Monday, February 18, 2008

Regal Cinemas assumes that deaf people are huge fans of Katherine Heigl or James Marsden

Since it was Valentine’s week—being a great boyfriend, I decided to extend the event beyond just one day—I decided to go with Rowan to 27 Dresses, a definitely un-guy-type movie.

Unfortunately, when we arrived at the theater to watch the 4:00 showing, it was OCA, which the lady at the counter informed us was probably not a way we wanted to watch the movie.

Regal Cinema’s website defines OCA in this way:

“Open captioning converts a movie's dialogue, noises and sound effects into white text, and superimposes it over the screen images. The sound is normal, and the captions are visible to all. Unlike TV’s closed-captioned text, open captioning is not surrounded by clunky black boxes. Instead, captions are more artistically integrated onto the screen.”

I suppose if I were deaf, this would be a decent way to view a movie. For me, however, I am somehow compelled to read the subtitles, even if I don’t need them. This would undoubtedly distract me from staring at Katherine Heigl’s cleavage, and from peering into the bottom of my ICEE cup to slurp up the last bits of semi-frozen goodness.

We returned to the 1:00 show the next day only to find that they had now switched that time to the OCA screening. We asked the old, fat, bearded guy behind the counter why they go around switching the OCA times.

“We want to accommodate a variety of clients,” was his response.

But here’s the thing: the only OCA movie in the theater is 27 Dresses. How is this accommodating that audience? I watched the movie, and did not find it to have particular relevance to the hearing impaired community.

If I were deaf, I would be upset that my choices were so limited, and that the times keep getting moved around. I couldn’t hear, so I couldn’t call for show times, and what if I don’t have internet at home? It would make my life more difficult than it already was.

We returned to the theater a third time and watched the movie. It had its clichés and predictable dialogue, but I am easily amused, and was therefore mildly amused, though I did start staring off into space on several occasions.

I am becoming progressively more jaded with the movie-going experience. Tickets are now $10 in the evenings. The bathrooms are always flooded, with standing water on the floors. Several urinals are always out of commission. They get poor quality film reels, and we don’t always get the movies I want to see up here.

But it is nice to get out of the house sometimes, if only because my interactions with other people and the outside world help keep me from becoming jaded and cynical.

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