Saturday, November 12, 2005

The sky has fallen

We took the little 'uns to see Chicken Little at the local movie theatre this afternoon. They've been talking about the movie for weeks, so we thought it would be a special treat to make an event of it.

More on the movie itself later. I need to vent on a little public etiquette issue that seems to come up every time I choose to view a film in a theatre. Here are the key bullet points:
  • Father brings young son - I'd guess around three years-old - to see the movie.
  • As is our usual luck, he sits close to us.
  • Midway through the film, there is a sorta scary scene. OK, it's not really scary. But everything is relative. To a little guy, it probably seemed more traumatic than it did to me.
  • Little guy starts to cry. Dad attempts to calm him down by speaking in quiet tones.
  • Dad's attempts fail. Cries turn to wails, which quickly de-evolve into outright screaming.
  • Dad gives up. Screaming continues.
  • I turn around and see him shushing the munchkin while he tries to watch a pivotal scene. He seems somewhat perturbed that the child is affecting his ability to enjoy the movie.
  • I stare at him until he notices. My lack of smile must translate well, for he sheepishly scoops up the teary child and heads for the exit.
  • He remains beside the exit. Screaming child now bothers a whole new set of moviegoers.
When the theatrical chains wonder why attendance continues to freefall while home theatre sales skyrocket, I invite them to read this entry as a pretty succinct explanation of what's driving the trend.

The same thing happened during the last film we attended in a theatre. Mom didn't want to miss the movie, so crying baby (aged under a year...don't get me started) had to wait - and wail - for at least 20 minutes while Mom enjoyed herself and the rest of the attendees fumed.

OK, now, about the movie itself...

Chicken Little represents Disney's first post-Pixar computer-animated film. Off the top, it's no Toy Story. But with some solid voice work by Zach Braff (Scrubs, Garden State) and Garry Marshall (Happy Days, The Princess Diaries), along with a well-written script that scoots along at a pace that keeps kids engaged, it's a lovely way for families to spend a couple of hours on a weekend. The kids enjoyed it, and we even found ourselves laughing in parts.

Although it's not as adept as a pure Pixar product at playing to the adult audience with deeper meanings and messages, there are enough of them here and there to keep Mom and Dad from snoozing. The musical references alone were worth the price of admission.

But if I had to do it again, I'd wait for the DVD and watch it at home. Fewer interruptions..

Your turn: Is there room in modern society for manners in public places, or have they been lost to the ages? How do you handle something like this?


Carmen said...

I am way more rude than you, but sometimes it's my kid screaming. In which case we leave.

I'm glad to hear that the movie was enjoyable; my kids really want to see it.

dena said...

Since I'm still recovering from surgery yesterday, I thought this would be a good movie for my husband to take EThan to today. They both seemed to enjoy it. And my husband even mentioned that at one point Ethan climbed up on his lap and covered his eyes. I guess it was a itty bit scary to a 4 year old. But no cries, just closeness.
When E was two and three sometimes he couldn't last through an entire movie. Sometimes we'd leave halfway through, but that was fine for us. Why ruin the movie for others over a few lousy dollars. I guess not everyone thinks like us. Perhaps if that man had held his child, the crying may have stopped.

stopping by from michele's

Yaeli said...

Some cinemas here in Oz are trying to cater to the Mums and bubs audience by having specific mums and bubs screenings where you can expect to hear a room full of crying babies but beacuse all the mum's are in the same position it's ok. Unfortunately most places run 1 mums and bubs session a fortnight and it's on a thursday morning at 10am and they show the really crap movies.

Other cinemas have a soundsproof crying room where mums can sit and watch the movie with their crying baby and not disturb other movies goers. But again there aren't enough of these.

If you take your kids to a movie, or anywhere in public, you are responsible for your kid and their behaviour. If the kid starts crying a parent should put the kids needs first, not their desire to continue doing what they are doing.

Michele sent me today Carmi. Sorry for the rant. :o)

Plumkrazzee said...

Oh, how I hate this. And you can't tell me that the parent had no clue his child would behave badly. When in doubt, stay home. =) And thanks, Carmi, for your uplifting comments. I promise i'm done whining now. (For the next 2 days anyhow) Happy weekend!

Plumkrazzee said...

Oh, how I hate this. And you can't tell me the parent had no idea his child would behave this way. When in doubt, stay home. =) Thanks, Carmi, for your uplifting comments. I promise i'm done whining. (For the next 2 days anyhow!)

Angela said...

I'm in complete agreement with you on the lack of manners in theaters, and unfortunately it's not even limited to those with children. Adults on cellphones, people getting and leaving and then returning multiple times during the show, "whispering" about what you either know or guess to be coming next so that everyone in a 5 seat radius can hear what they're saying, kicking chairs... the list goes on and on.

I love going to see movies on the large screen though, so I try to just grit through it without glaring at too many people!!

Michele sent me :)

Maggie said...

There's nothing worse than trying to enjoy a night out and to see some parents with a wailing child.
First my heart goes out to them, it's hard to calm a child in a public place.
I truly believe when the child becomes worse after 10 mtes or so. this person should take the child to a different scene.
Michele sent me

Sleeping Mommy said...

I'm with you on this Carmi. I hate going to the theater anymore. My husband is a car/home stereo guy so we have a decent sized wide-screen with the 6.1 surround sound. I'd much rather wait for the dvd and be able to pause the movie when we need to for potty breaks and to take care of the kids if we need to--AND even more important, I don't have to listen to other people I don't even know talk through the movie, or someone else's kids crying or some asshole on a cell phone.

Plus, my furniture is a lot more comfortable and my food and drink is cheaper than what is offered at the theater. You know?

Suburban Turmoil said...

Sorry about the dad. That is so very annoying!

I think that some parents believe they have a right to let the children squeal in the theater if it's a kids movie.

But it's annoying to everyone else, nonetheless.

Michele sent me!

Nicole said...

Back from Michele's, and it appears I can comment this time... :)

Evil death stare is usually my best tool, because I have a hard time reprimanding strangers, even if they are stupid.

Sandy said...

Ah, child goes to movie manners. Yup. Yup. Yup. My favorite is when we go see something, like, oh, I don't know, The Village. And I see a kid barely older than my preschooler sitting there for it. What are people thinking?

Anyway, here's the thing, I think there have always been idiots in the world. There was never such a thing as a time without them. The rest of us just have to perfect that "what is *with* you?" glare.

My son went to see Chicken Little with his grandparents last weekend. He's 3. He loved it. At first I was wishing we'd gone too, but I think I'll take your review to heart and wait for the DVD. Got to love the home theatre!

popping in via Michele's tonight.

Michelle said...

The kids went to see Chicken Little last weekend. They liked it but said the same thing. Next time they will wait for it on video. What annoys me is when people answer and talk on the phone during the movies. Sheesh!

Mamacita said...

I'm here from Michele's, although I come here all the time.

The problem with most people is that they were not raised by MY mother.

She never even had to raise her voice. She had mastered the LOOK, and everyone who saw it immediately calmed down and became rational. Or else.

dena said...

Did you see Madagascar? It comes out on DVD this Tuesday. Now I loved it in the theater, but someone told me that Chicken Little is better. If you've seen them both, what's your opinion as to the better of the two?

here again from michele's

Carmi said...

I'd have to say Madagascar, hands down. It had a certain energy to it that propelled it beyond the usual kid-friendly fare.

Chicken Little was good, but it didn't snap to the same extent. Madagascar's animation was also an order of magnitude beyond that of CL. It was so much richer and it drove the story far more effectively. Character development - I know, not a big deal for kids, but it is for me - was also light years ahead in Madagascar.

The kids are already clamoring for the Madagascar CD. I know what I'm doing on the 15th.

SamuRyan said...

Here's a story for you: I went to go see Very Bad Things several years ago, a film that one review described as sick, and not in the cool new sense of the word. Anyway, I had seen it once and my friends wanted to see it so I went for a second time. A woman brings her kid, and I have the sense of righteousness and the nerve to tell her this is not a film for kids of any age. She ignores me and sits down, some minutes pass, a hooker gets her skull crushed, a security guard gets a corkscrew in the jugular, and the woman then decides maybe this isn't the right movie for her child. Lovely.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I must say, that would drive me totally fact, everything about a pay-for-your-ticket movie theatre drives me nuts! (Because of Sho Biz affiliations, like SAG and ATAS, I belong to 2 Film Society's...And we get to see all the new movies in BEAUTIFUL BIG Theatres with Fantastic screens, where they do not allow any eating or chewing gum or even water to drink...a little Anal-Retentive, but, the audience is really respectfull of what they are watching. Occassionally they will have a special screening of a film that is for children like 'Chicken Little', and the 'children under 12' rule is waved, as well as how many people can come in on your Film Card, as long as they are children. I tell you all this to say, that under these circumstances, if a child starts screaming..the parent immediately takes the child out in the lobby. But these are very special circumstances, I realize.
I think you handled it very very well. I'm surprised no one else gave this guy a look!
If I went to a regular movie theatre, I try to go at a time when the fewest amount of people will be there. The purpose for me going is to actually see and enjoy the movie! (lol)

jane said...

I haven't been to a movie theatre in over 5 years & now I remember why. Just reading about that idiotic father has me fuming. I see similar things in stores when moms are shopping & the little one (about 3 or so) has to go potty & is begging her mommy to take her & mom continues to ignore her until the little girl starts crying. I was very, very close to saying something.
I think most parents to exercise common sense, but it's those who don't that remain engrained in our memory.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Hi Carmi,
I'm BAAAACK! This time from the wonderful Michele. I left a very long comment earlier so I'll just say Hello, My Dear Carmi!

mar said...

It's not always the parents with their babies. Then you have the parents who have to discuss the film out loud, the ones with wrapped candy making all that noise, etc, etc. Here via Michele's this rainy morning. Yes, it rains in Spain too!

Juggling Mother said...

I'm going to risk public blasting & say - it depnds!

If it's a kids movie, in the middle of the day, I expect some noise & coming & going (I also expect real screamers to be taken out to calm down).

I get relly pissy if it's a 9pm showing of a 15 film & kids start bawling (I'm quite happy to tell them to leave).

Cinema's here have also started doing mum's & babes showings - mid-week at 10am! Mum's can't work obviously! Also, thy ae specificly for under 1yr olds - who are easy to keep quiet - feed them to slep in the dark! It's the mid-age range that are so noisy.

We watch most stuff at home, some new releases at late night showings & occasional kids films during the day. It costs so much to take a child to the cinema now it's not worth it unless you are reasonaby sure thy are going to watch the whole thing & enjoy it!

craziequeen said...

There is *always* room for good manners and social considerations.



The Mistress of the Dark said...

There's always room in society for manners, the problem is so many people in society don't have them.

With the amount of violence in the world today. I'm near Pittsburgh where the shooting took place at the Loew's Theater. I'd be hard pressed to say something to anyone.


Have a great Sunday, Carmi...this time I'm here on my own.

Karen said...

This is TOTALLY one of my pet peeves. The same thing often happens in church. Kid cries and the parent, rather than scooping the child up and dealing with it outside, continues to try and stop the problem, causing an even bigger problem. As I get older and crabbier, I give a hateful glare in hopes that they'll get the hint. I hate this!

Michele sent me....

Karen said...

Back again from Michele's. Gosh, I miss the days of going to see kids' movies. Nowadays, I can't see anything except what my husband wants to see. Maybe I'll have to borrow somebody's kids.

Last Girl On Earth said...

I don't ever go to see kid flicks unless they are directed at adults! So I very rarely go to a movie before 9 PM... so the kid factor is eliminated. But let me tell you, there are PLENTY of rude adults that talk loudly through flicks. I turn around and give them the evil eye. And if that doesn't work, I shush 'em. If that doesn't work, I tell them to shut the f#ck up! Seems to work most of the time! RUDE PEOPLE SUCK! At 10.50 a ticket, you BETTER shut up!

Marcia said...

Hi! Michele sent me!

What I don't understand is why the DAD was so concerned with watching the CHILD-themed movie - shouldn't he be more concerned with a) his kid's welfare and b) being rude than with finding out if the sky really is falling?

craziequeen said...

hi carmi.. :-)

this comment moderation is weird - I had to wait for you folks on the other side of the pond to wake up before my comment appeared. Sort of delayed posting :-)

[wink] Michele...


utenzi said...

Michele sent me to see you, Carmi.

I've been lucky in that regard, Carmi. I rarely have problem people near me in theatres but I don't go very often so there's been less chance for bad luck to hit.

I've not seen Chicken Little but the review by Ebert that I saw knocked it for having almost no plot. The Disney/Pixar drama continues.

ribbiticus said...

here's how not to handle it: my friend and i had a similar experience recently. this time, aside from wailing, the kid was actually being allowed by the parents to have a tantrum right there and there. the little boy kep screaming and runnning up and down the stairs while his parents, though, keeping an eye on him, were still glued to their seats trying to watch the movie. my firned who has little patience with kids to begin with, spoke to his mom who was across the aisle from us to try to stop her son from disturbing everyone else in the theater. the woman actually looked insulted. she then spoke to her husband and told him that we were trying to teach them how to handle their kid. all the while, everyone had to endure all the noise until the movie ended. you can bet we didn't enjoy the movie. then afterwards, the husband actually had the gall to follow us and tell us off! we tried to explain to him that we did not try to discipline his kid ourselves, merely asked his wife if she could do something about it but we could see he wasn't really listening. not wanting to create a scene yet fuming at him and his wife, i just pulled my friend away and we walked off.

Easy said...

This is a sticky one. Sadly it is one of the reasons for a decline in theater attendence. Once upon a time an usher would have appeared to talk to the person talking, or the parents of the crying child.

However, when I'm at a kids movie like that, I understand that an idiot parent is one of the potential hazards.

Plain Jane said...

Were I to have children, I would wait until they were of a suitable age to understand the appropriate behavior in a public place - until then, it would be DVDs in the living room or get a babysitter. Children at age three aren't likely to remember how wonderful the movie theatre experience is anyhow!

For us, we've had a few movie episodes, but it usually involves teenagers or very rude adults, and not the screaming child scenario.

I truly thought we were going to get jumped after a movie by this unpleasant couple that kept talking on their cellphone during the movie! We asked them to be respectful of others and they proceeded to RANT for the remainder of the movie - at every opportunity possible. One comment spoken very loudly, "That #%#%@ ain't funny, the movie is ruined now." The irony of us having ruined the movie for her because we asked her to turn the phone off and stop taking/making calls!

Since then, I've learned to entrust those sorts of situations to the manager - not always easy since they show up right after you return to your seat.. but better than getting stabbed or shot afterwards due to a face to face request.

Sad that it's come to that, no?

Star said...

I usually just sit and stew about it. Since we are off in the middle of the week we usually hit a movie during a Wed. matinee. It's usually us and some creepy lone guy. Or us and a theater full of seniors on a bus trip. Sometimes they ralk too loud. But you can't get mad at them.

Heather said...

I wrote abou the same thing in this post a couple of weeks ago.

I liked Chicken Little. I loved when he says, "Prepare to hurt and I don't mean emotionally like I do."

Raehan said...

I love Pixar because they don't have really scarey scenes in their movies, and they are very funny for adults.

Disney movies are not only annoying in general, but they are extremely scarey.

If a child cries, you take him out of the theater. They should post that rule somewhere.

Rachel - Wicked Ink said...

It's not just the theatre, it's everywhere. How many people encourage or insist on their children referring to the older generation by Mr. Mrs. or Miss? I am trying to teach Jager that one only to have that generation tell me - oh no, its okay that he call me by my first name. No, actually it isn't. For him it will be a sign of respect and an element of etiquette to refer to people with deference.

I think as a society we are far too lax regarding manners and etiquette for all arenas.

Call me old fashioned.

Trish said...

It's good to know I'm not the only one who despises bad manners (or a lack of manners altogether).

I used to love going to the movies but the 20 min. previews alone are enough to keep me home.

Kid are kids... I blame the parents, and they have no business bringing the real little ones to a movie just so THEY can enjoy it.

When WS was 2 1/2 we took him with his cousins to see Elmo in Grouchland (I thought he was too young but hey, it's Elmo). The child was crying because of some preview. Then he calmed down and lost it again within 5 minutes of the movie ....

Elmo loses blanket, WS loses sanity (or something like that). We immediately removed him from the theater.

So RJ, myself and WS waited in the lobby for my brother and his kids. We took photo-booth pictures (which are still on my fridge, and WS is 8!), ate popcorn, sat on the arcade motorcycle seats pretending and laughing... just having fun. We do not go to the movies much even now.

Gwen said...

There is definitely room in modern society for manners, and children who are crying or who want to leave should be taken out of the movie immediately.

At the same time, children should be taken to the occasional movie so that they can learn how to behave there. But we, as parents, have to be prepared to ditch the flick if the child can't do it.

Sprout and I went to his first movie a few weeks ago (Madagascar), and he got bored halfway through. If I had insisted that we stay, there would have been some very loud protest. As it was, we negotiated in whispers for a few minutes and then we left. If more people treated their children with respect for the first few years of life, our society would be so different.

Veda said...

Dunno how "mannerly" this is, (or how much info you want!) but infants in theaters are really very little trouble if they're typically not troublesome. When they cry, the mother should nurse. It's dark enough for "privacy" and everyone can enjoy the show in peace. (yes, I know it works.) :)

Riri said...

Wow, you've got quite a few comments here... Sorry, but I'm in the office and I can't read them all.... bear with me if I sound like a broken vinyl.

We too took the kids to see Chicken Little and for the first time they sat down the entire movie and didn't ask to pee, for water or screamed out loud. I haven't heard a peep. But before, if it happened, my husband would sweep them out of the theatre until they calmed down. He'd be cranky that he is the one "sacrified", but
at least nobody gets disturbed.

They would get only one warning.