Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

This is part in a series at HBDC Anti-Injustice Campaign.

This past weekend I spent some time with a longtime friend, Jodi. A sleepover. When asked if I wanted to watch a movie, I was game. So, I settled in on the sofa with a bag of chips and a soda.

It's nice watching a movie in HD on a big flat screen with surround sound. I'm still holding on to my 27" stereo set, the one with picture-in-a-picture that I've never quite figured out how it works. Oh, but I do have cable - I'm a second tier subscriber.

Jodi put the movie on and, immediately, I knew something wasn't right. Okay, maybe this is how the opening was filmed. The picture was clear, it was just a little jittery. It took me a minute to realize that this movie was just released in the theaters less than a week ago. Now, wait a minute! When I asked my friend, "How did you get this?", I was told, "Don't ask, don't tell".

About five minutes into the movie Jodi remarked, "This is a hand-held". "What in the hell is a hand-held?", I asked. She didn't say anything, she just turned an gave me "the look". Then, like a beacon of light bringing home a wayward ship in the night, I got it. This was a pirated movie!

I knew it! Since when do feature films have laugh tracks? And the coughing I was hearing was not done by someone off-camera. Well, it was done off-camera, but by someone sitting in the theater close to the person handling the covert filming. I became very distracted by the goings on in the theater.

I had been transported from Jodi's sofa to a seat in the theater. Not only did the laughter become annoying, but so did the crunching of popcorn and the passers-by on their way to the concession stand or the restroom. I've never understood why people don't take care of their business before the movie starts. Geeez.

This has become a huge black market industry. These pirates punch a hole in the cup holder in the arm of their seat, they raise the arm and then place the camera to film the movie. Later they take it to a location, usually their home, and record thousands of copies and distribute them to homes here in the US and other countries. And, yes, they are even obtainable online, which is how Jodi got it.

Is this an injustice to the movie industry? Perhaps. But I feel it's a bigger injustice to the unsuspecting, like me. The next time you are in a theater, just remember to sit quietly or you could become a supporting actor.


  1. I agree about sitting quietly and don't check your friggin text messages while you are in a movie!

  2. Sounds like a great way to have a miserable time watching a movie while also stealing other people's intellectual property. A double bonus. I hope you beat Jodi over the head with the DVD.

  3. "Really (cough, wheeze) enjoyed the (sneeze) show, Me-Me," said The Old Silly as he gagged loudly on a mouthful of popcorn.

  4. That'd drive me up the wall. And furthermore it's outright theft. Movies are meant to be enjoyed...in the manner in which they where produced - professionally, not via cheap rip-offs. OK, that's today's rant.

  5. @ Lee - Or the person that has their phone on vibrate and it's also vibrating their seat? Arrrgggh.

    @ Joel - Yes, I'm well aware that it's theft. But how is one to know at the time of download? This was downloaded from a reputable site. At least they were reputable.

    @ Marvin - LOL! So, that was you?

    @ Dufus - I hear you! Loud and clear!

    I promise Mr. Movie Maker and Mr. FBI Man, who are knock, knock, knocking at my front door, that I will never watch a pirated movie again.

    There, are you satisfied?

  6. What's the point when it's illegal and hard to watch? Or is it the thrill of doing something illegal? Go figure. So, did you have the nerve to say anything to your friend about the pirated version?

  7. @ Cat Lady - There are far more illegal things that are way more fun to go down for than watching a pirated movie.

    No, I didn't say anything, I just emailed her a copy of this post.

  8. this is very cool. You are cool like a drug dealer doing sneaky things. I'm going to tell people I know you.

    ps I'm following now.

  9. Cams are indeed movies copied to a hand help and cammers are the ones who do it. The best copies are dvd rips. Often, quality is almost as good as the original dvd.
    I have about 500 movies and probably 200 are rips from original and downloaded dvd's. Good quality for the most part.

  10. YIKES! I don't get why people want to do this. It's such poor quality. How can you possibly see the sex scenes....er......spaceship action?

  11. If I'm gonna pay for a movie I think I would rather pay full price and at least get good quality.

  12. I don't get the appeal of the pirated movie.

  13. If it was a reputable source they would have given you a pirated copy that was sold online, to copy and distribute before the theatrical release, by the movie critics.

    And what about the people who bring thier infants to movies? Can't they get a friggin sitter?

  14. I saw one of these pirated movies recently. A friend bought a copy of UP for $5. (from a guy in a bar-reputable) It was so bad, quality was nonexistent. It is stealing...I think I can really wait and pay full price if I really want to own a movie.
    BTW..No, you don't need a big ass roller for fondant. Just a rolling pin.

  15. My husband's co-workers are always wanting to watch these or loan them to us. Maybe its too "goodie-goodie" but I refuse to even watch them....I'm a writer and I wouldn't want people stealing my material. I don't think movie should be any different.

  16. Lol, it is really disturbing when you are watching and in the movie itself, you can see people laughing and standing and walking, etc. Pirated movies are really not good.

  17. I was totally thinking this was going to be about a porno.

    You should hear the sounds in THAT theater.



  18. To me theft is charging $8 for a popcorn, $6.50 for a soda, and $8.75 for a ticket. If you plan to take a date you had better stop by the bank and take out a loan.

  19. Thanks for the info. From now on, whenever I'm at the movies, I'm going to yell out "THIS IS A PIRATED MOVIE!" every fifteen minutes. It won't make any sense to those around me at the time, but when someone's watching the illegal copy, it'll be HILARIOUS.


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