|Star Wars birthday for Bud in 2010|
Naturally, it is our responsibility as parents to teach our kids how not to annoy other people when they go to the movies. It starts with training them not to annoy us while watching movies at home. They have to be carefully taught!
With our kids, the most annoying habit we have had to correct, is the constant bombardment of questions. At times, we have found ourselves repeatedly pausing a film, so many times, within a matter of minutes, that I'm pretty sure duct tape may have been considered. Of course, we have usually just had to resort to threatening an early bed time should we need to pause the movie one more time.
This habit became such a nuisance, when the kids were younger, that we began prefacing each family movie night with a gentle reminder that, "The movie will answer your questions." We decided to deal with them patiently, because, as avid movie lovers, we realized that the reasons they had questions were because they were not experienced with the art of the silver screen. They were not aware that the questions they had were obvious ones that the director and writer wanted them to be asking...just not out loud!
This lesson actually took several years! Patience, my young Padawan, patience.
Once they were able to grasp the concept with children's movies, we moved onto other more complicated genres: action, adventure, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, drama. Sequels were better dealt with in marathon weekends, for sheer sanity alone. When we got to the end of watching the original three Star Wars, we joked that they would have to wait thirty years like we did to discover more!
Now that they are older and we enjoy watching all sorts of movies with them, the most we will do is hold up a quieting hand at the first sign of a question. A few moments or minutes later, we may knowingly whisper to them, "Asked and answered!"
There are only two exceptions to the above rules in our household for family movie night. These rules do not apply to public movie watching, however, in theaters or with non-family members or friends. In those cases, all previous movie etiquette is expected.
Exception #1: When watching favorite classic films like Princess Bride, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings, Back To The Future, etc. the unspoken rule of quoting favorite lines ensues. It has almost become a competition to see who can quote them most accurately, anticipate them first or deliver them with the best impersonation. Again, we do not allow this exception unless all movie watchers are in compliance.
Exception #2: High fives are given if a family member "calls" a particular action, event or line beforehand. In order to have our "called it" acknowledged, these predictions must be spoken out loud during the movie, making use of the pause button on the remote and occur before the outcome would have been obvious to any viewer. (Proudly, I declare myself the reigning champ. The rest of the rabble only wish they coulda been contenders!) This rule is never to be used in the public movie theater due to the spoiler alert factor and the previously stated movie etiquette regarding talkers.
Thankfully, our older kids have successfully learned the art of movie watching, as we certainly enjoy this family pastime quite often. Proof that it's worth repeating multiple times, during hours of film, over the course of several years, delivered with the patience of a Jedi Knight that, "The movie will answer your questions!" or better stated, "Answer your questions, the move will!"
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