Friday, December 30, 2005

Holiday movies - the best and worst experiences

Went and saw two movies this holiday season. King Kong and The Chronicals of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

I thought Kong was excellent and Narnia was pretty good. I've never read The Chronicals, so maybe it would have been even better had I read it first. In any case, this post isn't about the movie, but about the experience and has nothing to do with the movies. (other than my quick critique above.)

Kong: We went an hour early and ended up at the back of the line just as they were opening for seating. We couldn't find 4 seats together; other than the very back or very front, so Tina and I sat together (in seats 3 and 4) and Jaime and Michael sat in seats 1 and 2 in front of us. After sitting there for a few minutes, Tina looked over at the lady on the end of row and asked, "If you don't mind, do you think you could move down one row, that way the four of us could sit together?" The lady gave her a rather pained look, so Tina said, "Well you don't have to. I was just asking." to which the woman replied, "Oh... then No." Sigh.

So then Jaime noticed that the row they were sitting in was occupied by them, a large family and then three empty seats at the other end. So after much "You ask them - no you ask them" going back and forth, Jaime (the introvert - way to go kid!) got up her nerve and asked, "Would you guys mind if we got up and you moved down one, then our entire family could have the four seats at the end." The mother looked up and down the row and then replied, "Sure" as she and several kids got up. Looking down at her husband she said, "Come on lets move" to which he replied, "No." She said, "What?" and he replied, "This is EXACTLY the center and I'm NOT moving from my seat." To which she just looked kind of dismayed and then sat back down.

Jaime got this total look of disbelief on her face and just turned and looked at us like, "Can you believe this?" to which Tina replied, "Its the holiday season. What did you expect?"

A few minutes later the mom looked up and down the row again and told some of her kids to switch seats, to which the dad replied, "Fine. But I'm not moving". So one of the kids switched ends and we were able to move down and sit all together. We told the woman thanks much, etc. But for the next several minutes and probably the rest of the day, Jaime just kept saying "I can't believe that guy wouldn't move ONE seat. I just don't get people."

Narnia: Jaime and I decide to go to the 10:20 AM show. Shouldn't be too many people there, should be easy to get in. Yup on both counts. But turns out that the 10:20 movie is the "kiddie" movie. (Something to keep in mind in the future). We get there and there are 3 women and probably... 15 or so 4 and under kids with them. Can you say Nightmare! We get popcorn, etc. amidst lots of "Do you think they are coming to see Narnia? Probably. No, maybe they are coming for something else. Yeah... not likely." When we get to the theater, the 3 adults have them all linedup and are trying to keep order. "Billy, stay in line." "Tommy, keep focused and move when the rest of the line moves." We are standing there along with some other adults, all with horrified looks on our faces. The "group" heads left, and the woman behind me says to her husband, "Stage right?" and he replies, "Yeah", and so we wall cut to the right entrance and go to find seats.

As we are going in, I notice that the "group" is heading to the very back. So Jaime and I get seats, with 3 moms and 6 kids in front of us, a few adults and a 3 year old to the right, and many kids sprinkled here and there throughtout the theater - with the "group" all across the back.

We are fifteen minutes early, so I spend the next 15 minutes alternating smiles and frowns at the 3 year old little blonde girl next to me - who isn't quite sure what to make of me. She alternates back either a straight face or a frown. I find I can get her face to go straight by smiling or looking away - the quickly look back and frown, at which point she will frown too. Great fun - I can't wait for grand-kids. Jaime totally believes that at any point she will start screaming or her mom will catch me and we'll get asked to leave - so I quit. Meanwhile, adults are making trips back and forth getting booster chairs for the "group".

We are a little worried about the quality of the movie experience - given we are worried that there will talking, worrying, etc. all through the movie. We are plesantly wrong!

The "group" was extremely well behaved - at least from what we could tell. No talking, crying, etc. And not many of the other kids around us made noise either. Once in a while some kid would let out some exclamation - which actually just added to the experience. Nothing like the wonder of a little kid caught up in make believe letting out a squel or whatever when something unexpected happens. Or when the table rock splits in half and the little kid in front of you - who has been quite the whole time, yells out "What the heck!!!" :)

My admiration for whatever day care, mother's group, or whatever it was that showed up with 15 kids, 3 adults, for a 10:20 AM movie - and where the kids behaved so well the entire time. It was great to see - and put some faith back that not all little kids in large groups are out of control. :)

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