Parents: Think Before You Take Little Kids to R-Rated Movies

movie theater
• March 6, 2017 10:56 am


Apparently it's time for my biannual* complaint about movie theater audiences. Because, as the great Matt Zoller Seitz reminded us this weekend, you people are all terrible.

It wasn't just rude teens who don't know how to behave themselves in public, however. Check this out:

Look: as a relatively new parent myself, I'm sympathetic to the people who bring their babies to the theaters insofar as I can understand both the imperative to get away for a night and also the fact that babysitters are a.) expensive and b.) can cancel on you unexpectedly.

So when, for instance, a child that was somewhere between 12 and 18 months started to cry during the climax of a press-and-public screening of John Wick 2, I was kind of torn. On the one hand, hey, I get it: maybe the young father couldn't get a sitter. Maybe he couldn't afford it and that's why he was at a free screening. He just wanted a night out. I get it.

But also. Dude. You brought a baby to a movie theater and then, when that baby started crying, you just stood in the theater entrance so you could watch the finale. The baby's cries reverberated through the theater, amplified by the little tunnel. You are inconveniencing everyone else in the theater. Get. The. Fuck. Out. Don't come back in. I'm sorry if that means you miss the last five minutes of the movie, but that's the risk you took when you brought a little kid to the movies.

I understand the parents who bring infants into screenings better than the parents who bring pre-teens to something like Logan, however. I mean, look, the baby? He's not going to remember the radical amounts of violence or the salty language. It's just loud noises and bright colors. But taking a ten-year-old kid to see Logan is borderline parental malpractice. This is a movie where people are de-limbed, beheaded, viciously murdered in all sorts of rather graphic and horrifying ways. To say nothing of the language and all that.

Look, idiot parents too lazy to pay attention to what cultural products their kids are consuming: I'm not saying you should read every review on Rotten Tomatoes or anything. But the MPAA has done you an invaluable service by creating a ratings system. One that comes with explanations as to why a film is rated a certain way! So, you know, maybe if you see a comic book movie is rated R—instead of the customary PG-13—you should look into why that's happened? And maybe, if you poke around a little bit and find that it's filled with imagery that could make little kids cry, just maybe you shouldn't take them?

I don't know why I'm making these suggestions since you're all disgusting pigs who will just do what's most convenient for yourself anyway. But please, for the love of God, think about others for a moment: other people in the theater, sure, but those other little people you take around with you everywhere. Think about what's good for them for just two seconds. I'm begging you. For their sakes.

(And also, you know, mine. Because really, it's all about me. And you're impinging on my ability to enjoy the movie as God intended: in the dark, on a huge screen, surrounded by people who behave like civilized human beings. Knock it off, jerks.)

*Biennial? Semi-annual? I suppose "occasional" would be more accurate, but "biannual" sounds so much more official, as if I'm releasing a report. Speaking of which, this is something the Trump administration should get on: Put the full and mighty power of the government behind me so I can produce biannual reports about how awful people are in movie theaters and then allow me to create a task force to solve the various problems we find. (Hint: Gitmo will be among my solutions.) We can make moviegoing great again!