Dear Parents Of Obnoxious Children

If you’re wondering where this week’s movie review is, here’s the deal. The only major release this week was “Ice Age: When Will It Ever End?,” or whatever it’s called. I punted it for various reasons:

1. The screening was Saturday morning and I had a wedding that afternoon.

2. As much as I love prehistoric animals, I’ve lost interest in the “Ice Age” franchise. The first one was fine. I love the squirrel. I hate that weasel or whatever it is with John Leguizamo’s voice. I don’t remember what the last ones were about. I don’t even remember how many there have been. Didn’t the last one have dinosaurs? You know there’s a problem when you make a movie with dinosaurs and I can’t even remember it.

3. It’s a kids’ movie. And I’m getting tired of sitting through kids’ movies in theaters full of kids. Or any kind of theater or concert or entertainment production that’s full of kids.

Not all kids, mind you. Just the obnoxious ones. You know who I’m talking about. I’m not talking about your kids. I’m sure you raised them right. I’m sure your kids don’t engage in the behaviors I’m about to get into. I’m sure your kid was not sitting behind me the other night at the theater. At least I hope that wasn’t your kid.

Many children show great maturity at a young age. They are quiet, respectful, sit in their seats — they’re better behaved than many adults. Bravo to you good kids. Bravo to your parents.

But some children don’t get it. I blame their parents. So, as a public service, here are Five Simple Rules for Children at The Theater.

1. If your child feels the need to ask questions about every single thing happening on stage — Your child does not belong at the theater.

2. If your child feels the need to narrate every action on screen and offer an ongoing commentary track while the movie is running — Your child does not belong at the theater.

3. If your child can’t sit still and feels compelled to bounce around and kick the chair of the person sitting in front of you — Your child does not belong at the theater.

4. If your child cannot eat snacks without making noise or spilling everything — Your child does not belong at the theater.

5. If your child announces midway through Act 1 that she’s tired and wants to go home — Take your child home. She’s not going to get less tired as the evening progresses. In fact, if your child’s bedtime is 8-8:30 p.m. and the show begins at 8:15, maybe you should ask yourself if bringing your child to the theater and keeping her out that late is such a good idea.

Look, I understand. Kids are little balls of energy. They like to ask questions and talk and bounce around. Good for them. Take them to the park. Take them to a playground. Take them to the zoo. Don’t take them to the theater. If they can’t be quiet and respectful of others, wait until they can watch the movie at home, where they can ask you all the questions they want and jump around and spill soda all over your couch.



4 responses to “Dear Parents Of Obnoxious Children

  1. Agree with all the above.

  2. Well stated! Take them to a mantinee where are other children that they can disturb.

  3. This can be said for adults too! I have been to many shows where adults have caused more ruckus than kids — either talking through the whole show, talking on their cell phones or singing the whole dang production (so annoying!). And, accidents happen. I had soda poured down my back twice at the Muny by an adult.

  4. Neighbor Dave

    Agreed. If they had adults-only night with zero tolerance for talking and cell phones, that’s when I would go to the theater. From my experience, it is usually the adults that are the problem though. For some reason it seems like the last person to sit down in the theater sits right behind me and starts explaining what is happening in the movie to the person next to them. Sometimes this is a parent explaining it to their kids like you said. I think people sit at home and watch movies with their friends while talking about it and then go to the theater and do the same thing.
    Lately it’s the people texting that bugs me in dark theaters. They make paint that blocks cell phone signals, I wish they would use it in theaters.
    A friend of mine went to a movie theater in Puerto Rico and said he couldn’t even hear the movie sometimes because everyone is talking to each other and on cellphones…
    I sometimes wish they would put headphone jacks in the movie theater seats so I could block out the talking and adjust the volume. I guess that could be used to record the audio so they will never do that….

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