Pop quiz.

You’re a mother/father of five. Your favorite radio station just awarded you free passes to a prescreening of Warm Bodies. You bundle up, shove the rugrats into the beater and head out for a night at the movies. Just one problem, you’re a terrible parent whose awful child-rearing has raised five of the loudest, most obnoxious kids ages 3-6 this side of the Garbage Pail lot. Do you:

  • A. Quietly and respectfully remove your brood from the theatre as soon as you start getting shushed, or:
  • B. Take that shit in stride and shove another handful of buttery popcorn into your wide-set gullet while society babysits.

Those answering A. can leave now. You’re solid peeps. Whatever shortcomings are evident in your brood’s behavior, you at least own it. That’s a start. As for B., who I had the grave misfortune of sitting in front of at last night’s screening (and too many others like it):

Seriously, go fuck yourself.

Let’s not confuse the issue. This is not your children’s fault. Nor is it the responsibilty of other theatregoers to put up with their never-ending babblespeak. Judging from the integrity of the butter stained sweatpants you must have somehow lept into so you could leave your abode, I surmise getting up to go anywhere is a big deal for you. That’s fabulous. Good for you for pealing yourself from Honey Boo Boo, 19 & Counting, or whatever little person exploitation shitshow you like to call “muh stories.” But know that just because you’re gracing the outside world with your presence for a night, the onus is not on the rest of us to babysit the kids you shat out while you hunker down, audibly devouring a hillock of grease in a dark room for two hours.

(Sincerely, Timothy Kelly Esq.)

Social fucking contract, people. It’s those of us adhereing to it that suffer the most. Why do we put up with these monsters, these mongoloids who can’t be bothered to take even the slightest responsibility when out in the real world?

I’m as guilty as anyone else, sliding into my seat, chewing my sleeve as I bear the mp3 version of Tiny Tim Sings the Necronomicon for 120 minutes. But what do I or any of us do? Especially when kids are involved. You can’t yell at the kids, that just makes you the asshole. You can’t yell at the shell of a parent, he/she knows those kids are Black Plague in a theatre and elected to bring them anyway. And god forbid security show some backbone and resolve the situation. Try telling a standing security guard who’s been watching you sit in a cushy seat watching a movie they cannot to do their job. Yeah, they care.

I sat on it. I fed the anger for two hours and on my way out took action.

“Hey lady, great kids movie. Thanks for that.”

“You’re welcome, jackass.”

Last night, when she got home, she likely told someone about the guy in the hoody. The “jackass”. Yeah, well, I suppose I had that coming. Screw the rest of us for being offended that our night out was ruined by your awfulness.

The obnoxious theatergoer, this scourge of the arts, is not an unsolvable epidemic. Alamo Drafthouse’s highly touted no text / no talking policy is a welcome approach. Granted, we sometimes feed our companions occaisional quips at the movies and, usually, it’s a victimless crime. But if the tradeoff is that I can no longer make catty comments about Billy Crystal’s eye lift during Parental Guidance to avoid another ordeal like last night’s then so be it. Because with higher ticket prices the bar still hangs criminally low. Elite prices call for elite theatre crowd control with a zero tolerance policy: a sign reading “This Theatre Bans Assholes on these Premises.”

I can’t wait to take my kids to the movies someday. Film opens up imagination in spirited fashion and a child’s excitement on what he/she encounters onscreen is most often palpable. I also can’t wait to take said kid out of the theatre so they can calm the fuck down when they’re acting rash. Better yet, maybe I’ll be active in their developmental stage and raise kids who know how to behave in a roomful of people.

Because there are other persons who enjoy going to the movies too. And they shouldn’t have to put up with my bullshit.