Leave the kids at home when going to the movies

Joey Leffel reacts during a 4d movie experience at MediaMation on May 18, 2017 in Torrance, California. TNS.

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The ideal movie theater experience involves sitting down, eating overpriced snacks, and watching a movie in near-complete silence, interrupted only by laughter, screams, and the occasional whisper of, “Is that the guy from ‘Game of Thrones?’ No? I really thought that was the guy from ‘Game of Thrones.’”

Lately, though, I’ve noticed that experience tainted by an overabundance of misbehaved children in our local movie theaters. Picture innocent movie-going civilians, settled down in their chairs, with the largest tubs of popcorn imaginable, ready to zone out for 90 minutes and watch celebrities fight CGI monsters. Then enters a plethora of rambunctious children, barraging the backs of seats with their childish karate kicks, lounging on the stairs, running down the aisles, and having full-volume conversations with their parents or guardians about what is currently happening in the film. Throughout this mayhem, the innocent movie-goers are forced to sit in their chairs, in quiet, brooding frustration, knowing that if they did actually complain to the movie staff, the children would magically behave themselves until the movie theater employee who came to check on them was content there was no longer an issue.

To be fair, this is not entirely a localized problem — it can happen anywhere, at anytime, like the hiccups or a dance-off — but it has happened enough in local theaters to be considered an epidemic of adolescent movie ruination.

Now, this isn’t to say kids can’t go to kids’ movies, and to a large extent, these rules don’t apply to those films; when the movie’s for them, a bit of this behavior can be tolerated. But when I see a PG-13 or R-rated movie at 9 p.m. on a Wednesday, and some ill-advised parents, practicing a superhuman neglect for the experience and lives of other adults in the theater, bring their kids and let them run wild, I quickly lose my patience. Parents who do this are not only teaching their kids poor behavior by neglecting to, well, parent them, but they are also ruining a movie for dozens of other people who just want to enjoy themselves.

The great thing is, there are alternatives to bringing your kids with you, if they are unable to sit still, quietly, for the duration of an adult film:

You could watch a movie at home, where there probably aren’t rows of strangers expecting you to show them the minimum of human courtesy (eventually, the movie you want to see in theaters will also be available to watch from the comfort of your living room).

You could hire a babysitter, who, statistically-speaking, will probably put on a movie for your kids to watch at your home.

Or you could teach your kids that empathy is valuable, and that there are certain places — like libraries, movie theaters and outer space — where being quiet is just the right thing to do.