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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Should babies be banned from movie theaters? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Should babies be banned from movie theaters?
Jeff C.
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I went to see the Avengers last weekend. It was opening night and the movie was fantastic. The only problem was the never-ending cries of the babies that seemed to echo throughout the room, their high-pitched screams bouncing off the walls like sirens. I couldn't even tell how many of them there were (my best guess was three), but my goodness, it was horrible. The parents wouldn't even take their kids out of the room for the first hour, and then, when one of them did leave, quiet their baby, and then bring it back in, the kid started crying again. Of course he is going to keep crying, you dope. You're making him suffer through a crazy loud superhero movie with monsters, alien invasions, and massive explosions. Who in their right mind would think a baby could sit through that?

AMC started a policy (not yet in place at all theaters, but in many, still) known as something like "no kids under six after six", which basically means what it says, although this only applies to rated-R films. The Avengers was PG-13.

I'd like to gauge everyone's thoughts on this. Do you all feel like it is inconsiderate to bring an infant into a theater full of people on opening night? Should it be completely against the rules?

I spoke with a few people at work who brought their babies into movies all the time, and they all said the same thing. "My baby is a good baby. He/She doesn't cry in movies, ever!" This seems to be the most common response. Even when their kids end up crying in a movie, they say something like, "Oh, he was just tired. That never happens." If it never happens, then what was that?

Honestly, there are too many reasons to not do this. For starters, you're bringing an infant into a theater filled with bacteria and disease. Second, your kid's hearing is still underdeveloped and you can seriously damage his ears (which is probably why the baby is crying). Third, come on, other people don't want to hear that crap. Don't be that person.

I'm just saying.

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SteveRogers
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Based on my experience with a group of teenagers at the movies last night, I could make a decent argument for abolishing teenagers' right to be in the movies entirely also. They were much worse behaved than any children I've ever been around.
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Lyrhawn
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Two parents and a baby were kicked out of the midnight showing of Avengers where my best friend went to see it. What a baby was doing at a MIDNIGHT showing of AVENGERS is beyond me, but there it was. And out they went. I've never heard of an usher being that no-nonsense about it either, and the audience cheered when they were tossed.

It seems like parents these days are a lot more inconsiderate than when I was a kid. When I was a baby and I was making a fuss in public, my parents yanked me out of whatever public place I was in and took me out of there for the sake of the other patrons. Now people just let their kids scream, or at the restaurant I worked at, let them run wild, or used a DVD player to babysit them in the middle of the restaurant!

People these days. Ugh.

Steve - I apologize. I talk during movies, and my best friend is constantly hiding beneath the seats because I laugh so loud I often attract the attention of the whole theater. I'm just so jolly.

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SteveRogers
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These kids were doing way more than talking. They were screaming at the screen. Shaking seats. Jumping up and down in their seats. Talking on phones. Etc.
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Lyrhawn
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Well that's just obnoxious.
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SteveRogers
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I don't understand why people will drop the money to go to the movies just to behave like heathens.
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DDDaysh
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Hmmm... maybe it's just because I don't get to go to very many adult movies anymore, but the few I have seen generally don't have any infants in the audience.

Matinee showings of the kids movies sometimes have babies, and sometimes the babies are a little more annoying than I'd like. But, I figure if I'm going to a kids movie at 3 in the afternoon, there are probably going to be families, and those families are going to have children that do not yet understand movie theater protocol. Unless the situation is REALLY bad, it really doesn't bother me.

I don't know why anyone would want to take their infant to a midnight showing of something like the Avengers though. If you're having to bounce around a screaming child, it can't be much fun!

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Strider
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Lyrhawn, do you talk loudly or whisper to the friends seated around you?
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Lyrhawn
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Whisper to my friends seated around me.

Except during Snakes on a Plane. Everyone yells during that.

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Strider
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Obviously.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by SteveRogers:
I don't understand why people will drop the money to go to the movies just to behave like heathens.

Because when you don't give a toss about other's enjoyment of the movie, it's fun to just do whatever you want with your friends, make noise, whoot, w/e.

We do it all the time, albiet in theaters where we are literally the only ones there. As best as you are able, never go to theaters where that crap is allowed to happen.

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SteveRogers
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It's entirely different if you're the only people in the theater or if it's a movie which is so laughably horrible the whole audience is participating.

Edit:

Example. Yelling during the movie The Ides of March is unacceptable. Yelling during the movie Van Helsing, however, is the only redeeming factor of the movie.

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Hank
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quote:
Originally posted by DDDaysh:
Hmmm... maybe it's just because I don't get to go to very many adult movies anymore, but the few I have seen generally don't have any infants in the audience.

Matinee showings of the kids movies sometimes have babies, and sometimes the babies are a little more annoying than I'd like. But, I figure if I'm going to a kids movie at 3 in the afternoon, there are probably going to be families, and those families are going to have children that do not yet understand movie theater protocol. Unless the situation is REALLY bad, it really doesn't bother me.

I don't know why anyone would want to take their infant to a midnight showing of something like the Avengers though. If you're having to bounce around a screaming child, it can't be much fun!

As someone who works with infants and children, it's my guess that if you're taking your infant to a midnight showing, you might have the kind of sleep schedule where you would ALREADY have been bouncing a screaming baby between 12-3 am, so you figure, why not do it in front of a movie.

That said, I agree that there should be some basic decorum, including taking any child out who is disruptive to others. I have never taken a child younger than 3 to a movie at all, because I just don't think it's an ideal situation for them.

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aspectre
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"Should babies be banned from movie theaters?"

Nope, they should be caramelized and dipped in chocolate...
...unless you're talking about real babies. In which case, their daddies should be caramelized and dipped in chocolate.

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Stephan
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Sitting here at my computer, making sure my 2 week old really is sleeping before I go back that way myself at 2am.

I can't fathom taking any child under the age of 5 to ANY movie. I took my wife to see Lorax, and a 2 - 3 year old started screaming over some of the "scary scenes".

It is rude, inconsiderate, and demonstrates despicable parenting to bring a baby to The Avengers.

We missed Hunger Games because we couldn't get a sitter for our 2 year old. We will miss all of this summer's movies because of our newborn. I will just consider it money in the bank, and sneak home my school projector when these movies are released in the fall/winter for rental.

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Stephan
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L3eeC2lJZs

I wish ALL theaters were like this by the way.

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AchillesHeel
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My local AMC theater did a full reconstruct, they now have a full bar and restaurant with waiting staff who bring food to your seat while you watch the movie. Because of the access to alcohol some of the physical theaters have age restrictions, such as 18 and up and even some 21 and up. I understand this model can only work in a few places but I love it, I never buy the food as it is overpriced but the design of the seating is much more comfortable and appreciate the lack of children.
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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
My local AMC theater did a full reconstruct, they now have a full bar and restaurant with waiting staff who bring food to your seat while you watch the movie. Because of the access to alcohol some of the physical theaters have age restrictions, such as 18 and up and even some 21 and up. I understand this model can only work in a few places but I love it, I never buy the food as it is overpriced but the design of the seating is much more comfortable and appreciate the lack of children.

We have a place like that, too, called the Cinebestro. It's very nice, but with limited seating it makes it very difficult to get in to just about any movie on opening weekend. They also have a 21+ policy as well as a dress code after certain hours. You also have to pick your seats before you go in, which I've never seen before. Very interesting model.
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AchillesHeel
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A dress code? how strict can you be about seeing a Batman movie.

But I would mention that the 21 and up theaters at my AMC feature motorized recliners. At most you sit next to one person, you have a little table for your food and a button to adjust the level of the recliner. It is wonderful.

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Jeff C.
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That sounds pretty nice, I must say. The dress code isn't too bad, but I have seen a few people get turned away because of it. You can't wear sleeveless shirts, for starters. That's really the only one I can think of at the moment. I think there's like six or seven rules (maybe no sandals?). It's a little extreme, I must admit. Still, if you want to see a movie and not have any kids in there with you, it's really the only option.
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CaySedai
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We took our 2-week-old to see Mario Brothers (she's 18 now). When she fussed, I took her out. I missed half the movie, but somehow I don't think that matters ...

It was a dollar show, not a good movie, but a good chance for us to get out after having the baby.

Would I do it at a movie where tickets are $7 or more? No. Nor would I do it for a popular movie where there's likely to be a full house - or one that I want to see the whole movie. But at the time and the place, and with me taking her out when she fussed, it wasn't that bad.

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FoolishTook
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I like the idea of banning babies from PG-13 and up movies, especially after a certain time. The theaters could even divide showings into "No Children" showings or "No Teenagers/Children" showings, since teenagers often trump babies when it comes to ruining a movie for everyone else.
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King of Men
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I think people under the age of 65 should be banned from movies.
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The Rabbit
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It's not just babies and teenagers, there is an increasing tendency for movie goers of all ages to be terribly disrespectful and inconsiderate of others in the theater. It's one of the reasons I've almost stopped going to movies. I'd rather wait 6 months and watch them at home than put up with the rudeness that's become accepted in the theaters. I'd be delighted if more theaters started strictly enforcing good behavior. Regardless of your age, if you're talking texting, jumping up and down or anything else that annoys other movie goers, you should be escorted out. Unless a lot of movie theaters start enforcing polite behavior, the situation is only going to get worse.
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El JT de Spang
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The difference between all other annoying movie-goers and babies is that the annoyance isn't the baby's fault. It's the parents'. If a teenager annoys me, I can report them to the manager (have done so and will do so again). I suppose I should do the same with incessantly crying babies, but I really feel like the parents should figure that one out on their own.

Rabbit, I agree that people in movies are getting progressively worse. Actually, now that I think about it, I've seen some improvement in the last year, as theatres do a better job cracking down on rudeness, noisiness, and texting.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by FoolishTook:
I like the idea of banning babies from PG-13 and up movies, especially after a certain time. The theaters could even divide showings into "No Children" showings or "No Teenagers/Children" showings, since teenagers often trump babies when it comes to ruining a movie for everyone else.

Yeah, totally! This is a great idea, but you don't take it far enough. They could also divide showings up into "No Asians" and "No Whites" and "No Women" groups.

That way you wouldn't need to be bothered by other races/genders and their bad behavior distracting you from enjoying your movie.

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El JT de Spang
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Yeah, that's not the same.
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dandy_andi
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by FoolishTook:
I like the idea of banning babies from PG-13 and up movies, especially after a certain time. The theaters could even divide showings into "No Children" showings or "No Teenagers/Children" showings, since teenagers often trump babies when it comes to ruining a movie for everyone else.

Yeah, totally! This is a great idea, but you don't take it far enough. They could also divide showings up into "No Asians" and "No Whites" and "No Women" groups.

That way you wouldn't need to be bothered by other races/genders and their bad behavior distracting you from enjoying your movie.

It's a completely different issue. Unfortunately, too many parents today refuse to leave the theater when his or her child begins making noise, or even worse (this happened to me during a recent trip to the movies), wandering the theater touching and otherwise bothering the other moviegoers. In general, I haven't seen too many adults wandering the theater touching people. I've taken to getting the snitcher box from customer service at my local Regal Cinemas. You can too, and it gets you extra points if you are a rewards member. Basically you take this box and there are buttons to push for mechanical issues, theater disturbances and if you think you see someone making a recording. You push the button and someone from theater comes in. You don't even have to identify yourself as the person holding the box.

There's only one per theater though, so you can't have tons of people doing it, and it doesn't always get requested by anyone. Also, your idea of a disturbance and the person holding the box's can be quite different.

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Xavier
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Taking a baby to a movie theater is just completely foreign to me. Our kid is in bed by 8PM, no exceptions. Having him out anywhere beyond his normal bed-time just does not compute, much less a loud and flashy movie. Sleep training was one of the biggest hurdles we had to leap as parents, and a strict routine was a huge part of winning that battle.
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Jeff C.
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This discussion reminds me of a story my mom once told me. She was in a theater where a child was running up and down the walkways repeatedly. It went on for a while, until she finally grabbed the kid's wrist and snapped at him, saying, "Go sit down with your parents and be quiet!" The kid did as he was told, and rightly so. My mom is the nicest woman I know, so if a child managed to make her mad enough to snap at him like that, I can only imagine it must have been really bad.
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Dan_Frank
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To be clear for JT & Dandy Andi: I was mocking the idea of a "no teenagers or children" policy, not a "no infants" policy. Infants didn't volunteer to watch the film anyway, so it really is a completely different issue.

But teenagers and kids did. And the assertion that "teenagers ruin movies" is absolutely just as stupid as "black people ruin movies." It's just a lot less offensive because being prejudiced against people based on age is generally a lot more socially acceptable than being prejudiced against, well, virtually any other group.

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Jeff C.
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I agree, Dan. I don't think banning teenagers is a good idea. However, I do believe theaters should kick them out if they start acting stupid and making noise (and thankfully AMC does).

Isn't it strange, how if you go to a play or a musical, most people are quiet and don't make a lot of noise, but if you go to a movie it's not like that at all? You'd think the same rules would apply. I wonder why they don't.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
However, I do believe theaters should kick them out if they start acting stupid and making noise (and thankfully AMC does).

Yeah, this I agree with just fine.

quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
Isn't it strange, how if you go to a play or a musical, most people are quiet and don't make a lot of noise, but if you go to a movie it's not like that at all? You'd think the same rules would apply. I wonder why they don't.

No real idea, but the first thing that pops into my head is courtesy towards (or fear of, or whatever) the performers rather than the other audience members.

I mean, in a particularly bad performance, people do sometimes disrupt it via heckling. But in a good performance, they are courteous to the performers.

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Jeff C.
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I'd also assume that maybe plays are a bit more expensive. I don't personally know, though, as I've never gone to one that I had to pay for. I went to a few in college, and those were free because the actors were students, but still people were well behaved.
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Dan_Frank
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Yeah I don't think cost is much of a factor.

I think we're less likely to heckle a person than a screen. We tend to feel "equal" to the other audience members, so we treat them as such (for many of us this means courtesy, but to others it may mean something else).

Whereas live performers are experts displaying their skills. To some people that probably gives them status, maybe even creating some level of deference. If Robert Downey Jr. and others were performing Avengers live for an audience, I don't think there'd be as many disruptive teenagers.

(Again, this assumes the performers are doing well and therefore not being heckled.)

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AchillesHeel
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The people who go to plays are not the same people who are annoying in movie theaters, also there is a different thought process involved. We still treat a play with a modicum of respect that we used to, movies have lost this privilege entirely, I blame Rambo II.
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CT
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I've known a couple of professors who have felt like -- more and more through the years -- they are being treated more like a television or movie screen during their lectures. Students are whispering, talking to one another, giggling, sitting up front and doing the crossword, what have you.

It strikes them as bizarre and somewhat unsettling to be essentially doing a live performance and be faced with this in the audience.

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odouls268
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Yes. Yes they should.


Though I admit to jumping out of my seat and cheering during "The Replacements"

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BlackBlade
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I took our infant son to exactly one movie. Scott Pilgrim Vs The World. There was only one other person in the theater, and he was listening to his ipod during the movie. He also left halfway through. My son made some noise exactly once, and I had him out of the theater in under five seconds.

The shame and the realization I was being so hypocritical was unbearable. I'll never do it again. Seriously.

What's worse than babies in theaters, is when somebody has a baby that's crying, and somebody says, "Get your baby out of here" and somebody starts arguing with the first speaker with, "Leave him alone, the baby's fine!"

I know we Mormons are family friendly folks, but that's just stupid.

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Sean Monahan
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
Isn't it strange, how if you go to a play or a musical, most people are quiet and don't make a lot of noise, but if you go to a movie it's not like that at all? You'd think the same rules would apply. I wonder why they don't.

This reminds me of an anecdote I heard form Laurence Fishburne. He was once performing on stage in Othello. A cell phone began ringing in the audience. The owner of the cell phone didn't answer it, but he didn't turn it off either. It stopped, and a minute later it started ringing again. At this point, Fishburne broke the fourth wall, turned to the audience, and said, "Can you turn off the f------ phone, please." He got a round of applause.

And AH, not to nitpick, but technically speaking, there is no movie called "Rambo II".

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
It's not just babies and teenagers, there is an increasing tendency for movie goers of all ages to be terribly disrespectful and inconsiderate of others in the theater. It's one of the reasons I've almost stopped going to movies. I'd rather wait 6 months and watch them at home than put up with the rudeness that's become accepted in the theaters.

Amen.
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Jeff C.
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Yes, but Morphius is a badA$$, which is why he was able to do that.

Silly Morphius.

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AchillesHeel
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I pride myself on never worrying about the semantics of Sylvester Stallone movies.
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The Rabbit
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I used to be a lot more sympathetic to parents whose children were crying or otherwise misbehaving in public, but in recent years it seems like its become far more common for parents to bring young children places where they simply do not belong and then expect everyone to accommodate them.

It's not just movie theaters. I see more and more babies and very young children on long overseas flights, in fancy restaurants, in theaters and concerts and in people's offices or labs at work. I know there are exceptional circumstances where these things are either necessary or can be done with minimal inconvenience to anyone but the parent. If they were only being done under those circumstances when it didn't significantly inconvenience other people -- I don't think people would be complaining. As a general rule, I think society to should try to accommodate parents whenever its practicable but it seems to me that more and more parents believe they are entitled to impose on strangers whenever it suits them.

I'm not sure whether I'm just becoming a crotchety old lady or if parents are really becoming a lot less considerate of others.

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rivka
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You lost me as soon as you said "long overseas flights", Rabbit.

Pray tell, what is one supposed to do with one's child while traveling? Put them up in a kennel? Or should the parents of small children have the decency to stay tied to home and hearth for a minimum of five years per child?

[Roll Eyes] [Razz]

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The Rabbit
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Rivka, I didn't say I thought children should be banned from long overseas flights. In fact, I said explicitly I thought there are circumstances where such things are either necessary or can be done with minimal inconvenience to others.

But if you've got an active two year old who you know is going to scream if they have to sit still for more than 5 minutes, choosing to take a vacation to the Greek Isles, that will require the child to sit in a packed air plane for over 12 hours, shows poor judgement. It's extremely selfish and in my experience its becoming much more common.

I don't think its at all unreasonable to expect parents of small children to adapt their travel plans to the needs and abilities of their children. Most Americans never fly overseas. 70% of Americans don't even have a passport. Limiting overseas travel hardly makes one tied to "home and hearth".

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mr_porteiro_head
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How do you think it's possible to travel overseas with a toddler with minimal inconvenience to others?

The only ways I can think of are pretty drastic, like drugging the kid to keep them unconscious, or chartering your own flight.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
Pray tell, what is one supposed to do with one's child while traveling? Put them up in a kennel?

... hmmmmm
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Geraine
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If you think babies are bad, I challenge you to go to a midnight showing of the last Twilight movie.

My father made that mistake once. My mom thought it would be fun to go, and my dad had never even heard of the book series. Not only was he the only man in the theatre, but he still doesn't really know what the movie was about, except that there are characters named Edward and Jacob. The teenage girls just kept screaming their names.

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Raymond Arnold
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Honestly, I think there is a spectrum of movies where audience participation is part of the point (i.e. your father has nobody to blame but himself for going to a midnight showing of Twilight).
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