A Night at the Movies

I don’t get it. Why is it that, more and more, parents insist on taking their young children to movies that they have no business seeing at hours of the night when they would be better served settling in for a bedtime story? Nearly every movie that I’ve seen in the last few months has featured the background noise of a screaming, crying young child, pretty much from the opening credits onward. Seriously folks?

My last movie outing had to be the best (or worst, if we’re being literal) by far. No sooner had we settled in to watch the previews when a little girl – who couldn’t have been more than three or four years-old mind you – began rocking back and forth in her chair, kicking the seat in front of her (you guessed it… mine) and whining about how she wanted to get ice cream, RIGHT NOW. This little performance continued for the next three hours. Seriously.

At one point, I was startled by what I thought was something crawling on me. But no, it was the tiny hand of the child, attempting to catapult herself over the seat next to me into my row. This was shortly followed by the pitter-patter of little feet running back and forth down the aisles, all the while singing at the top of her lungs. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. Children are adorable and cute and all that – just not at a 10:30 p.m. movie screening of a film that clearly only the parental units were interested in seeing. And the “adults,” who I assume were with her for supervision, seemed unfazed by it all, simply staring straight ahead at the screen, paying no mind to the dozens of dirty looks from those in the surrounding seats. The only admonishment was the occasional, “Now if you want ice cream, you better be good honey!” Good? Honey?!

It was at this point that I looked around for a hidden camera, convinced I must have been a part of the latest episode of “What Would You Do?” or some other prank show. Because, truly, there was no way that two people could be that inconsiderate of an entire movie theater full of people, right? Apparently wrong.

At a certain point, my exasperation turned to anger, enough so that I turned around and snapped, “Are you kidding me right now? Ever heard of a babysitter?” That seemed to quiet things down momentarily, as the two women just stared blankly back and half-heartedly told the child to sit down and behave. That lasted for about 10 minutes.

By the end of the three hours, in between straining to hear the dialogue and being jostled in my seat by the incessant kicking, the whole situation was so absurd that it had somehow become hysterically funny. After all, this had to be a joke. If not for the fact that there were others in the theater with us, I would have thought I was hallucinating.

On the way to our cars, we had the good fortune to run into this same trio, this time with the child galloping through the parking lot whining about – you guessed it, ice cream. As I walked by them, I just couldn’t resist. “Wow, if this is her being good, I wouldn’t want to see it when she doesn’t behave! Glad she’s getting that ice cream – sugar should make the situation much better!” 

Once again, I was met with a pair of blank stares.

Next time, get a babysitter.



{Published: August 8th, 2012}

Jamie Lynn RyanComment