One common request from users over the years is to help them avoid graphic scenes in movies that might disturb them. For years we have tried to do the best we can to create Peetimes during scenes we found to be over the top, or disturbing, compared to the rest of the movie. Now we have made it quasi-official by marking these Peetimes as Alert Peetimes.
This solution comes with a few caveats. First, this is obviously very subjective. What may be disturbing to one person isn’t even noticed by another. However, I think there is a lot of common ground. We focus on scenes that have sexual violence, animal cruelty, or torture. (Hopefully there’s never a scene that involves all three!)
Also, this is contextual. If you’re watching a gangster movie with lots of torture scenes, then what’s the point of making Alert Peetimes for those?That’s what the movie is about. But, if there happened to be a scene involving animal cruelty in a gangster movie, then we’d try to alert you to that.
Second, we can’t have Alert Peetimes that might cover every conceivable thing someone out there might be sensitive to. For instance, if you were recently in a terrible car crash, it might be traumatic to watch a movie and then unexpectedly see a car crash. My suggestion for anyone with an issue like that would be to talk to someone who has already seen the movie, and ask them if one of their trigger scenes is in it.
Third, we make it very clear in the RunPee app that we won’t be held responsible for catching every scene that might trigger someone. We’ll do our best and invite our fans to provide feedback, good and bad, on how we are doing with the Alert Peetimes — but we’re not interested in hearing criticism that blames us for not protecting them from a trigger scene. Again, we’re doing our best with it, but this isn’t our core purpose when getting Peetimes for a movie.
Don’t get me wrong, everyone in the RunPee family loves movies, but sometimes we really dread going to the theater because, you know, it’s a job.
One of the first things we learned about getting the best Peetimes for a movie was to make sure that we at least see movies within our favorite genres. For instance, in general I don’t like horror movies. And the ones I do like usually span across genres in some way. So if I’m forced to do Peetimes for a horror movie I have a hard time selecting the best Peetimes, because I don’t know what people like about horror movies in the first place. Thank goodness for my sister — Christene Johnson — who loves horror movies. Good or bad horror (mostly bad these days), we count on her to get the best Peetimes for horror films because she knows what fans of that genre like and don’t like.
Likewise, I see most of the science fiction and action movies, along with Jill. RunPee Mom sees most of the kids’ movies. I guess it’s a little ironic that the elder in the family sees the movies for kids, but she really loves them and has trained herself to see them like a child — even going so far to talk to families about a movie afterward — to get a feel for what sort of scenes stand out for kids, so she can be sure to not use those scenes in a Peetime. Over the years she’s gotten pretty good at it. (Let’s forgive her for her Peetime in Frozen. How was she to know Let it Go was going to become such a hit?)
Now, when we watch a movie, it isn’t like we can relax and enjoy it. We literally sit there with pen and paper and take notes, jotting down the time and possible cue for a Peetime, and hoping we can go at least three minutes without running into a scene that’s important. If that happens, and it usually happens about twelve times a movie, we cross it out and start looking for another possible Peetime.
It varies from movie to movie, but it’s not uncommon to have 10-15 potential Peetimes in a two hour movie, of which we’ll cross out most of them, and hopefully, be left with 2-4 that are worthy of becoming Peetimes. On some occasions we have multiple people seeing the same movie so we can debate with each other which Peetimes would be best and why. Then we further weed out the selected Peetimes by seeing how they are grouped. If there are two Peetimes in a 10 minute span, we usually select the one we think is best and discard the other.
Possibly the hardest part of the job is reviewing our notes and writing the synopsis for each Peetime. We have to make judgement calls on just how much detail we put into each synopsis, because we realize that someone using the app only has around 20 seconds or so to read what happened while they were away. Plus, we have to be very clear with our pronouns and such. Too many he/shes and suddenly the reader is left wondering, “Wait, who? What?” That’s not good. We write our synopsis and proofread it, and then it gets edited by Jill (our Editor in Chief).
As subjective as all this sounds, you would think that we’d get lots of complaints about this scene or that one being in a Peetime when it shouldn’t have been. I certainly expected that sort of criticism would be commonplace, but it isn’t. I can honestly count on one hand how many critical comments we get each year about a chosen Peetime. And it’s not because people don’t want to take the time to email us. We get plenty of user emails and corrections for the slightest detail mistake — which we’re always thankful for. So it seems we’re doing something right. 🙂
As hard as this job is to keep up with every week, every year, we love it because we get so much positive feedback and thanks from the fans who use the app.
We love seeing reviews of our fine and fun app on You Tube: We’ve Been Reviewed! We feel so grateful for the attention. RunPee is a small, family-run business. We see all the wide release movies each (and every) week, sit there with our clipboards and timers, to give you two or three times you can safely make a break for the bathroom. It’s a lot of work! And we don’t get to pee at all…so you can. 🙂
So, we love all these little videos people made. Take a look. Really cool. And really, thank you.
Ginger “Sarcasm is my middle name” Gardner, AKA Dearest, best known here as RunPee Mom, is a staunch supporter and utterly crucial pillar to the RunPee enterprise. She sees movies every week – sometimes more than one film – and carries the ball for the business when the rest us of have to drop it. She most often gets Peetimes for the kiddie flicks, but is happy to see serious dramas, lighthearted comedies, and (almost) anything in between, as needed. RunPee Co-Creator Jill decided to highlight her important work and history with us.
Jilly: Hey, Dearest. Do you like seeing movies for work each week?
Ginger: I love it. It’s what I live for. Because I love movies, and enjoy providing a very good service for movie-goers. And I love to be proud of my son [RunPee Creator Dan] for having developed it, and I am proud of being a part of it.
J: What are your first memories of RunPee?
G: When my son told me he had this idea in his mind, I thought, “Well, I’m not going to discourage him. He sets his mind to something – it will happen. He takes kooky ideas and makes them great.” I remember the first movie I did Peetimes for: Drag Me to Hell. It was a nerve-wracking experience. I was not accustomed to watching a movie and writing. My learning curve was, “What makes a good Peetime?” I’ve now seen movies for RunPee all over the United States.
J: I remember you were the first person to think to get us real publicity for RunPee. What was your idea?
G: I remember on Saturday mornings I would listen to Leo Laporte’s AM radio show. I was addicted to listening to him – I loved his voice and his tips. He loves new things. I called Dan and told him to call LaPorte and they did an interview, and that was when NPR heard it and also called on Dan for an interview. It really took off when Dave Barry heard about RunPee and got involved. That was huge.
J: Lol, true. There even was a RunPee limerick posted on Dave Barry’s site. That was cool. What is your favorite part of this work?
G: Actually watching the movies – watching them with a critical eye. Not seeing movies just for pleasure, but for others to see my work. I try to do as good a job as possible, to provide a pleasurable experience. Truly, a critic should rate a movie based on the target audience. There are no movies out there for everybody. Sometimes I am at a total loss myself as to who the target audience is. Like with Moonlight, I walked out of there furious. Who was the audience? Then there is TheGood Dinosaur. A really good little movie, but the critics slammed it for ‘having been done’. The target audience is CHILDREN, and for them it hasn’t been done. They are a new audience every year.
J: I know the professional critics are a “thing” with you. I like your reviews, and how you direct them at the audience who would most like the film in question. Besides those critics irking you, what would you say is the worst part of working for RunPee?
G: I can’t go run and pee during a movie. I have been known to make a two-minute run and come back in – I wait until I get a really good Peetime first.
J: What are your favorite movie genres?
G: Historical movies. But they can be frustrating because you know the true history, and they get it wrong. Take Braveheart. They took a lot of latitude with the real story, but I love it. I think Private Ryan is THE real historical movie to go see. It’s a damn fine piece of historical drama, even if it is fiction. I can watch about any doggone movie. They don’t make me cry – that never happens to me. Except recently The Shack made my heart clench – it was heart rending – I did get choked up in this one scene.
J: And your favorite movies?
G: I have quite an eclectic list. The Green Mile, Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan, Shawshank Redemption, Hacksaw Ridge, Signs, Fargo, Close Encounters, Lincoln, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 12 Years a Slave, Thelma and Louise, Toy Story (all of them were extraordinary), Snow White, Cinderella. All of those are my top movies. And Wizard of Oz – wait, no, save that for RunPee Sis!
J: You can have it too. What would you like the future of RunPee to be?
G: Becoming more widely used throughout the world. I think there will be an increase in the number of downloads. It’s not a very old app – only 6 or 7 years – it’s not reached its peak. It’s exciting to see! I look forward to it becoming a household word. I expect that it will. I know it will have reached its peak when it becomes the final Jeopardy question – “The Category is Apps.”
J: We WERE an answer to a question on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? As I recall, the contestant got that one wrong. Poor dude. He should have known. 🙂 So, what would you like to tell people about RunPee?
G: RunPee was developed by a family, owned as a family-run operation. We saw all the movies and got this off the ground ourselves. We put our heart and soul into this. We’re no conglomerate. We take so much pride in the family business.
Many people assume that the Peetimes we pick for movies are just the boring bits. That’s certainly true for some Peetimes but not all. A more accurate description of Peetimes in general would be: the parts of a movie that are easiest to summarize without the viewer missing anything crucial to the story. Of course that’s a little more wordy than, “Peetimes are just the boring bits,” so I understand why people promulgate the former.
Desperately seeking Peetimes
It helps to understand how we actually go about finding Peetimes in the first place. Picture me, my mother or sister, sitting in the back corner of the theater — positioned so we don’t disturb anyone — with a notepad in our laps, holding our phone with a timer running. We’re watching the movie, looking for something that might make a good Peetime cue because first and foremost the cue has to be noticeable. When we see a potential cue we peek at the timer and jot down how far into the movie we are and then start writing down what’s happening. This is the hardest part for us because we have to keep up with what’s happening visually as well as key bits of dialog. It’s something that takes a lot of practice and I think we’ve gotten better over time.
If while we’re writing our notes we feel like we can’t keep up with important details then obviously this scene won’t work as a Peetime. So we cross that out and flip the page and wait for another potential cue. Also, if something funny, or exciting, or dramatic happens then we’ll cross off those notes, flip the page, and start the process all over.
Since we’ve been doing this for such a long time we’ve started to notice patterns in movies that make good Peetimes. For example: oftentimes near the end of an action film there is a short character bonding moment followed by the infiltration scene. That’s the scene where the good guys prepare for the final battle. For instance in the movie Zero Dark Thirty — the movie about the capture of Bin Laden — there is a very good Peetime that starts when the soldiers board the helicopters that transport them to Bin Laden’s house. Here’s the synopsis:
Very long scene of the soldiers loading up on the helicopters. Then another long scene of them flying low through the mountains. The scenes cut back and forth between headquarters where everyone is watching on satellite and back to the soldiers.
Along the way one of the helicopters bounces around a bit. One of the soldiers asks the others, “Who here has been in a helo crash before?” Everyone raises their hands. He smiles and says, “Okay, so we’re all good.”
They enter Pakistan airspace.
That’s a great Peetime because it’s near the end of a long movie. You know that the action is building toward the climax and you certainly don’t want to miss any of that, but you also don’t want to try and hold your pee for another 30 minutes, which would diminish your enjoyment of the ending. At the same time this scene is an important part of the pacing of the movie. It would be horrible to quickly cut from the soldiers boarding the helicopters to immediately arriving at Bin Laden’s front door. The audience needs this quiet time to let the tension build. However, if you need to pee this is a perfect time to release the tension in your bladder.
Many people have asked recently what makes a good Peetime. That isn’t a simple question to answer, because every movie is different. However, I can give you the guidelines that we use when watching a movie. And it’s very important to remember that a Peetime is by no means a part of the movie that you expect to miss without anything at all important happening. What is crucial for a Peetime is that the synopsis we give you be concise and accurate, so you have a good idea what did happen.
First and foremost, no one wants to miss the funniest scene in a comedy, or the most amazing action scene in an action movie, or the plot twisting moment in a thriller. So those scenes are totally off limits for Peetimes. Not to say that there won’t be some action or humor in a particular Peetime, but certainly not the iconic moments.
As an example, in the movie Taken with Liam Neeson, there’s a long chase scene in a gravel pit. That made a decent Peetime because it really wasn’t a spectacular chase scene. It would be nice if there had been a better choice, but the movie was full of really good action and important plot development throughout. Sometimes we have to make the best of a bad situation.
Another great example is the movie This is the End. It was hilarious. There was honestly no span of 4 minutes in that movie that didn’t have something making the entire audience laugh. I was doing Peetimes for the movie and getting a little anxious, because I was afraid I would have to include a funny scene in a Peetime. But then there were two scenes where they drew straws. Those scenes made the best Peetimes in the movie, because what followed was a long, slow, developing scene that didn’t have any humor. I could easily summarize the scene concisely so that the user could quickly read what they missed, and come back to the theater before the hilarity continued.
The process of finding Peetimes requires constant note-taking during a movie. It really is a chore to do. One of the most frustrating things is that we’ll have a really good Peetime going, and then 2 minutes later something funny, or actiony, or plot-laden, etc, happens that ruins the Peetime. We simply scratch it out and start over.
Another thing that we don’t want to include in a Peetime is the introduction of a new character, because it would be difficult to adequately describe that so users would know who they were when they saw them. So we try and stay away from those scenes.
You know what we love more than anything? Long music montages. Those scenes usually make great Peetimes, unless they are too quickly followed by something crucial.
Another type of scene that we love are those long introduction scenes before the action kicks in. You know, those scenes where the good guys are slowly walking through the building, looking for the bad guy, and that goes on for 3-4 minutes. Those are great because there’s almost no dialog to summarize.
Speaking of dialog: we have gotten very good at note-taking and can keep up with most dialog word-for-word, or at least very nearly. If the dialog contains important information, we’ll give it all to you. But, if it’s just some characters chatting, we might summarize what they talk about. We know that the user is going to be a little pressed for time when they read the synopsis – before reentering the theater – so we try to keep it succinct whenever possible.
It’s important to note that not all Peetimes are created equal. The Meta section on the Peetime screen – located above the the Peetimes – is our way of letting the user know which Peetimes work really well, and which ones don’t. This isn’t a problem for short movies that only have one Peetime. But for long movies with many Peetimes, we want to let you know which we would suggest you use if you have the ability to choose. The other Peetimes might be there for emergency use only.
For instance, in a movie that’s around 2 1/2 hours long, there might be a great Peetime right around the middle of the movie that we recommend, but we know that sometimes our bodily urges come on suddenly. You may have thought you could make it to the end when that Peetime came and went, but then 20 minutes later you realize that you have to go badly. We try to have Peetimes spaced throughout the movie, but for some of them, to be frank, you’re going to pay the price for not using the one we suggested. The good news is that at least you’ll know what you missed.
I hope that clarifies what’s going on behind the curtain when we’re looking for Peetimes. Feel free to ask any additional questions in the comments below.
RunPee.com: Bathroom Breaks Can’t Ruin Holiday Movies
RunPee.com, an online service, tags the best peetimes for much awaited holiday blockbusters.
Orlando, FL (August 19) – RunPee.com, an innovative online service for movie buffs, is turning out to be a must-have for the holiday movie season.
RunPee.com lets readers know the best times to “run” and “pee” during a movie.
Its breaktime tagging service will definitely cover the much-awaited movies of the holidays, from the “Twilight” sequel, “New Moon,” to the children’s book adaptation, “Where The Wild Things Are,” as well as other movies scheduled for the holiday season: “Avatar,” “2012,” “Sherlock Holmes,” and “A Christmas Carol.”
“With RunPee, there’s no more squirming in your chair, wondering if you should dash to the bathroom now or hold it in for a few more minutes,” says Dan Florio, creator of RunPee.com and the RunPee app.
“And definitely, there’s no more missing the best parts because you couldn’t hold it in any longer. No more sacrificing your bladder for your movie viewing pleasure,” Florio adds, “I’ve gone ahead and identified which parts of the movie you can miss if you really need to make a run for the bathroom.”
RunPee.com, also available as an iPhone app for 99 cents, is rich with features to help users enjoy their movies:
It identifies which parts of movies can be missed for a bathroom break, without missing crucial scenes.
It gives a recap of the missed scenes, so the user can catch up with the movie.
The app has a timer that synchronizes with the movie, so the user is alerted when a peetime is approaching. A vibration alert feature is coming soon.
It gives peetimes for many movies, which are currently playing.
Fans of RunPee.com include moviegoers who need to take at least one bathroom break during a movie: pregnant women; parents of young children; senior citizens; people with small bladders; and those who are suffering from bladder infection, prostate issues or incontinence.
However, RunPee.com’s break times also come in handy for those who need to leave the movie house for other reasons, such as to make a phone call or buy more popcorn and drinks.
Movie peetimes used to be available online only through RunPee.com, but now iPhone and iPod Touch users (wifi required) can bring this convenient bladder saver with them into the moviehouse.
The website RunPee.com has been widely acclaimed by CNET, NPR, the New York Times, Calgary Sun, Wired Magazine, Good Morning America, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly and Comedy Central. The app is fast becoming an indispensable tool to movie buffs, sitting at the number 16th Entertainment Download for iPhone applications.
Orlando, FL – Though they were thought to have been lost forever, the original notes from which the PeeTimes for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince are based on, have been found.
Archaeologists working in the kitchen where Dan Florio – AKA polyGeek – lives, unearthed these fragile documents from beneath a layer of day old coffee grounds. Working with care and precision the papers were extracted in nearly pristine condition.
Bill Gates and many others have already inquired if these documents may one day be available for auction. Sources close to Dan who wish to remain anonymous stated that it is likely that at least a portion of this collection will go to auction to help raise money for one of Dan’s favorite charities – his bank account.
Photos of these relics were taken just before the documents were permanently sealed in glass casings filled with a pure nitrogen atmosphere, so as to inhibit any further deterioration. Dan wanted us to be sure to mention that the photos were taken with an iPhone camera – which also runs the RunPee iPhone application that you can download for just 99 cents from the iTunes app store. He enjoined us, “be sure to remind everyone to tell their friends about it.”
You can see here the number “916” in the upper-right corner. This is unique among the collection of PeeTimes. It is generally thought that this is an indication of when the movie began – not the previews and such – but the actual movie. This would make sense, because as we all know each PeeTime is given an approximate time into the movie that it occurs. Therefore, knowing when the actual movie began would be paramount.
We can also see that another time has been written down to the far left and then scratched out. No one is sure why this was done. It is especially confusing since no correction is given. Perhaps Dan just screwed it up.
The rest of the PeeTime follows the general form of a note regarding the cue to RunPee followed by a few notes that will become the plot synopsis of what will happen during this PeeTime.
This classic example is flawless. We can see what can only be interpreted as the time in which this PeeTime began and ended. Followed by the cue and then notes about the plot synopsis.
Notice that this scene is part of what happens in the notes in the first PeeTime listed above. It is possible that what seemed like a good time to begin a PeeTime was in fact followed by an even better PeeTime which is detailed here.
At the very top is what can only be a potential PeeTime that never made it. You can see that it is listed to begin at 10:01. The PeeTime that is actually detailed here began at 10:02. Clearly this was another false start that lead to a new PeeTime.
What is curious is the reference to “Red”. It is possible that Dan couldn’t remember the hugely important main character’s name of Ron, the Young Master Weasley.
Many who like to think that Dan is without flaw have suggested that “Red” is simply shorthand for “Ron.” However, that is patently absurd. Both names have the same number of letters. It is obvious that this is the best evidence yet that Dan is fallible.
Another classic example of a PeeTime. Note however the numerous bullet points in this one. Some might question that a scene with this many details may not make for a good PeeTime.
Once again “Ron” is still being referred to as “Red”. It’s amazing to think that Dan still hadn’t picked up on one of the main characters names by this point. However, to cut him some slack, Dan must stay focused on finding PeeTimes.
Here we have an oddity. This PeeTime is clearly scratched out yet it does appear in the PeeTimes listings. Looking closely at the details of the submitted PeeTimes we can see that a RunPee user named Martyn entered this PeeTime into RunPee.com.
A few RunPee fans have asked why we don’t list PooTimes, or wondered why we don’t start a sister site about pooping during movies. I know it’s all in good fun, but to answer a silly question seriously, we really think that if you have to RunPoo during a film, it’s probably pretty urgent. You are going to go anyway. And you are probably going to go as soon as you hear nature’s call, movie break or no movie break.
There are two kinds of poo – the immediate kind that can’t wait (what did you eat earlier, anyway?), and the regular ‘movement’ kind that can probably hold out for the end of the movie and – hopefully – your own toilet. 🙂
For moms with kids in the theater, poo needs do take on a third kind of meaning: the kind that is a regular movement, but located in a person with little to no bowel control. Yes, your toddlers and young kids. It’s like needing a really long PeeTime.