Let’s All Flee To The Lobby


The preorder starts today. There’s more shirt news HERE including a NEW FIGHTING TIME LORDS SHIRT!

I took my wife to see The Dark Knight Rises friday night. I have SO MANY OPINIONS about the film itself, but I will probably save them for a subsequent post. The theater was understandably less packed than one would expect on an opening weekend at 8pm. Considering the tragedy in Colorado only 14 or so hours earlier, I assume many people just didn’t feel like enjoying anything. My real hope was that people weren’t staying home out of fear of some sort of copycat attack. That said, I did find myself eyeballing everyone that stood up during the film or entered/exited the theater after the lights went down. I felt silly and a little ashamed, but then AMC Theaters seemed to take it upon themselves to TOTALLY REINFORCE AND VALIDATE my twinge of fear by running the terrifyingly inappropriate emergency exit message seen in panels 1 and 2 above.

As soon as it started with “In case we need to escape for REAL…” I began to feel ill at ease. “Move a safe distance so you really can’t see what’s going on.” Was this a joke? I immediately thought it was a DIRECT RESPONSE to the shooting in Aurora. I was amazed that they were able to record and distribute this promo so quickly. I posted about it on Twitter later that evening and come to find out, it’s several months old. This raises two poits: A) WHY THE ENTIRE FUCK didn’t AMC pull this reel immediately after the shooting? And B) Since it didn’t have anything to do with the shooting, why was it created in the first place? It seems like the intended it as a joke, but at what or whose expense? Was it released in conjunction with a horror movie? Context is everything. Completely out of context of the shooting, the warning is still creepy and ill conceived. In context of the shooting it’s unbelievably offensive. I had never noticed that message before, but at the time it really seemed like they were making light of the situation. I know that isn’t the case, and that it’s a terrible coincidence, but WHEN would a message like that be appropriate?

I wasn’t able to find a recording or a video of the message itself, but an intrepid reader was able to point me to this complaint filed by an AMC patron that proves I didn’t fever dream the whole thing.

COMMENTERS: I really do want to talk about TDKR, but this is a bit too somber of a comic, for an entirely too somber occasion to debate Bane’s motivation or how Nolan chose to wrap up with Bat-trilogy. So how about a slightly somber question? Has there ever been an event (personal or global, tragic or not) that caused you to immediately change or stop a previously frequent behavior? 

My personal example will be down in the comments.

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  1. I used to use any and all power tools almost every weekend. I owned one of every type of power saw a person can own and I employed them in all sorts of home improvement projects as often as I saw fit. I was well versed in shop safety and I was by no means reckless, but shortly after our child was born, I found that my table saw COMPLETELY TERRIFIED me. It has a safety guard over the blade that really impeded it's ability to be used… to cut wood… like, at all. So I removed the guard and used it with the blade exposed. This is how most table saws are used any way. Suddenly (post child being born) I was unable to use it without flashing to scenes of me falling chest first onto the blade or slicing off half my hand or befalling some other unspeakable tragedy. Of all the tools I owned, it was the most dangerous, the most likely the cause harm/death and the only one that in NO WAY would shut off if I dropped it, stumbled or fell directly onto it. I never used it again. 

    I think it also might have had something to do with that scene in the Johnny Cash bio movie where his brother fallas onto the spinning saw blade. Just the very idea that it WAS A POSSIBILITY was enough for me.

      • The guy that makes this is actually involved in a class action lawsuit against all major saw manufacturers saying that they've intentionally kept his invention out of the mass market for the last 10 years or so.

    • My cousin's husband just had to have his arm half-reattached after falling on to one of those a few weeks ago.

      But anyway, I do EVERYTHING with more caution since having kids – I even take stretching breaks when writing like they always tell you too but never used to.

  2. No. I refuse to allow madmen and terrorists to change my behaviour. I refuse to let them win. I flew after 9/11 and I'll go to films after this.

    • He included personal things too, ya know. Like an accident that injured or killed a friend or family member, like this (true story):
      Three years ago an old friend of mine was hit by a car and died because he fell into the street, because he was drunk, so I decided to quit drinking.

      • But that's like saying a friend of yours choked to death because he tried to eat 14 marshmallows at once, so you've quit eating. It's foolish to stop a completely normal behaviour because someone else took it too far. I don't mean to be insensitive to your loss, I just think everything in moderation. I had a friend who died in a car accident a few years ago, but I still drive…

  3. I'd be curious to see what you saw. I go to the theater frequently, and I saw them add a message about the exits some time ago. I haven't seen anything that mentioned "escape" specifically, though. I can't recall exactly when a message about locating exits started, but I'm guessing it could've been more than 6 months ago.

    • I would be shocked if they were still playing it today. I can't believe they didnt have a company wide email telling them to pull it hours after the shooting. im sure they have by now.

      • I hadn't been to the movies in a few months and can't remember the last time I'd been in an AMC specifically, but I went the see Prometheus a few hours before the shooting and remember see that same PSA. I thought it very oddly worded at the time.

  4. i don’t let things like that scare me, it’s a damn shame when people can’t even watch a movie without unintentional fear (ie fear not caused by the movie itself) it angers me that that maniac would be willing to kill people, much less do so in such a way that it makes everyone else afraid of going to the movies

  5. That message does seem somewhat inappropriate in light of current events, but I can assure you that they were running that particular "new" message prior to the shooting. Not sure when they started using it exactly, but that was the one played prior to the showing of Brave I saw a few weeks ago. Admittedly it was a nice update from the very 70s-ish one they had previously.

  6. Not my own experience, but one I was told about my uncle. He used to ride a motorcycle a lot. Soon after his daughter was born, he had an accident, was fine, but his helmet had worn almost clear through from the skid. Realizing how close he came, he put the bike away.

    Still races boats though.

  7. I once saw someone smashed between a car and a bus whilst running across the road in front of me. Now I won't cross the road unless at a crossing, and the cars coming up to the crossing have completely stopped. In cases where there's no crossing, I completely ignore what anyone else is doing in regards to crossing, and go when I determine it's safe.
    It drives people crazy, but fuck you I saw that poor guy's brains smashed across the side of a vehicle. Plus bonus female relative screaming in horror.

    • I've had friends get mad at me, too, for not following across against the lights. No one says that you can't learn from someone else's lessons. They don't always have to be your own.

      • I think it's one of the unsung (or at least lesser-sung) marks of maturity when we learn to make our own determination as to whether something is right, safe, and appropriate for ourselves as individuals. I still have to fight that feeling of self-consciousness when I'm waiting for the signal to change and people are just blowing past me, crossing against the light.

  8. The only time that I changed my routine in any sense was after my first (and so far *only*) car accident. I was T-boned while making a left turn from a residential area onto a main thoroughfare. Because I was the bread-winner in the family (as well as Active Duty Military), I had to continue going to work. So, for awhile, I avoided making any left turns. I'd pull the right turn Nautilus Technique from Pinky and the Brain to get to any destination.
    This continued for about 2 weeks when I realized just how stupid it was and how much time I was wasting.

    • My wife still has flashbacks from an accident she had five years ago. But, hey, that Nautilus thing is not a bad idea. I mean, even UPS swears by it. And three rights make a left!

    • "Because I was the bread-winner in the family"

      That's one of the reasons Im so paranoid about saws and my hands. Everything I know how to do that earns money for my family involves extreme manual dexterity. I could possibly learn to draw with my left hand after a couple of years of practice but I would likely go bankrupt a few months into it.

  9. The message in panels one and two sounds like something that should be played before a bad movie. It makes me think that you came up with it for real to describe the new Batman movie as a bad movie.

  10. When they let air traffic start back up after 9/11, I was driving south into downtown Dallas and remember looking up to see a SouthWest Airlines flying in from the other direction. I'm not one to freak out, but my stomach knotted up like you couldn't imagine, until I remembered that they were lining up for approach to Love Field. It was hard to look at a plane at all for a while.

    In general, I view the news as a warning to us all. The different stories have something to tell us. Do not go to this part of town, do not drive 100 MPH on the freeway in the wrong direction, do not dress in an outfit of $100 bills in a darkened mall parking lot. But they never tell us to not leave the house. Besides, I have a thrill-seeker side to me.

    Now that I have a two year old, I have nightmares about situations that I can't control. Being a geek at heart, I have some pretty weird ones. With a wife that is fighting brain cancer and that being the way that she'll probably exit this world, they're even worse than weird. If you can think up a situation where I have to protect my child over my own dead body, I've probably dreamt it. That thrill-seeker side of me doesn't want to mess with any of these. Leave me the real world lunatics and I'll be okay.

    • "Now that I have a two year old, I have nightmares about situations that I can't control. "

      Parenthood has opened my eyes to every possible injury, illness, tragedy, accident, etc. imaginable. When I watch my kid running around playing I have these pre-visions of what MIGHT happen if she keeps running toward that hole in the ground without looking or how she might smack her chin if she keeps intentionally falling through the rungs of the ladder at the playground. There's really nothing I can do to quell the constant fear that something bad might happen to her, but I have managed to maintain control over how much I express those fears to her. I warn her about safety when hazards are about and I let her know WHY precautions are important (not just because "I said so"), but I don't project my paranoia onto her. She's pretty fearless about most things. I don't want to get in the way of that. I just want the be the voice in the back of her head that makes sure she thinks twice and keeps her eyes open.

      • Right there with ya! My elder daughter broke her leg FALLING OVER ON SAFETY TURF IN A PARK when she was 18 months old. My younger daughter has fallen out of 5/6 trees, fallen on her face so many times I can't count – once breaking her new adult front tooth, then a few months later, breaking the cap off it.

        My stomach clenches up and my heart starts pounding if they cross the road ahead of me (they're 9 & 11) or go out to play on their own (we live in central London) or if the younger one goes out on her skateboard.

        I have been trying to teach them to cross the road safely since they started walking – largely ignored. Other safety lessons have been learnt, but that is the one that terrifies me – I have been hit by 7 cars, 1 motorbike & a few pushbikes in my life, and don't want it to happen to them! 🙁

        Basically, it's a heart attack a day.

        • Conversely, despiite living literally streets away from where two of the London bombs exploded on 7/7 I didn't change my behaviour at ALL. Apart from starting to walk to work because the buses were out for a few days and I realised it took approximately the same length of time and saved me money.____London used to (and I hope still does) have a funny attitude to terrorist attacks. We got so used to living under a pretty permanent threat, with the IRA, that I don't know anyone (who wasn't personally affected) who became fearful afterwards. ____I really hope our government doesn't succeed in their attempts to make us all afraid. They are trying hard.

      • I've had that same feeling with my friends' kids when they were little. The kid runs into the living room and just for a split-second I see him tripping and cracking his head (or his mouth, or his nose, or his eye) on the corner of the coffee table. "Pre-vision" is a good word for it. More than once I found myself starting to move to prevent whatever I saw in the flash.

  11. Gah, sad that there are only smalls left for the "And My Axe!" shirt. Recently lost a lot of weight so my XL is too big but not enough for a small.

    Love the grammar dalek though, definitely pre-ordering one.

  12. The day after 9/11 I went to work in midtown Manhattan and was shocked

    at how empty the city was. Folks stopped taking the train and going to work.

    • Well, for starters pretty much all businesses were closed so there wasn't a lot of work to go to in Manhattan. Secondly, I think most people had a pretty valid fear that it wasn't over. That more attacks were coming.

  13. Nothing bad has to happen to me for me to be afraid to do things. That's the worst thing about anxiety….90% of the reasons I am too afraid to leave my house/interact with human creatures/shop/do anything all come from the inside of my head, not actual experiences/things I've seen/things off the news. Everything holding me back from having a happy life is COMING FROM INSIDE MY HEAD!

  14. I think its a weird connection, but prior to May, 2011, I used to watch YouTube videos all the time, like every free moment. I had a really long subscribed to list, and I enjoyed them all immensely. After my dad passed away unexpectedly, I just stopped watching them almost completely, and I haven't been able to go back to my previous watching habits (bonus: free time to do other stuff)

    • Its probably either you reevaluating what you should be doing with your limited time on this earth due to recently facing mortality, or some subconscious connection between your old habits and the loss. Either way, I hope you are doing ok.

  15. Saw TDKR at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin this weekend and found myself making special note of the exits and planning my escape route. Once the movie started, I managed to forget all the "what-if" scenarios until the tense scene leading up to the stadium bombing, when a guy in the back started laughing maniacally for over a minute, and for no apparent reason.

    • I was sitting pretty high up and I actually started trying to figure out if I could make the jump over the railing with only a broken leg or two. Then I started to wonder if I would be able to throw my kid over the railing to save her since if we jumped together I would probably crush her. HAPPY THOUGHTS BATMAN TIME!

  16. But seriously, who the fuck comes up and sits right next to a

    stranger in an otherwise nearly empty theater? That would creep me out more than the lame PSA!

      • You've probably already thought of this, but since you do occasionally do strips set in movie theaters, you could draw a stock background of a crowded theater and just leave the three seats closest to the "camera" empty. Then just do your new drawings of whoever you want to use for the gag, scan and drop them in.
        Says the guy who hasn't drawn a lick since last year's Christmas card…

  17. Never wear a bike helmet as they look so stupid. Recently had a collision with a car but luckily managed to come out of it with only some minor cuts and bruises. I'm absolutely wearing a helmet from now on. Also saw on some TV show that the toilet seat cover thingy has a purpose that most people aren't aware of. When you flush the toilet with it up it sends a cloud of bacteria upwards like a mushroom cloud to scatter around your bathroom and rest on everything like your toothbrush and anything else in the vicinity. I'm no germaphobe but this information freaked me and my wife out so much that we always flush the toilet with the toilet cover down. We both get a little annoyed when we have guests over who leave the cover up when they use the toilet.

    • Not so strange. After my first child's "fascination with water" we close the toilet lid. After 10 years now, it's weird to go to someone's house and find it open now. It just looks wrong. Also, the fear scenarios that come with having kids faded after they hit about 6yrs old for me….or maybe it was the cumulative effects of having 3 scrappy boys just wearing it out of me. I also had the Mom thing where if I heard a crying child in a public place, I had to restrain myself from taking it from its ineffective parents to see what was the matter and soothing the child myself. I figured it was hormones until my husband confessed similar urges.

    • There was an episode of "Mythbusters" where they showed that toothbrush proximity to an open toilet doesn't have any real effect on how much fecal coliform bacteria ends up on it. Like, they literally kept one in another room altogether and they were still able to get an active culture of fecal coliform going by rubbing it on a petri dish.

      Still, it brings up the question of why public restrooms, which otherwise seem to be designed by germiphobes what with all the no-touchie equipment nowadays, are the only ones whose toilets have no lids.

      • From having cleaned out public washrooms myelf, I would assume it's because of the people who just can't seem to get the lid up in time. Ugh…

  18. If it wasn't for the media intentionally spreading paranoia by constantly repeating exactly how the event took place, drudging up every little bit gruesome detail, bringing up the connection with TDKR/Batman, talking about "local connections" with the incident, and going around "interviewing" random people whether or not they'd "feel safe about going to the movies" (as if they weren't purposely airing only the clips with the most worried and panicked individuals), people would not be thinking and acting so irrationally.

  19. You say your cinema was less crowded then expected? I saw TDKR on Friday too, but where I was the cinema was *packed*. And they were showing the movie in about two other screens at exactly the same time, so as far as I saw, no one over here was really put off by the tragedy. Though, its probably because Im in England.
    And In reply to your question, no. Even when the 7/7 bombings happened over here, no one really behaved differently. Everyone still kept taking the buses and trains and keeping their days as normal. That's just a bit of a British thing, I guess. We've grown accustomed to these things.

    • "That's just a bit of a British thing, I guess."

      I think it's actually more of a "not american" thing. I really feel that, more so than any other nation, the US considers itself untouchable. So when we're "touched" we feel a special blend of sadness and betrayal at the hands of the universe.

      We also aren't as prone to as many natural disasters as other parts of the world so those things tend to hit us pretty hard too.

      "The bigger they are…" and all.

      • Don't take me wrong but… "Not as prone to as many natural disasters[…]" ? really ? You have yearly cyclones and tornados, earthquakes are a daily routine in some places… without even counting the "usual" fires, floods, and other more "mundane" disasters, the US are not in my "safest countries in the world" list… You even get tsunamis from time to time.

        Seriously, it's only surprising you don't have more eruptions to top it all…

        • To clarify my point, I should have said "not as many DEVASTATING natural disasters." Because America is so large and the population is so spread out, it is rare that a disaster effects more than one community or town where as in India and China, due to population density, there are 10's of 1000's dead.

    • When Glasgow had its terrorist attack at the airport, no one was hurt other than the terrorists. A baggage handler decked one of the terrorists the police were having trouble with. The bet part of this story was the interview with the baggage handler afterwards. It said something like: "These people have to understand: this is Glasgow. We'll set about you."

  20. Having kids changed my behavior in a few ways. I stopped getting involved in arguments online (as much) because I figured they just weren't worth getting my blood pressure up. I also used to be one of those guys who would tell a joke about anything. Suddenly, "dead baby" jokes just didn't seem all that funny any more.

    • I couldn't watch TV/Movie violence against a child, even off-camera implied violence, for years after having babies. I still don't like it, but I don't get the strong fight or flight response to kill the perpetrator anymore.

  21. I know this is a bit silly but after seeing Sweeney Todd, I couldn't eat meat because I had an irrational fear that it was people. It got so bad that even though I knew meat wasn't people, if I ate it, I got sick. I became a vegetarian for two and a half years before my stomach caught up with my brain and demanded bacon.

    Watching "IT" when I was 5 gave me an irrational fear of clowns.

    Uhhhh… I think that's it… But then again, I'm writing this at 4:30am

    • I saw IT when I was a kid, too, maybe 10 or so. I still don't like to be able to see the full moon through my bedroom window because of that one guy who had been the bully seeing the clown's face in it when he was in the institution.

      And because of that X-Files episode Stephen King wrote with the possessed doll, I absolutely cannot sleep if I can see a reflective surface from my bed.

    • Seeing IT at age 5 made me afraid of clowns, too. I bet there's a statistically significant number of people in this country that saw IT when they were kids and are now full-grown adults that want to piss their pants when they see a clown.


      The clown zombie at the end of that movie gave me nightmares for weeks. I like the rest of it enough to have watched it a few more times, and I'm down to one night of nightmares after watching. Le sigh…

  22. ate at a red robins and enjoyed the fuck out of the new batman Saturday night. vowed before hand to bum rush any and all gun men, and scream "because I'm the god damned bat man!"

  23. My wife and I went and watched the marathon thursday night. All and all I liked the third movie despite some liberal changes to the characters. Wife says thats the geek in me and that I should overlook it. Anyway we saw the news of the shooting after we got out of the movie. My wife was going on about how a guy could go out the emergency exit so easily and have no one notice. I then told her I watched not 1 but 2 people do it at our theater during the marathon. People just dont notice shit like that. Hell who would think it could happen.

  24. I live in Aurora and saw the movie Saturday morning in another Aurora theater about 10 miles away. I've been waiting months to see it and was planning on going Friday night but It just felt too odd after watching what happened (I've been to that theater at least 15 times, I took my wife and kids there no more than 3-4 weeks ago to see Brave). On Saturday it felt unbelievably awkward driving to the theater and I actually felt guilty when I was buying my ticket. Basically I guess I just kept telling myself I wasn't going to let a prick like that get into my head. I'd say it was half full which honestly is more than I thought it would be. It was very eerie in the theater beforehand and I felt like since I was by myself that everyone was looking at me until I sat down. I also couldn't help but glance at the exit about 20 times during the movie. Glad I went though.

    • I had gone to the theater Sunday noon-ish after the shooting, and it didn't seem to dampen any desire to see the movie at all.
      The IMAX showings were sold out until early evening, and the other screens (3 or so) running it were selling out as well.
      What weirded me out is that the theater refused to bring up the house lights before the movie started; you got to wartch every single person that walked in (me included) try to figure out how the h*ll to walk to a seat in near pitch-black darkness…nothing on the screen until 15 mins before the movie started.
      Of course, because I don't want morons in front of me, I sat in the row right on the main walkway, about 2 steps away from the emergency exit: if someone did pop in that way, they'd have tripped over me.

      To me, that was really stupid: way to reassure people nothing could happen by leaving the theater totally dark, to where someone *could* sneak out the exit.
      Odder still was no announcement to check for exits or make sure to take your crap when you leave.

  25. I choked on a bite of steak that was mostly fat and gristle when I was six. My dad had to grab me and give me the Heimlich maneuver, but I still blacked out for a few minutes. Even now, over twenty years later, I gag a bit if there's any gristle or fat on a bite of steak or chicken that touches my mouth. I'm not a vegetarian by any means, but I have to quite meticulously clean any bovine or fowl specimens on my plate of fat and gristle now.

    • Oh, and I totally marathoned all three on IMAX on Thursday… then felt ill when I saw the headline the next morning. But I went again on Sunday, and yesterday I went to a showing of some Star Trek: TNG at the movie theater. Still, I understand why people are scared or worried, and it's a shame people can't enjoy what they wanted to because of this incident.

      • Actually, I've read online some people making fun of Trekkers for going to see two "meh" eps of Season 1 TNG in the theater.
        Where I live now, I thought it was kinda neat to be around 50 or so other Trek nerds watching remastered eps, even if it was Season 1. I liked the extras, and thought it was a good way to promote the new Blu Ray stiff.

  26. I haven't really changed behaviors as a result of things like the Aurora shooting, but I did avoid Exxon gas stations for many years after the Exxon Valdez spill. I also didn't buy Shell gas for many years because of their South African connection prior to the end of apartheid, and I've stopped eating at Chick-Fil-A (whose food I quite liked) because I have gay friends and acquaintances and don't wish to support Truett Cathey's homophobic douchebaggery.

  27. I went to the AMC at Grapevine Mills to see TDKR on Friday, and I saw that exact same thing. I agree that it was too soon after the Aurora shooting for them to have thrown that together and distribute it… they probably meant "escape" in the sense that "hey, you're at a theater and movies are mental escapism!" But it was awkward and poorly timed. I don't know why they didn't pull it, but I do have inside information that AMC pulled the trailer for "Lawless" that depicts gangsters shooting through a movie screen.

  28. I had a similar weird experience at a Cinemark theater, seeing, of course, the Dark Knight Rises, two days after the Aurora shooting.

    The Cinemark "Turn off your cell phones" courtesy message zooms in on the standard, restroom-door-type person-icon and says, "You know who you are…" then draws a bullseye on the head of the icon. I thought, you know, Cinemark probably didn't think anything of it making this animation 6 months ago or whatever- but it seems in poor taste to literally DRAW A TARGET on an icon REPRESENTING YOUR MOVIEGOERS two days after a theater shooting.

  29. "Move to a safe distance so you really can't see what's going on" is pretty sound advice in the event that you're exiting a theater (or any location) due to fire or other unsafe conditions – it's the same thing they tell us in our quarterly fire drills and high rise EAP/evacuation drills here in Manhattan, and it's the same thing I've been hearing my entire life. If you're close enough to see what's going on, you're still in danger. So that just makes sense to me.

    I feel like a lot more people are noticing this replacement for the old "exits are located here and here" message in the wake of the Aurora tragedy, and maybe the "escape" wording comes out of nowhere (I can't remember how the message starts), but overall what they're saying is good logical advice – if there's a safety reason that you have to leave the theater, go far enough away that you can't see it anymore.

  30. I got stabbed in the lung with an icepick during a parking lot brawl once and almost died several times from the resulting cascade of infections and walking pnuemonia, so now I don't drink so much anymore.

  31. I've been to AMC probably a few dozen times (including TDKR at midnight) and have NEVER, EVER seen a warning like that.
    Just 2 or 3 reminders to turn off our phones.

  32. I followed the link to the customer complaint (which was marked "3 days ago," presumably Saturday) and found a reply (also marked "3 days ago") saying the message had been taken down.

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