Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Saturday, March 01, 2008


Hell Row

I teach. Have I mentioned that I teach? More specifically, I teach middle school. Now, I will not--I would not--claim that teaching middle school gives me any especially great insight into the mind of the thirteen-year-old. In fact, I'm absolutely sure that, when we have kids and they turn thirteen, I'll be just as mystified as any other parent at how the adorable little kid who loved taking walks in the park with me turned into the psychotic little jackass with whom I have to live and am not allowed to strangle.

I do, however, know a little bit about movies that interest thirteen-year-olds. I hear them talk about what movies they saw, want to see or just bought on bootleg DVD. I hear about this sort of thing all the goddamn time. And, invariably, what they want to see is the latest crap-fest horror movie or the newest douchely parody movie that Frankensteins together a bunch of lazy-assed recent pop culture references instead of taking the time to think up an actual joke.

Never--and I'm want to reiterate that I'm talking never--have I heard a thirteen-year-old say, "Oh shit! I cannot fucking wait to see the newest romantic comedy starring Ryan Reynolds!" You know why I've never heard that? Because no thirteen-year-old has ever spoken that sentence, or even a sentence resembling that sentence, out loud.

How is this significant in my life? Lemme 'splain.

My wife and I woke up relatively early today and had a whole bunch of errands we needed to get done, which entailed running all over town. Pleasant errands, for the most part, nothing torturous, but they left us a little tired. So, as we wrapped up our tasks, we decided to reward ourselves for our somewhat hard work by treating ourselves to a movie. It's important to do this, people.

Stopping by our favorite Upper West Side uberplex, we saw some prestige Oscar films that we hadn't gotten around to viewing were on the menu, as was the latest poorly-reviewed Will Ferrell movie. As was Definitely, Maybe, a harmless little film with the afore-mentioned Mr. Reynolds and a bevy of actresses whom the wife and I enjoy.

So we bought tickets, went home to eat supper and headed back downtown (separately, as the wife was running a bit behind and I wanted to make sure I didn't get shitty seats) to catch the movie.

As it turned out, getting there before my wife didn't mean that I got un-shitty seats. I was shocked and appalled to discover that the audience for a mediocrely-received Ryan Reynolds comedy that's been out since fucking Valentine's Day was a whole lot larger than I'd anticipated. So we were stuck way down in the third row. My wife and I are committed Back of the Auditorium people. We just are. But I plowed my way to the middle of the row and figured I'd make the best of it.

And then they showed up.

Some parents, apparently a number of them, brought their kids to see this movie. They brought a whole row of kids to see this movie. More specifically, they brought the fourth row of kids to see this movie.

As--ahem--a teacher, I know that thirteen-year-olds talk. A lot. And they did. They talked through every single goddamn preview ("That dude was in Superbad!" "Switch seats with me!" "Great, now I'm all the way on the end!") They even talked through the goddamn Indiana Jones trailer. Indiana Jones!

My wife, who arrived during said trailer, worried that the little monsters would keep talking throughout. I figured they deserved a chance. It was the previews. Maybe they'd been raised well enough to hold their tongues during the feature.

They hadn't. They'd been raised by parents idiotic enough to bring thirteen-year-olds to see a fucking romantic comedy in a theater packed with adults who paid good money to actually watch the film.

I let it go on through the opening credits. Then, when I saw it wasn't about to stop, I turned around, fixed them with my best teacher eyes and said, "Gentlemen, you need to be quiet." The guy next to me thanked me. And my admonition was actually somewhat affective. For about ten or fifteen minutes. At which point, they started up again. So I turned around and gave them a little angrier teacher look and said, "Guys!"

This worked for awhile, too. Not permanently, but for awhile. Eventually, though, they started in with the talking again. This is when the guy who'd previously thanked me took up the reins.

Or tried to. He turned around and said something I don't remember which did nothing, followed by a really pissed-off "Shut up!" The thing is, the guy got too angry. And he didn't have teacher eyes. Because the kids just started laughing. I didn't see, but I swear I could feel the guy's veins throbbing in his forehead from where I was sitting.

My wife turned around, then, and made it a little clearer to them that they were ticking off an entire row of adults. They weren't perfect after that, by any means, but they were at least somewhat quieter. We put up with their noise sans comment for the rest of the flick and left the theater bewildered.

Seriously, what the fuck kind of parent brings a bunch of thirteen-year-old boys to see a romantic comedy? Playing in the same multiplex were The Spiderwick Chronicles, Jumper, even Semi-Pro. All of which would be more engaging to a thirteen-year-old.

I deal with this sort of obnoxious douchebaggery on a daily fucking basis. I don't need it when I'm trying to shut my mind down and enjoy some formulaic cinema. So, I guess the moral of this story is that, when parents want to go to the movies, they should lock their loud-mouthed fucking thirteen-year-olds up in the closet and go alone.

I'll have you know when I'm elected Emperor, I have a specific plan addressing the asshole epidemic.

No other candidate has such a plan, in fact, the other candidates are assholes themselves.
I really have to visit you more; that was hilarious.

The high school I am currently working at is changing to a middle school...something to look forward to.
See, I thought the kids would laugh at you. Way to go with those teacher eyes!

Sounds like a bad story, but I have a better one: I caught the 11:30PM showing of Resident Evil way back in the day. Some lady brought her two six year old children to the showing. Not only was it way past their bedtime, but the violence! Oh, the violence!

During the part where lasers section some guy into little bite-sized chunks, the kid asked, "Mommy, what happened to the man?" at which point the lady told her son to "shut up."
Crap, I have to work on cultivating teacher eyes. No wonder I had such a hard time in a classroom last fall. I was using my mom eyes.

JB- I felt a little awkwardness last year when I ended up sitting next to an 11 year-old girl whose mother had brought her to Borat. I just had to remember that my ex had taken our daughters just the week before as I laughed my ass off with a tinge of guilt.
What surprises me is that you were upset about being interrupted watching a Ryan Reynolds movie! Oh wait, what surprises me is that you went to a Ryan Reynolds movie!
I'd also like to add a comment about how much sex I'd like to have with Ryan Reynolds.
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