Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kids at the Movies

Neil and I went to the movies this past Saturday night. I'm not sure what we were thinking going to a movie on a Saturday. And Thanksgiving weekend, no less. Needless to say, the place was jam packed. Luckily, Harry Potter 7 was not sold out and after purchasing our tickets, we made our way into the theater. Because we had arrived without a lot of extra time, the theater was mostly full when we walked in. There were a few pairs of seats in the middle but our reluctance to climb over other patrons led us to take seats in the floor area closer to the screen. If we knew then what we know now, we would have braved the stadium seating area.

Within minutes of sitting down, we noticed a family enter the theater and approach the row behind us. At first, I didn't notice the composition of the family because I was taken by the fact that one of the members was an infant in a bucket car seat. Probably 6 months old, the baby was wide awake and cooing. I watched as they situated the baby next to the father. It was then that I noticed the other kids as they took their seats directly behind me. Three of them. All under five. The youngest was about 3.

At first, they were quiet and I thought, well maybe these kids could handle a 2.5 hour long non-kids movie. But within 20 minutes, the infant began fussing. And that was the noise that broke the seal for the other kids. Mom and dad took turns with the infant in the hall, but that left only one parent to monitor the other three pre-school age children, who, no surprise here, were extremely fidgety. There was mock whispering, bouncing, running back and forth in the row and OF COURSE, chair kicking. MY CHAIR.

I know about wanting to get out and see a movie with your spouse. I know that for many people finding someone to watch their kids while they do so is complicated and pricey. However. This movie was clearly not appropriate for young children. It's rated PG-13, meaning children under 13 are probably not a good fit. There were definitely some VERY scary scenes. I can't imagine how those scenes would affect a small child. Beyond that, it's a 2.5 hour movie. NO kid that age can sit still for 2.5 hours. There's a reason Disney movies are all 90 minutes long. Finally, this was a 6:40 movie. My 3 year old goes to bed at 8. Adding in the expected twenty minutes of previews, that means the movie isn't getting out until 9:30. Now I can't speak for all kids, but mine does not improve when kept up after her bedtime. In fact, saying she goes into cranky, manic kid mode would be most accurate.

I'm just stunned that these people thought it was appropriate to bring their kids to this movie. Beyond that it showed ridiculously bad parenting, it was inconsiderate. They did a humdinger on our movie-going experience. We were distracted and irritated throughout the movie. And I'm sure we weren't the only ones. We have only taken Sophie to one movie, Toy Story 3, and we went to an early afternoon showing. Fortunately for us, our experience was good, but had she acted up, I would have left with her in a heartbeat. Had this been a matinee, I would likely be more forgiving. My expectations are different at day movies. But it wasn't. It was a full price evening movie, and that ain't cheap these days.

I feel like I can't be surprised anymore by how thoughtless people can be, and then I am. It makes me sad.


  1. My sister and I went to see "Zodiac," a bloody, gory movie about a serial killer, at a 9 PM showing and a couple came in with their 3 and 5 year olds.

    I don't know if that's child abuse or just complete and total stupidity, but I rant about this all the time.

    Sorry your movie was ruined, that stinks.

  2. What ARE people thinking these days? It's not like either one of those parents could have even enjoyed themselves, with all the chasing down of children and such.

    The really annoying part is that YOU actually got a sitter for your child so that you and Neil could enjoy a night out, only to have to deal with other people's kids. Yuck.

    Better luck next time. Maybe you should stick with the rated R movies?

  3. They probably couldn't get a babysitter for the RLAKB's (Rotten Little Ankle Kicking Brats - which, by the way, ALWAYS refers to someone else's kids and NEVER, EVER yours). Or the rug rat, either.

  4. Ugh. I don't understand either. I would have asked for my money back.

    Lizzie and I went to see Eclipse last year with my older daughter and a friend hers. There was a woman down front with a baby and a toddler. The kids were kids - and sooo not excited about seeing Eclipse. When they came in, I thought for sure that they meant to see Toy Story 3! Half way through, they left - garnerning much applause. BUT...they actually came back about 15 minutes later. I still can't believe they came back. Or why?!

  5. It totally makes me upset to see this kind of stuff go on too... I don't know what people think. It's like we are losing common sense. Maybe it's de-evolution.

  6. When my son was just a few weeks old, I took him to the movies. Night Of The Living Dead was playing, and people always laugh when I say that's the first movie the kid ever saw in the theater. But of course, the truth is, he slept through it.

    I began taking him on outings like this very early on so that he would get used to them. I didn't want to have one of those kids that didn't know how to act in public because he'd never been in a particular situation. I can't ever recall an instance when he was a problem in a movie. If he had been, I'd have immediately taken him out because I'm considerate like that.

    But so many people are not. As you encountered this weekend.

    I think that once a kid is old enough to pay attention to the movie, a parent MUST be mindful. Is the movie appropriate for the child to see? Will the child actually sit through 2 hours without becoming fussy? Is the parent willing to take the child out of the theater if he or she becomes a problem?

    The issue really is that some parents don't give a crap about YOU. It's all about them. Their kids are bothering you at the movies (or in a restaurant)? That's YOUR problem. Or at least, that's what the parent thinks.

    There's no such thing as common courtesy nowadays.

  7. Back in May when Scott & I went to see Sex & the City 2, a couple of mothers walked in with their 2 small kids...each had a lap baby & a small child (about 3 or 4 years old) in tow. I tweeted, "SERIOUSLY? Small children at an R-rated movie? A 10 pm showing, no less? RUDE."

    You would not BELIEVE the hate thrown back at me via @ replies.
    *"Those ladies probably just needed a night out and didn't have the luxury of a babysitter, like you did."
    *"I take my nursing infant to the movies all the time--it's MY right, or else I'd never get to the cinema, so how 'bout YOU stop being rude!"
    *"You're being awfully judgmental. What if those 2 ladies don't have partners to care for their small children & this is the only way they can see Carrie & Co.?"
    *"Clearly those small children will be asleep in no time--they won't be bothering YOU!"


    Deathly Hallows Part 1 is NOT a child-appropriate movie, in my opinion. Heck, I'm 35 years old (for a few more days, at least) and a few scenes scared the pee out of me. Not to mention that 1 scene that was straight out of Cinemax, & had me lamenting that it featured Harry. Instead of Ron. Sigh...

    I just digressed. Sorry.

  8. My 10 year is old is really into Harry Potter and saw the movie with his grandmother during the day not the evening but that is a whole other story. The kid has read the entire series of books at least 4 times through.

    I typically don't let my children see PG-13 movies and on the rare occasion that I have, like Avatar which I thought the message outweighed the iffy parts, I have viewed it ahead of time. Once again I think a 10 year old is totally different than a preschooler.

    I also have never brought an infant to a movie but I don't think that would be a problem if the infant slept.

    Getting a babysitter and paying for a babysitter is expensive but it sucks when you do it and have your evening spoiled by others.

    Next time crawl over the other adults ;-) Sorry you had to deal with inconsiderate people. It seems like these days there are more and more of those kinds of people around.

  9. Well kat told you our story. Now. As a single mom of 2 older kids, I can tell you there are times when I REALLY want to get out of the house. And there are times when I REALLY want to go see a movie. There are NEVER times when I take my kids to movies that are inappropriate for them to be at. There are many things that suck about being a single mom with not a lot of cash - and adult type movies are one of the things that tend to go by the wayside. Sometimes you don't get to do what you want to do because you have to do what's best.


  10. I HATE when people do this. I know this is mean to say but if you can't find a babysitter or afford one them maybe you shouldn't be going out to the movies.

  11. @ Lulu's tweeted responses: This just goes to show you the large spectrum of people out there. It burns me up that people put their needs before their children's. I never get to go out. I wouldn't dream of dragging my kids out past their bedtime because "I deserve it".

  12. I'm with Katienryan! My three yr. old could not sit through a movie in a theater, so we don't go. We rent if we want to see a movie. And I also would never keep her out past her bedtime. And, if you are a lucky enough mother to have an infant that will sleep through a movie, be grateful that you got so lucky. My youngest has never been that predictable or quiet!!

  13. Precisely why Shane and I don't go to the movies. lol. Never fails. We get that family, or talking teens or some jackass munching popcorn with their lips just-a-smackin away. lol.

    That sucks. I totally agree, what were they THINKING? Dumbasses.

    Oh, probably as dumb as the moms out at 5am on Black Friday with NEWBORNS in the cold and pouring rain. Yep. Maybe they're all related.

  14. I wish I could say that people don't surprise me with the choices they make involving their children, but I am still continually amazed at what some people think constitutes good parenting. Geesh!!!

  15. I prefer to do my grocery shopping late at night, alone, in peace, while Daddy stays home with the sleeping children. It always amazes me how many people I see at the store with their kiddos ... at 9, 10, 11 o'clock. I try to give them the evil eye, but in general, I think they're pretty clueless. Sad.

  16. People are such assholes at the movies- I've started realizing that you can't beat them and they will only piss you off, so join them. Kick that seat! Be that talker! Eat that noisy food! Everyone else does.

  17. Okay, I confess that my husband and I see a movie about once every 3 or 4 months now that we have a kidlet. So we splurge on LA's swanky Arclight Cinemas, where the tickets are a whopping $14 each for adults and any children under 3. I forget what the kids price is, but it's steep. You can guess how this influences the clientele. People in this town are serious about movies, so the company makes quite a buck. We planned to see HP7 at 10am on a Tuesday (my hubby took a rare 2.5 hours off) and sat very near a 3 year old girl, her older sister and father. I was waiting the whole time for them to leave. It was a very INTENSE movie, no one can argue that! Hello! Read the books, watch the trailers, a-holes.

  18. No way. Wow. Funny thing I'm just remembering now is that I went to the midnight showing of the first Harry Potter and there was a seven year-old there. I remember thinking, "He's a little young for this and it's midnight on a school night," but I didn't have kids then so the full ridiculousness of that did not really hit me.

    What you experienced on Saturday night?! Unbelievable.

    For me, the appeal of going to the movies is just as much the "escape" and the popcorn as it is the film itself. There ain't no escape when you're out with three under three.

  19. I would've probably gotten a manager. I know, it's rotten, but that's really rude! If someone had a cell phone go off, they would be asked to take it outside. Same with noisy kids, even toddlers! And to that movie?? Wow.

    Go see it again -- only do a matinee, it's cheaper! ;-)

  20. So sorry that you had this bummer of an experience, but thanks for writing about it. Lately I've been feeling insecure about my parenting and wondering if I'm doing enough of the right things for my kids. Then I read your post and remembered that I'm an awesome mom! You're the best, Cara!
    Heidi P.

  21. First of all, why would someone PAY the outrageous ticket price for their 3 year old to see a PG-13 movie that they A)aren't interested in seeing and B)shouldn't be seeing anyway! I assume they had to pay for the kids... I could see not paying for an infant. And I don't have a problem with infants being in theaters, as long as they're dealt with by their parent(s) if they get fussy or whatever. But toddlers do not belong at a PG-13 rated film.

    It makes me wonder why theaters allow this? I know the rating is PARENTAL GUIDANCE so it's up to the parents to decide if the movie is ok for their kid to see... but when you think about how many patrons could potentially go to the manager to complain and demand a refund, it just makes better business sense to have some sort of policy in place to not allow kids of a certain age at these types of films.

  22. It's been a while since Melinda and I went to the movies and saw young young kids in attendance. We go and teens are there and trust me sometimes I think they are just as bad as the young kids, LOL. Not sure why people think kids under 5 are able to attend any movie other then a kids film and sometimes they can't even sit through that. I would have been pissed if that happened to us especially since tickets are $12-15 per person these days. Hope you got to enjoy your movie for the most part :)

  23. My six and four-year old nephews were telling me all about the movie with the Chucky doll in it. I want to slap their mother across the head with an Obvious Stick, but at least they saw it on video at home. Harry Potter for little kids should be a NOOO WAY, especially in the theater.

    P.S. Our local theater doesn't all kids under 6 into PG-13 or R movies, even with a parent, after 6:00pm. It's sad they need that rule.

  24. I had SUCH a similar Harry Potter experience - I went with my friends last Tuesday night to a 7:30 show. There were only about 20 other people there, but half of them were kids, with two babies! And it was definitely not a kids' movie - really, what are with those people??

  25. It stuns me when I see little kids at an adult movie. What are people thinking?

  26. I've been to two movies in the theater since we had kids. That's in three years. Dealing with the texting/kids too young to be at the movies/teenagers making out in the back, etc., etc. AND paying for a sitter just seems like too much. I'd rather watch them on my own couch. Yes, I'm now old and cranky.

  27. Some parents just amaze me...and we wonder what's wrong with kids...duh...


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