Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Kicking & Screaming (26July05)

This week, I learned a little more about what to expect when attending a family film -- because this week we entered the theater, took our seats (in the back row, of course), and watched as the rest of the seats filled up with kids. I'd say they made up about 85% of the theater's occupants.

As I learned, this may lead to a few experiences to which the typical grown-up moviegoer may not be accustomed. For instance:

1) Where there are a lot of kids gathered in a movie theater, there will inevitably be a lot of giggling. At times, you won't be able to hear the movie over the giggling, even though you're not really sure what's so funny. It could be, however, that a character just said that he was, for example, "out of the loop." The word "loop" sounds a lot like the word "poop." And the word "poop" is absolutely hilarious to anyone under 12 (as well as to some adult males). Additionally, giggling among children is contagious. And once one of them starts giggling -- no matter the reason -- the rest of them will start giggling, too.

2) No one will actually sit through the movie. I've learned -- after working a part-time job that requires me to try my very hardest to teach children how to knit -- that it is physically impossible for a child to sit for an entire 90 minutes. At some point, they'll have to get up and run around for no apparent reason. Or they'll need to go to the bathroom. Or they'll need to get a drink of water. Watching a movie in a theater full of kids, therefore, is an awful lot like trying to watch a movie in the middle of Grand Central Station.

3) To kids, movies are always real. Kids watch movies like adults watch the evening news. They take it in, they absorb it, and they put themselves in the middle of it. In the same way that adults will get so wrapped up in the news that their blood pressure will rise to unhealthy levels, kids will get so wrapped up in the movie they're watching that they'll cheer and clap for the Good Guys. (They'll also clap when the movie ends, though I'm still not sure why...)

This week, though, I also go to experience a few other things that should, in the future be banned and/or regulated in movie theaters.

A) There was a teenage couple making out a few rows ahead of me. Not only was it distracting for me (they were, after all, a bit noisy about it, as teenagers often are), but I also thought it was a bit tasteless to be making out in front of a small child. So in case you're a teenager who just happens to be reading this, here's a little make-out etiquette: make-out sessions in movie theaters are to be reserved for empty theaters and/or the back row only. Thank you.

B) This week, there was also a kid sitting across the aisle from us, wearing those light-up shoes. Every once in a while (with more and more frequency as the movie progressed), I'd catch some strange red flashes out of the corner of my eye. Each time, I'd get distracted, and I'd look over, trying to figure out what I'd just seen (and, of course, hoping that I had, in fact, seen something -- and I wasn't Just Seeing Things). It took a while to figure it out -- because every time I'd look over, the kid wearing the shoes would already have returned to his/her seat, and I'd see nothing. It wasn't until the kid decided to do a little dance in the aisle (see Point 2 above) that I realized what was going on. It's a good thing the movie wasn't one of those deep, meaningful movies that takes a lot of concentration -- because I'd have been totally lost by the time I figured out that the strange flash of light was coming from a pair of kiddie shoes.

Movie theaters often run cute little clips before movies, reminding moviegoers to respect those around them by turning off cell phones and pagers, by being quiet, by not smoking, by refraining from the use of laser pointers, by using trash receptacles... And I'd like to propose a couple more:

"Please remember that making-out is to be done only in the specially-designated make-out seats."


"Please remove all light-up shoes. If you need temporary footwear, please see the wonderful people at the concession stand to rent a pair of fuzzy bunny slippers."

Anyone else have any suggestions for other warnings/messages that theaters should run before movies?


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