Intolerable Cruelty is a broad satire about a dandyish divorce attorney matching his skeelz against a heartless gold digger. It's slight but generally amusing with a few decent laughs (the best line going to a court stenographer).

It's also one of a very few movies I've seen recently in a theater rather than on my laptop. I'm not the world's biggest cinemaphile but having flirted with a film minor I've certainly had it beaten into me that it is a horrible travesty when a motion picture is transposed from the majesty of the silver screen to a few square inches of liquid crystal. But after this afternoon I'm close to giving up on theaters entirely.

I saw this movie at the Tower Theaters in South Hadley at 1:30p on a Thursday, since (a) it's crazy to pay over $5 to see a movie and (b) I wanted as little company as possible. I ended up sharing the theater with four other people. One was a Mount Holyoke student who caused no trouble. Then there were the two elderly women who spent the time before the lights went down loudly rehashing what they'd already heard about the movie. When this conversation continued through (or rather over) the trailers I started shhh-ing them, but when the actual movie started they were still at it. I really hoped that one more "Shhhh!" would do it so I wouldn't actually have to walk up to them and point out to the 90-year-old women that they were not in their living rooms; luckily, the opening sequence of the movie was sufficiently vulgar to embarrass them into silence.

During that opening sequence some guy came in. Towards the end of the movie, his phone went off. And he answered it. And started conversing with whoever was on the other end. Loudly. I couldn't believe it. It's not just that he was being an asshole — he was being The Archetypal Asshole. I mean, come on — loudly talking on the telephone in a movie theater is the cliché of how people have become solipsistic, inconsiderate cretins, and here this guy was actually living the cliché. Now, I'm not exactly the most testosteroney person in the world; I'm more the type to silently go home and bang out a strongly-worded web article about stuff like this. But this was appalling enough that without even thinking much about it I ran down the aisle, got in the guy's face, and said, "Hey, the movie's still going — can you take it outside?" Not the most confrontational approach, but enough to make it clear he'd pissed someone off.

So I was happy to have done my part to keep this kind of behavior from being considered acceptable. But I was not happy to have had to deal with it at all. I suspect that next time around I'll wait even for the Coens to make it to a room I can have to myself.

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