Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Not That Kind of Horror Movie

Nothing resurrects lost blogging mojo like the need to rant about something. And I have had this rant building up since Sunday when I went to see a night show of Queen with a friend.

Digression: I absolutely loved the movie. Kangana Ranaut totally rocked the role and pretty much carried the movie on her shoulders. Having also caught Hasee Toh Phasee a couple of weeks ago, I am delighted that Bollywood is finally turning out some films that break the stereotypical mould of a conventional Bollywood heroine and I hope that this is a trend that is here to say. Go see both movies!

Now, back to aforementioned rant. Clearly, the movie seat gods are not in favour of yours truly because we found ourselves sitting right next to a couple with a toddler and right in front of another couple with an infant-going-on-toddler.

And these were by no means the only kids in the cinema hall. The place was teeming with little ones of every conceivable age. I am surprised none of the advertisements were targeted to kids – there were enough of them around to make it a viable proposition for an interested marketer. Also, did I mention that this was a night show? It started around the time my kids are usually tucked into bed for the night and extended to a time that was past even my usual bedtime. Yet here were ALL these kids, when they should have been in bed instead.

Sure, I get that not everyone has a meltdown (and I mean me, not my kids) if bedtime routines are meddled with. But what about the age appropriateness of the content? This movie was definitely not a kids movie – there was drunken behaviour, a visit to the famous red light district in Amsterdam and some talk about condoms amongst other things. How is it okay for young, impressionable minds to be watching this?

I remember my mother covering my eyes when anything even remotely steamy came on the screen and this was when I was in my early teens! The mother of the little girl next to us had no such qualms. During a song that revolved around pole dancing, this lady actually had her daughter’s hands up in the air while she made her jiggle and sway in time to the music. It was just so wrong on so many levels.

I have been pretty clear on this from the start. In the last 9 odd years of being a parent, there has not been a single movie that I was desperate to enough see in a cinema hall that I would consider taking the kid/s along. Even for the kiddie movies that we go to, I usually vet online reviews to ensure that there is nothing that I deem objectionable in them. (FYI: For Hollywood cinematic fare, Common Sense Media is a great source of age ratings and reviews for children’s movies).

But while I don’t get why anyone would want to bring their kids to a late night show of a movie with inappropriate content, that is me and my personal parenting philosophy. To each their own, I guess. But I do have a problem when their decision to do so gets in the way of my enjoyment of a film that I paid good money to see. Like they say, your freedom ends where my nose begins. And my nose, to put it quite mildly, was put out of joint last weekend.

First, there was the pole-dance enthusiast next to me who, in all her wisdom, decided to let her toddler have solo control of her sippy cup. And while mom was absorbed in the movie, the resourceful little girl managed to get the lid off and empty the contents of the bottle onto the floor. It was just water thankfully but my idea of an ideal movie-going experience does not include a soggy carpet beneath my feet. Two years old at the most, the little girl was also understandably unfamiliar with movie-watching etiquette and kept trying to engage her mother in conversation, quite loudly might I add.

The parents at the back let their kid stand in front of them for the first half of the movie. This was all very fine for them but the kid was holding on to the back of my seat for support and more than once, managed to grab and yank a fistful of my hair. Ouch! But that was nothing compared to what happened after the interval. The poor kid totally lost it and started shrieking at the top of his voice. At this point, common courtesy would have dictated that at least one of the parents step out and calm him down. But, no. They just sat on their butts while their kid brought the house down. This was despite many pointed glares from me (Note to self: my glare clearly needs some work; must practice it on the kids some more). They also added to the fun by occasionally berating the little fellow with useless remarks like ‘Ab bas bhi kar’ and ‘Chup ho ja’. Real effective, as you can probably imagine. Anyway, the kid finally gave up on his parents and self-soothed himself into a semi-sleepy state.

So, yeah. If you think it is ok to bring your kid with you, that is really your choice. But please at least make some attempt to ensure that this doesn’t ruin the movie for all of us. I left my kids at home with their dad and came to watch this movie. I didn’t do this to have my evening ruined by YOUR kids and YOUR inability to keep them quiet and comfortable. Wait for the DVD!

Phew! That felt good. Better out than in, as the saying goes. 

29 comments:

  1. R's Mom9:24 am

    What you say is so so true...People laugh at me when I say that R hasnt been taken to a theatre yet...I took her to see Frozen after reading good reviews, but unfortunately, she just bawled when Anna got frozen...and told me 'Amma, please dont take me to a theatre ever again!'

    I know of parents to take their children to movies which are so not for kids..and it makes me angry..but like you said, its their parenting style..but crying kids, water dropping kids, :( Sad sad sad..thats all I can say...

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    1. Join the club. Even after much background checking, we end up going for movies that even the 8-year old finds upsetting, the latest being the Lego movie!

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  2. Anonymous10:31 am

    yay! yay! Totally with you here. I have severe WTF moments when I see young(by young I mean younger than 12 years of age, not 5 mind you) when movies are A) after 7 p.m. B) have objectionable content(be it sexually explicit scenes, too much body show, expletives, off color jokes, violence....the list is long sistah!). I've firmly left my kid behind for the past 10 years and watched movies in cinemas either alone or with gal pal since we don't get reliable baby sitters here in the U.S. always and mind you invariably when it's a hindi movie show the desis will brings their bachchas along. The same desis come sans kids for a hollywood show. Kya discrimination bhai? We aren't deserving of peace, good behavior and our paisa vasool kya?

    Next time here's what I would do Ro. Stand up and say loudly to the mater and pater of screaming/talking loudly/doing idiotic stuff kid "aap zara apne bachche ko leke bahar jaayiye. Hum picture dekhne aayen hain, unki baaten sunne nahin!" Because this is exactly what I did at the Queen show late night on last Friday when a kid kept blasting into my year from behind and guess what several other folks got the guts and seconded me. And out the parents went. Good riddance to....

    Deepa

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    1. I was tempted too. I was hoping my cutting glares would work, clearly they need some help from my razor sharp tongue :-p

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  3. I remember the time when Kodi's mom and I went to watch 3 idiots when we over heard the child in the row behind us what suicide was and why he committed it. While it made us very uncomfortable, the parents watched on, until their zombieness was interrupted by a phone call and they left the movie hall to meet up with friends. Oh boy! Some people don't get it or pretend to not get it is beyond me.

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    1. *shudders* Parenting really should require a license.

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  4. OMG this is such a big pet peeve of mine! I am now officially that angry person in EVERY movie (yes, every!) I go to, pointedly glaring at careless parents with their babies running amok in the aisles, shouting/chattering away, and generally creating a ruckus. I start with pointed glares, and then in no time proceed to politely asking them to take their noisy kids elsewhere.

    The fault is hardly the kids, so all my rage is pointed at parents. While I can be judgemental and say I dont know what theyre going to lose by missing 5 years worth of movies, but I'm going to give them a little benefit of doubt and say okayyy maybe they deserve a little down time in a movie hall too. BUT, I didn't pay 220 bucks to deliberately catch a 10.45 pm show of an adult film so that I can avoid the kids, only to be surrounded by them. I have tried all options, super late shows, super early shows, adult movies only -- nothing works. The kids and their idiot parents are EVERYWHERE.

    The irony is whenever I'm buying tickets for an A rated movie, the chappie as the counter always does his duty by informing me that it is an A movie and I have to be over 18 to watch it. I get it, he's just doing his job, so I nod in confirmation and get on with it, but maybe they need to ensure that people buying tickets don't have pint sized people their carrying into the hall with them!

    My next step is to write to inox and tell them that this is just not on. I dont know what good will come of it, but I am a movie buff and watch at least 2 movies a week, and I'd like it if at least 50% of those experiences are hassle-free.

    OUFF, rant over.

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    1. Please write to INOX and I'll co-sign it.

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    2. Me too!

      And I am utterly green that you watch 2 movies every week. I was watching about 2 a year till recently but have now upped it to about once a month.

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    3. Oh but youre catching up now, you admitted! I dont have babies to leave behind or drag along with me. And in Panjim, Inox is cheaper than in most big cities, and I live about 10 mins away -- which all makes it VERY easy for me to just pick up and go.

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  5. Great to see to back in the blogosphere. Great post too on the universal pet peeve of irresponsible parents (not kids) at the movies. I just ask parents to mind their kids (because stares just don't work on such people).

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    1. I meant 'Great to see YOU back...'.
      (My phone's autocorrect is not so correct after all.)

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    2. And it works? They take their kids out?

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    3. Mostly it does because I don't stop grumbling until they buckle. They don't always take the kids out. Sometimes they change the seats and leave taunting me. LOL. Sometimes they threaten the kids that 'that aunty' (me!) will yell at them. LOL again. Sometimes I just have to grind my teeth and watch the movie.

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  6. My daughter is 7 months old and I haven't been to the movies in about the same time. Nor will it happen till there is reliable help at home and she is old enough. However, I have seen this interesting trend where people - young and old alike, in a bid to convince themselves that this particular sacrifice is not warranted as a new parent, say things that leave me aghast. I can understand comments like "just sneak out when she sleeps, her nani is at home na" from friends who have not yet been introduced to the world of night feeds and sleep regression periods and diaper accidents, but there are actual parents out there who say things like "arrey take her along, usko kya pata, bas stroller mein daal dena, woh toh soti rahegi". When I try to explain the concept of causing inconvenience to others, it's met with blank stares. So I try the simplistic explanation that I don't think my child will sleep through blaring Dolby 360-degree surround-sound, and I'm told point blank that "bache ko shor mein bhi sone ki aadat abhi se daal do". Sigh, there's no winning with idiots.

    This was such a pet peeve of mine before I had kids that the husband jokes that he wishes there is a Transformers sequel number 21, because it will be another 18 years before we can go watch a movie :)

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    1. Do not get me started on unsolicited advice that people direct at parents. That is a whole other rant!

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  7. The last time I blogged about this, I got a whole stream of - oh, of all people we didn't think you'd suggest that people don't bring kids for movies.
    WTF?!
    Just because I'm a parent doesn't mean I condone this. In fact, EXACTLY because I'm a parent and have taken the trouble to make arrangements for my kids, I don't want to put up with someone else's kid's bawling.
    The OA and I have yelled at so many people who won't take a bleddy bawling kid out of the hall to calm it. If not for our sake, at least for the poor kid's sake do it na?
    Uff. And I watched Queen last night too and wrote about a bad cinema experience too! So jinx!

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  8. Jinx indeed!

    And be careful. Did you see the comment on my FB post from my friend who's dad got roughed up because her sister asked some folks to take their bawling kid outside...

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  9. It happens here in the Bay Area too, also known as the 29th state of India. People look at me like I'm being difficult when I attempt explaining the concept of not being a nuisance to other movie-goers. Every Bollywood movie is overflowing with screaming children and apathetic parents and frequently GRANDPARENTS, so it's not like they didn't have anyone to leave the child with. There is something seriously wrong about this. Most desis, my hubby's own relatives included, don't give a thought to it. Mercifully, they (the relatives) swiftly take their cranky babies out when trouble brews.
    Additionally, because there is free seating here, people block entire rows and fights break out and management is called in.
    Good thing I'm not mad about the movies. I've begun to give Bollywood cinema trips a miss because I don't want to deal with the lousy drama off-screen as well.

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    1. I wonder if these same parents also take their kids to Hollywood flicks? Or is such behaviour limited to Bollywood flicks where they can expect fellow desis to be 'understanding'.

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  10. Heh heh heh I remember watching an Ustad Ghulam Ali concert at Shanmukhananda Hall where someone's baby started crying and Ustad stopped singing, glared in that direction and said that he'd start singing only when the baby stopped. One parent promptly got up and took the baby out.

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  11. This is such a pain. What about parents who go a step further and actually bring that favorite toy train for the kiddo which sings a song after every whistle and makes the kiddo dance to its tunes ... all this right inside the hall. Great fun nah!

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    1. Yikes! Can't decide whether that is better or worse than a bawling baby...

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  12. Indians have no concept of private space. The child is raised by the village and all that- so they assume that they have every right to foist their kid on the movie-going audience.

    I am a single 27 year old. My only releif from unrelenting stream of work is one movie a week.

    I scream, literally scream, louder than a screaming child at their parents- for ruining my time at the movies. I don't care.

    "oh, me screaming is ruining your movie? Oh, same pinch!! And I am not sorry, just like you don't seem to be about your kid."

    And the rest of the theatre is generally glad for my interruption because they were too guilty to say the same.

    Somehow its become a sin to judge parents. Like, what, they aren't humans anymore? They are gods?! Matru Devo bhava, pitru devo bhava?! Bah!

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  13. Hi Rohini! I was just wondering if you could answer a question about your blog! My name is Heather and my email is Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com :-)

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  14. Hi !
    My name is Phuong, currently working for Foodpanda India with Food Delivery Service via website: www.foodpanda.in. I came across your blog a couples days ago and found posts you have on your site great. Therefore, I would like to take this possibility to cooperate with you. So please let me know if you see the possibility of writing about us and contact me across my email: p.le@foodpanda.com. thanks !


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  15. Hi Rohini you are absolutely correct!! in these days it very difficult to watch movies with family..especially it is very difficult to handle kids!!!

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  16. This is exactly why I don't go and watch Bollywood movies in theaters (I live in the US) No movie watching etiquette whatsoever - of course blaming the parents who lug their little spawns with them. While they make a ruckus and spoil OUR movie watching experience, the parents do nothing but sit on their butts just like the couple you encountered. Jeezuz!

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