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The A&E Report: Does Parental Guidance Mean Anything To You?

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It's one of the most annoying movie clichés imaginable. You go to see a horror movie, and just when things are getting tense, they trot out the old "child in jeopardy" gambit. And there he is, some bratty toddler whining and crying and begging for his mommy. Boo hoo. It pretty much ruins the entire film for you. Then you realize — wait a second — that's not the movie. Somebody actually brought their kid to this film!

It happens all the time. People tote their tots to movies they're too young to see because they're too cheap, too lazy, and most of all, too arrogant and entitled to get a babysitter. Obviously, this is not good parenting. But there's more at stake than just having to answer those inevitable questions like "Mommy, that man with the chainsaw isn't going to hurt anyone, is he?" and "Daddy, what is that man doing to that pie?" For one thing, unless it's school or the dentist, it's cruel to force your kids to go somewhere they don't want to go. If you're taking your kids to the movies, you've got two choices: whatever piece of crap Disney just put out — or nothing. Deal with it.

Okay, fine, so we know it's not our place to tell other people how to raise their kids. But we have every right to tell people to keep their kids out of our faces when we just spent ten bucks or more to see Alien vs. Predator. It's not just blockbusters people feel comfortable bringing their tykes to. Some jackasses think if a movie's boring enough, their kids won't pay any attention to it anyway. Well, I doubt your darling little girl is picking up on the subtle nuances of The Motorcycle Diaries, so when she runs out of gummy worms and starts screaming her head off, you'd better have a backup plan to keep her quiet.

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Before you take advantage of the "unless accompanied by an adult" loophole to drag your five-year-old to that 9:30 showing of I Heart Huckabees with a backpack full of Duplos and some Ritalin, think of somebody besides yourself for a change — no, not your kid. With you for a parent, they're pretty much screwed anyway. Think of the rest of us, who prefer the offensive material on screen to that of the people next to us.