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New 'adult-friendly' policy causes few problems at Missouri theater
July 6, 2003 8:32 AM   Subscribe

A movie theater in Kansas City, MO now prohibits children under 6, and requires children between 6 and 16 to be accompanied by an adult. They no longer show movies rated G or PG, instead deciding to go with "adult films, independent films and films geared toward adult audiences." There's even a VIP lounge where adults can sit in recliners and drink alcohol while watching the film. Speaking as someone who actually goes to movies to see the movie, not use it as a place to park brats for two hours, this is a revolution, but I can understand why parents would feel discriminated against.
posted by RylandDotNet (88 comments total)

 
we have "vip" theatres in toronto and have for 5 years or so. they cost $16-18 per ticket, the screens are smaller, the sound isn't as good. the only thing good about them are the comfy chairs, the spacious leg room, and the table next to your seat. i rarely bother with them.

i also can't remember the last G or PG rated movie I attended or the last time I was annoyed by a kid. to me, the bothersome people at theatres are the people who never stfu. these people are invariably older folks. however, state a policy at your theatre that says "no old folks" and watch the shit hit the fan. :)

i miss the days when ushers walked the aisle once or twice a movie with a flash light telling people to shut up or leave.
posted by dobbs at 8:38 AM on July 6, 2003


dobbs, you're right about everything there - especially about the vip rooms in Toronto.

I really miss seeing films in Prague, where having a beer at your seat is normal, and people behave well despite the presence of alcohol. I shudder to think of the chaos that would ensue if this custom were introduced at North American theaters.
posted by stonerose at 8:52 AM on July 6, 2003


Well, that's just unfair to the families of Kansas City.

Wait. That says "A movie theater," not "All movie theaters." Maybe not such a big deal in that respect, then.

Really, this isn't exactly new. Portland has at least a half dozen second-run theaters that serve good microbrew beer and tasty in-house pizza and charge three bucks a pop to adults with ID. Audiences are well-behaved, corresponding to the film -- stupid action movies are fun because the crowd is noisy and fun but in a non-asshole way; during thoughtful films you can actually hear yourself think.

They even show kid-friendlier stuff at afternoon matinee shows on the weekends, though the kids still need non-minor parent guardian folks with 'em.

The recliner + hard liquor thing has a certain charm, but if I'm gonna sit on a comfy chair and get blasted while watching a movie, I've got a perfectly good couch and DVD player.
posted by cortex at 8:55 AM on July 6, 2003


I recently saw The Matrix: Reloaded and The Hulk both of which had crying babies in attendance. If there's anything that makes you feel like you've wasted your money it's a crying baby.
posted by ODiV at 9:02 AM on July 6, 2003


I like the idea of kid-free theaters. Nothing ruins a movie like bored kids running through the theater while you're trying to watch a movie. And babies? Leave them at home!

The alamo drafthouse in Austin serves booze, popcorn with real butter and decent food.

If you follow the above link you'll notice the screaming baby -- on Tuesday afternoon they have baby day where parents with infants are welcome.
posted by birdherder at 9:06 AM on July 6, 2003


Addressing the crying baby thing in another way, the odd cinema here and there run baby matinees, where parents can go watch a movie with anklebiter in tow without feeling ostracized.
posted by GrahamVM at 9:07 AM on July 6, 2003


"A current sample of movies at the Palace included action pictures "Terminator 3" and "The Hulk," the comedy "Legally Blonde 2" and the horror film "28 Days Later."

Oops...looks like the theatre in question ISN'T running "adult-oriented" movies. Come on - Legally Blonde 2? Cripes. Any adult who wastes $$$ on that *should* be forced to see it with assorted crying babies in attendance.
posted by davidmsc at 6:15 PM on July 6, 2003


I love the idea of a kids-free movie showing. The parents can feel discriminated all they want, but given how "family friendly" has become the norm, I think adult only movie showings are harmless enough.
posted by Salmonberry at 6:20 PM on July 6, 2003


i also can't remember the last G or PG rated movie I attended...

The last G-rated movie I saw was two weeks ago: "Russian Ark". (That was here in Canada. It probably would not have been quite so sanely-rated in the land of the free).

For what it's worth, I think this was one of the best movies I've ever seen.
posted by 327.ca at 6:25 PM on July 6, 2003


According to my baby-toting friends in Seattle, some of the theaters there have soundproof baby rooms so the shrieking monsters little bundles of joy don't bother the other patrons.

The recliner + hard liquor thing has a certain charm

I've heard good things about Oakland's Parkway Theater, and when I lived in northern Virginia the Arlington Cinema 'n' Drafthouse was pretty cool. The Cinema 'n' Drafthouse would show NFL games on the big screen, which was pretty intense.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:40 PM on July 6, 2003


We've had one in Salt Lake City for years and I just assummed it was all over.
Brewvies is my preferred place to see movies. You can drink (beer only) and eat (pretty damn good food) in the theatre, have a smoke in the bar, or just hang out and play pool. Alot of the good movies play here, but, only after they are done with their major releases and are in the dollar movie/pre-DVD zone.
posted by trbrts at 6:54 PM on July 6, 2003


The last G-rated movie I saw was two weeks ago: "Russian Ark". (That was here in Canada. It probably would not have been quite so sanely-rated in the land of the free).

I looks like they didn't bother to get a rating. Nobody makes you get your film rated, but non-art-house theater owners are often reluctant to show unrated movies.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:55 PM on July 6, 2003


I would never think of taking my 2-year-old to a movie intended for adults in the first place, and I don't appreciate it when others do. I don't know that it requires a "VIP lounge", although I might like a theater with upscale amenities myself.

By the same token, if you go to see "Finding Nemo" at the 10:45 a.m. screening next Sunday morning at the Showplace Cinema in Woburn, MA, don't say I didn't warn ya.
posted by briank at 6:57 PM on July 6, 2003


i second kirkaracha's Parkway plug.

have had some good times there.. oh yes.
posted by fishfucker at 7:00 PM on July 6, 2003


As a parent, I guess I somewhat take exception to the "place to park brats for two hours". Granted our girls are 9 and 11 and aren't generally prone to tantrums in the theater, but still.

When they were babies we would try to go to the matinee and if they were restless or even acted like they were going to start crying one of us took them out immediately. Not all parents do this but still....

To all you swell, fine upstanding citizens, I ask what's a parent to do? Stay away from movies so that you swells aren't bothered? Kill the brat so that they too can be cool and hang out at the same places you do?

I have a real problem with people without kids totally trashing those with and kids in general. You were a kid once too.
posted by damnitkage at 7:07 PM on July 6, 2003


When I went to see Spirited Away, admittedly a children's anime movie, there was a kid that was screaming in the theater for the first 15 minutes. "But mommy i want to be good. i'll be good if you give me more popcorn!" after about half of the people yelling at her and going up to her to tell her to shut the kid up, and after about 4 complains to the usher they finally asked her to leave. The ushers should have told her to leave on their own. I haven't got a lick of sympathy for the woman or her brat. Id also like to see more special areas for adults.
posted by MrLint at 7:10 PM on July 6, 2003


But mommy i want to be good. i'll be good if you give me more popcorn!

My god, that's beautiful.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:28 PM on July 6, 2003


The Parkway is indeed very nice. Also nice: the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin.
posted by Bryant at 7:34 PM on July 6, 2003


birdherder - my wife and I were at the Drafthouse (the Anderson Lane location) here in Austin when "Men In Black 2" was showing.

There were a pair of obnoxious junior-high-school-age kids in the seats to our left. One of the ushers came over, reminded them of the age and alcohol policy, asked for ID, and then politely escorted them out to have them leave after their ticket money was refunded.

It was *great*. We only go to the Drafthouse now.
posted by mrbill at 7:36 PM on July 6, 2003


You can drink in movie theaters in Montreal, even "mainstream" ones. I went to see the Fellowship of the Ring for the second time at the giant Famous Players downtown (the one that's four stories tall, if anyone's been to Montreal - If forget its name though), and we snuck in a bottle of Alcool to get sloshed during the film, only to find that they sold beer in the lobby.

These days, I find crying babies are less of a nuisance than adults who won't shut up and cellphones. If there was a movie theater that promised to drag audience members who talked on cellphones outside and shoot them summarily, they would have no complaints from me.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 7:36 PM on July 6, 2003


I can't stand kids in theaters, but what bothers me even more is cell phones. When I saw the Matrix Reloaded, this guy two rows down from me received a call, and then MADE two calls. DURING the movie. Whatever you think about The Matrix Reloaded, that's just wrong.

Anyone know of kid-free theaters in the Twin Cities area?
posted by graventy at 7:44 PM on July 6, 2003


To all you swell, fine upstanding citizens, I ask what's a parent to do?

Easy -- pay every member of the audience $1 per minute your child is in the theater and screaming, crying or making other loud noises.

The same rule should apply to cellphones & loud talking. For phones, make it $1 per ring.
posted by aramaic at 7:45 PM on July 6, 2003


Hmm, I'm not crazy about the idea of restricting high-school-age or even junior high kids. There's really not too much for teenagers to do in a lot of cities. Especially if this is the only indie-film theater around.
posted by transona5 at 7:45 PM on July 6, 2003


To all you swell, fine upstanding citizens, I ask what's a parent to do? Stay away from movies so that you swells aren't bothered?

Yes? Really, I don't want to suggest that people should be punished for having kids -- I am interested in the ongoing survival of our species. But if you know your kid(s) will be a pain in the ass in a crowd, and it's not a crowd that will be largely composed of parents and similarly ass-paining kids...

I have first been, and later been the babysitter of, children who are thoroughly entertained by a decent TV + VCR (or DVD player). Take the kids to a matinee of the new Disney flick -- where there will be other parent-child sets as well -- if they're hot on seeing things in new release.

Don't take kids to see movies that they won't be fascinated by. And if your kid is a incorrigable, fussing brat, don't take them to the movies at all.
posted by cortex at 7:52 PM on July 6, 2003


To all you swell, fine upstanding citizens, I ask what's a parent to do? Stay away from movies so that you swells aren't bothered?

Yes. Please. Wait for video/dvd.

I have a real problem with people without kids totally trashing those with and kids in general. You were a kid once too.

I certainly was. But I was raised with manners. One of those manners was "Don't talk during a movie." This went for home as well as theatres. (My uncle was projectionist in the biggest theatre in Canada in the 70s--when projectionists really worked for a living. He'd have beat the crap out of me if I talked during a screening.)

To me, the problem is television. Families talk while watching TV. They can (it only takes a 10th of your attention to pay attention). Unfortunately, they take these bad habits to the theatre.

If your kids can't shut up or sit still for 2 hours, don't bring them to a theatre.
posted by dobbs at 8:03 PM on July 6, 2003


Don't take kids to see movies that they won't be fascinated by.

That's the ticket! Obviously children are to be expected at the big-budget action films and such -- caveat emptor if you're going to see, say, THE HULK or X-MEN. It's when parents bring their kids along to GANGS OF NEW YORK, (happens all the time in LA unfortunately). What's a six year-old to do during a violent, three-hour period piece?

An theater for grown-ups sounds like a good idea. Unfortunately, that feels suspiciously like a code-word for $15.00 movie tickets.
posted by herc at 8:12 PM on July 6, 2003


If there's anything that makes you feel like you've wasted your money it's a crying baby.

This is the best critique of marriage I've ever read.
posted by the fire you left me at 8:27 PM on July 6, 2003


The Orpheum in Madison, while not a kid free theater, is another wonderful place to see great movies (both mainstream and art films) and imbibe in brew. They also sell the best theater popcorn anywhere,
posted by kayjay at 8:28 PM on July 6, 2003


I'm a parent and let me just say I love movie theatres like that. I don't take my kids to anything but kids' movies, and on those rare occasions when my husband and I can escape for a little grown-up time, the last thing I want to do is listen to a bunch more kids gnawing their way through the seats because their parents thought it was a good idea to bring them to the 10 pm showing of The Blair Witch Project. (True story. Morons.)

We have a bar/theatre downtown- it's second run movies, but you can drink, smoke, have dinner, and kick back in an incredibly comfy chair for a couple of hours, and watch a movie with no interruptions. It's a two drink minimum, but overall, it costs no more than going out to dinner and a movie; you just spend it all in one place.
posted by headspace at 8:28 PM on July 6, 2003


i also can't remember the last G or PG rated movie I attended or the last time I was annoyed by a kid.

Um...I'm thinking there might be a connection here?
posted by rushmc at 8:30 PM on July 6, 2003


To all you swell, fine upstanding citizens, I ask what's a parent to do? Stay away from movies so that you swells aren't bothered?

I had hoped that the "pro-parent" argument would be stronger than this, but, well, yes, that's what you do. Speaking as a parent who's gone through ten years now of not getting to see every movie I wanted to (or even most of 'em) because of the logistics of having kids, yeah, tough it the hell out. No one who's paid admission should have to listen to or be distracted by your kid, or my kid, for even one second.

While I agree cell phones and yakkers are problems too, kids are a special problem in more ways than one. For instance, I can tell a person on a cell phone to STFU, but I can't tell somebody's kid that. Instead I have to say to the parent, "What were you thinking?"

For another thing, who in their right mind is bringing a baby to The Hulk or The Matrix: Reloaded? We need to get over this idea of a movie theater as just a place for parents and kids to hang out. Any idiot who brings a young child to Matrix Reloaded (or, on preview: Blair Witch Project) is not only inconveniencing other movie-goers, but possibly screwing up that kid for life.
posted by soyjoy at 8:32 PM on July 6, 2003


We've taken our two year old daughter to "Finding Nemo" twice now. She couldn't make it through the first one as her attention span just isn't wired for that. We expected it. At the first sign of fussiness/bratiness we hustled her out like Secret Service agents after an assassination attempt. She made it through the second one a little longer but not all the way. No biggie.

I've been on both sides; a non-parent/kid-loathing/hipster who just couldn't stand to be bothered by brats. Oh how the tables have turned. Inside of us (my wife and I) is the knawing sense that when our kid acts up, we are inflicting the same type of pain we used to avoid. We refuse to make others "deal with it". Eventually our daughter will get the cause/effect dynamic in her behavior and act accordingly. Additionally, we don't set her up for failure by making her sit through a three hour epic feel-good/weepfest. Disney or Pixar is where it's at. We will lose hair, patience and a few years off our lives but she'll eventually get it.

BTW, Is Nemo ever found?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:40 PM on July 6, 2003


KevinS, this may be a bit of a spoiler, but the movie ends at a Long John Silver's...
posted by wendell at 9:03 PM on July 6, 2003


The first time I went to see the first installment of LOTR , a couple had the gall to bring their young toddler. Who was quiet thru all the previews. As soon as the movie started, so did the kid. Making all kinds of screeches and noises-totally ruining the experience of getting lost in a wonderful movie...
But I have the feeling that kid was up all night screaming with Orkian nightmares.
posted by konolia at 9:17 PM on July 6, 2003


Movie theaters ought to issue duct tape when you walk in the door. If everyone's mouth was taped shut, movies would be a far better experience. Of course, that does make it tough to eat the popcorn, but I think I could live with that trade off. While I haven't had much trouble with people with cell phones in theaters lately, the number of people that sit there and yap their way through the movie astounds me. Um, if you're not there to watch the movie, why the hell did you pay the money to get in?
posted by piper28 at 9:27 PM on July 6, 2003


As a parent, I have no sympathy for other parents who feel discriminated because of their kids. If you cannot control your kids when in public, stay home until you can. Pure and simple.

Also to parents, as Kevin describes, not all kids movies are that interesting for kids. During the live action '101 Dalmations' released a few years ago, the kids were bored out of their skulls within the first 20 minutes, and once you lose 'em, forget it.
posted by mischief at 9:43 PM on July 6, 2003


Damnitkage -

You were a kid once too.

...And my parents didn't take me to non-G movies, mostly. More to the point, if they wanted to watch a movie for their sake, they got a frickin' babysitter. When they did take us (I'm one of four kids) we knew we'd better keep quiet, unless we had to pee.

But the racket at theatres drives me up a wall, the rare times i take in a show at the big screen.
posted by notsnot at 9:46 PM on July 6, 2003


wow, sorry about that y'all. I hit post, then left the machine. I guess the modem had already logged off. When I logged back on, it finally went through. eek.
posted by notsnot at 9:48 PM on July 6, 2003


Is it just me or have movies become incredibly loud over the last decade. I've always thought this was done to drown out the noise of crying babies, cell phones, and yapping assholes, who start talking from the opening credits all the way to the end of the movie.
posted by Beholder at 9:59 PM on July 6, 2003


People without kids are such pussies.
posted by UncleFes at 10:15 PM on July 6, 2003


Who are these morons taking babies to theatres anyway? Get a sitter or don't go!

Sheesh, the only time my kid has been in a theater was to a kid appropriate movie, and he watched it, didn't bother a soul.

As for Matrix, that movie is rated R and any damn fool who takes a preteen there deserves to have Agent Smith escort them out. Of course I saw a nice matineem during school hours. There were maybe a couple dozen people there. Very nice.

There are very few movies good enough to bother going to a theatre to see. Even fewer if i have to pay a premium for tickets. At least, not with DVD what it is. For the price of movie tickets for 2, popcorn and sodas, you buy the DVD, sit in your own comfy chair, pause as appropriate for little person attention span, drink what you please, eat what you please, and if anyone talks during the movie you can address them by first name when you tell them to shut up.
posted by ilsa at 10:17 PM on July 6, 2003


I'd say to split the difference. Have "adult only" shows and "family" shows. Seems pretty easy to me. Of course, I go extra far when I want to see a movie to the theatre outside of town. Better seats, better sound, and better repair. Not nearly any children either. And I have yet to see adults throwing rocks at the displays either.

Of course, having some REAL "films" in town would be a treat.
posted by Samizdata at 10:31 PM on July 6, 2003


People without kids are such pussies.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, sure, but in some cases I think it might just be better to be weak.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:45 PM on July 6, 2003


Speaking for myself alone, of course.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:47 PM on July 6, 2003


What staggers me is that parents will buy a kid a 32oz Coke at the concession stand and then wonder why he's agitated and won't keep still. Gosh; a quart of liquid in a 9-year-old bladder, drugged with caffeine and saturated with sugar. Ingenious.

People without kids are such pussies.

Heh. Awesome flamebait. So were you a pussy right up to the moment you became a parent, or did this great truth only come to pass at that time?
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:54 PM on July 6, 2003


ilsa: my kid is 10 and I took him to see 'The Matrix' with no problems. Then again, his mother started him on 'Elm Street' movies when he was just over a year old. ;-P
posted by mischief at 10:55 PM on July 6, 2003


I agree with soyjoy. Unless you're going to a family showing of a movie for kids, you need to leave the kids at home. My reasoning is twofold:

1) I can't stand crying children in grown-up movies. Especially my own.

2) I love my daughter very much, and I'm not going to drag her to an experience that she won't enjoy and can't handle. If someone forced you to sit in a dark room and stare at something that made no sense to you for two hours, you'd probably start screaming, too.

As a result, sometimes I don't get to see movies when they come out. So I was pretty pissed off yesterday when I left my kid with my wife so I could go see Terminator 3, and had to listen to the family behind me yell at their toddler to be quiet the whole time. I would have beaten the crap out of them, but . . . you know . . . I had to think of the children.
posted by vraxoin at 9:36 AM on July 7, 2003


Since we had a kid 7 years ago, my wife and I have missed a lot of movies we otherwise would have seen, because we didn't want to shell out for a babysitter. When the choices are to: a) hire a babysitter and see the movie; b) take the kid to the age-inappropriate movie or c) don't see the movie, we usually choose Option C and never B. It's one of those small sacrifices you have to make.

Infants and toddlers don't bother me nearly as much as teenagers in movie theaters. I can top y'all's cellphone stories. When I saw "The Two Towers," a teen girl sitting behind me whipped out her cellphone, placed a call, and another phone in the theater rang. It immediately was obvious that they were talking to each other. I guess the theater was crowded when they got there, and they couldn't sit next to each other to chat at normal conversational volume during the movie, so they talked on their cellphones instead.
posted by Holden at 9:45 AM on July 7, 2003


Flamebait??? :D

I'm kidding, of course. But trust me, people with kids are not actively trying to irritate you - certainly, we'd prefer to watch movies quietly as well, with a minimum of distraction. And parents who bring little kids to big kid movies should (and are) villified. HOWEVER, being a grownup (with or without kids) involves the realization that, when in public, there exists the possibility of distractions. Yours may have been kids; mine may be the volumes of pot smoke at a concert. Irritating? You bet. But part of the concert going experience, and as a grown-up, I either (a) hold my peace and ignore it, in the undertanding that it's simply kids being kids and having a little fun, or (b) express my displeasure in the most effective manner possible, which is to in the future withhold my patronage of that particular venue/act/whatever.

Movie theaters are private business and may exclude whomever they want. If they feel that this is an effective business plan? More power to them. As a parent, I don not feel discriminated against in the slightest. But really, if you find that babies crying is distracting from your movie-going experience, there are several things you can do to avoid it, most of which have been mentioned above.

But in the end, you can complain all you want, but there will always be some people who will be irritating. It is a force not unlike gravity in its power and omnipresence. Those oversensitive to this are likely in for a long and diificult life.

did this great truth only come to pass at that time?

Over time. When I was a pussy, I of course had no idea I was a pussy. I thought I was tough. I was wrong. I was collossal pussy. I mean, I practically meowed.

Now I'm tough. :D
posted by UncleFes at 10:01 AM on July 7, 2003


I'd just like to add my recommendation of Hollywood Bar and Filmworks in Indianapolis as an adults-only theater (save for a few designated matinees). Even better, the adults seem better behaved there too--I have yet to be bothered by anyone having a cell phone conversation there, while I've had that happen in mainstream theaters more than once.

OTOH, if you consider your server bringing your food and drinks about five or ten minutes into the film a distraction, it's probably not for you. Doesn't bother me, though.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:23 AM on July 7, 2003


There are several adults-only theaters in DC--the afore-mentioned second-run Drafthouse, the arty Visions, and the upscale Mazza Gallerie.

I have an eight-year-old daughter, and I occasionally take her to movies. I choose only kid-friendly movies, and I go at kid-friendly times--"Finding Nemo" at 4 this past Saturday, for instance. Even then, I tell her to sit quietly. Amazingly, she does what I tell her to do.

A few years back, I wanted to take her to see the new Grinch movie. I knew it'd scare her, so I wanted to be able to talk to her during the movie. So I went to the theater at Union Station, in DC. Anyone who's been there knows that it attracts a certain urban demographic that is well-known for its, um, participatory nature. That is, one does not go to Union Station expecting anyone--kids, teenagers, adults--not to talk, yell, throw JuJuBes at the screen, etc. I knew my lack of quietude wouldn't disturb anyone in that setting.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:24 AM on July 7, 2003


BTW, Is Nemo ever found?


Yes. And he is not, contrary to popular belief, flushed down a toilet.
posted by norm at 10:33 AM on July 7, 2003


To all you swell, fine upstanding citizens, I ask what's a parent to do? Stay away from movies so that you swells aren't bothered?

I hate to add my voice to those who have already eloquently addressed this, but I hear this quite a bit from parents who are trying to explain why they brought their child to an inappropriate place for children, say, a nice restaurant.

Parenting involves a lot of tradeoffs. Including the fact that you can't bring your offspring everywhere you feel like it. It is not too much to ask to use a little judgment from time to time. Childless adults are often shouldering the load for parenting types, from tax breaks to time off from work (I bet many childless MeFites can attest to coworkers who are always taking time off or leaving early to deal with kids while it's difficult to take time off themselves).

So yeah, deal with your chosen responsibilities.
posted by norm at 10:38 AM on July 7, 2003


Wonder how much movie concession stands could get for chloroform-soaked rags?

Solves the baby AND the cellphone problems!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:39 AM on July 7, 2003


If you ever want cheap popularity (at the risk of a knuckle sandwich) next time you're sitting near some clown using a cellphone at a movie or concert, just grab it away from him, walk to the exit and fling it out the door. Trust me, you'll be roundly cheered by all. Personally I'd love it if this became the standard expression of social approbrium.

At a concert last night, the first thing the emcee said when he came out was "are your cellphones off? I can't hear you! Are your cellphones off?" Much rummaging through clothes and faint beeps of power-offage in the audience. I'd like to see that become standard as well.

As for the tots, we went to see Finding Nemo at a matinee. I rather enjoyed the presence of all the kids. (Oh, and while no fish were flushed, at one point it was strongly implied that doing so would result in the fish swimming free in the harbor. Which it wouldn't, unless it's standard practice in your municipality to send untreated sewage to an open body of water in a heavily populated area. If that's the case, let everyone know so we can stay away from there.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:49 AM on July 7, 2003


No, it didn't. Finding Nemo showed that flushing the fish would have meant them being chopped up.
posted by agregoli at 10:55 AM on July 7, 2003


If there was a first-run theatre around here where there were no kids allowed after, say, 9PM I'd be in heaven. Of course, it would only work if there was also a no idiots policy, but that might be harder to enforce.

My worst movie experience: sitting in the last available seat for "The X-Files" movie and having the person behind me talk non-stop throughout the film. Of course, since he was explaining the movie to his blind friend who had never seen the X-Files before (!) I just sat there and tried to tune it out.
posted by JoanArkham at 11:04 AM on July 7, 2003


I was once at a showing of "Jay and silent bob strikes back", where a few seats down was a woman with an infant and a 4 year old.

You can imagine how well that went over.

What I've found is the best option, is once you have kids, invest in Home theater. When you have Dolby DTS in your living room with a big-ass TV, you wonder why you went to the movies in the first place.
posted by quibx at 11:12 AM on July 7, 2003


Anyone who's been there knows that it attracts a certain urban demographic that is well-known for its, um, participatory nature.

I've been there a lot, yes. would please enlighten us and elaborate on your "certain urban demographic" made up of those who apparently like to participate so much?
because it doesn't sound very nice, believe me
posted by matteo at 11:56 AM on July 7, 2003


Here in the UK all cinemas that I have visited (and theatres) recently have had a 'turn your mobile phone off' message before the main feature.
The worst behaviour I have experienced was at a screening of Ghost Dog, where some teenagers tried to talk during the film three times. They were addressed curtly by other viewers, and despite their teenage gall chose to STFU rather than be expelled from the cinema. My hypothesis was that they had snuck into the film after paying for another, as people are wont to do, and therfore had no interest in the film. This is a testiment to the lack of night-time activities available to teens in the UK presently.
posted by asok at 11:59 AM on July 7, 2003


I think the next logical step is to segregate children on airplanes. Really. Some people just let their brats scream all the way through a seven hour flight. For the amount you're paying for an airplane ticket, that's absurd. They should do something like purposely always placing families with young children in the back of the plane, together.

Then, if I can fly, and watch movies in peace, I'll be happy.
posted by pjgulliver at 12:19 PM on July 7, 2003


That is a bit different, since there are many reasons why a family would NEED to take a 7-hour flight, but no one NEEDS to see a movie in the theatre.
posted by agregoli at 12:30 PM on July 7, 2003


matteo said: I've been there a lot, yes. would please enlighten us and elaborate on your "certain urban demographic" made up of those who apparently like to participate so much?

Duh - he's referring to black people. It's a fairly well known cultural thing, copped to by lots of black comics, and not a stereotype or a racial slur as far as I know, although I welcome amplification and correction by our "urban" members.

asok said: Here in the UK all cinemas that I have visited (and theatres) recently have had a 'turn your mobile phone off' message before the main feature.

The same in the US, for some years now. For all the good it does.

pjgulliver said: They should do something like purposely always placing families with young children in the back of the plane, together.

On first reading, I thought "yikes, back of the what?" But I guess there's no difference between segregating people spacially as opposed to segregating them temporally.

I just don't understand why someone would bring their toddler to a film with sex and violence in it. Forget discrimination, it's just not appropriate to subject a child to something that's going to confuse or frighten them for two hours. Finding Nemo, sure - I go to a showing of Finding Nemo and I expect lots of noisy kids, but I've gone to movies like Jason X where people brought their small children. That seems insane to me, over and above being rude.
posted by RylandDotNet at 12:32 PM on July 7, 2003


and not a stereotype or a racial slur as far as I know

not a stereotype? Jesus Christ
posted by matteo at 12:37 PM on July 7, 2003


Here in Dallas several of the independent theatres also have "crybaby shows" (their term) for films they show that may appeal to children. It seems like a nice idea to me - the idea being that parents of babies can better "tune out" crying or otherwise deal with other people in the same boat - while babyless adults can avoid such shows. Now with a mainstream feature like X-Men, you are probably going to get some young children - but at a lot of the megaplexes it's bound to also be showing on multiple screens. How about a "family" screen and an "adults" screen for films like that? It would seem to make sense if it is one of the huge theatres.

Parenting involves a lot of trade-offs. Including the fact that you can't bring your offspring everywhere you feel like it. It is not too much to ask to use a little judgment from time to time. Childless adults are often shouldering the load for parenting types, from tax breaks to time off from work (I bet many childless MeFites can attest to coworkers who are always taking time off or leaving early to deal with kids while it's difficult to take time off themselves).

Very nicely put. My wife and I are childless - but I feel we put a lot of effort into trying to accommodate parents. And we don't mind, because being a parent is a tough job, and we respect it is a choice many people make.
But please, do pay us some courtesy. Many of us pick late shows to avoid babies or teenagers. I can understand bringing babies to a children's matinée or early show, but when I see parents with screaming babies in a 10:30 PM showing of an "R" rated flick, all I can think is: cheap bastards didn't want to pay for a sitter.
Just figure it into your budget - if you want to go see a late show, you'll need to spend the extra $10 for a babysitter.

Teenagers and other adults can also be annoying in a movie. But at least you can ask them to be quiet. As far as I know, asking a baby to stop crying has no tangible effect.

Also, holding a ticket does not give someone a legal right to see a show. Anyone using a cell phone should be expelled immediately, just like they are from the ballet or opera.
posted by sixdifferentways at 12:39 PM on July 7, 2003


I think the next logical step is to segregate children on airplanes. Really. Some people just let their brats scream all the way through a seven hour flight. For the amount you're paying for an airplane ticket, that's absurd. They should do something like purposely always placing families with young children in the back of the plane, together.

"Just let their brats scream" is undoubtedly written by someone who has never tried to get a toddler to STOP screaming once they've set their minds to it. Trust me, thee is scarcely a parent in the world who "just lets their brats scream". We who have to live with said screaming brats hate it a million times more than you do.

Airline flights and movie theatres are not interchangeable. I can choose to take my kid to a movie that won't disturb other grownups, that will hold her attention, etc. As it stands now, a flight is a flight is a flight, and I don't have the ability to make a choice that would be respectful of someone's interest NOT to fly with a kid.

I would be very surprised if airlines get enough people all flying to the same destination and travelling with children to have families-only flights, unless they are all going to Disney World. We are going to Paris in the fall, we are taking our toddler, and we are flying on Air France's only flight to Paris out of Boston on the day we want to go. Again, you have been warned.
posted by briank at 12:40 PM on July 7, 2003


If you live in VA, the Sterling Cinema 'N Drafthouse is really nice.
posted by callmejay at 12:49 PM on July 7, 2003


Hey, Briank...though I don't have children of my own, my youngest sister is 11 years younger than me, and I was her day care as my mom worked. I also babysat extensively growing up for cash during school, so believe me, I do realize how difficult it can be to get kids to stop screaming.

On the other hand, I travel frequently on business now, and believe me, I notice the difference among parents, who say, get up, walk around the aisles, take there kids to the back area to try to relax them, etc. And the parents who order another drink and slap on the headphones. All I'm saying is that for the amount of money many of us spend on flights, and also the need to rest on flights, if say, you have a meeting an hour after landing on an overnight flight to, say, Europe, I think airlines should recognize and deal with this problem. By trying to place families with small children together in on particular part of the plane, for instance, the back. I don't think there should be "adults only" flights or anything of the kind. In fact, I think airlines could successfully market towards the people with young children demographic, by offering more kids meals, having toys, etc. I know my parents perfered to fly BA and Virigin Atlantic with my younger sisters because those airlines always had kids meals and little toy packs they gave to kids under 10, unlike US carriers.

(can you tell I just got back from a week and half of constant travel, much of it filled with screaming children?)
posted by pjgulliver at 12:50 PM on July 7, 2003


I was once at a showing of "Jay and silent bob strikes back", where a few seats down was a woman with an infant and a 4 year old.

Maybe it was some weird parody or commentary on the first minute of the film?

I always wonder about the priorities of parents who claim to be unable to afford a baby sitter but can afford the ticket for the baby. We never pay cash for a sitter for nights out. Just time served to another parent. We alternate watching their kids and they watching ours. Probably illegal in some tax evasion way but other wise works well.

And pjgulliver you don't sound nearly bitter enough.
posted by Mitheral at 1:06 PM on July 7, 2003


Crist, parents, the solution to all your problems is so simple! For movies, airplanes, busses -- just do what pet-owners have done for years: DRUG THEM. Yes, a simple sedative can work wonders for a 7-hour plane trip. If it's good enough for your cat, it's good enough for the other beasts in your life.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:07 PM on July 7, 2003


Well, I'm laughing now Mitheral...thanks for bringing me back to the ground.
posted by pjgulliver at 1:09 PM on July 7, 2003


if you want to go see a late show, you'll need to spend the extra $10 for a babysitter.

Heh. Yep, I can tell you're not a parent. But point taken.
posted by soyjoy at 1:23 PM on July 7, 2003


For movies, airplanes, busses -- just do what pet-owners have done for years: DRUG THEM. Yes, a simple sedative can work wonders for a 7-hour plane trip.
A week after I was born, my mother moved from California to Texas. This was in 1963, when "whites only" facilities were everywhere and most Texans were thirsty for JFK's blood. For my mom, one of the biggest culture shocks was parents' use of paregoric, an opiate, to make babies and toddlers shut up in buses, movie theaters, restaurants, and so on. Apparently, you could buy paregoric at the drugstore, and parents would smear some on their kids' lips. Then the kids would nod off in an opiate-induced haze.
posted by Holden at 1:37 PM on July 7, 2003


Where can I buy that now Holden? I often wouldn't mind nodding off into an opiate induced haze....
posted by pjgulliver at 1:45 PM on July 7, 2003


You 'n' me both...
posted by Holden at 1:47 PM on July 7, 2003


Honestly though, what is wrong with giving your kid a little medicine that's okay for kids and makes them sleepy? Is that a huge crime? Esp. for a long trip on an airplane.
posted by aacheson at 2:06 PM on July 7, 2003


Wow, googling on paregoric leads to some scary shit:
Baby farmers, the majority of whom were women, ran ads in newspapers which catered to working class girls. On any given day a young mother could find at least a dozen ads in the Daily Telegraph, and in the Christian Times, soliciting for the weekly, monthly, or yearly care of infants. All these advertisements were aimed at the mothers of illegitimate babies who were having difficulty finding employment with the added liability of a child. A typical ad might read:
NURSE CHILD WANTED, OR TO ADOPT -- The Advertiser, a Widow with a little family of her own, and moderate allowance from her late husband's friends, would be glad to accept the charge of a young child. Age no object. If sickly would receive a parent's care. Terms, Fifteen Shillings a month; or would adopt entirely if under two months for the small sum of Twelve pounds.
This ad may have been misleading to the general public, but it read like a coded message to unwed mothers. The information about the character and financial condition of the person soliciting for nurse children appears to be acceptable at first glance, but no name and no address is given. No references are asked for and none are offered. The sum of 15s a week to keep an infant or a sickly child was inadequate, and a sickly child and an infant under two months were the least likely to survive and the cheapest to bury. Infants were taken no questions asked and it was understood that for 12 pounds no questions were expected to be asked. The transaction between the mother and the babyfarmer usually took place in a public place, on public transportation, or through a second party. No personal information was exchanged, the money was paid, and the transaction was complete. The mother knew she would never see her infant alive again.
posted by NortonDC at 2:39 PM on July 7, 2003


On the flip side, in Kirkland, WA there's a movie theater that has some showings in which you have to bring a baby in you want in.
posted by gluechunk at 2:40 PM on July 7, 2003


Diazepam's a fairly common one for flights now.

On a flight from Moscow to Copenhagen last year, I was confronted (well, sat two seats behind) by the noise of a stereotypical American brat.

Every five minutes as we sat waiting to taxi to the runway, the beautiful sounds of "Mommy, what's that?", to which she irritatedly replied "That's an airplane, darling", or "Mommy, why's daddy not here?" "Daddy, flew back in first class son".

So, to recap, this kid doesn't know what a plane is, even while sitting on one... and his Dad has left his loving wife and son, in economy class on a 3 hour flight (nothing, if only the kid wasn't there) presumably because his business associates would be 'disrupted' by his son.

So there is another option on flights, leave your family in steerage, while you recline in comfort, ahh.
posted by knapah at 3:00 PM on July 7, 2003


Never underestimate the power of Benadryl. It's over the counter and comes in children's strength. Diazepam's a bit much. It requires a prescription and shouldn't be given to children just to keep them quiet.
posted by whatever at 4:25 PM on July 7, 2003


Apologies, I was just using it as an example, Diazepam is more normally used for people afraid of flying.
posted by knapah at 4:47 PM on July 7, 2003


Which it wouldn't, unless it's standard practice in your municipality to send untreated sewage to an open body of water in a heavily populated area. If that's the case, let everyone know so we can stay away from there.

If the description of Boston's sewage system discussed in Neal Stephenson's Zodiac is accurate, you'll want to stay away from there, then.
posted by kindall at 5:03 PM on July 7, 2003


Yeah, benadryl works but if you give too often you can wind up with the opposite effect.

My kids are almost grown now so don't bother calling Children's Services...

(never used benadryl on them on airplanes. I flew with 3 toddlers-all by myself-from Florida to North Carolina and back-never had a moment's trouble with them as far as crying and fussing are concerned. Of course I understand that this could be classified as a Miracle. )
posted by konolia at 6:01 PM on July 7, 2003


Hey, now. Boston's municipal water supply is among the best in Massachusetts, certainly for urban centers across the U.S. You're far more likely to have polluted water in the suburbs, as evident from the movie A Civil Action. But I digest...
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:00 PM on July 7, 2003


when I see parents with screaming babies in a 10:30 PM showing of an "R" rated flick...

Austinites: If you want to witness this first-hand, head north and visit the Discount Cinema up in Pflugerville ($1.50 second-run movies). I went to a 10:30 showing of a really violent horror film (Jeepers Creepers, I believe -- first third of the film was fantastic, after that it was horrible) and there were huge litters of toddlers running about when the show let out at 12:30.
posted by boredomjockey at 10:26 PM on July 7, 2003


To all you swell, fine upstanding citizens, I ask what's a parent to do? Stay away from movies so that you swells aren't bothered?

How about 'yes'. Do you feel discriminated against because you can't take them into a lap-dancing club or a disco? Screaming kids go right up there with cell phones.

So there is another option on flights, leave your family in steerage, while you recline in comfort, ahh.

Children are allowed to travel alone with permission, so you and the lady wife could always sit up in first, and leave the brat down back, making a more ideal situation.
posted by wackybrit at 6:14 AM on July 8, 2003


Oh, yeah, more ideal for you... meanwhile, for the rest of us who are travelling next to these unsupervised brats...
posted by soyjoy at 7:59 AM on July 8, 2003


To all you swell, fine upstanding citizens, I ask what's a parent to do? Stay away from movies so that you swells aren't bothered?

As a parent myself and an avid film lover, I strongly recommend you invest in a home theater system. Just get the best you can afford within your budget. Sign up for Netflix and you're good to go.

The release window between theater to home video has shrunk as low as 4-5 months, so you don't have long to wait. When I absolutely have to see a movie in a theater (about once every 2-3 months), we get a babysitter. Too simple.
posted by Dirjy at 11:38 AM on July 8, 2003


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