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.