For those who have been wondering what could possibly be more ridiculous than that lawsuit filed last fall by a Detroit woman who expected ”Drive” to be more like “The Fast and the Furious,” here is your answer.
The Telegraph has reported that a “small number of refunds” have been issued to moviegoers in the United Kingdom who complained because “The Artist” — a movie that is quite clear about the fact that it is a silent film — doesn’t have any spoken dialogue in it.
“Odeon Liverpool One can confirm it has issued a small number of refunds to guests who were unaware that The Artist was a silent film,” a spokesperson for the theater chain tells the British newspaper.
The temptation to point out that such cluelessness has rendered me speechless is massive right now. But I’ll resist the urge to travel to Punny Double Entendre-ville so I can ask outraged rhetorical questions instead. Questions like:
If you’ve seen even five seconds of a commercial for “The Artist,” glanced briefly at any moment of the recent Golden Globes telecast or read the briefest possible synopsis of the film, how could you not know it was silent?
Isn’t this the equivalent of asking for one’s money back during “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” because the movie turned out to be “more Valdemort-y” than you expected?
Or expressing shock that “Shame,” an NC-17 film about a sex addict, contained so much nudity?
Or demanding a refund for “The Muppets” because you were surprised that it contained so many singing puppets?
(I could do this all day, really, but I won’t.)
I reached out to a couple of U.S. movie theater chains to find out whether American audience members have been lodging similar complaints. A spokesperson for the Landmark Theater said they have “officially not had any issues” with “Artist” confusion. A spokesman for the AMC chain has not yet respond to a request for comment.
Although the Telegraph’s ridiculous story generates mostly giggles, not to mention more buzz for a film that will likely be nominated for several Academy Awards when nominations are announced on Tuesday, it does raise a somewhat more serious matter: the importance of being an educated moviegoer.
Although some people refrain from reading reviews out of fear of spoiling a movie’s surprises, it’s important to at least have some sense of what you’re in for when you plunk down money to buy a ticket. We’ve all sat in a theater with children who were inappropriately dragged into a semi-intense action flick because their parents didn’t think it would be so violent, or a friend who was disappointed in a film because it “just wasn’t what she thought” it was going to be.
Obviously, it’s hard to know exactly what you’re going to get from every multiplex experience. Frankly, that’s part of the joy. But in an age where plot summaries can be accessed with a few swipes of a smartphone and information about the quality of a film can easily be found on sites like Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic, there is no excuse to claim total cluelessness. Especially if you’re British. I mean, aren’t they supposed to be smarter and more sophisticated than us silly Americans?
And with that said, I am going to fall silent.