I just returned from watching Wolverine with Paul and Dusty. You have no idea how accurate that statement is. I watched Wolverine. I would love to say I watched and listened to Wolverine, but that would be an overstatement of enormous proportions.
Because two idiots decided it would be a fine idea to take their toddler with them to the movies. To a PG-13 movie. With nary an animated character in sight.
To make matters worse, these two idiots decided to manage their poor decision by sitting on opposite ends of the aisle that bisects the lower portion of the theater and allowing their delightful little spawn free rein over the entire theater.
She ran. She climbed. She giggled. She screamed. She yelled repeatedly for her Daddy.
No one responded to her. No. One. We were sitting at the very top, scanning the sparse afternoon crowd (of maybe 15 people) for any adult to make a move toward this child and none did. We became worried the child was lost and had somehow wandered out of Monsters vs. Aliens and into Wolverine and somewhere her very concerned parents were frantically searching for her.
Then, I noticed that she launched herself onto a woman's lap and it all became clear. The idiots were used to tuning out their daughter's sound-barrier-defying shrieks. The idiots didn't care that the rest of us were not.
You will, of course, not be at all surprised to know that I am not the kind of person who sits and seethes in silence. Neither is Paul.
When the people sitting behind Idiot Number One got up and moved to the opposite end of the theater (not that it made a bit of difference since the child's voice carried over every single sound effect...perhaps DTS should use her for their annoying little pre-movie commercial?), we took action.
Paul called out "Seriously?" and "Shh."
The guy who moved called out "Shh" repeatedly.
Being older than both of them, I've had more practice dealing with idiots and I know subtlety is not their strong suit. I yelled "Get your child to be quiet or leave the theater."
The idiots came to life. They realized their spawn's noise-level was disrupting others. They took their precious child out of the theater amid much apologizing...
Oh, wait. I'm sorry. For a moment there, I forgot myself. That's what should have happened. Instead, they told their little girl to "shh" and then ignored her antics for another five minutes. When more yelling from us commenced, the mother picked up her child and walked around with her. This did absolutely nothing to quiet the child in the least. The solution? Put her down and ignore her antics again. Or, even better from a "how-fast-can-I-warp-my-daughter?" parental strategy, point to the screen as if to say "Be a good girl, now, and quietly watch that nasty man get blown to bits inside that helicopter. Isn't that interesting?"
Paul left to complain to the management. The guy who moved complained twice, for all the good it did us. The manager was all of seventeen years old and terrified of confrontations.
I don't share that fear.
When nothing was done, either from the management or the idiots, and the movie ended, I expected the parents to rush out before any of the irate crowd could confront them. They didn't. Paul took one look at my face, pointed to the stairs closest to the couple and asked, "Are we going out that way?"
Oh, yeah. We were.
We headed down the stairs to the idiots, who were totally oblivious of the death glares being dealt to them from every single patron around them. I told you--subtlety is lost on idiots.
I walked up to them, leaned close to the mother, and said in a polite but firm tone "I was unable to enjoy the movie because of all the noise your daughter made."
The woman responded with "Well, I'm sorry but at least you didn't hear her screaming."
Huh? What planet were you visiting for the last two hours? Please.
I leaned closer. "Yes, I did. We all did. It was distracting and it ruined the movie for all of us. Next time, take her out and stay out. It's what I would have done because it's the respectful thing to do."
She opened her mouth to respond but I walked away. There was nothing I wanted to hear from her. And the key to managing a confrontation without it escalating into ugliness is to say your piece politely and know when to leave.
I didn't ask for a refund because Paul got us in for free anyway. But I hope I opened that woman's eyes, just a little, so that next time she either takes her child out or, better yet, doesn't bring her to such an inappropriate movie in the first place.