Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Robots (24May05)

This week, we played it smart. We'd both had a bad day, so we chose a brainless animated comedy instead of a heart-wrenching drama. Smart choice, don't you think?

It was another cold, drizzling night, and The Cheap Theater wasn't exactly buzzing. We didn't have to wait to buy tickets. We barely had to wait for the ticket-ripper to rip our tickets (we wouldn't have had to wait at all if the guy ahead of us hadn't stuck his ticket somewhere in the deep, dark crevices of his jeans pocket for safe keeping in the 50 feet between the ticket booth and the ticket-ripper, thereby having to take the time to dig it back out).

Since Robots was in its second week in the theater, I hoped it wouldn't be too packed. But when we walked in, the theater was already crawling with chattering children. My day had been so bad, however, and I was so relieved to be out of the house for a while, that I found their excitement rather entertaining. In fact, I was even amused by the two children in front of me, who were thoroughly ticked off by the fact that their mom made them share a tub of popcorn.

Eventually, my ears adjusted to the kid-movie sound levels in the theater. That's just one of those things you have to get used to if you want to see a kids' movie in the theater (unless you go to the midnight showing). You just have to learn to tune out the constant chatter -- it goes with the territory.

Once the movie started, though, the kids were perfectly well-behaved. Sure, they chattered and they giggled, but it was just the usual hum of a kids' movie audience. There weren't any shouters or screamers or any kids making a scene.

That was left for the adults.

Yes, the children in the theater actually had more self-control than the adults. The children chattered. They giggled. The adults talked to the characters. They shrieked. They guffawed. They made horrifying bodily sounds.

Apparently, the adults in the theater figured it was okay to act like kids -- only louder. The woman behind me took her seat and let out an eardrum-shattering belch. And when the movie was about to begin, she howled (almost to the point of hyperventillation) through the moderately amusing introductory short featuring that poor little squirrel from Ice Age.

The two women who sat beside us gasped in shock at everything that happened during the movie -- and they peppered their gasps with "Oooooh nooooooo!"s and "Awwwwww!"s. And whenever struck them as amusing, they'd laugh their loudest, heartiest "A-huh! A-huh! A-huh-huh-huh!"

Meanwhile, at the other side of the theater, another woman (who I seriously hope had been drinking before arriving at the theater) found everything extremely funny -- and she'd let everyone know it by letting out a shriek so shockingly loud that it sounded like she'd just been bitten on the rear by a passing toddler. Her howls of laughter were so randomly placed that I'm quite sure that even the kids (who, in general, tend to laugh at pretty much anything) were wondering what the heck she was laughing about. I'm pretty sure we've encountered this Random Shrieker before -- when we saw Be Cool -- so when the movie ended, I tried to get a good look at the other side of the theater, so I'll know whom I should never sit anywhere near (I believe she was the one with the short hair and a baseball cap).

In general, all of the adults around us acted more childish than their children. The two kids in front of me got over their feud over the popcorn, and they spent the duration of the movie quietly munching -- with their mother responded to everything by saying, "Oh no!" or "Oh dear." Behind me, a child would occasionally ask a question or make a comment to his dad in his best indoor voice -- and his dad would respond in a voice loud enough for everyone in the back half of the theater to hear.

While the kids quietly enjoyed the movie, giggling at the appropriate times, the adults got up and paced through the theater. Or babbled loudly. Or belched. Or shrieked.

They obviously need their five-year-olds to teach them a thing or two about etiquette.


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