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.