking during the flick.

Although I must admit I might be tempted if there was a button that you could push that would instant vaporize the dude who keeps screehing "YO Gimme som of that popcorn Junior."

Original Mike said...

I like holdfast's idea (though it sounds expensive for the theater).

traditionalguy said...

Trooper... That is the way I rate movies: Is this one worth being watched as a shared experience with a strange group of people? If not then wait for cable, or wait longer for DVD. I still get trapped into previes that don,t tell the real story. I took a friend to see Borat and laughed my head off. My friend now tries to keep me away from polite company. Another time we saw Knocked Up. It had funny moments but we left terribly depressed about the state of culture left over for the young men to grow up in today.

Original Mike said...

I'm with Trooper. My girl friend recently reminded me the last movie we saw in a theater was Titanic. Big screen TVs really have attenuated the reason to go to a theater. And I don't even mean really big. 42" is enough for me.

Beth said...

with ignorant fools talking during the flick.

Why do people do that? People who should know better!

Sunday we went to a matinee of The International, and the couple sitting next to us talked through the previews. I took that as a bad sign. Sure enough, the movie began and they continued, commenting on the scene in a completely audible, normal speaking volume. These folks were in their 50s. They grew up in a time when people DID NOT talk in the movie. They seemed offended when I leaned over to say that I couldn't hear the movie when they were talking, but at least they shut up. What the hell is wrong with people?

Beth said...

with ignorant fools talking during the flick.

Why do people do that? People who should know better!

Sunday we went to a matinee of The International, and the couple sitting next to us talked through the previews. I took that as a bad sign. Sure enough, the movie began and they continued, commenting on the scene in a completely audible, normal speaking volume. These folks were in their 50s. They grew up in a time when people DID NOT talk in the movie. They seemed offended when I leaned over to say that I couldn't hear the movie when they were talking, but at least they shut up. What the hell is wrong with people?

mcg said...

Back on topic, I am thinking there could be a system that broadcasts captions over WiFi to a device that is either handheld or can be mounted to the back of the chair in front. No need to install it at every seat. Chances are these more expensive systems wouldn't meet the reasonable cost requirement of the ADA but maybe a sufficiently inexpensive system would.

holdfast said...

Original Mike - I don't think it will cost all that much. The patron is responsible for supplying the glasses, the theater supplies the data. I am not an engineer, but I would think you could use pretty standard components to make a box that would broadcast some very simple data in the 2.5 or 5 Ghz range. The data itself already exists (if you ever look at the data on a Blu-ray there are multiple PGS "tracks" - these are the subtitles for various languages). Also, since movie theaters show mostly new releases, there is no need to go back in re-do every existing movie - just require that the studio provide a copy of the subtitles in data form to the theater chain or some third party who provides this service to all the chains.

Original Mike said...

The data itself already exists (if you ever look at the data on a Blu-ray there are multiple PGS "tracks" - these are the subtitles for various languages).

Theaters still project film, don't they? Syncing the film to the digital transmission sounds challenging.

These ideas (I like mcg's WiFi, it's always cheaper to employ existing technology) will be easier to implement when theaters go digital.

Pogo said...

"Can you tell me why he would want an ultrasound instead of the MMG?"
Who said it was instead of the MMG, rather than in addition to it?

"Pogo shows the "doctor knows best" attitude that leads to mistakes"
Because I don't think you know much about this case or breast disease? Please.

The doctor's decisions are not to be questioned.
Heh. Typical lawyer, proceeding straight from one extreme error to the other.
I said no such thing, and you know it. It merely confirms why people hate lawyers even more than they hate doctors.


Me: I think FLS is erroneous.
FLS Doctors think they are GOD!!!11!



FLS has issues with doctors that best remain unexplored.

John Lynch said...

Ah! I hate it when one person's problem becomes everyone's problems! I get really tired of the people who force us all to deal with their handicap. It doesn't help. It just causes resentment.

Perhaps a set of glasses or goggles that projects the captions for the wearer. Then no one else is inconvenienced.

Pogo said...

The problem is, if the added cost to the theater isn't met by increased sales by all those deaf people going and making up for those who quit because the greater ticket price is now too high, no theater will show it.

So the US litigation lottery as usual will throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Beth said...

Theaters still project film, don't they? Syncing the film to the digital transmission sounds challenging.


I don't theaters, or most theaters, still use film. They get a little hard drive with the movie on it and project a digital feed. No more swapping reels, no more degraded image, no more splicing bits of worn film.

mcg said...

Theaters still project film, don't they? Syncing the film to the digital transmission sounds challenging.

Even on film these days the soundtracks are digital, I believe. I wonder if the subtitle information could be embedded in that data stream.

mcg said...

Digital transmission and delivery is coming, but it's not ubiquitous yet. Most screens still use film.

Original Mike said...

Anybody know if Beth is right? No disrepect intended, Beth. I just thought we weren't there yet. I thought digital projecters were very expensive, and theaters were resisting the upgrade.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

When I clicked on the comments thread I must say that I was slightly taken aback by the uh,humor...whatever.I have profound hearing loss and the closed captioning in my house is on 24/7,except when I have guests over and then I always turn it off because,if you don't need it,it is WAY intrusive.If you can't understand the dialogue,then it's not intrusive at all.Life has a way of fixing those things for you.Having said all that,I am very against C.C. in movie houses on the screen.I would not want to push my physical shortcomings on anyone else.Maybe they can come up with something like virtual reality glasses with the C.C. inside so as not to bother anyone else...
Sorry for my ramble.

Original Mike said...

I read an article recently that said theaters and producers were arguing about who pays for the upgrade to digital projection. Everyone acknowledges the advantages, but cost is a sticking point.

Shanna said...

Sunday we went to a matinee of The International, and the couple sitting next to us talked through the previews.

My friend and I got shh’d for talking during a SPRINT COMMERCIAL Saturday night! WTF?

save_the_rustbelt said...

A good reason for netflix.

PatCA said...

The only theaters where people watch respectfully is around LA, where movie workers live.

The upshot of winning this suit would be that hearing people would not come to the movies. If we a the Local U have a panel discussion or meeting and want to post a podcast, we also have to make it accessible to hearing or blind people. Big expense. So people tend not to do it. Is this a good result? To penalize all instead of a few, because of a principle?

JohnAnnArbor said...

except when I have guests over and then I always turn it off because,if you don't need it,it is WAY intrusive.

Not really. Now that all TVs are required to have it built-in, it's being used by more and more hearing people in my experience to avoid the racket of the sound. It's also intriguing to see which ads are CCed and which are not and to see the errors that inevitably creep in to simultaneous transcription of live programs. And sports broadcasters are even more inane in CC than on audio, which can be pretty amusing.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Maybe the closed-captioning could be in the visible film area itself, projected on the screen, but only visible if you have special glasses on, like 3D glasses. I don't know; polarization? A subtle color shift that is invisible without the filters?

Original Mike said...

CC on TV is way to intrusive for me. I can't stop reading the titles. It drives me nuts. A few months ago, all of the programs on my local PBS affiliate had the titles turned on. They couldn't be turned off at my TV. I don't know what was up, but for three or four nights, I had to watch not only the dialogue, but a description of the action and comments about the character's motivations. It was truely weird and annoying.

Now, CC is good for noisy bars, however! And they should turn them on (and the audio off) in airports.

Psychedelic George said...

Movie theatres...

Now that's a business that has changed about as much as shoe-shine parlors in the last 50 years.

I can't think of anything new or exciting about going to see a movie, except for:

a) chairs that rock;
b) raked floors; and
c) mega cup holders.

Screens are smaller; snacks are insultingly priced and all for children, i.e. they are loathsome.

What a dead industry.

John Burgess said...

I use CC on my TV frequently. Even though I appreciate the ability to get info that would otherwise be lost, I end up losing other info--the visual image. That's not always a good trade-off.

It's particularly unhelpful during news broadcasts that have panels and crawls that are blocked by the CC text and its black background. If they could make the background transparent, it'd cut the annoyance.

CC is also useful when you're on a long phone conversation and still want to follow what's going on in a program. It's less rude, anyway. No, make that less obviously rude.

I think Althouse is correct, though, that if we keep piling on requirements that add to the expense of running a cinema, cinema owners are going to just say, 'screw it'. Then we'll have to watch films on TV or DVD because they won't otherwise be available.

That's fine for perhaps even most films. But there are films that really are better on huge screens.

BTW, the amusement to be had from mismatched soundtracks is quite limited. Woody Allen did it in his first film, "What's Up Tiger Lily", back in 1966. As I said, very limited humor....

Original Mike said...

CC is also useful when you're on a long phone conversation and still want to follow what's going on in a program.

That's a great idea. I need to remember that.

Shanna said...

CC on TV is way to intrusive for me. I can't stop reading the titles. It drives me nuts.

Me too. I would never, ever go to movies if they did that.

Michael H said...

I gotta catch up on my commenting regarding this thread. Here goes.

Make silent movies for the deaf.

You cannot sue Selma Hayak and Natalie Portman to do an X-rated naked lesbian scene in a movie. You have to pay them to do it. And they will , for the right price.

Too many lawyers involved in health care is a bad thing. It drives costs way up without improving outcomes.

The Texas School for The Blind underwent an expensive renovation, which was a wast of money because the students couldn't see it. Comfortable mobile homes would have been just as good, and cost far less.

FormerLawStudent believes that lawyers are more important than physicians. Apparently, he has never been really, really sick.

mcg will be in good hands, should he ever need the professional services of Dr. Pogo.

More and more people hate going to the movie theater because the other theater-goers are a pain in the ass. That's why more and more people stay home and watch DVDs, many in their underwear. God bless the inventor of Netflix.

The primary ingredient in dill bread is dill dough. I'm just tossing that one in to see if you are following along. If you are, just post 'freebird' and I'll know.

CCTV is nice. It makes watching Katie Couric seem like going to the opera.

Trooper York said...

Freebird.

And dill meatloaf is cool.

Lawgiver said...

A dill loaf is what Titus produces after eating a gallon jar of pickles.

Original Mike said...

Please don't attract Titus' attention.

mcg said...

Have y'all ever had dill pickle rollups?

Basically, take a dill pickle slice, wrap meatloaf around it, cook, and serve with a sauce based on cream of mushroom soup.

I've always hated meatloaf, and I don't like mushrooms, either. But for some reason I liked these. Crazy world.

I just Googled "dill pickle rollups", though, and what shows up is a bit different: dried beef, cream cheese, and dill pickles.

pj said...

No but I'd love it if Spanish and Korean TV had English subtitles. Or even spanish subtitles so I could learn as I followed along.

Synova said...

NO!

I watched movies with the English sub-titles turned on when my Dad was here and it's a totally different experience.

I prefer foreign language films with subtitles because I'd rather hear the sound of the real actors language and only the words you're supposed to hear are included.

The English subtitles include stuff like "they sing" or "there are gun shots".

I'm SORRY that people can't hear but the film experience would not be the same for those who do hear. Some things are supposed to be half-heard in the back ground.

I don't think I'd go to a movie at all. I'd just buy or rent it later when I could turn the captioning OFF.

John Stodder said...

My father and mother love going to the movies, but he always falls asleep, then wakes up and asks my mother to explain what he's missed. He can't whisper his questions because my mother is hard of hearing.

Under the ADA, I think my father deserves to have an attendant sitting next to him, taking notes on the movie so that at any point, when he wakes up, the attendant can catch my father up. This attendant should be equipped with a device that lets him pause the movie so that my dad doesn't fall further behind while the explanation is underway. If my dad missed a particularly juicy scene -- Salma and Natalie getting it on, for example -- the attendant should be able to rewind the movie to that point. The theater also ought to provide him with free coffee -- and free refills, brought to his seat.

It's in the Constitution, ain't it?

TMink said...

Orig. Mike wrote: "What if your have Attention Deficit Disorder? I think they should have to stop the film every 15 minutes and recap what's happened so far."

Mike, I do have ADHD and that is the funniest thing I have read about it in a long time.

Thanks for the perspective.

It sucks to be deaf and nothing will change that.

Trey

Skyler said...

My wife is deaf, so I have some exposure to this topic.

There appear to be two main ways to do this, open captioning and closed captioning. Open captioning in the theater is when everyone sees the words on the big screen. Closed captioning is when the words are projected from the rear of the movie theater and the deaf person holds a plexiglass mirror to see the words.

We went to see a closed caption movie over Christmas back in Dallas where her family lives. Her brother was so happy. He loves movies and it was the first time he had been to the movies with his sister.

But the closed captioning doesn't work well consistently. The mirrors are very hard to orient and the text is hard to see.

My wife may not agree, but I don't see why theaters should be forced to support either method. Deaf people mostly live in their own culture and will be a lot more likely today to simply rent a DVD with the captioning on it. If enough deaf people want to go out of their way to see movies, then the theaters won't have to be forced to do it. If enough don't, then it would be too onerous for them to install the equipment. There is no constitutional right to see movies at a theater.

Sometimes a local theater will run a movie with open captioning. We went to see Lord of the Rings (the third one, I think) that way a few weeks after it came out. The audience was almost entirely made up of deaf people. My wife noted that it would probably be the quietest movie I'd seen. Instead, the opposite was true. The deaf kids yelled and screamed ceaselessly. They don't know any better, and netiher did their deaf parents!

JAL said...

Hate -- Hate -- the movie talking, but sometimes it can be funny. Best single comments (not continuous talking) heard in a movie theater :

Airforce One (or whatever the movie with Harrison Ford as President). The President is accosting a terrorist who has taken over Airforce One "Do you know who I am??!!!" From the audience: "Hans Solo!!"

Titanic: (Rose [?] is in the life boat and climbs out to get back on the Titanic to be with whatshizname). From the audience: "That woman has a serious DSM-III diagnosis."

Made me laugh.

Original Mike said...

This attendant should be equipped with a device that lets him pause the movie so that my dad doesn't fall further behind while the explanation is underway.

I have problem paying attention, too. I adore the reverse feature on my DVR. I'm so dependent on it, I find myself repeatedly trying to rewind when I watch live TV. Usually takes two or three pushes on the rewind button before I realize it ain't going to happen.

Trey: Thanks for your sense of humor.

Original Mike said...

Thanks, Skyler. I've never really known what the term "closed caption" meant.

Shanna said...

I find myself repeatedly trying to rewind when I watch live TV.

Get TIVO and you can!

Original Mike said...

I have a DVR, Shanna. I just don't routinely use it when I'm watching live. I could. Don't want to wear it out, I guess.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

...with ignorant fools talking during the flick.

How about a compromise. Make the theatre install a system that not only shows captions for the movie being shown, but also transcribes captions for everything said by the ignorant fools talking during the flick.

You want the same movie-going experience as the rest of us, you get the same movie-going experience as the rest of us.

Simon said...

Society can only be liberal to a point; we may have to finally stop being such pussies about speaking the truth: being disabled means that there are certain things you just can't do. Instead of telling these people that they can do everything if they try hard enough, implicitly putting down the vast majority of them who really can't, we should be honest about it.

JAL, some friends and I went to see Star Wars 1 on opening night - so of course no one in the theater knew it sucked yet - and after that blue lettering faded away, when the fanfare began and "STAR WARS" shot away from the audience on the screen, there was just a roar of cheering and applause from the audience.

Joe said...

Star Wars 1 would have been improved had it had captions as tall as the screen.

(My son, who insisted we go, got sick halfway through. I drove him home. I would have stayed except his sister and her best friend were still in the theater. It's one of the few movies we own that is not allowed to be played when I'm in the house.)

Palladian said...

THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

Beth said...

No disrepect intended, Beth.

None taken! I just read an article about a local theater, the last one-screen, old timey theater in New Orleans, having upgraded to digital. I haven't done any research! But I'm assuming it's inevitable. It's a great improvement.

Beth said...

My friend and I got shh’d for talking during a SPRINT COMMERCIAL Saturday night! WTF?

Ha! Shanna, you must have been sitting by someone who's expecting the worst. I don't get worried until the previews start. In my opinion, the previews are part of the movie.

Skyler said...

In my opinion, the previews are part of the movie.

Nope. They aren't. They're previews. They are advertisements. The movie is the part that is the movie.

Simon said...

Palladian (quoting Vonnegut) said...
"THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal."

Still one of the most chilling lines in fiction.

Kirk Parker said...

msg,

Dill pickle rollups? Meh. You could be on to something, though--why not try leaving out the pickles?

JAL,

Best I ever heard of (not "heard", since this happened to my son, not me), though it's a bit macabre.

They're seeing The Crucible, and the movie ends and the credits start to roll. The audience is completely dead silent. After quite a few seconds, someone says in a voice loud enough to be audible throughout the entire theater, "Ohhhhhhhh, that suuuucked!"

jr565 said...

What if you're deaf dumb and blind but play a mean pinball?

Synova said...

A special showing with subtitles seems like a practical compromise.

Ralph said...

Hey, Waldo is in Washington state. That fucking game is OVER!

John Burgess said...

Skyler: The previews are part of the performance for which I paid admission. They often end up more entertaining than the main feature. I'll get angry if you're nattering away during the previews.

Talking during the commercials or the 'magazine' that precedes film in some theaters is still fair game, though, so I'll grant you a window in which to be annoying.

Going to a film with someone who cuts timing so closely that they're saying, 'Oh, we'll only miss the previews!' is a one-time only event. The Philistines can wait until it hits HBO.

Skyler said...

Well, be angry all you want. Going to the movies is a social event. People take dates there. The appropriate thing to do is talk to your date before the movie starts. If you like commercials, I'm happy for you, but they're not the movie.

mcg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mcg said...

My wife and I rarely go to movies, because if we're going to spend 2 waking hours, out of bed, without the offspring, then we'd much rather talk. That you can do while eating; while watching a movie, previews or no, not so much.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Hm.

"Deaf people mostly live in their own culture.... If enough deaf people want to go out of their way to see movies...."

and

"Going to the movies is a social event."

I suppose ricpic's "The hearing impaired should stay in their rooms!" sums up most people's thoughts here?

Not mine.

PatCA said...

"My father and mother love going to the movies, but he always falls asleep, then wakes up and asks my mother to explain what he's missed."

John Stodder, I think I sat in front of your parents the last couple of times I went to the movies. :)

MadisonMan said...

The hearing impaired should stay in their rooms!

What?

John Stodder said...

John Stodder, I think I sat in front of your parents

Here's how you'll know: Did the man pull a piece of wrapped candy out of his pocket and spend about 15 minutes trying to open it, forcing you to endure the sound of crinkling paper until he finally got the candy out?

John Stodder said...

I went to an afternoon showing of "Gran Torino" on Saturday -- first movie in a theater in about three or four months. The main irritant from the audience was the sound of someone digging for popcorn with what I have to assume was the paw of that chimpanzee in Connecticut.

But what was really unbelievable was the poor condition of the print! The color was washed out so that every outdoor scene seemed to take place in a harsh, milky haze. One of my friends had seen the movie before, and said when he saw it, the colors weren't like that.

However, it was such a fine movie, I got over it. Clint Eastwood is the best storyteller in movies today. Everything pays off in his films -- everything. Not a scene is wasted, ever.

blake said...

P-George sez Screens are smaller;.

No! No, no, no! At least out here. There are some that are smaller--the titanic ones in Hollywood (like the Cineramadome) or Westwood.

But by-and-large the screens are much bigger. The sound systems are better. (Although for a while it seemed like the volume was always at 11, probably to drown out the audience yapping.) Most of the theaters were upgraded or replaced by new ones in the '90s. At least, here in L.A. (The old ones that still survive are art houses.)

There are many complaints to be had, but that's not among them.

John Burgess sez Going to a film with someone who cuts timing so closely that they're saying, 'Oh, we'll only miss the previews!' is a one-time only event. The Philistines can wait until it hits HBO.

This philistine responds: "Only a dilettante who goes to the movies twice a year needs to see the previews. The rest of us have already seen them over and over and over again."

blake said...

If deaf people mess with my movie-going experience, by putting words on the screen or making even more flashy LCDs to have to ignore--or just by driving up the cost, I'm afraid I will have to embark on a personal quest to poke all their eyes out.

blake said...

The color was washed out so that every outdoor scene seemed to take place in a harsh, milky haze. One of my friends had seen the movie before, and said when he saw it, the colors weren't like that.

Evidence of an actual print, not digital.

They have done something to remove or make less obvious the cigarette burns, though. Maybe the reel-swapping is automated. I almost have to believe it is, since I never see a mistake any more.

PatCA said...

"Here's how you'll know: Did the man pull a piece of wrapped candy out of his pocket and spend about 15 minutes trying to open it, forcing you to endure the sound of crinkling paper until he finally got the candy out?"

Why, yes, and then, having missed the last 15 minutes of dialogue, he says, "What did he say, honey?"

Original Mike said...

ricpic: The hearing impaired should stay in their rooms!

MM: What?


I think he meant it as a joke. At least I choose to believe that he meant it as joke.

MadisonMan said...

Original Mike: I thought if I added I can't hear you! the joke would have been too obvious, but apparently it wasn't obvious enough.

You may now groan and roll your eyes. :)

John Burgess said...

Blake: No dilettante, I...

I go to a variety of cinemas, not just the big box in the 'hood. Each has its own stream of coming attractions. I might see the same trailer from week to week, but not three times in the same week.

Try branching out.

reader_iam said...

Nope. They aren't. They're previews. They are advertisements. The movie is the part that is the movie.

Yes. They are. They're part of the experience. (The credits, too.) They were since before there were actual modern-day ads at movies. They were before there was TV, even.

Pssssst, Shanna: Sssssssh in public viewings. Err on the side of the caution that respects other people in a shared public viewing in a shared public venue.

Or can't you grasp that? How silly, if you can't--and what a weird little hillock to stake a stand, if you can't, or, more important, if you refuse on the basis of some sophomoric sense of right.

reader_iam said...

The appropriate thing to do is talk to your date before the movie starts.

The appropriate thing to do MAY--but only MAY--be to talk before the previews. Thereafter, the appropriate thing to do is to squeeze hands, discreetly snuggle, lay heads on shoulders (but, for pete's sake, pick a position so those behind you can adjust without constantly shifting position), exchange glances, stroke forearms and thighs, and even cop squeezes--whatever: so long as you're able to express yourself in your limited personal space in a self-controlled way that doesn't infringe on the rights of others to NOT share in your space, and that respects the idea of--heaven forbid! I know!--boundaries in shared public spaces in shared public venues.

Alternatively, why not just stay home? Surely you have all the requisite accoutrements, no? Can't think why you'd be so easily dismissive of public accommodations otherwise.

blake said...

I go to a variety of cinemas, not just the big box in the 'hood. Each has its own stream of coming attractions. I might see the same trailer from week to week, but not three times in the same week.

Try branching out.


Well, sure, if you only go to the movies three times a week.

blake said...

More seriously, it really depends on the production studio/distributor.

I don't typically go to the "big box" theaters, if I can help it, but they aren't the ones who put the trailers on the front of the film anyway.

bearbee said...

Palladian said...
THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

What was the national debt?

BTW did the American 'Recovery' bill contain 'stimulus' for the birdshot industry?

Original Mike said...

MM: You can never be too obvious for me.

Woody said...

I've been hard of hearing for many years and I've just found that if I don't go to movies, I don't have to complain about not being able to hear them.
I don't cost anyone anything by doing that.
Seems simple enough to me and at one time, movies were my favorite form of entertainment.
"Have to provide" should be all anyone needs to know about this.

Beth said...

I have all sorts of anxieties about dealing with movie talkers. I just want to hear the movie, the whole thing. The previews are part of the movie experience, but I expect some muttering (no way we're seeing that! Can't wait for that!) throughout them.

Once, when out at the movies with a friend of ours, the people behind us talked loudly, and constantly. My friend, who I acknowledge can be crude, turned around and hissed, "Shut up, dammit! What are you, retarded?"

Oh yes. They were. We slunk out of there afterwards.

Original Mike said...

Ouch!

bill sherman said...

Dear Ann,

(1) As someone who suffers from increasing hearing impairment, I was appalled by some of your readers' insensitive comments concerning people with this particular disability, whether said in jest or not.

(2) I cannot really comment on the lawsuit you denigrate, but I am surprised that a woman of your intelligence can reduce THE READER to a comment like - why should I care if the Nazi learns to read. You know, film is as difficult to plumb the depths of as, say constitutional law. True a great film should be lucid, but lucidity can also be enveloped in levels of meaning and texture, especially when there are perhaps 100 egos at work on a single film, not just direction, but camera and acting, et. al. I don't think The Reader is a "great" film, but it is not just that she learns to read. To put it in legalese, it is also Shame v. Guilt, the exploration of the hidden recesees of the mind and heart, and the fact that her final romantic illusion vis-vis The Berg character, becomes shattered. Just as her illusion, the German illusion, self-delusion, concerning the camps, is shattered. Berg, now a lawyer, still hoping to "learn" something, approaches the character played so wonderfully by Lena Olin, who berates him by saying that you can learn nothing from the camps: "What do you think those places were..universities?!"
Of course you needn't "study" film to enjoy it, but the possibility of ambiguity/ambivalence in film is something which should not distress you because in some instances you find not enough clarity. Since film studies came into existence there have been a plethora of journals and books dealing with approaches to film for those interested. Forty years ago, my own miniscule contribution, co-authored by Leon Lewis, titled THE LANDSCAPE OF CONTEMPORARY CINEMA, was published. From an intellectual academic approach, like Lotman's SEMIOTICS OF CINEMA to populist writings by, say, Pauline Kael, to the marvellous text by Manny Farber titled NEGATIVE SPACE, to brilliant essays like "Gangster As Tragic Hero" and "The Westerner" by Robert Warshow in THE IMMEDIATE EXPERIENCE, to the early writings in Cahiers du Cinema by Godard and others, to published filmscripts, biographies, etc. etc. almost ad infinitum, (not to say ad nauseum), the field is expansive/expanding and huge and you would have to go off-blog for a year or more to begin to understand the theory of the art of film-making, to say nothing of its practice. In a recent post in an obviously different context you wrote "set high standards and apply them" and it seems to me that's what you should do if you want a deeper experience of filmgoing. Of course if your readers simply want to see Kate Winslett nude in a bath, I suppose there's nothing wrong with that sort of soft porn, but it isn't exactly Cocteau's ORPHEE or LES ENFANTS DU PARADIS.

w/best wishes,...
bill sherman