In the event that I ever have children, I will have rules when it comes to movie theatre visits.
1) No R-rated movies for the children.
2) If Hubby and I really want to see an R-rated movie and can’t get a baby-sitter, we will wait until we can get a baby sitter.
3) When the children are young, we will not take them to an 8 PM showing of a two hour long movie.
4) We will not take the children to a movie they won’t understand, regardless of rating.
5) We will pay attention to the movie ratings.
I’ve been to far too many movies—R-rated or at least a strong PG-13—where someone has decided to bring their five year old. I’ve been to movies that a kid probably wouldn’t understand, shown at a late time, and had to endure a kid sitting behind me, squirming and jumping around. I’ve had to endure moves where kids would not shut up or stop crying.
And don’t give me the whole “You’ll understand when you’re a mommy” speech. No. Bringing your kid to a movie they won’t enjoy makes the experience sucky for them and everyone around you. We are conditioned to accept children in certain theatre situations. For example:
Little girl shouts “I hate you Gaston! I hate you!” during the climax of Beauty & the Beast? I heard that and it was both hilarious and adorable. This kid had also been trying to sing along to the songs, despite not knowing any of the words. In a Disney movie, you expect kids and you expect a little bit of this behaviour. However, I rarely see obnoxious kids in theatres when a kid’s movie is showing, because the kids are entertained and thus behaving.
Little boy wears a weird mask and kicks seats and wiggles around while his mother talks on the phone during the climax of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows? Fuck you, lady. No. You don’t take a kid to see a Sherlock Holmes movie, especially not a late show. He was tired and probably bored out of his mind. Sherlock might not have been R-rated, but it was still a bit of a complex movie for your eight year old. Granted, you were yakking on the phone as if no one could hear you, so I guess he might also get his manners from you.
But for all the griping I’m doing about kids at movies, one of my most memorable experiences happened because of a kid who wouldn’t shut up.
So, we’re at Phantom of the Opera. It’s a dramatic. It’s mostly musical. It’s fairly violent. Really, not the type of movie a seven year old would understand. Needless to say, someone brought their seven year old. I never saw the kid, but his voice carried throughout the theater.
At which point anyone who can see the kid is casting glares at him and his mother. I know this is going to be a long movie.
“Why is Raoul locking her in her room?”
What made your mother think this would be a good movie to take you to?
“Why are they singing?”
It’s a musical, kid. Now shush.
But the questions kept coming. Finally, we get to the climax, and the big dramatic unmask of Gerard Butler.
Everything is intense.
Christine tears off his mask.
“The Phantom has a really ugly face!”
And I start laughing. You win this round, annoying child. All is forgiven.
My sisters and I still talk about this kid. That one dumb observation was kind of worth it for us.
But seriously people, your kids are not as cute and funny as you think they are, especially not to strangers in the movie theater. Please, attend certain movies with small children responsibly.