Leave your children, cell phones at home

Briana Riplinger

Theatre owners and the Motion Picture Association of America are making it more and more difficult to see films these days. In addition to paying skyrocketing admission prices, movie patrons are now required to be rude, selfish and possess a complete lack of courtesy just to enter the theatre.

It’s true. When the MPAA passed its resolution on a more strict and thorough ratings system, someone slipped in one of those unstated laws that maintains, that theatre-goers must leave all manners at the door.

Who doesn’t get miffed when someone talks during the film, or neglects to turn off their cell phone or pager. These are highly inconsiderate practices that garner choruses of groans. What I’m primarily irked with as of late goes somewhat deeper: When these mannerless people breed.

This summer, I went to Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes with my roommate. Behind us sat a young couple with an infant. Through the duration of the film, the infant sobbed. Rather than taking the child out of the theatre, the parents merely cooed, adding to the commotion. Then the child regurgitated the popcorn they had been feeding him, filling the auditorium in a lukewarm acrid odor.

This has bothered me for some time now. Obviously that infant did not pay admission, nor should it have had to. However, the child was not there for the film, and therefore the parents should not have brought him. My thought is that if you can afford a night out, you can afford a sitter.

Fortunately, the infant is still too young to take after its parents just yet, unlike the five children sitting behind me at the R-rated film Jeepers Creepers. The youngest looked about three, while the oldest maybe 12. I wondered why a parent would bring such young children to a film the MPAA has deemed R for “terror violence/gore, language and brief nudity.”

As the reel rolled, the kids got bored and were clearly not interested in the movie. So they decided to talk. Being a “good parent,” the mother combated this with an hour and a half long chorus of “Shhhh!”s.

After moving seats (perhaps too passive an action), I could still clearly hear Shushy and the five kids. On top of it all, Shushy was the reactionary type of film-goer, holding conversations with the characters on screen, forcibly laughing to prove she got the jokes and acknowledging frightening material with a blunt, “Shit! That was scary.”

Parents need to stop perpetuating this behavior in children. Don’t bring young children to R-rated movies. Don’t interact audibly with the actors on the screen. Don’t talk to your neighbor. Turn off your cell phones and pagers. And, most importantly, teach the next generation to do the same.


Michael Goller is the Lens Film Editor and his column appears biweekly. He welcomes comments and suggestions, and can be reached at [email protected].