I saw two movies this weekend (Cyrus was a creepy, fun film that dragged too much at the end, and Micmacs was a little too cutesy but tremendously entertaining) and at both movies, people nearby were texting. While I have no problem with telling people to stop using their glowing screens when they're supposed to be staring at a huge glowing screen, I started to wonder if maybe it's time to make the back row (or the back two rows) of the theater into texting-friendly seats, with the rest of the theater strictly marked as no-phone zones.
I'm not suggesting this because I want to use such a row. I've never used my phone during a movie. I'm kind of a hardass about shutting up during movies and plays; I don't like to whisper about the show while it's going on. While I haven't had a play or movie interrupted by a ringing phone in months—maybe people are finally learning to set their phones to silent—it seems like people are dead-set on e-mailing and texting during the show. In a lot of ways, this is more annoying than whispering. A lit phone screen can be distracting to people ten or twenty rows back, or a dozen seats to the right or left.
So if a theater chain were to make the last row into a texting-friendly zone, with the understanding that all ringers and notifications have to be off and if you bring your phone out anywhere else in the theater during the movie you'll be summarily ejected, maybe this would keep those people contained. Do whatever you want back there—live-Tweet the whole movie to your tens of followers, don't miss any of your Facebook friends' activities, send and receive e-mails—just shut up about it and leave everyone else alone. (Ideally, the theater would remove the row in between the texting section and the no-texting section, so the light pollution wouldn't bother the next row up.)