Wednesday, December 21, 2011

For Appropriate Audiences

I took Seconda and her cousin to the movie Happy Feet 2 this weekend and we scurried in just as the previews were starting. The first preview was for the new Snow White (or one of them, I should clarify, since there is a slew of new takes on the old tale): the kids were into Mirror Mirror and dug Julia Roberts as the stepmother. Then came a preview for the Titanic sD. This seemed odd to me and I worried the kids would be frightened by the sight of the ship breaking in two and huge rushes of water flooding into the cabins. When the preview for the next movie announced that it was made by the people who made Bridesmaids, I started to get anxious. It was a movie about people having babies, and so, I reasoned, that might be why the movie people thought kids would like it, but the humor seemed way too mature for the four year-olds in my charge and at the end of the preview, when a Bradley Cooper-type said the word, "bitch," I gasped audibly.

"That's not a nice word," I volunteered.

"WHAT'S not a nice word?" the girls piped up.

The moviegoers in front of me laughed at this.

"Oh, nothing. Its OK. Forget it," I muttered, thinking. "What the fuck are the people at UA thinking today? Am I a prude of is this shit out of control?"

When the green screen popped up before the next preview, which was ok'ed for "appropriate audiences," my palms started getting sweaty. What would be next?

And there was a little boy, leaving a greeting on his family's answering machine which said, "Hello. Today is September 11th."

Oh no, I thought, not . . .

Yep. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Featuring a kid, but not, in my estimation a kid movie.

"Did the daddy die?" my niece asked me.

"Um," I said shifting in my seat, "yeah."

"Ohhhhhh," she said, "that's sad."

"Yeah," I agreed.

Someone in the control booth is on crack, I concluded. Or I'm on crack. Either way, this little cinematic outing isn't going well.

Finally, after thirty five very stressful minutes of previews, the movie began and it was . . . New Year's Eve.

Somebody went to the manager to tell them they'd put on the wrong movie and in a few minutes, we were back on track again, watching animated penguins dance in unison, just as we'd intended.

I guess I should be lucky they didn't play the preview for Saw 14 or the re-release of Last Tango in Paris or whatever. The worst the kids were exposed to was a terrorist attack, the greatest shipwreck in the history books and the word "bitch." Not too terrible, I guess.