For the past few weekends the majority of the free world appears to have made it’s way to the cinema to take in that smarmy spaceman/baby-tree/laser trash-panda epic, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is still at the top of the box office and the James Gunn directed cosmic comicbook action/comedy has been universally regarded as both captivating and crowd pleasing. Well, except for one person apparently.
Out of the $630 million dollars the movie has made, currently some of those proceeds ($17.31 to be exact) are locked up in what just might be the greatest and most important court case of this generation. Brandon Vezmar of Austin Texas has filed a lawsuit in Travis County small claims court against an unmamed woman (we’ll call her Karen*, since this seems like a real Karen kinda thing to do) to be repaid the price of admission for taking her to the May 6th screening of GotG Vol 2. in what he claims was a “first date from hell.”
Vezmar alleges that this possible Karen “activated her phone at least 10 to 20 times in 15 minutes to read and send text messages,” at which point Vezmar says he asked her to leave the theatre to continue her rude and selfish actions, which she did and did not return. Way to really Karen things up, lady. In the lawsuit, Vezmar not only cites that her actions adversely affected his enjoyment of the film but also directly violates the theatre’s (and civil society’s) mobile phone policy.
For the sake of argument, the 15 mark of the movie is at about the point where we find out that Rocket Raccoon stole those macguffin batteries leading to Star-Lord and the gang being attacked by a small fleet of Sovereign attack drones, so unless ‘Karen’ was texting her friend who happens to be an expert on space-rodent law on the legality of Rocket’s actions maybe she should have obeyed the basic laws of being a decent human being.
The local newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman, did manage to contact the woman who still chooses to remain nameless for a statement. “This is crazy,”
Karen she exclaimed, “I had my phone low and I wasn’t bothering anybody.” adding that she only used her phone a few times. Adding that It “wasn’t like constant texting.”
GotG director James Gunn made his opinion (one that I think few would disagree with) on the case clear via his twitter:
Why stop at suing? She deserves jail time! https://t.co/c41MWGz74M
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) May 16, 2017
Now, I don’t want to turn this into a soapbox kind of moment but for decades now we have had PSA’s and gentle polite reminders to the movie going public about using a cell phone during a movie. It is rude to both the other movie goers and the men and women that worked countless hours on this celluloid work of art that unravels in front of you (if you look up from the Samsung that is.) Stop doing that.
Obviously there are times where a situation does arise that you have to text or email during the movie, and when that happens do the right thing and excuse yourself from the cinema. Find some place quiet and secluded where you won’t be disturbing anyone, like a theatre showing Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
(*If your name is Karen please note: We used the name as a simple catch all for someone that would use their phone in a theatre and this is not an accusation of any wrong doing and no offense was intended or implied so please don’t get all ‘Karen’ about this, ok?)
Update: Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League has offered a $17.31 gift certificate to settle the lawsuit.