If you believe the Internet, the debate about whether or not the use of cell phones should be allowed in movie theaters is one of the most significant and polarizing debates of our time. Otherwise, at least for me, I don’t want to put exhausted words in your mouth, it is difficult to allocate any energy towards the argument about the detrimental effect of seeing a lighted screen in your peripheral vision while you’re trying to watch One Direction: This Is Us (the only movie) when other things* are going on? At the very least, when other things just in our own lives are going on. I’m sure someone in your family needs you to worry about them! Relax. Who has the extra energy? This guy, in this article from Huffington Post, has the extra energy, but who else and why and also how?

A movie blogger irate about cellphone usage during a Toronto International Film Festival screening called 911 to report the offense.

At a midnight screening Monday, FirstShowing.net blogger Alex Billington became increasingly annoyed by constant texting and emailing at a screening for press and film industry members. After first complaining to theater managers, Billington took the extreme step of dialing the police.

He said the emergency dispatcher laughed at his complaint, but Billington took to Twitter to vent his anger. He claimed to be concerned that the movie, the horror film “The Sacrament,” was being pirated, and that “drastic measures” were called for in restoring moviegoing etiquette.

Billington clarified with BuzzFeed that he called 911 not to complain about texting, necessarily, but because he thought he “might be witnessing an act of piracy, a major crime, being committed.” “Oh. Well, that’s fair,” said the person with the life-threatening emergency trying to get through to 911. Hahah. Ugh. What did 911 say to you when you called to report people using cell phones in your local movie theater? Were they more helpful, or did you get kind of the same reaction? Leave your 911 transcripts in the ‘mments, and always remember: WORRY ABOUT YOURSELF! (Image via Shutterstock.)

*I’m not trying to use Syria as a thoughtless catch-all for reasons why one shouldn’t worry about seemingly insignificant things — though it wouldn’t be a particularly bad catch-all — but no one needs a million links to remind them about the world we live in. You get it.
Comments (45)
  1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who uses 911 for everything. Just today I had to call because this asshole wasn’t walking fast enough and was clogging up the stairs on the subway!

  2. I’m not expert in Canadian law, but isn’t using emergency services like this a crime? What would the penalty be? Hopefully like a Brokedown Palace situation, but where there is only a prison for bloggers who react in the COOLEST way at press screenings.

  3. John McCain was caught playing online poker on his phone during a Syria war meeting, so is it too late to call 911 and NATO 911 on him?

  4. Also, my office is too cold. Should I call 911 to raise the thermostat? Or that something best left for a tactical SWAT team?

  5. Because making a call in a movie theater is a lot less disruptive than texting.

  6. A lady sitting behind us had a full phone conversation after her phone rang and rang in some movie. I don’t remember the movie, but I remember her. We glared, but she was glare proof. Didn’t think to call 911.

    • Ugh! I hate that! At least have the decency to look chagrined when I glare at you!

      • i have a great glare story! I was in the university library with a friend, and we were talking about a project. This lady near us went on this rant about how rude it was that we were talking (very quietly, I might add) even though, as I pointed out, we were in the group work section were talking was allowed. She was still all pissy about it, though, and we dropped it and stopped talking, because whatever, lady.

        Well, not five minutes later, someone she knew walked up to her and they started chatting (loudly). I sat there and glared at the back of her head for their entire conversation because I didn’t want to miss my moment, and sure enough, when her friend finally left and turned around, THERE I WAS. She turned bright red and literally shrank away from me.

        Vindictive pettiness wins again!

  7. I have an app called “911?” and every time I dial 911, it asks me if I’m just being a whiny bitch before connecting me to emergency services. (I’ve never been connected.)

  8. Florence and the Elliptical Machine: Lunges

    There. If bloggers are gonna act in whatever topsy-turvy manner they please, then commentators shall do likewise. Topic be damned, that’s the pun I’ve been wanting to make ever since I had to return that CD* to the library** yesterday.

    * **I should also be able to slip in a “I’m a hundred years old” joke in here too, since I mentioned both CDs and Libraries in the same eBreath…

    • Getting CDs from the library and ripping them onto my computer is my new version of pirating music because I feel like somehow it’s more legal and also I like the library, so sue me.

  9. Tan dad in the top left looks like he’s on a roller coaster.

    • Yeah, the way that photo is cropped made me think everyone was participating in one of those hilariously incongruous staged Splash Mountain photos.

  10. Someone got on my bus today without paying the fare. Everyone called 911.

  11. Gwyneth Paltrow almost drove her kid into a school bus with her Vespa, and the internet called 911 on her.


  12. Maybe he was talking about the other kind of piracy. The guy could have been texting orders to his men to attack a Spanish galleon.

    • Also I really did have to call 911 once for a real emergency once when I was 16! A girl fell and cracked her head on the gym floor during cheerleading practice. It was terrifying! But if could have been worse, I guess. She could have been recording a movie on a personal electronic device.

      (The girl was okay, but she did permanently lose her senses of taste and smell, so, still not a great day for her.)

  13. Is this guy syrias?

  14. Are we all allowed to call 911 on Wall Street?

  15. I’m usually pretty good at seeing multiple sides of an argument (unlike the rest of you racists), but I legitimately do not see how there is any debate about whether or not it’s okay to use a cell phone in a movie theater. The only answer is no. It is not. Ever.

    • I would totally be okay with this if he called 911 pre-emptively, for result of the beatings and destruction of property he had every right to administer to cell phone users.

  16. power-mad blogger

  17. I just by accident of course trip my soda ll over them….”Oh, I am SO sorry about that…..”

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