No place for kids

Movie-going, child-toting parents lack common sense

Imagine this:

You are seated in a dimly lit movie theater with your best bud. A ruby red slushy chills in one hand and a never-ending bucket of salty, buttered popcorn rests in your lap (or cinnamon pretzel in my case). A $30 value, easily.

As the previews play, laughter and bits of conversation are heard. Someone is courageously guessing at cheesy film trivia as others shuffle for open seats in awkward aisles, slowed by rows of seated knees and sticky floors.

As the preshow promos come to an end, the lights fade to a relaxing level of darkness and the crowd simmers (with the exception of a few — you know the ones).

The big screen flashes two or three “shush” ads, and depending on the film’s production company, a roaring lion or majestic snow-capped mountain fades in and out.

The movie begins.

My guess is that most of us, if not all, have had a similar experience with slight changes in details.  Movie-going is a rare but comforting pastime for myself — until last Saturday evening.

The word that best describes my experience at Tulare’s Galaxy theater is humiliating. If I were to choose a second word, it would be infuriating

As we (my friend, her husband and myself) sat down to watch “A Haunted House” — the new satirical horror film starring Marlon Wayans — I was appalled at my surroundings.

Not only was this film rated R (it was more X-rated, if anything), but parents, grandparents and children were viewing this movie together. As families. As if Grandma and Grandpa woke up that morning itching to shed the innocence of their 10-year-old grandson.

Every time Wayans pretended to have sexual intercourse with a stuffed animal, I heard the giggling of children — small children. Under the age of 13, I would guess.

The raunchiness only escalated. Scene after sex scene, the giggling returned. I was mortified, and I am a 25-year-old adult. I covered my eyes and ears for more than half of the film, missing half of what I paid for (keep in mind I hadn’t seen a single commercial for this film, leaving me completely clueless of its content).

In a scene that ran after the film’s end credits, Wayans, once again, engaged in some on-screen debauchery — with a “ghost” — while a set of grandparents allowed their young grandson to watch. At this point, I became disgusted and brashly brushed them on my way out.

Maybe I am overreacting. And maybe parents and grandparents have every right to subject young minds to mature film content, even at 10 years old. And maybe I am oversensitive and was simply raised differently.

But I’m not, and they don’t and I am proud of my tact and taste. It is hard to believe that nobody besides myself and my friends felt embarrassed or ashamed of watching the film in the presence of young minds.

What were these adults thinking? Did they truly believe that their adolescents and preteens were mentally and emotionally prepared for such raunchy sexual material? Were they hoping that Tulare’s Galaxy theater would take charge of raising their children? Or did they simply not think of their children at all?

Or worse — have their children already been subjected to such foul films and this was merely another family outing?