The Weekly Geek: Texting the movies with MuVChat

Have you ever sat through a really terrible movie and thought, “Man, this would be so much better if I could text snarky comments onscreen”? Or perhaps you fancy yourself something of a Mystery Science Theater 3000 protégée, and you’d like to enjoy a flick with a few hundred of your best friends armed with cell phones?

As ridiculous as it sounds, this concept is totally inevitable in our text-and-Twitter-obsessed culture, and a new organization called MuVChat has sprung up in St. Charles, Illinois, offering just this service. They take over a movie theater, play a modern schlock classic (the “semi-lesbian-ish” disaster Gigli is on the shortlist) and allow moviegoers to participate in a constant text stream throughout the film. The comments are displayed on the bottom of the screen, pop-up video style (remember that?), much to the delight/horror of your fellow viewers.

As much as I think this is a pretty fun idea, I can’t imagine that it would work very well with most audiences — and any type of large crowd. Even if all theatergoers are relatively good sports (that is, there are no jerks spouting racial/sexual slurs every two seconds), I can imagine that most people probably find their own quotes far wittier than everyone else does. I basically see this devolving into a crappy-joke pissing contest with nary a winner in sight.

My magical speculative crystal ball is also predicting that the females in the theater tire of this clowning early on and go home for their own fun, that of the pillow fighting in bikinis kind. Wait — maybe that’s just a better movie.

Perhaps I’m being too down on MuVChat. With the right crowd, something like this could be monstrously entertaining. I am (like oh-so-may geeks), a huge fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and its spin-off, RiffTrax, so it’s certainly possible to do this sort of thing well.

At the very least, the tickets are cheap — you can currently experience MuVChat for $5 — less than half the price of a real first run flick. My advice? Go after you’ve indulged in a few age-appropriate beverages. That is, if the idea ever really takes off. We shall see.

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