All Hail the Alamo Drafthouse (Now with an Update!)

by | Jun 7th, 2011 | 2:25PM | Filed under: In My Humble Opinion, Other Bits

As a redbox fan, you clearly appreciate the benefits of watching a film in the comfort of your own home. But chances are you still head out to the theater several times a year — especially in the summer when the big-budget popcorn flicks are released. There’s something to be said for the thrill of attending a midnight screening, or just being part of a packed audience that’s collectively laughing, cheering, or jumping out of their seats.

But obviously one of the worst things about being in a cinema with anywhere from dozens to hundreds of other people is the fact that inevitably, at least one patron is going to act a fool. Either by talking loudly during the movie, eating some nasty-smelling concession snack that reeks up the place, or distracting those within a multi-foot radius by texting or checking his cellphone in the dark theater. Guess what, buddy? We can ALL SEE your light and it is annoying as hell!

Here in Chicago, Locke and I are lucky because most of the theaters we attend screenings at have really hardcore security peeps who will shut down anyone using a cellphone within seconds. But when those guys are slow to react, I’ve not been above telling people off myself — even coming close to physical violence once when two pre-teens behind me kept PLAYING A VIDEO GAME (with the sound on, I kid you not) for the first half-hour of a film.

That’s why I have nothing but love for the Alamo Drafthouse — a small chain of highly regarded theaters in Austin, Texas, that will not abide rude moviegoers. They have a strict No Talking/No Cell Phones policy, and they’re not afraid to enforce it. Recently they had to do just that, and kicked a girl out after she’d been asked twice to stop texting. This girl copped a “The customer’s always right” attitude (failing to realize that there were other customers trying to enjoy the experience she was ruining) and left a curse-filled voicemail for the theater’s management afterward.

In a nothing-short-of-brilliant move, the Drafthouse is now using that obnoxious voicemail as its No Talking/No Cell Phones policy reminder before all R-rated showings. Below is the censored version.

This is the best thing I have seen in a while. Talk about an idiot, huh? However, I was astonished to see how many people were defending this brat on the theater’s blog and elsewhere. So I’m curious to hear what you guys think: Do you agree that Texter Girl got what she deserved? Or was she treated too harshly? And if you think she shouldn’t have been kicked out, I’d like to understand why you feel that the rest of the people who could see her shining screen — who paid just as much as she did to be there — should suffer just so she could send what was surely a truly urgent, earth-shattering, perfectly spelled message to her BFF.

Sound off below!

UPDATE: The Alamo Drafthouse has gotten such a huge response to their No Talking/No Texting “Public Service Announcement” that they’ve now pulled together and posted ALL of their similarly themed pre-movie videos from years gone by. See them here.

117 Responses to “All Hail the Alamo Drafthouse (Now with an Update!)”

  1. paula
    Posted on June 9, 2011 at 6:12 am

    Glad I am NOT related to that uncouth little spoiled snob. I hope other movie theatres adopt this policy!

  2. bassplayer85
    Posted on June 9, 2011 at 6:20 am

    Glad I am not related to this arrogant Spoiled BRAT. I hope more theatres adopt this policy! Maybe she will be a little more considerate from now on, you think?

  3. Danny
    Posted on June 9, 2011 at 8:08 am

    I commend you guys and would love it if you open a theater in Houston :)

  4. John
    Posted on June 9, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Not only was this young woman rude, she has absolutely no class. Someone should wash her mouth out. My grandmother used to say that excessive profanity was a sign of a limited vocabulary. I think this young woman has limited brain power in general.
    Congratulations. I will definitely remember the Alamo!

  5. Bill
    Posted on June 9, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Not to defend texters because I also hate the distraction. But the other day while sitting in the theater it became obvious that these theaters are being very selective over what they consider rude and distracting behavior. There were people all around me that were rustling their popcorn bags (very loudly), chewing like cows (remember when your parents told you not to do that), and slurping on their drinks. What is the chance that they will stop serving food during the movies to improve everyone’s viewing experience? Slim to none, I expect.

  6. Lauri
    Posted on June 9, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    I hate people pulling their phone out during the movie! I used to do it to check the time way back when cell phones weren’t everywhere and I can’t believe I was so rude to my fellow moviegoers. I think its the younger generation they can’t disconnect for even brief periods of time.

  7. Fiirvoen
    Posted on June 10, 2011 at 11:16 am


  8. Fiirvoen
    Posted on June 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Point by point rebuttal of the only dissenting opinion:
    chris presley
    Posted on June 9, 2011 at 6:00 am

    “This a free country…”
    Free Country, yes. But, the theater is private property and the owner has the RIGHT to throw out any customer for any reason BECAUSE it is a free country. It would have been irresponsible for them not to look out for the best interest of their other customers.

    “…and I can watch movies with wild destractions.”
    So you can watch movies with wild distractions. That’s more of a TALENT than an argument. The rest of us cannot.

    “People need to be considerant of everyones opinion not just their own.”
    Okay, was she “considerant” of everyone else’s wishes in the theater or was she just concerned with her own? She was selfish and rude. She wasn’t thinking about ANYONE but herself.

    “Let’s say the person in question was being told her mom dies.”
    Yes, lets say that. Now what kind of a vile, terrible person would choose not to walk out, but stay in the theater to finish a movie after finding out their mom died? Yeah, that doesn’t really pan out.

    “And all you jerks think she needs to wait 2 or 3 hours to find out.” Wow. Who said that? LOL! Not even close, buddy. If you walk out of a movie, most theaters will even give you your money back if you have a reason. So why should someone with a recently deceased mom stay? Obviously they’re not too shocked to leave, because they’re texting.

    In summary, you are wrong. :)

  9. H Kopis
    Posted on June 10, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema management made their point when they 1) kicked her out while 2) keeping her money. I really don’t have an issue with the theater’s policy. To quote the video, “Yeah, I was wondering if you guys actually enjoy treating your customers like a pieces of sh*t?” The creation of this “PSA” suggests: apparently so.

  10. Patricia
    Posted on June 14, 2011 at 9:11 am

    I completely support the Alamo Drafthouse’s decision AND this pre-movie announcement! I used to live in Austin and of the many things I miss about it, Alamo Drafthouse is at the top. I think it’s great that the Alamo drafthouse has expanded to include a location in Winchester, Va; now we just need a location closer to Washington, DC! I would go all the time!

  11. JGM
    Posted on June 14, 2011 at 11:37 am

    I’m all for theaters requesting and enforcing reasonable behavior. But there’s a fine line between creating an environment anyone can enjoy and creating one where customers get nervous they will be accosted if they need to cough, and this PSA kind of pushes them over it. Nobody died, but I’ve personally had to leave a movie when texted of a family emergency; if I still had kids home with a babysitter I imagine I’d hesitate to go somewhere where I couldn’t be reached in an emergency.

    Alamo also kind of weakens their position atop the high horse in the fact that they take food/drink orders and serve same *during the movie*. They even put spaces between the rows of seats to facilitate the servers’ ease. I guess distractions are OK as long as they make money from them.

  12. Molee
    Posted on June 19, 2011 at 11:23 am

    ~THANK YOU~!….It is about time that the public can see what happens when people don’t follow the rules…. Every theater I have gone to have the same rules about the cell phone…But more importantly is common sense and manners..where are hers? she might have been texting in other theaters but it is obvious that she didn’t follow the rules there either…Cudos to the Alamo…

  13. Katie
    Posted on July 12, 2011 at 8:27 am

    I love Alamo Drafthouse and attend the San Antonio location when I can, but texting and checking the time on your cellphone is just not a major distraction to me. Talking on your phone is rude! The staff personnel walk through the rows continually asking questions about your orders and bringing out food. I guess I am just used to having children annoying me all day and can handle these small distractions better than most. The smell of food is not a problem for me either so I don’t understand the “stanky” food distractions. Sorry to hear how sensitive some people are and if get a call on vibrate, I will glance to see who it is before leaving the theater to answer. I am more considerate then most people in general and understand that I part of a whole theater of moviegoers!

  14. Tim Tampa FL
    Posted on July 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    I do not got to movie theaters any longer because no matter what the movie I always left more upset from the rude patrons than feeling anything from the movie. It became a waste of money to me as I already know what I am going to feel like when I leave any movie. If we had a theater in our area that had this policy I would start going back to my normal weekly movie adventure.

  15. kc
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 5:37 am

    Doesn’t it cause a bigger distraction when she causes a scene when you try to kick her out? And I’m sure her texting isn’t as bad as the staff walking around dropping of orders and talking to customers..the lady was probably a minority because ifshe was white it would be ok

  16. Patty
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 8:17 am

    I love this! Its time the decent well mannered people took our society back, its NOT okay to talk on your phone, or text your buddy, or talk to your girlfriend in the movie, if you want to do what you want, wait and rent it at home! I understand sometimes emergencies happen, but if the phone rings ( or vibrates if you have any level of decency) get up and take it to the lobby.

    I feel this way about concerts and sporting events too, nothing worse than being at a hockey game that I paid over $100 for and some jerk being on their phone at length, get up and go to the concourse, you jack wagon!

    People are addicted to their phones, and should stop and think why a phone is more important to them than real living human beings.

    • Currently 2/5 Stars
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 10:32 am

    While not agreeing with what she did but not being as cynical or naive to judge her from a few moments and phrases let us recap this. As apparently most everyone else leaving a comment is so high class that they consider a normal person who is upset with something, trash. When in fact they should probably swing that judgmental pendulum the other way…but I digress.

    If only the issue of texting is brought into question then the reasoning behind her being kicked out has already been thoroughly explained and I do not plan to rehash it again, respect for your fellow moviegoer. But where does the proverbially line in the sand get drawn? With the teen who is texting their best friend? Or perhaps the parents who thought it would be a fun night on the town to bring their seven month old to the movie along with them so they could have a small time bomb waiting to explode and ruin the film not just a select few people around them, but everyone in the theater. Because apparently breaking the illusion is just so dastardly that when someone does it we just need to take it as a personal slight on us and degrade and talk down to the person. Because “we” all apparently know within the confines of this comment box if you cannot find the time to articulate those poignant thoughts in a manner that is both, dare I say, perceptive yet intrepid then you are beneath ‘us’ as a person. But once again I find myself off-topic due to the shear atrociousness of people relating intelligence to someone’s vernacular.

    It was a distraction, being asked multiple times to stop texting before she was removed was completely justifiable on the part of the theater. One quick question however my audience who undoubtedly are reading this with gritted teeth and anger welling in their meaty chests. The theater decides the minute details that define what is rude to their customer experience. Servers walking throughout the theater seem to break the far far away experience that so many enjoy. Stating you go to a movie to get away and escape for a few moments seems more like you have a life that probably just did not pan out the way you ever thought it would and you need to reevaluate where those wrong turns were took, fill in the pot holes, and suck it up.

    So the servers that walk by and provide the slowly swelling populace with chocolatey delights and artery clogging snacks are a welcome because number one, well they make a profit off of that. Oh, and do not let us forget that most people cannot go more then a few hours without stuffing something horridly terrible for your body down the bottomless pit you call a mouth. But take the servers out of the equation, I can do that and still find my point like a shining beckon in the night. Then those same people that just had to have the XXXXX-Large soda, because it was only 50 cents more, and the popcorn that would feed a small aboriginal village in Kenya would be running back and forth out of the theater to get a fix for their habit in the form of more buttery yum-yums. This is one example, then you have people that cannot help but apparently drink so much that using the bathroom fourteen times in a two hour period is acceptable, when if you were at home it would be a doctor visit. Let us not forgive those that cannot sit still and constantly rustle about within their set as if someone is jabbing them about the body with hot poker; or maybe the smoker for having a coughing fit in the middle of the theater right as the movie reaches an abrupt climax.

    In short, do not throw stones because someone night just come along with better aim and knock you off that pedestal you’ve draped yourself upon and then you may just have to spend a few moments down here with the rest of us. Hopefully you do not catch your reflection somewhere because the ignorant husk that could once be called your body may not recognize itself.

    P.S. Typing in all caps does not convey emotion, it conveys stupidity and mediocrity.