Last weekend, my boyfriend and I went to see the new Seth Rogan – Rose Byrne – Zac Ephron comedy Neighbors and I still haven’t been able to shake a few things I saw in the theatre.
I’m not talking about the movie itself (I’ll get to that in a minute). I’m talking about the actual people that were IN the audience of an R-rated movie at 7pm on a Friday night.
Image via Universal Studios
First up, a dad and six kids. Not one of them was over 13. Five of them were young boys – I’m assuming that one of them was his son and the rest were his buddies. The sixth child was a young girl, maybe 8. We were shocked that this was the movie of choice for this group. I understand that everyone is allowed to make parenting choices for their own children. And I get that just because I find something appalling and offensive and would never let MY kids see it, doesn’t mean someone else has a different view. So let’s just move on from that.
Some parents rely on “Parents Guides” for movies, like the ones found on the popular movie website IMDB.com. When having a question about the appropriateness of a movie for my family, I will use this site or one of several others to see why exactly the movie receive the rating and then make my own decisions.
The IMDB Parents Guide gave Neighbors the following ratings (10 being the worst):
Sex & Nudity: 8/10
Violence & Gore: 5/10
Alcohol / Drugs / Smoking: 7/10
Frightening / Intense Scenes: 2/10
I completely agree with the above ratings. Usually, these parent guides are on target. Even if after reviewing the the R rating and the above Parents Guide, you still decided to take chance on the film with your kids (hoping that somehow it wouldn’t be THAT BAD), what would you do if this is what happened in the first 10 minutes:
- Seth Rogan is completely naked and he and Rose Byrne are having sex. But don’t call it that.
- It’s clear that the “F” word is going to have an uncredited but starring role
- Seth and a work friend go outside during a break and get high
It goes downhill and fast. Don’t get me wrong – I thought the movie was hilarious. It’s a cross between The Hangover and Pineapple Express. Most of the humor went over the heads of the college-aged kids in the theater. The true laughter came from those of us who used to consider ourselves “young and hip” but have now evolved in to older, responsible parents. I can’t even imagine how you would explain HALF of the references, language, and visuals in Neighbors to a child between 8-12. And I sure as hell wouldn’t want to try! The thought of trying to explain what a “Mother Effer” is or a “C You Next Tuesday” is, what all of the wide variations of pot smoking mean, or, best of all, what exactly a penis mold is and why were Zac Ephron and his friends selling them on the front lawn?
The next attendee that I found disturbing was a baby. Yes, an adorable, babbling, teething, coughing, wide awake, throwing her toys, sitting on her moms lap, baby. Probably in the 12-month old range. Her parents came in with five minutes to go before the previews started and sat in the back row. Down from a couple who’d been sitting there for 20+ minutes (us included). We all just looked at each other, shocked that anyone would bring a child in to such an inappropriate movie. Quite honestly, I’ve had this concern before when we have gone to late evening movies and people have hauled small children in with them. Previously, when the kids have gotten upset at something they’ve seen, the parents have removed them and there’s been no issue about ruining the movie watching experience for everyone else. In this case, this sweetie pie was cooing and babbling like little ones that age do and mom and dad were clearly not caring that her adorable sounds could be heard throughout the entire theater.
Do you remember all of the things that I just wrote about this movie? A baby? Really?
In keeping with the tips I talked about on the CBS Chicago News segment last week, I tweeted Regal Movies the following:
Within 15 minutes, I received this response:
By the time I received the response, Management and Security had come in to the theater to talk to the couple. To say that they were not happy is an understatement. They protested. Loudly. While their daughter made adorable sounds. Loudly. They finally relented and left the theater just as a previews were ending and the movie was starting.
Being a parent is hard. It’s hard to get a night out. To feel like an adult or a couple after you have children. I get it, but I don’t think it matters. Call me heartless but you don’t take your kids or an infant to an R rated movie on a Friday night at 7pm. Or ever. Stay home. Find something more appropriate to do as a family. Get a Redbox - it’s $1.20 and much cheaper than the going rate at your local theater.
Having children is a sacrifice. You are giving up your free time, the life that you used to lead when you were single and carefree, for a life responsible for another human being. Or beings. Not everyone likes it. Some say that you shouldn’t have to change who you are or the life that you have for a family. That adding a child to your life should be an enhancement, instead of the replacement of one lifestyle for another. I disagree. Having children is a sacrifice. It changes you and your life. You need to be prepared to make sacrifices - and it’s not always the big things. Sometimes it’s the little things – like dinner out at 8pm on a weeknight or going to the movies. Those things come back in to your life when your kids get older or you find babysitters for date nights. But taking your kids with you in to environments that are reserved for adult-only is a selfish act and the kids and other adults around you are usually the ones that suffer the consequences.
Just something to think about.
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