common courtesy in the movie theater – dead?

I went to see a 2:10 showing of The Incredible Hulk today, and was a very well-done movie that kicked the unholy snot out of Ang Lee’s ill-fated 2003 attempt at bringing Big Green to the big screen.

My friend actually turned to me about five minutes into the movie and whispered, “OK, this is already better than the other one.” That’s how good it really was, and neither of us are even what I’d consider comic book junkies.


There’s a reason I don’t typically see movies on opening weekend anymore, and especially not at night. Even more especially, I make it a point to steer clear of most PG-13 movies on said weekends.

Why, you ask?

It has nothing to do with the quality of the movie or my anticipation for it. Hell, I’ll probably end up seeing Dark Knight the second it comes out. The reason I avoid huge movies on opening weekends boils down to this:

I have to deal with the combined ignorance and stupidity of roughly 200 other human beings in an enclosed space for at least two consecutive hours.

And granted, I love Seattle and I think the people here are largely open-minded and good-natured. I lived in LA for six years, so when I moved up here, I found the overall mentality of most people in the Northwest to be far preferable to the rampant idiocy I had been used to before. That being said, people anywhere are prone to the same blindingly inconsiderate behavior patterns as they are anywhere else, at any given time.

But when you bring your screaming, babbling 2-year-old child into a crowded movie theater and expect he/she to remain quiet, you’re buying not only a completely useless ticket for a child who will probably get nothing out of watching the movie, but you’re also buying a ticket to being on 200 people’s collective shit lists.

In this case, the offending woman’s son began giving what sounded like a loud incoherent critique of the movie after about the first 10 minutes, which resulted in an understated reaction of “aaw, isn’t that cute” from most people. But after another two minutes of loud squawking and doing what small children do, it began to get one step below infuriating and I had a hell of a time focusing on what Edward Norton and Tim Roth were saying. All I could hear was “BAAADAAAGAA!!!!!” as if the great Cornholio had suddenly stepped into the theater and ate a box of Sour Patch Kids and three cans of Mountain Dew just to make the rest of us miserable.

After the squawking persisted for another minute or so – and gotten quite louder and more frequent, by the way – the woman at least had the common courtesy to grab her child and escort him the hell outside, where she hopefully spiked his bottle with a shot of whiskey. Whatever it was, the kid was quiet for the rest of movie. Who knows, they might not have come back. The film was intriguing enough to the point where any screaming children became a distant memory after another half-hour of viewing time. And I credit the writers, actors and filmmakers for that much.

So maybe common courtesy in a crowded movie theater isn’t dead after all. But, be that as it may, there’s one word parents should remember as being paramount to enjoying an outing at the movies – babysitter.

5 Comments so far

  1. gargamello on June 15th, 2008 @ 7:33 pm

    Yeah, sometimes those little loudmouth kids can be the worst. What I usually do is grab an ear and twist it until they scream and run away. This also works if a kid is hogging the Guitar Hero game at Gamespot.

  2. Zee Grega (zeegrega) on June 15th, 2008 @ 11:12 pm

    If it’s not the children, it’s the damn cellphones. People! If you really need to talk on your phone or send text messages while you pretend to watch a movie, please, stay home and rent!

  3. wesa on June 15th, 2008 @ 11:12 pm

    Sometimes the adults can be more irritating. Good post.

  4. jared on June 16th, 2008 @ 8:40 am

    lucky you that the lady had the courtesy to shut her kid up. when i went to see Iron Man i was sitting next to a family of four, mom & dad, grandma, and 5-8 year old child. the kid was making noise pretty much the whole movie, but in short spurts and his mom was calming him. but after about an hour in the kid was actually standing on his seat and yelling at the screen. not only were his parents not doing anything but they were conversing with him at normal levels. not quietly talking or trying to calm him, they were just talking to him. i looked around and everyone within 10 seats of them were visibly annoyed. i took it upon myself to hiss "EXCUSE ME, you’ve been talking non-stop for the last 20 minutes." she gave me this look that i’m sure was trying to be searing but you could tell she was mortified. they didn’t make much noise for the rest of the movie.

  5. yayunicorns on June 16th, 2008 @ 3:34 pm

    once upon a time i was a very avid movie theater goer. i’ve learned a few things:

    -go late in the evening to avoid the little annoying kids
    -go early in the day to avoid the loud teenagers
    -go around 9pm if you want to see snakes on a plane and have fun just -listening to other people’s purposely loud comments
    -don’t go at all if you hate lines, crowds or people blocking your view
    always pee beforehand
    -if you possibly can hold out, wait a week. it’ll be the same exact movie, i promise
    -always bring your own snacks
    -if someone does bring their annoying baby to a late theater, i’m pretty sure there’s a movie clause saying you can heckle them out of there. it’s not written on some wall. it’s just understood
    -annoying people are everywhere, even in seattle
    -have fun. remember, it’s just a movie. usually a overly hyped one at that

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