Thursday, July 17, 2008




Related Rant:
I coaxed my wife into going to see Wall-E Saturday afternoon. She was a little reluctant to go see a G-rated movie. We had the choice of the 4:40 or the 6:00 showing. She insisted on the later one on the theory that being at dinner time and at the higher price bracket, there would be fewer tykes in the audience. Everytime a childless couple walked in, I nudged her and said, "See, we aren't the only ones."

Then about halfway through the movie a pre-schooler got out of his seat and started playing in the aisle. Mom was sitting at the end of the row but made no effort to sit him back down. Then he started stomping up and down the the steps. After about ten minutes, an usher came in and talked to the parent. The kid was put back in his seat but got back out pretty much right away. The person behind the mom tapped her on the back but it wasn't until a few minutes after that that the mom and the kid left. About five minutes later, the they came back in for the other two kids and left for good.

At this point I could rant for days about parents and kids and manners and public behavior, but it would just demonstrate my incipient geezerdom. I don't mind at all when kids at a family movie react to the film. If fact, it's pretty charming to hear kids laugh or gasp at the right places. But to use a theater seat as a babysitter is just unconscionable.

BlatantCommentWhoring™: At what age should kids be allowed into a theater? What age range would you recommend Wall-E to?


Ed & Jeanne said...

I like to leave my kids in the theatre all day....saves on day care.

Thumper said...

My son went to his first movie when he was a week old. He's been going ever since.

BUT...I'm not a sadist. If I even thought he was about to fuss, I got up and took him out. By the time he was 2 he understood that you sit in your seat and watch the movie, and if you HAVE to talk you use your whisper voice and only after tugging on Mom or Dad's arm to get them to lean over to hear.

Kids at any age can be taken to a's the parents that need to be in charge.

As for Wall-e...I really liked it, but I think most kids under 5 or 6 would be bored with the lack of dialog. For the really little ones, I'd save it for a DVD rental or purchase.

Anonymous said...

Children should be allowed in movie theatres just as soon as their parents are mature enough to supervise 'em.

Elizabeth said...

I went to see Hell Boy last Saturday and I saw a woman and an infant sit in the back row. I was a little worried about having to sit through a crying baby, but I didn't hear a peep the whole time.
On the other hand, I was at a big multiplex in Chicago and a little girl wandered in and was walking up and down the aisle and it was obvious she couldn't find her family. I kept waiting for someone on an isle seat to get up and help her. Finally I couldn't take it anymore so I walked her out and found an usher. She described what the movie she was watching and they figured it out and took her there and I assume found her family. Who would let a little kid go to the bathroom by themselves in such a big place??

yellojkt said...

I like byoolin's answer. And Thumper's method also works with restaurants. Young kids can be taken to nice places if they know the rules.

I feel so bad for that little girl, Elizabeth.

yellojkt said...

Public libraries are much cheaper. That's why taxpayers pay the librarians' salaries.

Alex said...

Kids should be allowed in at any age, so long as the parents have control of them. That being said, I've seen a lot of kids at R-rated movies with their parents; if you're 15-16, sure... but I'm seen toddlers coming in with their parents before. That's a bit messed up.

2fs said...

'At what age should kids be allowed into a theater?'

21 - if they can pass a civics test first.

Alex: Actually, I doubt R-rated movies do much for toddlers that young...they probably don't understand the first thing about what's going on. It's older kids (say, 8-11) that would probably be most affected: they understand, but can't contextualize well enough yet.

Anonymous said...

We first experimented with the moviegoing experience when our oldest was 3 -- at an afternoon showing of a kids movie, and with the understanding that if he didn't behave, we'd leave. After he passed that test, we began slowly upping the ante to the point where he can now be trusted to behave appropriately at all times in the theatre. (A few well-timed treats throughout certainly helps, though.)

We've recently begun the same with our second, and much the same results. She's a little bit more of a livewire, so there needs to be the occasional "shush," but we haven't come close to having to leave the theatre yet.

I will say that both the 3- and 5-year old adored Wall-E. On different levels, I'm sure, but they were both mesmerized and we hardly heard a peep.