Joe Does the Movies: Accessible movie reviews in Toronto

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Big Card®
Famous Players movie pass. I had one from about 2001 to 2004. It doesn’t cost Famous Players anything (not even in marginal cost, save for extremely crowded showings, to which I’ve been to a mere three).
display or LED display
Large panel (three rows of 32 characters, each made of a 7×5-pixel dot matrix) that sits on the back wall and displays caption characters in mirror image. Your reflector reverses the captions so you can read them.
Panel that broadcasts description audio (and, in some cases, amplified main audio for hard-of-hearing people) via infrared light waves.
Large plastic-bodied headphones, with a top-mounted infrared receiver, through which one listens to audio descriptions. Very bright LED at top of headset is highly conspicuous and indicates power on.
The next step above a playa. They wear suits as opposed to uniforms, usually are older than 15 to 18, and at least nominally are supposed to know what they’re doing and actually be helpful.
Motion Picture Access. Term used to describe the combination of Rear Window® captioning and Descriptive Video Service℠ audio description, both from WGBH (although description is sometimes produced by other parties).
In Famous Players jargon, ordinary on-floor staff are “players.” I adopt hiphop slang – which the playaz themselves will understand, even if Famous Players executives do not – for a bit of flava.
Smoked-plexiglas panel on a gooseneck stalk that you insert into your seat’s cupholder. The panel reflects captions from the LED display, which you then read. Can be positioned below, overlapping, or above the movie screen.
scratched to shit
Term used in the industry to describe plexiglas reflectors with pits and scratches.

You’ll probably want to take a look at photos.

Words of benediction

A review should give off the authentic reek of the concession stand; it should become as handy as that finest of nocturnal inventions, the armrest-mounted soda holder.
– Anthony Lane, Nobody’s Perfect

Or, in our case, the armrest-mounted caption-reflector holder.

See also

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Updated: 2007.01.11