8. Sitting too close in near-empty auditoriums
Everyone has experienced this one. We arrive at the theatre during a slow time of the day, buy our ticket, and walk into an almost empty auditorium. With only two or three other people in the theatre, we find a nice, secluded seat, taking advantage of the low number of patrons by finding a spot where we will not be bothered. It’s a nice feeling. Luxurious, even.
And then someone marches in and sits directly in front of you, or directly behind, or two spots down in either direction. And your calm, content demeanor is shattered as you start considering whether you should find a different spot or slug the oblivious aggravator in the back of the head.
This probably bothers some people far less than others, but I think we can all agree that respecting someone’s distance is the proper thing to do. It is perfectly okay to try finding the best seat possible, but the truth is that in any mid- to large-sized auditorium, there are plenty of excellent spots, and plopping yourself down in front of or next to one of the few people in the theatre is simply rude.
It is a simple rule to follow: When a theatre is packed, crowd in and get to know your neighbor. When it’s near empty, though? Spread out and respect everyone else’s space. Don’t be an idiot.
7. Bringing small children to adult-oriented movies
You may be surprised to learn just how many times I have seen parents bring their kids – and I’m talking five years or younger here – to a variety of what can fairly clearly be described as ‘inappropriate’ movies. I do not say this to be puritanical. I’m never going to get up in arms if I see a four-year-old in an Amazing Spider-Man screening, for instance, even if I wonder if they are old enough to actually understand the movie.
No, I am talking about films like House at the End of the Street, or Prometheus, or Ted, or That’s My Boy, or The Dictator, all films I have seen in the last few months where multiple sets of parents brought their youngsters along for what could be extremely scarring rides. No matter what their quality, these particular films are made and intended entirely for adults, and contain nothing in them that is intended for children, let alone appropriate for extremely young ages. Should a child see Elizabeth Shaw give herself a bloody C-section? Should a child watch a naughty teddy bear shout obscenities for two hours? Shouldn’t subjecting one’s kid to the horrors of That’s My Boy, one of the very worst movies made in recent years, simply count as abuse?
Okay, probably not on that last one, though I know I would hate my parents forever if they made me watch That’s My Boy.
My point is that I do not understand what children will gain from any of these films. God knows I don’t think they’ll gain much from modern animated garbage like Ice Age 4 or Madagascar 3 either, but those films, at least, don’t run the risk of upsetting them. At Prometheus in particular, I heard multiple children burst into tears, with their parents unwilling to address the problem until audience members started getting vocally annoyed.
I don’t want to get too judgmental here, but it simply seems like lazy parenting. Refusing to hire a babysitter may pay off in the short term, after all, but won’t it take more effort in the long run when your kid starts quoting General Aladeen in school? I am no fan of the MPAA, but at least glance at the rating before taking your five-year-old to an R-rated movie. Chances are, there’s something better for them to see, and that will only make you, as a parent – not to mention the audience around you – happier in the long run.
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