Run down the aisle, trip and break your neck: The Curse of Kids in our Cinemas
Run down the aisle and back up again. Throw popcorn at your friend. Shout with a screeching unbroken voice and exit for half an hour, returning for the ‘best bit’: that’s our beloved children’s trip to the movie theatre, and I can’t stand it.
The council of Dubbo, Australia have got it right but they should have seen it coming, banning two children aged 11 and 12 from cinemas after they snuck into a theatre armed with a ‘spud gun’. They proceeded to shoot a potato through the screen causing upwards of $50, 000 in damages. A lack of cinema etiquette or a minority of immature juveniles? Does it matter, the point is still as plain to see as the object thrown at Heath Ledger during last nights screening of The Brothers Grimm - prognosis: unsure, but larger than a piece a popcorn. Children don’t have the attention span or the social maturity to sit quietly for two hours therefore the inevitable happens. I’ve seen who can run down the stairs, fall and hurt themselves the most; I’ve seen popcorn being thrown at the bald guy, and heard the never-ending chitter-chatter ‘why is this happening, who is he, and what is a parasitic copycat candy-making cad?’
Of course the curse has always been there but it wasn’t helped by the useless money-making scheme that introduced the 12A rating to our cinemas. So Spiderman 2 was excluding a large amount of its target audience by failing to meet PG guidelines – good, at least I could watch a fantasy film that sought the (mature)inner-child within me in an atmosphere lacking those dastardly pre-teens! But no, in order to bring in more punters not just for the film but for the popcorn throwing contest, we had to endure 12A.
Why not ban children from any PG and 12A film after 7pm? They should be doing their homework and drinking warm milk by that time anyway. In Philadelphia, a bill was proposed to prevent children under six entering a cinema with their parents after 7pm, which would, if breached, lead to a $50 fine. Why not force any minor’s to sit in the front rows? They shouldn’t be allowed to go to the back in any case since the stuff they’ll see there will no doubt breach the terms and conditions of even a R18 rated film. Yes little girl you’re gawking at a couple in the latter stages of what adults call: foreplay.
It’s a problem that extends further than the cinema though. You’re trying to have a quiet romantic meal and you suddenly sense a young child just staring at you for no apparent reason, then of course a three-year old starts crying and won’t stop. However, if children were taught proper cinema etiquette from a young age, even restaurant troubles could be averted. They should teach it in schools – cinema is an important part of our culture, stop fucking ruining it.
Artwork by: Craig Mellor
Thanks to: J Clive Matthews, Athena D. Merritt, Georgie Keene.